E3 2016 Postmortem: The Games We Liked

E3 2016 Postmortem: The Games We Liked

Written by The GN Staff on 6/27/2016 for PC   PS4   WiiU   XBO  
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E3 2016, the Electronic Entertainment Expo that took place in Los Angeles from June 14-16, gave gamers a lot to chew on. This was virtual reality's big coming out party, but, in this article at least, we focus on the console games that wouldn't leave us alone. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony had strong showcases, with everybody on the Gaming Nexus staff having at least three or four new games they're looking forward to. The remastered Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim  Special Edition will take all of our money, no matter how reluctant or inevitable that foregone conclusion is. While The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is something simultaneously fresh and derivative, but got us in its grip anyway.

Here's what we liked from E3 2016. 

Russell Archey, Staff Writer
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Okay, so I'm starting off with a Nintendo game. I've never played a Legend of Zelda that I didn't like, CD-i notwithstanding, and Breath of the Wild simply looks amazing. I've heard people complain that it's the same old Zelda that we've seen before, and will they do anything new, blah blah blah. Personally, I stand by the adage of "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." Outside of Hyrule Warriors—which I loved—most of the games in the series stuck to the same formula for the past several games. And it's worked. The trailer looks awesome. This could be not only a must-have game for the Wii U, but could also be a great launch title for the NX if it does become one.

This one's kind of a cheat because I saw and posted the E3 trailer when I got the email about it as a Kickstarter backer. Banjo-Kazooie is one of the best N64 games I've ever played. By knowing that several of the people involved with that are now working on Yooka-Laylee, I'm expecting that same level of quality to carry over into what's being called the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. The trailer itself looks pretty good and shows off quite a bit of gameplay that makes me want to pop Banjo-Kazooie back into my N64. I’m a little disappointed the game is delayed to Q1 2017, but if it makes for a better and more polished game, I'm all for it. After all, if it's going to be compared to the N64 classic, it has a lot to live up to.

River City: Tokyo Rumble
I didn't even realize this was at E3 until I searched around a bit for games at the show. If you were to ask me what some of the best NES games were back in the day, River City Ransom is somewhere towards the top. Sadly, I never played it while it was new, but after playing through it with a friend several years ago, I've been wanting to see the series continue. We never got too many games in the Kunio-kun series in the US, but that looks to be changing as River City Ransom: Underground is on Steam Greenlight after a successful Kickstarter campaign, and now we have River City: Tokyo Rumble hitting the 3DS. If the latest installment is at least as good as the original—well, the original we got on the NES—I'll be picking this one up on launch.

Sean Cahill, Staff Writer
Mass Effect: Andromeda
I've been eager to see the next chapter in this IP, and I absolutely love what they've done. There's something awesome about a fresh start in a franchise that I've thoroughly enjoyed. I still remain curious as to how they'll approach this and what the new story is after the Reapers were destroyed. Give me everything you've got.

Detroit: Become Human
This is such an interesting trailer that popped up during the Sony presser. As Randy mentioned, this feels like something out of a Matrix movie, but honestly? This is I, Robot: The Video Game. Androids running around and having to enforce laws is a concept I can definitely get behind. It's easier to push on me that an android has awesome powers and not just some human who is special for random reasons.

The Last Guardian
It's finally going to come out. I still find it hard to believe that this game will actually become reality, and it looks like everything I want out of it. It looks absolutely gorgeous. I'm just hoping that the development having started in the last generation doesn’t hurt it in the long run. Either way, what we saw was beautiful and intriguing.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Holy crap, the world is apparently nine times the size of Skyrim. How in the world is that even possible? I still haven't explored everything in Skyrim and I've had that game since 2011. Link looks like he has a truly epic adventure that is some type of mix with Skyward Sword and Wind Waker. The question is whether or not I'll actually break down and buy a console simply for one game—because I don't know if Nintendo has much out there that I'm interested in anymore.

