Chosen by: Harry Kalogirou
Developer: FromSoftware
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

After a cryptic first reveal at The Game Awards, Shadows Die Twice was revealed as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice during Microsoft’s press conference. It’s FromSoftware’s brand new IP, which understandably has people excited, and seem to takes inspiration from titles such older titles such as the Tenchu games. While the trailer was a short look into what Sekiro has to offer, it looks nothing short of incredible, a word I’m getting used to using when it comes to FromSoftware.

Centred around a seemingly nameless protagonist with an artificial limb, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looks more akin to Bloodborne than Dark Souls in regards to combat. A fluid motion of slashes paired with immaculately timed parries and blocks in order to sufficiently counter-attack. The lost limb opens up options in both combat and traversal, serving as a shield in one scene, and as a grappling hook in the other. The amount of customisation and player choice involved with the prosthetic limb is unknown, but there’s no doubt that there are still more tricks to be shown. The ability to seemingly self-resurrect goes against what FromSoftware games stand for, but at the same time, it’s a reinforcement that Sekiro WILL be very difficult.

It’s still early days for Sekiro, but what has been shown is beyond promising. In my opinion, it looks like one of the most inspired and original titles FromSoftware have conceived, and I have no doubt they’ll hit it out of the park. I’m eager to see more of Sekiro’s world, and its gameplay, because what little has been shown has me completely enthralled already. Here’s hoping to more info soon, because Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is looking great.
 


 

Chosen by: Alex Chalmers
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

It has been *ten* years since Hideaki Itsuno and co. gave us a mainline DMC game. And yet, my adulation for this series hasn’t faded, as you could’ve slapped me down and called me simple as I was flailing about with unreasonable excitement at the sight of the trailer for Devil May Cry 5 during Microsoft’s press conference. While news of this entry may have leaked many moons ago, and Itsuno san’s Twitter account has been spewing inference for years – hot damn did it feel amazing to actually *see* DMC back in all of its whacky, stylish and occasionally cringey awesomeness once again.

Nero is once again the central character, and the story seems to be set not long after the end of DMC 4, but Nero’s demon arm has been ripped away from him by some mysterious figure, and he’s got a new female companion providing him with a crazy-looking new weaponised prosthetic and other gizmos. Fixed camera-angles and lock-on aiming mechanics appear to have made a return in the gameplay department, but at this point, there are not many details about any new mechanics. Oh, and Dante’s back too, so don’t worry.

Thanks to the same tech that powered Resident Evil VII, it also looks amazing, and it’s coming sometime in the middle of next year! Can’t wait.
 


 

Chosen by: Ellen Boylen
Developer: Techland
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to discover the original Dying Light. After a bit of a painfully long and parkour-intense tutorial, the co-op mode was unlocked, and I was hooked. While the original is not without its drawbacks, emerging developers Techland are determined to address the concerns of the persistent fanbase to perfect the franchise.

Dying Light 2 is a bold sequel, set 15 years after the original in the “modern dark ages.” In the midst of a decaying European city, small pockets of humanity thrive amidst the infected. The game shows the collapse of civilisation, with civil war on the verge of an outbreak. Now the new hero (yes, not Kyle Crane!), must not only face hordes of infected but a new threat – the survivors. Dying Light 2 will have more dimensions than the original, with developers describing the gameplay as a “sandbox narrative.” With every decision you make creating world-state changes, each player’s game will be a unique open-ended narrative, ensuring even higher replay value than the original. Other changes include fluid parkour mechanics, tactical melee combat, and mysterious new “night terrors.”

The E3 demonstration was presented by Techland’s narrative designer Chris Avellone (Fallout, Knights of the Old Republic). He described the game as “technical and narrative advancement for the franchise” and the first game in the genre with choices with genuine consequences. Gameplay gave insight into a single choice (of many) players would have to make and introduced one of the many factions in the game: the “Peacekeepers” – an emerging political group with a utilitarian approach to justice. My favourite thing about Dying Light is the co-operative gameplay, and it will be interesting to see how cooperative mechanics are embedded within the game. While there is no official release date, this game is definitely my most highly anticipated game from E3 this year.
 


