E3 2015

I do not identify as a gamer, but I do have a deep love of video games. They’ve been a significant presence in my life for as long as I can remember. While I don’t subscribe to a lot of the games people seem to be huge fans of, I still try to keep my eyes out for new games that strike my interest. This year’s E3 convention certainly provided that, so I thought I’d compile a list of ten games that I think look pretty cool.

Now keep in mind that some of these games weren’t announced at this year’s E3, but I’m pretty out of the loop when it comes to this stuff. Also, I can already tell you some of the big games that a lot of people are excited for that I have little to no interest in: Uncharted 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Hitman, Just Cause 3, Star Wars: Battlefront, Kingdom Hearts III, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Rise of the Tomb RaiderDeus Ex: Mankind Divided, Street Fighter V, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and  Fallout 4Some of those have to do with me not playing previous entries (specifically Fallout 4) and others are simple disinterest. If you’re still with me after I’ve dismissed one of those games that you’re chomping at the bit for, then let’s get into the list.

10. Mega Man Legacy Collection (PS4, Xbox One, PC, 3DS)

Right off the bat, I’m going with a pick that is going to make people judge me. Feel free to call me a pleb, a casual, or whatever exclusionary term that showcases the hostility and sense of self-superiority a lot of the gaming community suffers from. The fact is that the Mega Man games are some of the first games I ever remember playing, and Mega Man 5 is the first game I remember beating. Besides the nostalgia factor, I stand by the six NES titles as great examples of teaching the player through level design instead of copious amounts of text and tutorials. Having these six games remastered in HD and filled with bonus content such as concept art is catnip to a fan like me. Hate all you want. I’ll be too busy playing these games for the umpteenth time to notice.

9. Doom (Xbox One, PS4, PC)

I’ll cop to some more nostalgia when it comes to the Doom franchise, though I’ve never played the incredibly divisive third entry. This new outing isn’t as vibrant as the Doom I know and love (what’s with the baby shit green lens filter?), but this is one of the few first-person shooters out there that seems to have a sense of deviant fun to it. I don’t play first-person shooters unless there’s some level of ultra fantasy or comedic self-awareness to them (the Borderlands games and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon are the last two FPS games I can even recall playing), and with the outrageous melee kills and overall cheesy violence, I think this new Doom will find its way into my hands at some point.

8. Adrift (PC, Xbox One, PS4)

As if the concept of being cast out into space wasn’t nerve-racking enough in film form via Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, someone had to go and make a game out of the experience. Adrift looks gorgeous (most games do nowadays), but what really has me sold is the ability to play classical music through your helmet. That’s gotta be something you can select yourself, right? I could see myself spending a long time just floating through space and listening to some Beethoven or Shostakovich.

7. Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)

This was obviously a big splash at E3 this year, and while I’m certainly intrigued as to how this project will turn out, I can’t help but be skeptical. Square Enix doesn’t exactly have the best track record with Final Fantasy these past few years, and I’m worried that the desire to improve or add things will take away from a game that is beloved by many (I’ll admit that Final Fantasy VII isn’t my favorite in the series. FFIX ’til the day I die). But, if they do manage to pull it off, I’ll be ecstatic.

6. Mad Max (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

We’ve known about this for a while, so not much else to add. It’s friggin’ Mad Max. I’ve seen some people complain that it’s taking lots of elements from other games, but one of the advantages of not being the most knowledgeable video game player is that I haven’t played the games that it’s stealing from! Hooray for me and my inevitable adventures in the wasteland!

5. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4)

The things I remember most from the Bioshock games have nothing to do with the combat. They all have to do with exploring the world and learning about the story through the environment. That’s such a unique aspect of video games, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture looks to be a pure distillation of that. I love apocalypse stories that deal with the almost unimaginable stillness of a world left behind. While this may be more of an interactive story than a typical video game experience, I’m eager to experience that story in a way only video games can provide.

4. South Park: The Fractured But Whole (TBA)

The way some people are die hard fans of The Simpsons is the way I am about South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a sense of humor that hits me perfectly, and the fact that they were able to channel that into a solid video game with South Park: The Stick of Truth is pretty awesome. This sequel seems to be doing the smart thing by switching over to the superhero universe the boys have created, so I’m hoping for lots of jabs at the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the ability to craft your own superhero costume and persona. And I disagree with Cartman, the Paper Mario inspired combat was great! Hope they don’t change that too much.

3. No Man’s Sky (PC, PS4)

Jesus. I have to say that one of the things that moderns games do well is a sense of abundance. I thoroughly enjoyed Grand Theft Auto V, but felt completely overwhelmed by it at the same time. That’s mostly how I feel about No Man’s Sky. The scope of this thing is beyond daunting, and I’ll bet it can’t live up to this level of immense hype, but still… Jesus.

2. The Last Guardian (PS4)

Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had playing a video game. The Last Guardian looks like it’s going to be a worthy addition to that game’s spirit. That big beast of yours is so bizarre yet adorable (I’m going to pet the fuck out of it), and figuring out how to progress through the world is the kind of puzzle solving I adore in video games. No doubt the soundtrack will be equally awe-inspiring. Considering a lot of people thought this game would never see the light of day, it’s great to know that that’s not the case.

1. Cuphead (Xbox One, PC)

Damn you, Xbox One. I thought you were supposed to be the bro console, churning out first-person shooters and sports games until kingdom come. And now you throw Cuphead at me. A side-scrolling, run-and-gun game that has a Max Fleischer inspired art style? This game is so tailor-made for my specific sensibilities that it’s maddening. Not to mention that the application of the 1930s cartoon art style looks gorgeous and period appropriate. Unless I end up getting a computer that can run this thing, Microsoft might have finally found a way to turn me to their side.

And those are my picks. I’m sure a lot of you have your own opinions and choices, and I’d love to hear them! Try and sell me on some of those franchises that I haven’t delved into, or make fun of me for loving Mega Man. Any of my choices make your list? Take to the comments and forums!

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