Covering E3 is hard work. There are hundreds of games on display, some that you see and some that you get to play. As we're now back home we've collected our thoughts and come up with two lists of our top games of the show. One featuring games that we played, one with games that we only saw. Please, bear in mind that there are no losers in these lists - we were impressed by all of them.
The Best Games Played:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)
This is an open world, but it's fashioned according to Nintendo's house style. Fresh elements are mixed in with more familiar ones. There's an expansion upon the concepts found in Skyward Sword. The world feels alive, there's a revamped control scheme, many distractions are on hand to keep you off the main path, there's even interesting map features, and so on. It encourages exploration and our only wish is that we'd been given more time to explore what the playable build on the show floor had to offer.
2. Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)
We've been impressed ever since its announcement and during this E3 we got some long awaited hands-on with Guerrilla Games' action-RPG. We got to sample the open-world combat mechanics, explore the crafting of ammunition, and take down the Corruptor you saw during the E3 press conference. The delicate balance between stats and skills makes things interesting as you'll need to be skilled with your bow and tactical with your choice of ammo and gadgets if you're to take down the most dangerous foes in this post-postapocalyptic world.
3. Star Trek: Bridge Commander (PC/PS4)
We've all dreamt of venturing into the final frontier on board the Starship Enterprise. Regardless of whether you prefer the original series, The Next Generation, the new movies, Deep Space Nine or Voyager (our pick), Star Trek: Bridge Commander will allow you and your friends to live out that fantasy. While this fantasy was possible with Artemis Bridge Simulator, VR facilitates the fantasy in brilliant fashion. This was our favourite VR experience during the show in spite of stiff competition from Serious Sam VR, Doom VR, and Batman: Arkham VR.
4. Forza Horizon 3 (PC/Xbox One)
Australia is the new playground for the spin-off series that in some ways eclipses the main Motorsport franchise. It is more varied and beautiful than last time around, with many new terrain types and surfaces that will affect your driving in a dynamic fashion. We fully expect better simulation and more side activities to partake in. The four player co-op campaign really pushes the online experience, and it has to be said that playing this on PC with 4K resolution blew our minds.
5. Lawbreakers (PC)
We got to play well over an hour of Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions' new multiplayer shooter and we were thoroughly impressed. Testing a mode and map not included in the recent alpha we know there's a lot under the hood of this game, and it's not a simple throwback shooter or a gimmicky one (with the zero gravity element). This is a game that's all about player skill and we can't wait to see more.
The Best Games Seen:
1. Detroit: Become Human (PS4)
We've always been big fans of Quantic Dream and their "bending narratives", but to be perfectly honest we've never played a game of theirs that fully lived up to the promise of that first scene in Fahrenheit where your options seems infinite. The idea of playing as an unknown number of androids, learning first hand what it is like to be a second class being, is an intriguing one. The game looks absolutely mind blowing and having sat in on a demo session with the actor who portrays Connor (Bryan Dechart), we can testify to the eerie resemblence.
2. Dishonored 2 (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Watching the demo on stage at the Bethesda press conference was fascinating. It's Dishonored, but Emily's powers are so different that it might as well be another game completely. We expect great things from the narrative and Karnaca is certainly a nice change of pace from Dunwall. The universe of Dishonored is what really sets it apart and gets us excited. This may well be a contender for Game of the Year.
3. God of War (PS4)
Kratos is back, and this time he's heading north. The shift in design and setting for this new God of War is a welcome one. The game itself appears to stick with the concept of its predecessors, but perhaps with less emphasis on triggered pre-determined sequences, and with some added RPG elements. The visuals are breathtaking, and even if Sony Santa Monica has been a powerhouse when it comes to graphics in the past, we didn't quite expect it to look this good.
4. Days Gone (PS4)
One of Sony's pleasant surprises during their E3 press conference was the biker-themed zombie survival title, Days Gone. We have to admit to not being all that impressed by the initial trailer, but the gameplay presentation towards the end of the show (and the extended showing we got behind closed doors) certainly had us convinced. Sure, zombies may not exactly be a novel concept, but it would seem that Bend Studio has put its own unique spin on it.
5. Civilization VI (PC)
While the presentation we saw at E3 wasn't very interesting (it was far too basic for anyone who had played the series before), there were some nuggets of information that stuck with us. Namely how dedicated districts and new barbarian behaviour will change much of the Civ we've come to know. The visuals are great, and having spoken to Ed Beech about some of these features we're fully convinced that Civ VI will deliver in October. Our only regret is that we weren't able to play it at E3.