 

Chosen by: Shane Smith
Developer: DLaLa Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, PC

I was truly surprised to see that a new Battletoads game is actually happening after more than twenty years without a follow-up. I’m also glad Microsoft is finally using one of Rare’s beloved properties and are revamping it for a new generation. Even though it’s too early to celebrate whether it’ll be any good or not, as all we got was a teaser trailer with only a title and some voice acting shenanigans, I’m already feeling confident it’ll be a smashing good time. Partnering with DLaLa Studios, it’s said to be a body-morphing genre mashup featuring 3-player couch co-op and 4K hand-drawn 2.5D graphics, which will no doubt look bodacious!

I’m also psyched that we are finally seeing some more local couch multiplayer action, as I find it to be severely lacking in this current mass-online gaming market. Not only that, decent and satisfying beat ’em ups have been mostly absent, too. If all goes to plan, I can imagine (and hope!) that the new Battletoads will fill this void while adding new and exciting characters (female toad?), destructive abilities and radical ideas into the latest entry (or reboot) in the long-beloved franchise.
 


 

Chosen by: Nick Ballantyne
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

I hate cinematic trailers. They’re pointless garbage that doesn’t give you any real information about a game. All you get is a taste of vague sentiment the marketing department wants you to feel through association, and goddammit, CD Projekt RED got me. We, the public, got no insight into Cyberpunk 2077 beyond random scenes of proof-of-concept footage that’s made me harder than a Dark Souls boss for a week straight. I can’t even look in the mirror without thinking about replacing my face with a better one, that’s how excited I am for this game.

We got a trailer that went for 1 minute and 41 seconds, and I saw everything I didn’t know I wanted to see. Par for the course were high-tech implants, VR escapades and holographic displays juxtaposed against the low-life slums of criminals, hillbillies and restaurateurs, but there was more. Suave businessmen literally frying the competition’s brains aboard a plane, aristocratic high-lifers arriving in flying cars and even a glimpse into what I presume were bitcoin traders. It takes balls to make a cyberpunk trailer mostly consisting of daytime shots, but these guys nailed it. Then the gameplay demo impressions started rolling in.

According to almost everyone who saw the E3 demo, the game is straight up incredible. It takes the rules of the Cyberpunk 2020 pen and paper system and tweaks them for a video game experience. As a fan of the recent Battletech adaptation, which was also true to the old tabletop game rules, this is equivalent to hearing I could buy a new set of legs with swords in them. Speaking of, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get those in the game. This is the cyberpunk genre, after all, and it would seem that CD Projekt RED is doing it right.
 


 

Chosen by: Kit Fox
Developer: Bethesda
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Bethesda certainly knew what they were doing when they saved Todd Howard’s appearance until the end of their conference. While everyone in the crowd and watching around the world was clamouring for info on Fallout 76, it took the big man himself to reassure us all that it was going to be a good game and something we will want to play. Now that Bethesda’s vault of secrets has opened for everyone to see and we’re living in the fallout of their announcement of an entirely online Fallout (puns definitely intended), I think we’re in for an exciting few months. Leading up to its release and review in November (a task for our resident apocalyptologist, Paddy), all I can do is watch and wait and hope for the best. I’m not usually the biggest fan of multiplayer games, but Fallout 76 seems a little different.

Taking all the best aspects of the first-person shooter Fallout games and adding in online play almost seems like an inevitability rather than a surprise. Just like Elder Scrolls, Fallout boasts such an incredibly vast world and rich lore that every character, every quest, everything can just be chatted about with friends the next day, so why not just cut out the middleman and have those friends along for the ride. A decided focus on allowing solo play was a very welcoming idea, and I’m glad they aren’t forcing multiplayer on their players. Another brilliant idea was setting the game just twenty-five years after the bombs dropped, and in a location not so heavily devastated as Washington, Vegas or Boston. The new story possibilities, the new mutations, seeing the world before the wastelands, it’s all such rich territory to explore.

War. War never changes, but, Fallout has, and honestly, I can’t wait to see how!
 


 

Chosen by: Patrick Waring
Developer: FromSoftware
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

I’m a simple man – I see mechs and piloted robots, and money comes flying out of my wallet. Armored Core, Mech Warrior, BattleTech, and a bunch of mech-filled anime that I would never freely admit to watching in public made up a decent chunk of my adolescent years. I’m also into over-the-top Americana in pop-culture because the real thing is so indistinguishable from ironic, false bravado that it’s almost immune to satire entirely. Unbeknownst to most of the world because of a peculiar Japanese exclusivity for this original Xbox title, Metal Wolf Chaos brought those two things together in the most beautiful way. The thing is that this is from a Japanese studio, so it’s impossible to tell if this was actually made with the intention of making fun of America or not. It may have just been their idea of a rad time. (And they were right.)

