My Top 5 Games of E3 2019
Now that E3 is coming to a close and after watching a ludicrous amount of game trailers, it is time for me to reflect. Here are my top 5 games of E3 2019.
5. Ghostwire Tokyo
It is hard to fully assess the quality of any game without gameplay, but going off premise and theme alone Ghostwire Tokyo looks promising. Developed by Tango Gameworks (Evil Within) and directed by Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil), the teaser trailer shows civilians disappearing in neon lit Tokyo streets as their clothes are left abandoned in a Rapture type phenomenon. It looks like a supernatural thriller crossed with film noir and I cannot wait to find out more.
4. Watchdogs Legion
For me, previous Watchdogs games didn’t offer enough new or interesting mechanics to warrant a playthrough. But, with Watchdogs Legion it seems like this trend is about to be broken. Set in a futuristic, state controlled, 1984-esque London, where every movement is recorded and every law is enforced by powerful patrolling drones, your job is to recruit people into the ‘Resistance’.
Recruits can be any NPC and once on board you are free to play as them as you please. In the E3 demo we saw a selection of exaggerated and stereotypical ‘British’ NPCs to use, including a foul mouthed Cockney gangster (who would only ever exist if he was raised by the Cray Twins and Danny Dyer in a bizarre time-shifting polyamorous relationship), a once professional assassin turned lovable Grandma and an ex-MI5 spy, who I imagine drives either a Jaguar or an Aston Martin and has slept with well over one hundred women. But perhaps we shouldn’t get too attached as once a character dies they are gone forever, with each death affecting every proceeding cut scene.
I am concerned that the premise will be greater than the execution as it all sounds too good to be true. And considering that the original Watchdogs was significantly stripped back following a slick E3 demo in 2014, we should err on the side of caution with this one.
3. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
After saying in my Metro: Exodus review that we desperately needed more single player games, it seems that I have well and truly had my wish granted. For anybody who grew up playing Star Wars games like I did it is hard not to be excited by the gameplay reveal of Fallen Order.
Firstly, your companion droid BD-1 is instantly likeable. He clings to your back like a baby monkey (riding backwards on a Jedi) and offers you health packs and door hacks. He is loveable and as charming as BT in the brilliant Titanfall 2. It’s clear that Respawn Entertainment understand the importance of a player and companion relationship, even if this companion is comprised mostly of nuts and bolts.
But of course I do have some concerns. The combat is clearly influenced by Dark Souls and Sekiro, but unfortunately looks far too slow. In Dark Souls the slow methodical combat is intentional and compliments the theme of the entire game, whereas in Fallen Order we are playing as a Jedi warrior (have Respawn seen that battle between Obi-Wan and Annakin in Episode III? They are flipping about like it’s going out of fashion). On top of this, most enemies occasionally looked as if they were just standing there waiting to be attacked. My hope is that combat speeds up as you progress through the Jedi ranks or that gameplay is re-tuned before release. The demo was an alpha build after all, so everything could still change.
2. Cyberpunk 2077
When you hear the name of RPG master developers CD Projekt Red of Witcher 3 fame, you practically know anything they touch is going to be incredible. And while we all know Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be incredible, it’s on my list for one reason; the absolute hero that is Keanu Reeves.
I am not entirely sure what the addition of Keanu Reeves brings to a game which is designed to be as immersive as possible, but you have to admit the moment his huge virtual face appeared on the Microsoft Theatre screen (which was instantly topped by his small real face appearing on the Microsoft Theatre stage) was a great E3 moment. There seems to be nothing but good news for Cyberpunk 2077. Roll on April 2020.
1. 12 Minutes
I was pleasantly surprised at the half way mark of Microsoft’s E3 presentation as the trailer for 12 minutes began. A constant top down perspective showed a husband and wife eating dinner. Soon a man pretending to be a police officer will knock on their door after a dark secret has recently come to surface. The husband has 12 minutes to save his wife and break the time loop he is trapped in.
Advertised as an ‘interactive thriller’, 12 minutes is an interesting premise, primarily because of its unique presentation. The absence of dynamic camera angles eliminates any story telling through facial expressions, which puts all narrative emphasis on the voice acting alone. It’s a brave decision which could easily backfire, but if executed perfectly 12 minutes could be a true gem.
There were a few games which I was excited for before this year’s E3 that I couldn’t justify putting in my top five. A lot of the gameplay has already been released so I thought it was unfair (perhaps if every game had Keanu Reeves in, it would be a different story).
We all know Borderlands 3 will be amazing without me putting it in my top 5 games of E3. If it’s Borderlands 2, with more quality of life adjustments, more guns, more abilities and enhanced gameplay mechanics then what could go wrong? As a huge fan of the previous games, this is one of my most anticipated games of the year.
The Outer Worlds
Another game I am ridiculously excited for this year, which didn’t receive much E3 coverage. Developed by creators of the Fallout series and by the team that worked on Fallout: New Vegas, Outer Worlds is a hardcore first person RPG set in space with dry humour, deep dialogue trees and the freedom to role play as anybody you want. It sounds great on paper and the initial gameplay looks even more promising!
After being obsessed with the original Gears of War in 2006 (as I write that I cannot believe how long ago it was!), my love for the franchise has slowly declined in recent years. Gears 4 essentially went back to the original formula, which was nostalgic for a while, but ultimately highlighted how far other games have come since 2006. But with Gears 5 the addition of the Escape game mode did peak my interest.
It’s three player co-op which finds your team planting a bomb inside a locust nest. Then you have to fight past waves of enemies to escape (I am assuming this is where the name is from, but don’t quote me on that). It is not the addition of RPG elements, such as gun upgrades, gun stats and damage indicators that deserves an honourable mention; rather it is the inclusion of three player couch co-op. This mode is entirely playable on one console with three friends in the same room. I wish more games included couch co-op as standard, just like the good old days!
I am not saying anything until I’ve seen some gameplay.