The Player 2 Best of E3 Awards
E3 2021 Features

The Player 2 Best of E3 Awards

Because video games are so subjective and we can’t get the editorial staff to agree on anything, we have decided to give each of the P2 Editors a chance to award their best game from E3. It was much easier than listening to the arguing. 

The Player 2 Best of E3 Awards

Matt Hewson

Best of E3 – Forza Horizon 5

This is probably not a shock. The first game I ever gave an A+ to on Player 2 was Forza Horizon 4 so to say I love the series is an understatement. I had a sneaky suspicion that we would get Horizon 5 this year but was worried it would be a rush job. Those worries seem to be unfounded because it looks stunning. Mexico will be a great place to tear around in fancy cars and all of the new customisation options are going to give the game even more replayability. Sign me up.

Runner Up – Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

I loved the first game and still feel it is one of the most underappreciated titles on the Switch. I had also given up hope of it getting a sequel. Thankfully I was wrong and I can’t wait to take the annoying Rabbids and the slightly less annoying Luigi through more turn-based shenanigans.

Honourable Mentions

Psychonauts 2

I was hoping for an E3 stealth drop on this one but alas we have to wait till August to get our hands on this highly anticipated sequel. For mine, the original is right up there with any 3D Mario game for best 3D platformer ever so I have a massive amount of anticipation for the sequel. Can’t wait.

A Plague Tale: Requiem

I was totally surprised by how much I loved the original Plague Tale and I was just as surprised to see a sequel announced at the Xbox conference. Probably the biggest surprise of E3 for me and I can wait to dive back into this creepy and disturbing world with Amicia and Hugo.

Stephen del Prado

Best of E3 – Elden Ring

I’m a FROM sucker from way back, having imported Demon’s Souls from the US for PS3 and followed each release since with great interest. What excites me most about Elden Ring is a chance to see how such a talented group of creators shift from the somewhat linear nature of their previous titles into a larger open-world setting and how they might overcome the many challenges that brings with it, the least of which being balance and scaling (although I have a feeling these may instead come from the player dying so often they decide to simply try travelling in another direction). The latest trailer teased more acrobatic combat than ever before, alongside the grotesque and haunting enemy design FROM have become famous for. Bring on next January (or whenever it gets delayed too, just saying that date seems a bit sus).

Runner Up – Forza Horizon 5

Not last week was I lamenting the lack of a solid racing game on either the Series X or the PS5, a genre that was once used to help set the bar for the graphical prowess of a new system. Lo and behold, the reigning champion of driving games descends from the heavens to not only meet but surpass my expectations, especially considering it’s building off the technology used in Forza Horizon 4. If Playground Games can get this visual wizardry this early from the Series X, I can only imagine what Forza Horizon 6 holds in a few year time (please be Japan, please be Japan).

Honourable Mentions

Life is Strange: True Colors

I wasn’t let down by Deck Nine and their efforts on LiS: Before the Storm, so I’m here for True Colors and a new set of characters. What excites me even more is how the shift from the episodic release schedule of previous titles in the series should allow the developers to craft a more fulfilling narrative and avoid the issues that arise from juggling both a 2-3 hour arc as well as a 15+ hour arc that satisfies. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

Yeah, aiming for a 2022 ‘window’ isn’t exactly nailing that release down. As much as I’m looking forward to BotW2 (and maybe some beefier hardware to run it) I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still being dangled in front of us next E3. 

Paul James

Best of E3 – Guardians of the Galaxy

When I first learned about Guardians of the Galaxy, in the weeks before E3 began, I immediately grew concerned. The developer, Eidos Montreal, was most recently known for their work on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a perfectly great game, but a step down from Crystal Dynamics’ work, and then there is The Avengers, Square-Enix’s latest work with Marvel IP that crashed and burned spectacularly. I was anxious, but the way Square presented it at E3 completely won me over. From the brilliant trailer that leverages all the right licenced music to hit me right in the feels, to the third-person, single-player combat that is right in my wheelhouse, I expect that assuming the role of Starlord is going to be some of the most fun I have in games all year. Bring it on!

