With E3 done and dusted, we have a much better idea of what’s coming out in the next year, and in some cases, how it all plays.
There are some games we didn’t expect to be gushing over, but after playing them, they completely won us over. The first item in this list is one of them.
After filling the last week with demos and play sessions, here’s what caught our eye the most.
Another zombie game? Yep. That’s pretty much the reaction we’ve had to every zombie setting since Left 4 Dead. It’s not enough to do zombies anymore — you have to do something interesting with them. Happily, that’s exactly what Days Gone is doing.
We got the change to play an early level and a later level in the E3 demo build. The earlier stage is what you might expect; we stealthed around, killing stray zombies and scavenging parts. The tension wasn’t too high, and we learned the ins & outs of the world.
We learn there are adult zombies who prey on the smaller zombies. There are likely bigger enemies out in the world later on.
The later level was what mainly interested me. Having parked our motorcycle on a hill near a massive swarm of zombies, we were tasked with clearing the area. We could see the surrounding terrain, consider how many explosives we had (and craft more if need be), and puzzle out a plan.
That’s exactly what this kind of gameplay is in Days Gone — a puzzle. The area is set out meticulously with hills, cargo containers, and fences. Zombies are funneled through certain areas, and can be baited into traps you set. The game becomes about using explosives efficiently as you plan a running path through the level.
After the initial explosion it’s a puzzle you have to solve in a very hectic environment. It’s unlike anything we’ve played before, so we’ll forgive it for being a zombie game. We’ll have to wait until the 22nd of February next year for this PS4 exclusive.
Super Meat Boy Forever
We’re massive fans of Super Meat Boy, and maintained a top 400 spot on the leaderboard after release. At the time, Team Meat stated it wouldn’t be making a sequel. That was before they considered making an endless runner out of the franchise. Now, here we are with a sequel.
It’s hard to describe how Super Meat Boy Forever works, and there weren’t many videos available, so we weren’t sure what to expect. But after picking up the game at Microsoft’s ID Showcase at E3, it was instantly addictive and fun.
Meat Boy now has a punch that gives him some speed, and a slide to take him below obstacles. Those are the only new mechanics, and jumping off a wall will change direction, a la Super Mario Run.
The team has managed to do a surprising amount of things with just these small changes, and in our brief demo we could see a similar philosophy at work of introducing an idea in a world, taking it as far as it could go, and moving on to another cool gameplay twist.
There’s also an element of random level creation, which just keeps serving up seemingly endless levels. We don’t know for sure when this one will be out, but whenever it is, it’s not soon enough.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Anyone who played Ori and the Blind Forest would have had their heart sing when they saw the surprise trailer for this sequel. Not only is it an amazing metroidvania with challenging platforming, the beautiful animations and understated story make it one of the most memorable indie adventures in recent times.
In Will of the Wisps, the action is a little more focused on combat. Ori will have different weapons and defensive talents to equip. We don’t particularly believe anyone played the first game and felt like combat needed to be a bigger part of it, but it’s an aspect the developers wanted to put more emphasis on.
The good news is the other elements of the game don’t suffer as a result. It’s all still there. We had a decent play of the game and wrote up some impressions. We’ll have this one in 2019.
Well, Cyberpunk 2077 was the game we were most looking forward to seeing, and now it’s the game we’re most looking forward to playing. We’re taking a bit of a gamble on this one, since we don’t actually have a release date confirmed. But we have heard that progress on the game is “quite advanced,” so we’re holding out hope for a March 2019 release instead of November.
Plus, it’s our game of the show, so just try and stop us talking about it.
CDProjekt Red showed off a sci-fi dystopia with first-person shooting action, and all of the decision-based dialog we’ve come to expect from the creators of The Witcher 3.
Truth be told, we were actually a bit worried towards the middle of our one-hour hands-off demo, as we started to get GTA vibes from some of the car chases and shooting action. But it came good towards the end when we advanced beyond the level 1 gameplay, augmenting our character with new technologies that put different gameplay spins on firefights.
Some of the characters and destructible environments looked incredible, too. Look out on FANDOM for a more in-depth impressions and interviews with the developers.
We were already sold on this one, and now we’re more sold. Having been playable at previous expos, we’d had multiple sessions, beaten the main boss, and collected all there was to find in what has affectionately become known as “Anime Souls.”
This is a gritty world of vampires, full of what appear to be JRPG characters, yet the combat and exploration is overwhelmingly Dark Souls. It’s not as hard as its inspiration. You’ll find yourself moving through enemies quite quickly. But then there’ll be a boss, or miniboss, that reminds you to respect the stamina-based combat system.
The last time we played Code Vein, we wanted to see more of the tricky attack telegraphing from bosses and tougher enemies. That’s exactly what we got with this latest demo at E3. Enemy wind-ups would be slightly different to those of different attacks. Those who bothered to learn the subtleties and react quick enough were the ones who made it through.
We also learned a bit more about its levelling system. Instead of increasing attributes, you’ll just plain “level up,” with all the attribute work done for you. Changing your stats is done by equipping different talents. These have various pros and cons in addition to giving you enough Strength to carry that Greathammer, or whatever your goal is.
Expect Code Vein on the 27th of September this year on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
The prevailing narrative in games media right now is that this was a quiet year for E3. We certainly didn’t find this to be the case — there’s an amazing amount of games on the horizon. It’s going to be challenging to even stay on top of all of it.
Perhaps just because we’re a year away from announcements of new consoles, it’s “quiet.” But we’re games-rich this year, and the above list is simply some of the best stuff we saw and played at E3, in an extremely subjective sense.