Sean Colleli, Staff Writer
Battlefield 1
This is a little strange for me to say, but Battlefield 1 is probably the shooter I'm looking forward to most this year, now that I've thoroughly explored Doom. I haven't bothered with the last few Battlefield entries—stories of broken, buggy multiplayer made me hold off. That said, I've wanted a World War 1 game forever, and it looks like DICE is actually doing a decent job with it. They may have sensationalized the history a little bit, but they at least have a wide variety of gameplay that references most theaters of the war. Not many people remember just how far-reaching the Great War was, and getting to play with early tanks, biplanes, and machine guns when they were brand new, looks really exciting to me. I'm predicting that the multiplayer will be just as much of a broken mess at BF3 and BF4. But World War 1 makes me want this game for the single-player campaign alone.

You know, I really want to be excited for Prey. Bethesda made me really happy with Doom, so I can only hope that they are doing this game right. But a few things bug me about it. For one, it’s another reboot. While the premise of waking up on an alien space station while extraterrestrials play weird mind games on you looks intriguing, it annoys me that they ditched the original game's continuity. I thought Tommy Tawodi was a compelling character, and you don’t get many frank, realistic Native American protagonists in games these days. So I’d hoped he would at least show up in a sequel. That said, the setting is compelling and nobody has really done the Groundhog Day thing in a video game before. So, for now, I’m cautiously optimistic.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I’m conflicted about this one because, hey, new Zelda, but then again it has taken way too long to get here—and what I’m seeing doesn’t exactly knock my socks off. Everyone seems to be saying that this game won E3, but I’m not sure how. Besides some Pokemon games we’ve known about for ages, this was essentially the only big thing Nintendo had this year. I’ll admit it is pretty amazing to see a true open-world Zelda game after all these years. Twilight Princess seemed to be the hard limit with what you could do with the classic Zelda formula. And while I enjoyed Skyward Sword, the world design felt a little stilted. Putting Link in a massive free-roaming Hyrule is the logical next step; the problem being everyone else has done it already, at least half a decade ago. Ditching the linear item and weapon progression for an open-ended collecting and crafting system is great—but Skyrim did that already. Attacking enemy outposts with stealth and surprise seems like lots of fun—because I loved doing that back in Far Cry 3. You can even sneak up on wild horses and tame them, just like in Red Dead Redemption from freaking 2010. It didn’t help that the demo, while gorgeous, ran in 720p at a stuttery, less-than-30-frames-per-second pace. At the very least I’ll be picking this game up for the NX, because clearly the aging Wii U can barely handle it. I hate to be so down on this game, because I love the callbacks to the original NES game and the gameplay looks pretty addictive. It’s just that this game would have been dated in 2015 when it was originally supposed to come out, and Nintendo will look particularly late to the party in 2017. It remains to be seen if Nintendo can add their signature magic to these well-worn gameplay mechanics and make Breath of the Wild something really special. But for now, I’m already calling it The Legend of Far SCryrim.

Chapel Collins, Staff Writer
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition
I agree with Randy that I'm sort of disappointed and bored by myself for putting this on the list. But dang it, it's Skyrim. One of my favorite games of all time. Of course I'm excited about a shiny new coat of paint, but most importantly, I'm excited about the mods. I've always been more of a console guy, and I can't wait to see what new possibilities are added to the already nearly limitless possibilities of vanilla Skyrim that I've missed out on by not playing on PC.

I'm not too interested in this from an actual gamer's perspective, oddly enough. I've made the comparison between Spider-Man games and Star Wars games; each seems like it would be impossible to get wrong, yet somehow, each is consistently done wrong. I think this game is interesting because it is almost certainly going to piggyback off of the grand return of Spider-Man in this year's Captain America: Civil War movie. It's interesting because it seems like an indirect cross-platform multimedia product, and I'm curious to see how it fits in with the current swell of superhero media.

Dishonored 2
I actually wasn't the biggest fan of the original Dishonored. I liked a lot of things about it, but it never quite resonated with me in the way I expected it to. It's sequel looks like it's a game much more in line with things I like. It looks a wee bit less steampunk and a little less dirty. The constant grime and oiliness of Dishonored, while certainly good from an artistic standpoint, just sort of grossed me out and kept me from getting too invested, as petty as that is of me. I think the vaguely Northern African/Mediterranean style of the sequel will make for a more interesting backdrop than a slightly generic steampunk dystopia.