Runner Up – Metroid Dread

19 years. It has been nearly two whole decades since the narrative of the Metroid franchise actually progressed anywhere, and at long last, the long rumoured Metroid Dread has emerged. Visually the game is strikingly different, and the core moment to moment looks deliciously enticing. I have some pause for concern given that the studio helming this project, MercurySteam, is the studio I love for their work on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, but they’re also the team that developed the miserable sequels. They redeemed themselves somewhat with their work on Samus Returns, but that was a remake, so this new title, the first new entry in nearly two decades is another task altogether. I hope like hell they can put it all together here.

Honourable Mentions

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

Many know me to be quite anti-BOTW1. The stamina, and weapon degradation in particular, along with a number of new additions/subtractions to the Zelda formula left Breath of the Wild feeling distinctly lacking in Zelda qualities for me. I couldn’t argue that it was a great game, but it’s not my Zelda game. Breath of the Wild 2 has presented extremely well so far, and just gives me a glimmer of hope that they’re going to make some small strides back in the direction of some traditional systems. Nintendo could yet snuff out that glimmer of hope with a future Direct that highlights all the features that pushed me away but for now… can a guy just dream?!

The Xbox Mini-Fridge

Look, it wasn’t the strongest E3 this year alright? That all said, the Xbox Fridge may still have been one of my most hyped moments of E3. I’ve recently created my own studio space at home, that will gradually become quite gamified, and what better cherry on top to adorn the room than an Xbox mini-fridge that both looks good and keeps me hydrated! I’ve been hunting down for prices and release dates on this one ever since the event!

Jess Zammit

Best of E3Life is Strange: True Colours & the Remastered Collection

Okay, I know it’s technically two games, but I’m just gonna go ahead and cheat. They weren’t the biggest games at the show, and they didn’t even have the most exciting presentation, but nothing makes my heart sing like Life is Strange. Each time they showed up – in the Square Enix presentation, and then again in the Nintendo Direct – I just felt this surge of excitement, because this series is marketed towards me. Everything it is is everything I want in a game. A story with heart, a real focus on deep and accurate characterisation, and some really cool power mechanics that have real consequences. There’s just something really special about the comments this series makes on the human and logistical consequences of having all these cool powers that everyone says they’d want, but that ends up being a double-edged sword in practice. Anyway, I’m excited about True Colours. It’s gonna be a game all about feeling feelings, and I’m certainly going to do a lot of that. 

Runner-up: The Outer Worlds 2 

I liked The Outer Worlds, but I didn’t love it. I wasn’t crying out for a sequel. But the hilarious, completely self-aware and self-deprecating announcement for the second game was the most interesting thing I saw in all of E3. It poked fun of what E3 is at its core – or at least, what it has been in the past – at a time when we all needed some comic relief. Sure, COVID wrecked the development of a lot of things we were all excited for, so projects aren’t moving as quickly as everyone was hoping. But does it matter? Not really. We’ll all get to play cool games in the end, we just have to be patient. Until then, there’s something special about the way everyone comes together for this big, silly show that’s in many ways all-flash and very little substance. The Outer Worlds 2 trailer brought the satire, and I was absolutely here for it. 

Honourable Mentions

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora 

I just… what if it’s good? What if they actually manage to make an Avatar game that does everything it needs to do, and it ends up being good? Because I don’t want to jinx it, but it looks like it… might not be terrible. Against all odds. This game was first announced four years ago, years after anyone had stopped thinking about the film, and I hadn’t really thought about the game since the first hint of it either. But Frontiers of Pandora certainly has the visuals down, the world is expansive and vibrant, there are lots of opportunities for interesting combat and, obviously, making friends with animals, so the ingredients are all there. Now they just have to not stray too far from the recipe and this could be something special. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

Unlike the Avatar game, for which I feel the most cautious of optimism, the Zelda game has me convinced there’s no way it can be bad. I need to stop saying it, because I’m sure it can find a way, but the feel of Breath of the Wild is so special that anything set in that world is going to grab me. There’s plenty of speculation going on online over whether this trailer suggested they’re going to remove the weapon degradation that proved so polarising in the first game, and some people even think the game will have you playing as Zelda, not Link. Honestly, I’m open to whatever. The trailer showed that the game is likely to be what we’re expecting and more, and I’m just as here for it as ever. Also, props to Nintendo for their weird little fake-out that made it seem like they weren’t going to present it, before hitting us with that little trio of Zelda announcements. I see you, Nintendo. Very sneaky.