Saturday, June 16, 2018

Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of E3 2018

E3 2018 is over and done with, but the feeling of hype is still ever present. Why? Because now that the games have revealed themselves, it's time to hype them up until their releases, of course! E3 2018 was a pretty banner conference for all parties involved, and with it, saw an immense amount of new and returning games to the press conferences and show floor. Trying to limit this list to just ten titles from E3 2018 for my most anticipated games of the show was quite the challenge, but here they are in digestible list form. From an Armored Core spiritual successor to the remarkable return of a survival horror classic, this list has got it all.

10) Daemon X Machina (NSW)

All-star talent is behind this first game on this top ten list of most anticipated games from E3 2018. When you have the creative minds behind the Armored Core series invested in making their latest project the greatest mech game of all time, you know you should be hyped. And that's what both the Daemon X Machina trailer that kicked off Nintendo's E3 2018 Direct and later shown in a deeper capacity at Nintendo Treehouse Live soon after bestowed upon onlookers: hype. While still in early development, this 2019 title looks like it's going to shape up become a classic on the ever-increasing number of excellent games on the Nintendo Switch. Daemon X Machina was without a doubt my biggest surprise announcement from E3 2018, and the most satisfying one at that.

9) Super Mario Party (NSW)

Speaking of Nintendo's E3 Direct, another game that caught my attention was a game that wasn't so much of a surprise that it was coming, but the surprise was more that it was coming in the form that it did. Super Mario Party returns to the classic, traditional rules of its boards in its main mode while also offering other board modes like Mario Party: Star Rush's Toad Scramble on top of that. 80 new mini-games see themselves entering into the fray, as does a whole heaping host of playable characters, many of which have never seen a playable appearance in a Mario Party game until now. The addition of online play for only a special mini-game mode is a good first step, but it's not the "I want to play with my online friends across the country" board game mode that so many have been yearning for. Still and again, this is a good start, and with a grand lineup of features and additions, Super Mario Party seems like it's going to ruin friendships for a whole new generation of Nintendo console owners.

8) Mega Man 11 (Multi)

Being a huge Mega Man fan was not the best feeling in the past several years, with little thrown our way besides some collections and an, awesome not withstanding, inclusion in the Super Smash Bros. series. But now? Mega Man is back, baby, and back in a big way with an all-new game in the Classic series of Mega Man titles, Mega Man 11. Introducing a new Double Gear system to add something fresh to the series, but also something that doesn't just feel thrown in for novelty's sake, the new system allows Mega Man to power up and slow down time as long as he doesn't overheat. This brings a whole new strategic element into the Mega Man series. Throw in a pleasing new visual style, the familiar Mega Man gameplay of old, and a presentation fitting for a new generation of Mega Man games, and there's no wonder why this lover of the Blue Bomber greatly anticipates the latest in the long-running series.

7) Gears 5 (XB1, PC)

Coming fresh off the heels of Gears of War 4, Gears 5 (as you can see, dropping off the "Of War" part of the name entirely for this new entry) sees players assuming the role of Kait Diaz, who is off to search for her missing mother while discovering the secret origin of the Locust horde. Along the way, familiar characters like Marcus Fenix and his son JD also come back from previous games. Including single player, split-screen (hell yeah, local couch co-op!), and online play, Gears 5 is shaping up to be not just a return to form for the Gears series, but it's also beginning to shape up to become a defining, game-changing entry in the series as well. There's no doubt in mind that developer, The Coalition, will handle Gears 5 with the utmost of care, making a must-own game for all Xbox One owners when it launches sometime next year.

6) Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4, XB1, PC)

Fan favorite From Software's latest title was finally fully revealed at Microsoft's E3 2018 press conference, and holy moly it looks absolutely splendid. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a bit of a departure for the developer compared to recent games. It eschews the role-playing elements of the Souls series (i.e. being able to create a character, various classics, etc.) in favor of a more traditional blend of stealth and third-person action. The sword combat involves having players strike foes with their blades, intended on making them become unbalanced. While they're in this state of vulnerability, the player can then perform a life-ending, one-hit strike to the enemy to defeat them in an instant. Combining all of this with the ability to utilize tools such as grappling hooks to reach new heights and get the jump on opponents, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at last got the light shined upon it this past week, and man, the excitement from the trailer makes me hyped for early next year when the game launches.

