Though I didn’t get a chance to play that newfangled Legend of Zelda that everyone was raving about, there was plenty to get excited about at E3.
Based on scribbles into a notebook, here’s the games that stood out to me.
Let’s act shocked that Patrick was sucked in by a horror game, but it’s noteworthy to get a proper scare in the middle of E3. There wasn’t a dark, private room for me to play Outlast 2, in which developer Red Barrel has expanded its jump scare factory outside the constrains of a single building. Instead, I strapped on some headphones and ran for my life on the E3 show floor. Nonetheless, I shrieked several times—a good sign. A side note: Red Barrel has a thing for cutting dicks off, a feature present in Outlast’s excellent DLC, The Whistleblower, and now Outlast 2. OK?
Horizon: Zero Dawn
While picking up the controller to play Horizon: Zero Dawn for the first time, I quietly muttered “please don’t suck” under my breath. Post apocalypse? Open world? Robot dinosaurs? I’ve never wanted a game to suck less than this one. I’m happy to report Horizon: Zero Dawn is definitely fun to play, but there’s a caveat. Everything I played took place in a tiny slice of the game world with zero story and few options, where I could try out a few different combat objectives. Still, it played well! Hope springs eternal.
The Last Guardian
I’ve already shared my thoughts on 30 minutes with The Last Guardian, and though I’m mixed on whether designer Fumito Ueda can live up to the game’s extraordinary hype, I’m truly glad this game is coming out. Even if it’s unlikely to be a classic like Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, a feat that Ueda can hardly be blamed for, I’m confident it will be interesting.
Gravity Rush 2
Holy hell: Gravity Rush 2 looks spectacular. The original was mostly overlooked because it was, until recently, a Vita exclusive, but Gravity Rush 2 seems poised to rock some socks off. The gameplay, which involves players floating and dashing around an enormous floating world, is pretty similar, but the visuals have taken a tremendous leap forward. Though I spent 15 minutes playing Gravity Rush 2 at E3 and enjoyed it, I haven’t been able to get the game’s look out of my mind. Watch this video.
Is this game any good? I have no idea. Was it the most visually striking game I saw at E3? Probably. Am I paying attention to it now? Yep.
Dead Rising 4
Though the frame rate for Dead Rising 4 was all over the place and the loading times felt minutes long, remember: Dead Rising 3 was fun as heck. Its faults probably had more to do with rushing towards Xbox One’s launch than anything else, which is what makes excited about a fully baked sequel. It’s still about mowing down endless waves of zombies, but few games pulled that off as well as Dead Rising 3. I’m ready to do it again.
Deus Ex Go
A few years ago, a Deus Ex mobile game would have filled me with dread, but Square Enix Montreal has continued to strike gold with its minimalist takes on the company’s biggest franchises. (How long until Final Fantasy Go??) As with Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go, this one distills the essence of Deus Ex—manipulating the world around you—and slaps it onto a deceptively simple grid. Happily, this one is eventually getting a level editor, too. I’m ready to pass Go again! (Sorry.)
Resident Evil 7
OK, look, I didn’t have kind things to say about Resident Evil 7 in virtual reality, but my upset stomach aside, this is exactly the direction I’ve been hoping Resident Evil would go in. Though it’s technically set after the disastrous Resident Evil 6, it comes across as a soft reboot of Resident Evil, heading back to its survival horror roots. Plus, the whole thing is in first-person? I didn’t see that coming. Resident Evil’s needed a kick in the pants, and while it’s unclear if Resident Evil 7 will be good, it’s time to be bold.
It’s early days for VR, but it’s fascinating to watch developers approach building games meant to be played over several hours. Twisted Pixel, a developer best known for making jokey games with mediocre gameplay, is trying something radically different with Wilson’s Heart. It’s a noir-laden thriller in first-person with Peter Weller as a mental patient who may be losing his mind. There are some wonderfully clever uses of VR, including one sequence where the player looks at “themselves” in the mirror and the face subtly changes expression, based on how they adjust their Rift. Your eyes might squint, your mouth might widen. It’s subtle but effective.