Jeremy Duff, Senior Staff Writer
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
I already have a weird relationship with Resident Evil 7, and the game was only very recently announced. As someone who, despite enjoying the action-based RE games, much preferred the early creepier roots of the franchise, I am extremely excited by what I have seen of RE7. The trailer that was shown, as well as the playable demo that is available on PSN, is something that blew my mind. This is the type of RE game that I, and many other fans, have been asking for years. If that is the game that we get, I will be very excited. Capcom has already stated, however, that what we have seen in the demo isn’t an actual part of the game. If that is the case, then this is truly a big let down.

God of War
While I think that everyone saw a new God of War coming from a mile away. What nobody expected was for the game to be taken in a completely different direction. I love the shift in focus on more of an RPG-esque experience. I think that the new gameplay perspective will offer a nice change of pace to the God of War series. Let’s just hope that they manage to deliver on the same epic scenes that the previous games were capable of delivering.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
There aren’t a lot of RPGs that excite me. South Park is the one that does excite me without even having to try. I made the mistake of passing over the first game when it originally launched. I later received it as a gift during a Steam sale. The resulting experience is one of my most memorable gaming adventures of the past decade. Sure, it was South Park, with crude humor and a lot of easy jokes, but it was also an incredibly structured RPG with great combat and equipment management. It was every bit as solid of an RPG as it was a hilarious South Park experience. I have no doubt that the new one will be more of the same.

This was, without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the show for me. I had heard rumblings that Sony had a secret Spider-Man project in the works, but everything centered around Sucker Punch being the developer. While I was excited based solely on those rumors, I am more excited to learn that Insomniac is handling things. Their work in the past speaks for itself. The fact that the game isn’t tied into the new film makes me even more excited (because we all know how great movie tie-ins turn out). Add in the fact that Insomniac has stated via Twitter that the footage shown in the E3 trailer was actual gameplay rather than pre-rendered footage and we have what could be my most anticipated game of 2017.

Charles Husemann, Editor-in-Chief
Mass Effect: Andromeda
I remember hearing the vision for the Mass Effect games at E3 2007. We’d had sequels in a series before, but never something that was planned out as a trilogy ahead of time. Seeing the new footage of Andromeda took me back to that meeting in ‘07, as I really like the direction they are taking by adding a new team and new exploration. A new group of people exploring the universe? Sign me up. I just hope that the new Mako is easier to drive than the old Mako.

Titanfall 2
The first Titanfall game was a pretty solid shooter—with a lot of gaps—but it looks like Respawn is closing a lot of those gaps in the sequel. A single-player campaign is going to help flesh out the universe a bit. But I'm also looking forward to Titan customization and the improvements in level design.

I know it won't get any love from anyone else, but this platformer from Microsoft had a really good trailer and garnered a lot of great press at the show. I'm interested to see how the game reviews, but I really liked what Microsoft showed of the game.

The Legend of Zelda:Breath of the Wind
I'm not a big Nintendo fan, and I never will be, but the fact that so many people waited in line for so long to play it  means that it has to show up on any list talking about E3 2016. I'm not entirely sure how it makes sense to wait in line for one game at one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world, but here we are again. I mean, it's not like Nintendo has come up with a lot of new gameplay, as it looks like what we've seen from the franchise in the past. But face it: No one monetizes nostalgia like Nintendo. I'm also impressed with how Link can assume any form except a woman.