“By the end of the first quarter of the 21st century, freedom was dead in America.” No one could have predicted, not even FromSoftware themselves, that the events of Metal Wolf Chaos would end up becoming semi-biographical fourteen years after its release. Considering the political landscape we now find ourselves in, as well, it’s unbelievably great timing to be bringing this game back. Everyone gave ol’ Dubya hell during his time in the office, and joking parallels between his personality and POTUS Michael Wilson, Metal Wolf Chaos’ protagonist, were frequently drawn by those who were aware of both. The persona and stated agenda of President Wilson, however, is so perfectly encapsulated by the projected idea of another, much more current individual’s personality that it almost seems like this game was made with a God-like prescience.

Later this year, while piloting a mech that carries more weapons than a Bethesda player character, I will be Meching America Great Again – you should be, too.
 


 

Chosen by: Ben West
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
Platforms: PC

Had you warned me in advance of E3 that the game I would be most excited about would be developed by Coffee Stain Studios, the team that produced Goat Simulator, I would have probably made some kind of cynical remark. “Must turn out to be a pretty slow E3,” I would scoff, not out of any lack of respect for the company but rather a general lack of interest in their prior goat-based shenanigans. But here we are, with Satisfactory not only being my pick from E3 but my new most anticipated game, full stop.

See, factory-building games have a unique appeal to me, being a challenge of both execution and efficiency. SpaceChem first pulled me into the idea of producing a factory line in a puzzle-like environment, Factorio defined the genre and allowed for grand-scale production, and now Satisfactory takes the next step by pulling the entire genre into three dimensions. This allows for new elements, like the ability to stack machinery and layer conveyor belts, but also introduces problems to solve, such as how to leave your now tall factory both understandable and navigable.

Just like when I first heard about Factorio, my mind is already awash with plans about how I’ll tackle this challenge: which mates I’ll recruit to join me, what job we’ll each take, what features we’ll check for first. It’s a new frontier for the genre, and there’s not really anything comparable to it around right now. If you’re as absurdly excited as I am, I’d recommend you jump to their website and sign up for the newsletter and Alpha (coming later in the year, hopefully) and join me in the desperate wait for your chance to take a verdant planet and transform it into a mechanical wonderland.
 


 

Chosen by: Blade Shaw
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS4

Smooth, sleek…magnificent. While these are words that some would use to describe my beard, it also aptly describes The Last of Us II to an absolute tee. Being treated to a new story trailer AND a gameplay trailer during the Sony conference at E3, I was absolutely captivated and drawn straight back into The Last of Us world from the get-go.

In relation to the story, there were a few interesting things. Firstly, where the hell is Joel? While he was in the first trailer released in 2016, he was noticeably absent from the second. Secondly, a lot of people online made such a big deal about THAT kiss. For those that played the ‘Left Behind’ DLC, this was nothing new and was already covered content. It was done in such a classy way, and I feel like all the hubbub about it from the uninformed really detracted from the tasteful way Naughty Dog went about it.

From a gameplay perspective, our prayers have seemingly been answered. Most of my major gripes from the original was that the third-person shooter aspect was pretty janky, for lack of a better word. However, Naughty Dog appears to have shaped it up and made the combat flow seem almost immaculate. Fans would also have noticed that the second entry is looking a lot more violent than its predecessor, with some pretty brutal scenes taking place in the abandoned convenience store during the gameplay footage.

GameCloud reader and writers, READ MY LIPS (or words) – I’m calling it now. The Last of Us II will be GOTY whether it’s out in 2019 or 2020, it doesn’t even matter. And if you’ve got a problem with that, come at me, bro!
 


 

Chosen by: Kenneth Lee
Developer: Sucker Punch
Platforms: PS4

Samurais are back in the zeitgeist. Between Sekiro, Nioh 2 and Ghost of Tsushima, fans of feudal Japan have many reasons to get excited. Ghost of Tsushima was one of four games that Sony chose to feature at its E3 press conference. First announced in 2017, we didn’t have much to go on except that it was an open-world game, set in feudal Japan and developed by Sucker Punch, the team behind the acclaimed InFamous series. That changed at E3.