5) The Last of Us Part II (PS4)

Now, I must admit that I don't have the same amount of admiration towards the original Last of Us that many others in the industry do. That notwithstanding, the original was and still is a phenomenal game. The Last of Us Part II looks like it will take all the positive features of the first Last of Us while reworking some of the features that didn't quite work out as well to make a PlayStation 4 exclusive that seems to be a real Game of the Generation contender. And what is there to doubt when we're talking about a Naughty Dog production? Well, there was Jak 2, but I'll allow a mulligan for that game due to its age. Focusing on Ellie this time around, The Last of Us Part II aims to expand on the aftermath of Joel's decision in the original Last of Us and make for an intense, violent (but not just for the sake of violence) and meaningful adventure for all who experience the game.

4) Resident Evil 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)

Long announced but just recently fully unveiled at E3 2018, the remake of Resident Evil 2 had a lot of riding on it announcement-wise, and to say it delivered is as obvious a statement as "zombies eat human flesh." And there was a lot of that going on in the Resident Evil 2 trailer. Gore was everywhere for you lovers of the macabre out there, and for everyone else, there was the satisfying return of Resident Evil 4's over-the-shoulder gameplay, bucking the idea that this was just going to be a simple tank-controlled, fixed perspective Resident Evil game like the remake of the original game. (Though that isn't to put that incredible game down.) Resident Evil 2's remake appears to be a longtime fan's dream come true, and for survival horror fans and connoisseurs of appealing third-person games alike. We won't have to wait too terribly long to play it either, as Resident Evil 2 haunts its way onto the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One early next year.

3) Kingdom Hearts III (PS4, XB1)

Square Enix not only brought us one new trailer at Microsoft's E3 presser, but it delivered a second at the PlayStation E3 conference. One of these featured the world of Frozen, while the other showed off bits and pieces of Tangled, Disney's Rapunzel-themed tale. Sappy, stilted dialog aside, Kingdom Hearts III revealed plenty of story elements, gorgeous (and I DO mean "gorgeous") graphics, enough Disney love letters to fans to run a post office ragged, and the insanely cool new combat system, incorporating various mechanics from past Kingdom Hearts games. Sure, one might need a flowchart, a reference guide, and a drop of acid to make any sense of the convoluted, overarching story, but who cares? It's Disney and fantastic action-RPG sweetness with undeniable charm. We'll only have to wait until this upcoming January to finally get our hands on Kingdom Hearts III.

2) Spider-Man (PS4)

"Wow." That's all that was needed to be said about the E3 2018 gameplay demo of Spider-Man at the PlayStation press conference this past week. The webhead swung through a prison breakout, clobbering foes with the sensational-seeming Batman: Arkham series-inspired combat that flowed so effortlessly, while seeing familiar villain after villain causing Spidey some serious trouble. Who was the villain at the end of the demo that Spider-Man's eyes grew wide to? Green Goblin? Doc Ock? I hope it's kept as a surprise, as the demo already more than spoiled me with its supervillain goodness, high octane web-slinging, and insane action. September can't come soon enough for this fan favorite superhero.

1) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (NSW)

Nintendo's offerings at E3 2018 might have been on the weak side compared to the competition, but that didn't stop its main game of the spotlight and the show from hitting number one on this top ten list. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is essentially a compilation of all past Smash games (all characters, plenty of stages from past games, familiar Assist trophies, Pokemon and items) with several new inclusions and additions to both the aesthetics and the gameplay. The alterations to each character were shown to be put into painstaking detail (and giving pain if you didn't care at all about the game when Nintendo devoted half its E3 Direct to Ultimate), and the gameplay changes all seem like winners so far. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is looking to be the magnum opus of the Super Smash Bros. franchise, and I can't wait until the beginning of December to have the game in my Nintendo Switch.

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