Randy Kalista, Staff Writer
Detroit: Become Human
I remember nothing about The Matrix Reloaded film. Except the scene when Neo meets the Architect. They’re in a room stacked floor to ceiling with small TV screens, and Neo is on every single one. Neo and the Architect converse, and hundreds of branching options play out on the surrounding TV screens—but the camera follows Neo down one branch of the conversation, then follows Neo down another branch of the conversation, zooming into one separate TV each time. I feel like that’s the type of gameplay Detroit: Become Human is showing me. Branching storylines are, of course, nothing new in video games. The Butterfly Effect goes hand in hand with such branching storyline, to greater and lesser degrees. But Detroit: Become Human looks like it’s going in on that concept whole hog. Perhaps it’ll pull it off as successfully as a game like Until Dawn. Perhaps not. Perhaps there are already two branching narratives where this video game goes down a winning path and a losing path once it hits the market. Either way, the Philip K. Dick-ian setting and stiff-faced Keanu Reeves-looking protagonist have my Blade Runner-minded attention.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition
I’m already bored with my choice of putting a remastered Skyrim on this list. Aside from some puffed-up graphical resolutions, there’s nothing new here. Well, the inevitable inclusion of mods on console is still a brand new phenomenon, thanks to developer Bethesda and Fallout 4. But otherwise, it’s the same old song and dance I’ve been playing off and on for the past five years now. Dragons are back, you’re the chosen one, there’s a civil war, and your horse still doesn’t care about physics. It’s great. And I don’t mean to say that lightly. Skyrim is great: One of the greatest of all time. And to go back into the land of the Nords with volumetric god rays and even-more-gorgeous textures and blah blah blah—I’m not going to lie. It sounds incredible. I’ll mess with the mods, but Bethesda would have my money even without the mods’ inclusion. The only thing that would’ve blown my mind even more would’ve been a ground-up rebuild of Morrowind. But Skyrim will do just fine, thank you very much. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve rerolled another character to take through Skyrim, starting once again from my near-beheading, on the day the dragons came back.

Cavernous office structures take on the trappings of some kind of a large-scale social and scientific experiment. It sort of looks like the scientists’ side of Cabin in the Woods, at first. You’re an adolescent boy in a color-drained dystopia, dodging the monster-eyed headlights of pursuing vehicles, robots, and security cameras. This is another quiet, lonely horror story from the makers of Limbo. The entire world feels at once delicate, brutal, and full of teeth. Jaw traps could snap shut on the boy’s leg at any moment. Perhaps he’s living among the undead. Perhaps he’s rising up against a metaphorical adulthood caged in with cubicle workcenters and Windsor-knotted ties. And the death scenes, while not gory by any stretch, are tougher to watch than a broken bone x-ray or chainsaw massacre from Mortal Kombat or DOOM. Inside left me with a cold, calloused impression that I have to pursue.

Aidan Kelly, Staff Writer
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition
I’m of two minds about this. I’m excited that Skyrim is coming to eighth gen consoles. I’m especially excited that mod support will be available as well. The internet will explode with Skyrim memes once again. I am excited. Except, personally, I’m bored with Skyrim. I mean, we all have our annual Skyrim playthrough, right? The nostalgia brought on by the characters, places and sounds over a few hundred hours are joyous to behold. Except it’s five years later, Todd Howard. This might have been cool if it was published instead of the Legendary Edition. It’s practically irrelevant to PC users. And until the 900mb and 2GB size limit for mods is lifted from the PS4 and Xbox One, I won’t be impressed. Really it comes down to this: I think Bethesda is going in the right direction in regards to bringing a modded Skyrim to console, but at the same time, I’m sick of waiting for the next Elder Scrolls.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
I’ve always enjoyed the Ghost Recon games. If you want to feel like an operator, then play a Ghost Recon game. I’m very wary about this open-world multiplayer formula. The Division didn’t exactly work out well—or work out at all. You can’t make up for a bad story by throwing bullet sponges at players. I’m afraid Ubisoft will make the same mistake. If Ubisoft can deliver an open-world multiplayer game with even a reasonable narrative, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
Unfortunately there weren’t a lot of details announced during E3, but we did get a gameplay trailer. I can’t say I’ve played a game that delivers the same experience a Mount & Blade game does. Setting up the siege equipment and deploying troops seems more polished, which is something I feel lacks from the franchise. Then again, that’s also why I like it. It’s got a rustic charm. I like the variety of shields, weapons, and armors on the characters, too. Once those beautiful modders create a World of Ice & Fire conversion mod, it’ll be the best thing since sliced bread.

