E3 2016 – The Good and The Surprising

E3 has been and gone for another year. Games were announced, Surprises were ruined by leaks and gamers everywhere began dreaming of the next 12 months of gaming fun. Here at Player 2, we had a great time during E3, pouring over the new announcements and special surprises so we thought it would fun to put together our favourites from the show. So here are Player 2’s favourite games and biggest surprises from E3 2016. 

Matt Hewson

Game of the Show – Mafia 3

It didn’t appear in any of the conferences and it has had a fairly low-key PR campaign so far but words cannot describe how excited I am for Mafia 3. The time period, the location, the soundtrack and the premise all promise to come together in wonderful, wonderful ways. I was always optimistic about the game but after seeing the gameplay footage they released during the show I was 100% sold. I can’t wait to take Lincon Clay on his mission of vengeance against the Italian Mafia later this year.

Surprise of the Show – Spiderman PS4

That there is a new Spiderman game coming is not really a big surprise, after all, the web-slinger has been a part of home gaming since the NES days. No, the big surprise was who is developing the game. Insomniac Studios, the folks behind two of my favourite games of recent times (Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive) are bringing Spidey to the PS4 in an all new adventure that has no ties to the movies. I have utter faith that Insomniac will deliver a Spiderman game that will finally top Spiderman 2 from the Xbox/PS2.

Stephen del Prado

Game of the Show – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It’s probably a little cliché but the title that stole the show for me was undoubtedly Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For years, players had been hounding Nintendo for a more mature Zelda game which resulted in the slightly disappointing Twilight Princess. It turns out that what we really wanted wasn’t gritty, realistic graphics but an evolution of the Zelda gameplay formula. Combining the free-form structure of the 3DS’ A Link Between Worlds with a wider array of mechanics such as climbing, cooking, stealth in a much larger game world has me very excited for the possibilities. Getting my start on the series with Majora’s Mask in all honesty probably ruined a large portion of the Zelda back catalogue for me, so it’s nice to have something different to look forward to again. Nintendo, you may have even secured yourself an NX pre-order here.

Surprise of the Show – Batman: Arkham VR

Astute listeners of the Player2 Podcast may recall that I predicted Rocksteady showing something off at E3. What I couldn’t have guessed was that not only were they returning to the Batman well, but they’d be doing it in VR. Having been a firm doubter of VR myself until some more hands-on experience with it at PAXAUS last year, I’m feeling more and more justified in my PSVR preorder. Hell, I don’t even care if the title doesn’t involve fighting a single henchman – just let me be the World’s Greatest Detective for a few hours from the comfort of my lounge chair.

Jenn Christodoulou

Game of the Show – Horizon: Zero Dawn

As much as the Final Fantasy fanboy in me wants to gush over the new footage we saw at E3, the fact of the matter is there were more exciting things to see this year. I had quite a few personal highlights, but the one I am most excited about is Horizon Zero Dawn. I remember seeing this game last year and getting excited about it, and the new footage we saw just reignited that hype all over again. The world looks beautiful, the animal/creature/robot things look pretty damn cool, and the combat looks much more interesting than simple run and gun or hack and slash. However, that being said, I fully expect to run up to shoot a bunch of robots in the back of the head at point blank range when they don’t let me pat them like I want. JUST LET ME LOVE YOU. WHY WON’T YOU LET ME LOVE YOU.

Surprise of the Show: Crash Bandicoot/Resident Evil 7

There were many surprising reveals this year (such as EA bringing out more sports games. I am just shocked) but two in particular caught my eye. One being THE FREAKING REMAKE OF CRASH BANDICOOT OH MY GOD. I did not see that coming, and I am so bloody excited it’s hard to put into words. Though the more I think about it, they did sort of sneak that in Uncharted 4 with Nate playing Crash Bandicoot with Elena. So perhaps if I were more intelligent it wouldn’t have been quite as big a surprise.

The other was Resident Evil 7 and the fact it will have a Playstation VR component. That last part surprises me the most because the death toll for people having the absolute shit scared out of them will rise to extreme levels, but hell, I’ll give it a go. (Once I buy a bucket for all the scared little bitch tears I will cry.)

