It’s the most wonderful time of the year again folks: E3 2016 is nearly upon us. With another hurricane of gaming news about to crash onto the shores of our consciousness, there’s a handful of games that I’m more excited about than the others, both brand new IPs and established franchises.
The end of Ubisoft's E3 press conferences always leave a megaton for the world to digest, and this year it was all about the return of Ghost Recon. Ghost Recon Wildlands is a very ambitious venture, boasting seamless four-player co-op gameplay in the "largest action/adventure open world in Ubisoft history," and what was shown at the Ubisoft E3 booth was indeed impressive. If they can pull this off it could end up being a defining moment for the new console generation.
The current vibe in the world of video games is all about the shooter genre. First-person or third-person doesn't matter much so long as there's high action and a lot of bullets and explosions. A small team at Ubisoft Montreal realized that gun combat isn't the only type of combat out there, creating the medieval sword-based world of For Honor and unleashing it on the unsuspecting masses at E3 2015. I got my hands on a demo of the game while at Ubisoft's booth, and I'm ready to put down my gun and take arms with a sword.
It's natural for a video game to throw as many obstacles as it can at a player to test their in-game abilities, but the new area introduced for Tom Clancy's The Division is simply sadistic. The Dark Zone is a brand new PvP section of the game that turns the already intense shooter into an experience where you simply can't trust anyone, and my hands-on time with it at E3 proved just how insane it was.
Some people shudder just hearing the name Dark Souls, so I can imagine their reaction to the trailer for Dark Souls III presented during the Xbox E3 2015 Media Briefing. The game that thrives on killing its players again and again with supreme difficulty and incredibly hard bosses is returning in a big way, and an in-depth presentation in the Bandai Namco meeting room at E3 showed just how insane this new game is going to be.
Mighty No. 9 is a game that fans have been wanting for years, though admittedly they asked for it in a different way. This action-packed robot platformer is being developed with mega expectations thanks to the head of the project's pedigree in the gaming industry, but I don't think those expectations are any worry to the team behind the game. They have more pressing issues in mind.
I can already see that Yoshi's Woolly World is going to shock a lot of people. Not because of anything controversial -- how can anything starring Yoshi be controversial? -- but because of the surprising complexity of some of the game's puzzles. I figured that this game would lean heavily on its super-cute, d'awwww-inspiring world of yarn and wool, pulling in players that way but never really challenging their platforming abilities. After demoing the game with a Nintendo rep at E3, hoo boy was I wrong.
Mario and his pals have always been adept athletes, excelling at basically every sport under the sun. While baseball and golf make for fun gaming experiences, it's always been Mario Tennis that's held a special place in my heart. I can't quite put my finger on it, but ever since the original back in the Nintendo 64 days I just can't get enough of the courtside action. With a new Mario Tennis announced at E3 I'll get my chance to once again deploy my best backhand, but this time things might be a little bit different.
One of the many surprises Nintendo dropped on us during its E3 2015 Digital Event was a brand new multiplayer Zelda set in the A Link Between Worlds aesthetic. The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes may not have been the big Zelda reveal the industry had hoped for, but it was a still a refreshing new idea in the storied franchise. After getting my hands on it at Nintendo's E3 booth, I am certainly interested in what the full experience can bring.
Goku vs Naruto. Kenshiro vs Joseph Joestar. Kenshin vs Ichigo. All of these and more are possible in the J-Stars series, games that the Japanese markets have been loving for years now. Somehow Bandai Namco has convinced the powers that be to allow Western markets to see what this franchise is all about with J-Stars Victory VS+, and I dare say that it may have been worth the wait.