Rob Larkin, Staff Writer
Detroit: Become Human
This caught my attention as soon as I heard it was from the maker of Heavy Rain—at which point I also knew it was a game I will never pay. Heavy Rain was possibly the most disappointing gaming experience I've ever played. I won't be suckered again by the false promises.

The Last Guardian
I'm amazed someone didn't pull the plug on this a long time ago. It's been in development hell for over seven years, and aside from giant government muck ups that end up in textbooks about the worst software design practices in history, I can't believe anything that takes that long to get out the door can be a success. The hype on this game was insane years ago, but now I think my expectations have sunk so low that I fully expect it to come out feeling a little dated—and as such might actually be a pleasure to play. I just have this sense that The Last Guardian was a game that would have suffocated under the weight of its own expectation. But now that some have moved on, it might fit nicely in some niche or another.

Titanfall 2
I really liked the first, but as a PS4 console guy, I had to suffer through the abject mess that was the PC release. The gameplay was grand, even if it sorely lacked a single-player mode to flesh out the backstory. But the matchmaking. No joke, I used to watch complete episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia between matches, waiting for the next one. This iteration seems to be addressing every problem from before: No more being locked out by exclusivity, an actual single-player campaign, more and better Titans, and even better mobility options. Now if only they would get rid of the win button, I mean Smart Pistol.

Matt Mirkovich, Staff Writer
Just Shapes and Beats
This guy wasn't kidding when he named his game. Just Shapes and Beats is a deceptively cool game where you move your shape around the screen, and dodge obstacles to the beat of the music that's playing. The blaring “MORTAL KOMBAAAAT” from the soundtrack is what caught my attention. The gameplay is simple but fun, especially when you get a few other players in there with you. Think of the meanest bullet-hell shooter you've ever played, then strip your ability to fight back, add a killer soundtrack, and now you've got Just Shapes and Beats. This is one of those games that has “indie darling” written all over it, provided the soundtrack is as good as what they had on hand for the demo.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It's more Zelda (or is it Link?). Whatever, it's a new game in Nintendo's most storied franchise. It plays amazingly, giving players an unprecedented amount of freedom for a Legend of Zelda title. I could have just wandered around the demo world for the entire show day, if they would’ve let me. The story continues the timeless battle between Link and Ganon, but adds a bit of a sci-fi twist this time around. There appears to be a lot of technology in Breath of the Wild, which only makes the premise of Link awakening from a 100-year slumber all the more intriguing. The Wii U is in desperate need of a killer app, but I think I might hold off on this one to wait for the NX version, just to see how much more beautiful the updated hardware could make this game.

Gravity Rush 2
Sony, why was this game not on your sizzle reels? You had almost as many demos on the show floor as you did for anything else that people could easily walk up and play. But there was almost no promotion of this game, and it was one of the best things you had to show off. I'm more hyped than ever now to get my hands on this game. Hopefully it's still coming out this year, but the launch date is still unknown. If you need to know why I'm so excited, just go try the PS4 remaster that was released earlier this year.

John Yan, Senior Hardware Editor
Fallout 4 VR
I was going to do a lot of hacking to get Fallout 4 to work with my HTC Vive, but now Bethesda is going to make an official version of Fallout 4 for VR, which makes me all giddy. I'm hoping with the incoming Virtuix Omni treadmill that I'll be able to walk around the Commonwealth and replay Fallout 4 in full VR goodness.

God of War
I've played three God of War games, and I mostly enjoyed them all. Seeing Kratos as his older self mentoring his son is a rather interesting dynamic. I hear he'll now go against Norse gods, which will be a nice change. I've read it's not going to be too open in terms of the world, but that's okay with me.

The Last Guardian
Finally, a release date is given. Being a big fan of Shadow of the Colossus, I've been waiting for Fumito Ueda's next game since it was shown for the PlayStation 3. I'm really hoping the young gryphon doesn't die, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does, given how Ueda likes to make his games take on a lot of emotional weight. The Last Guardian still looks amazing. I can't wait to get my hands on it.


* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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