Matthew Ballinger

Game of the Show – Injustice 2

My favourite game of the conference didn’t actually make it to the stage but was shown on the expo floor, Injustice 2 is the follow-up to one of my most enjoyable fighting game experiences from the last decade. Despite the lack of The Flash, my main in the original, the roster is already appealing with the introduction of Supergirl and Atrocitus along with the inclusion of a gear system which opens up even more possibilities in customising the initial cast. I am looking forward to the progression to the Injustice: Gods Among Us storyline, which saw Superman snap and pretty much enslave humanity and with NetherRealm Studios at the helm, I don’t see how I could be disappointed.

Surprise of the Show – Death Stranding

The lights went dark on the Sony presentation and a bridge of light formed under the feet of a figure walking onto the stage as an orchestra belted out music from last year’s mega-hit Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s right folks Hideo Kojima is back and Sony have pretty much given him a blank cheque and let him run free creating whatever his heart desires, which in this case is a naked Norman Reedus on an oil-slicked beach holding a baby that may or may not even be real. Death Stranding is a game, we aren’t sure what kind of game or anything about the project at all but it somehow holds a magnitude of interest from longtime Kojima fans. I really want to see how this plays out.

Adam Rorke

Game of the Show – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

How could I not put Zelda in here? We knew it was coming, we’d seen the trailers, but honestly, nothing could prepare us for the playable version that we saw at E3. It makes sense when you think about it, Zelda is something that Nintendo won’t take a chance on, you’ll either get an amazing game that shows new and wonderful things with that classic flare that the series is known for, or you’ll get nothing. I figured this title would be good but after E3 I can honestly say it’s going to be excellent!

Surprise of the Show – The Last Guardian

I’ll be honest, there were only a few announcements and surprises this for me this year. I wanted to say how Tekken 7 really wowed me with its impressive visuals and jaw-dropping trailer, but no, something actually surpassed this, something I never thought I’d see this year. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Last Guardian is coming out THIS YEAR! Seriously I thought we’d be writing about this one well into 2017 about its various delays and latest excuses from the developers. Push all that aside because we will be playing this game by the time 2016 calls it a day! Get hype everyone, get hype!

Paul James

Game of the Show – Horizon: Zero Dawn

Last year this game was an obvious choice because of how refreshingly new it was. The game doesn’t have the same luxury this year going into its second and final E3 ahead of its February release, given that other high-profile PlayStation exclusives have now been announced to join it, on top of the countless other excellent games on show at the event. We now know a lot more about the story, we’ve seen the open world in action and once again gorgeous visuals. Horizon Zero Dawn is the game that astounds and intrigues me the most and I’m clamouring for more ahead of a March 1st release date.

Surprise of the Show – God of War

So it seems as though there were very few surprises going into this E3 thanks to numerous leaks, but what surprised me the most was God of War and the incredible changes to the established formula. No longer is the camera static, no longer is Kratos an anger fuelled madman, and no longer are we tackling Greek gods. No, for this newest entry everything has been turned on its head, highlighted by a son, Dark Souls inspired combat and a Norse setting. God of War was a franchise that was near and dear to me over the previous two generations, so while its return was inevitable, I never expected these drastic changes.

James Swinbanks

Game of the Show – Sea of Thieves

I audibly yelped upon first sight of Sea of Thieves footage – the only time I did so during any of the E3 conferences. Is this the return to form that Rare have been after for so many years? After AC: Black Flag, I always knew that a seafaring/pirate game might work if given the right context. As it turns out, trying to sail a pirate ship across the open seas with your mates, searching for pirate booty and scuppering landlubbers might just be what the good ship Rare needs to turn things around.

Surprise of the Show – Detroit: Become Human

The new game from David Cage’s Quantic Dream was one of the big wow moments of Sony’s press conference. The trailer focused on an Android police officer who had been sent in to negotiate with another Android who’d gone rogue and kidnapped a young girl, threatening to kill her. A number of different scenes play out, showing the various different approaches the player could take to resolve the situation and the different consequences they can have. It’s the most intrigued I’ve by one of Quantic Dream’s games, so I’m very keen to see some more of this in the future.

What was your favourite game of the show? What surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments or on social media, we would love to hear what you think. 

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