Well, after six press conferences, a bajillion trailers, and a slew of video game previews that all say something like “we’ll see if the game can deliver on its promises later this year,” the yearly video-game conference/press orgy E3 is coming to a close. Here’s what stood out.
What I’m Openly Excited For
Super Mario Odyssey
A new Mario that looks beautiful and and allows you to possess dinosaurs, and Goombas, and taxis? I am fully on board. It looks nuts and I can play it on my commute. Plus, there’s a whole legion of Mario fans out there, myself included, who couldn’t justify buying Nintendo’s last console, the Wii U, making this their first console Mario game in probably seven years. I’m sold.
Shadow of the Colossus remake
The original Shadow of the Colossus, a 2005 cult classic, is one of those games that I’ve been hearing about for a decade but have never played because I’ve never owned a Sony console. It’s kind of sad that the thing in the Sony press conference which made me most interested in finally getting a PlayStation was a remake of a very old game — but it doesn’t make me any less interested.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
A rare two-colossi E3. Wolfenstein: The New Order, the recent reboot of the original, Nazi-killing, first-person shooter, was a solid FPS that never really grabbed me. I didn’t much care for the retroactive attempt at making BJ Blazkowicz a complex person, and a lot of it just felt generic. There was something off, and a little clunky about the whole affair. (Even a level in a Nazi base on the moon felt like a missed opportunity — which, come on, how do you botch a Nazi moon base.) But there was enough to it that I’m excited for Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, which looks to take the first’s mildly spacey proof-of-concept and amp everything up. Milkshake-loving nazis, LSD-induced cartoon lizard hallucinations, a head-exploding shotgun — the big three that every video game needs.
Look, I could try and explain why I’m excited for Cuphead, but it’s so much easier to have you watch this short teaser.
Part of me is a bit skeptical of the mechanical exoskeleton action RPG Anthem, given how similar it looks to BioWare’s other space RPG, Mass Effect, but there’s hope. According to a recent Kotaku investigation, Mass Effect: Andromeda flopped hard in part because so many people were working on Anthem instead. Maybe Andromeda’s losses will be Anthem’s gain. Or maybe it’ll be another space opera about trying to unlock a single cutscene where your character has sex with an alien. Only time will tell.
A lot has changed since Crackdown first came onto the scene, leaping and bounding all over the open-world genre. But even with Crackdown 2’s messiness, there’s something un-fuck-with-able at the core of the series: seeing an agility orb in the distance and leaping to it, and hearing that ping as you gain the ability to jump just a little bit higher.
PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds on console
I’ve only played about a half hour of PUBG, but I’ve watched so much more of it on Twitch, which is why it’s exciting that a large console player base will eventually be a part of it. I have a sneaking suspicion that Microsoft locked PUBG down not only because it’s a great game, but because streaming it from an Xbox means doing so via Mixer, its Twitch-like streaming service.
Kirby is good. It just warms my heart to know that there is a new Kirby game in the works. I will not tolerate any Kirby disrespect.
What I’m Embarrassed to be Excited For
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
I have a soft spot in my heart for the never-ending Assassin’s Creed series, which despite its many problems is saved by the mere ability to explore historical environments in ways that other games don’t even get close to. I’ve played them all, even the notoriously bug-ridden Unity (I thought it was competent). Developer Ubisoft has put out at least one game in the series since 2007, save for last year; hopefully the breathing room allowed for Origins — set in Pharaonic Egypt — has resulted in a stronger game. And even if it’s simply as good as 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, that’s fine too.
The Xbox One X
I wish I had a well-considered, thought-out reason for why I own an Xbox One instead of a PlayStation 4 but I don’t. I don’t play a ton of online multiplayer, and none of PlayStation’s exclusives really matter to me (at least, until Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding comes out). No, I own an Xbox One for the simple reason that I bought hundreds of Rock Band tracks on the 360 and wanted them to carry over to the current console generation. On some days it seems like, I am the last remaining Rock Band player. Despite the fact that the box works fine, my current Xbox One is showing some wear and tear. I have to fully power it off because it has a loud coil whine in sleep mode. And even then, it will sometimes just turn on by itself? And the current operating system technically functions, but it’s slow and sluggish. So I’ve accepted that I’ll trade up to an Xbox One X at some point, not because I own a 4K television (I don’t), but because my current Xbox is genuinely starting to feel… old (even though it’s not).