Ghost of Tsushima’s gameplay reveal was my highlight of E3. There’s just so much to get excited about. A beautiful rendition of feudal Japan, a setting not often explored today. The developers mentioned that there will be no fantasy elements and that everything will be realistic and grounded. Graphically, the reveal astounded. The grass swayed realistically, and the lighting was awe-inspiring and painterly. Blood patterns will also be dynamically generated according to the velocity and type of strike pattern, adding to the artistic slant of the game. Combat also looks fast and furious, with a distinct emphasis on swordplay and melee combat.

Finally, and perhaps best of all, because the game is firmly rooted in Japanese history, Sucker Punch has confirmed that there will be a Japanese language track included in all versions of the game. This will undoubtedly add to the sense of immersion. Personally, I’m glad that developers are creating more diverse games and worlds and choosing to respect those cultures by including audio tracks in native tongues. There’s nothing worse than a poor English dub!
 


 

Chosen by: William Kirk
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Horror is my all-time favourite genre, but I’ll be the first to admit you have to sift through piles of garbage to find something that’s actually good. There are lots of bad horror games out there, not to mention many more which are just plain boring. Good horror just doesn’t come along very often, and to this day I still weep inside over the cancellation of Silent Hills. Lucky for me, around that same time, the Resident Evil franchise remembered it was a horror series and turned things around in a big way with RE7; a game which I absolutely adore.

A year before RE7 being announced, Capcom announced they were remaking Resident Evil 2, but I honestly didn’t think much about it at the time given how the franchise was being treated back then. However, over the years as Capcom has seemingly grown more and more in touch with their fans across all of their major franchises, I’ve slowly been gaining hope for RE2 remake, to a point where my anticipation was almost unbearable by the time we hit E3 this year. Three years and absolutely nothing? It was time to finally lay it all on the table, and boy did Capcom deliver!

Much like the surprise reveal of RE7 in 2016, Capcom teased fans with the first-person perspective of a rat before revealing a young Leon S. Kennedy fighting off a zombie. The crowd roared and cheered, and with just a few seconds of gameplay, I was sold. There was a lot of contention over the choice to go first-person in RE7, so a faithful reimagining of arguably the series’ best game from a third-person perspective is a very exciting prospect for fans (even if the RE4-style OTT camera and face designs saw some fans writing angry comments on the internet). It looks absolutely amazing, though, and I’m more excited than I’ve ever been for a new entry in the franchise. Just watch this.

 


 

Chosen by: Lliam Ahearn
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

We are, of course, getting a new Mario Party on Nintendo’s newest system, no surprise there, but that doesn’t make it any less of a wonderful thing. Super Mario Party is filling a slot – along with MK8 and Smash – that will make the Switch a top-tier local multiplayer platform, right in line with Nintendo’s legacy. What’s especially exciting about this game, though, is how it holistically combines the greatest aspects of Mario’s board game outings, playing to the strengths the series has enjoyed and stepping away from some of the less positively received elements. Just like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I expect Super Mario Party to become the quintessential title in its series, and the fresh name alone gives me confidence that Nintendo is targeting the same goal.

How well these games incorporate the Mario world and aesthetic plays such a significant role in how much fun they are. It’s easy to write off, but compare the bland, pseudo-realistic environments of Mario Party 8 with the bright, signature Mushroom Kingdom flavour of Mario Party 9, and I guarantee the latter will give you much more pleasant vibes. They’re also bringing back the traditional structure of a game wherein players wander independently in search of Stars – rather than sharing a vehicle a-la MP9 and 10 – is a huge win. Even though the minigames in the last couple of games have been some of my favourites through the series, the limited strategic elements have had me preferring to pop-in a GameCube entry.

Not only are they returning to the beloved classic formula, but they’re incorporating elements from Star Rush on 3DS, modernising things with a little extra depth. Every character has their own dice block, so picking a suitable character is an important strategic element here, and the grid-based boss encounter mode of Star Rush is available here, too. Whatever you want out of Mario Party, it’s looking like Super Mario Party is ready to deliver.
 

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