E3 2018: Best Of Games And Tech - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Resident Evil 2, And More
By Matt Espineli on
E3 is a wondrous time of year when publishers and developers go all out to win your attention and get the world excited for their upcoming lineup of games and products. With so much news, trailers, and announcements, it's tough to narrow down our picks of Best of E3 Awards to only 20. These are these are the most exciting games coming out of the show according to GameSpot's editors, and the ones we can't wait to play more of.
Every game and product in this gallery shares in the glory of our Best of E3 award, but there is one big rule for inclusion: it must be playable at the show. This means that anything that was simply teased or was only shown as a trailer isn't eligible.
Our awards represent our absolute favorite things at E3 2018, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of other exciting new stuff. If you want to catch up on things you might've missed, you can read our press conference wrap-ups for Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and EA; as well as our list of all the new games announced at E3.
But what were your favorite moments from this year's E3? And what games are you most looking forward to? Discuss it in the comments below!
BioWare's first new IP in 10 years is coming early next year, and it's a big departure from what BioWare is known for. It's an always-online, action-adventure shooter that has no romance options and limited branching dialogue choices. It may be different, but it stands tall on its own merits based on what we've seen and played at E3. One of its most unique and compelling elements is its flight mechanics. You basically become Iron Man and fly around with an exosuit powered by jets in your feet. Doing so gives the world an impressive sense of scale. When you zoom through the air from one objective to the next, you can't help but wonder what lies below that you'll want to go back and explore on foot. It absolutely bears a resemblance to Destiny in terms of look and feel, but I don't see that as a bad thing. (And not to mention, producer Mark Darrah told GameSpot that Anthem started development before Destiny came out). BioWare's Mass Effect: Andromeda might have been a miss with critics, but I am hoping for the best from Anthem and the early signs show Anthem is on the right path. -- Eddie Makuch, Editor
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is evolving the long-running franchise into a fully realized RPG by adding branching dialogue, choices within quests, and consequences that show up throughout the story. By going to Ancient Greece, Ubisoft continues the trend of using history as a backdrop to tell its stories; Spartans and Athenians are at war during 431 BC in the midst of the Peloponnesian War. However, players have a bit more say in how that plays out. You can have philosophical conversations with Socrates and challenge his school of thought, but also take side quests from him. And how that particular quest concludes will have ramifications for the mainline course of leading a rebellion. And that’s just a small piece of a much larger game.
Ancient Greece is expansive, which makes for one of the largest Assassin’s Creed settings. That also means a ton of seafaring adventures. Ship combat comes back in big way, similar to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and you’ll be able to recruit people and build a crew as you destroy enemy ships with fire arrow barrages, waves of javelins, or full-speed naval rams.
Hand-to-hand combat bears a lot of similarities to Assassin’s Creed Origins, but Odyssey layers on a few more elements. Players will have a number of skills at their disposal like a shield rip, healing ability, and a multi-arrow shot. But nothing comes close to the iconic Spartan kick. Giving enemies the boot will comically send them flying backward; it’s ideal for launching them off ships or off the side of a cliff.
While we had Jacob and Evie in Syndicate as a dynamic duo, Odyssey will have you choose either a male or female version of the same main character; Alexios or Kassandra. It’s just one of the elements in a number of changes for the franchise, and Odyssey is better for it. -- Michael Higham, Associate Editor
Battlefield V does a great job of making me feel like I matter again in the midst of large scale battles. I have a long history with the Battlefield franchise and one of my biggest issues has always been feeling like cannon fodder; gains made often evaporated through the sheer number of enemy players. Battlefield V aims to tackle this challenge through automated squads and rewarding players who stick together. With a squad, I matter. I can revive teammates, build fortifications, gain good spawn position, and avoid running out of far more scarce ammo. Staying with a squad means making progress, and that's a feeling I've rarely gotten from my times spent playing with groups in the series' most recent entries.
Other new systems are at play to keep matches exciting. The Grand Operations map Port Of Narvik has an active parachute drop where I could decide when to jump out of an aircraft that could be shot down by the enemy team. On the ground, new animations and contextual callouts gave my teammates more personality and charm. These additions really shine when given room to breathe on large maps.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Battlefield V shows off next. The focus on rewarding players for sticking with squads has the potential to bring meaning and a sense of contribution to players who otherwise might get lost in large scale warfare. If developer DICE keep this up, Battlefield V might just be the best Battlefield game to come out in years. -- Aaron Sampson, Video Producer
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Treyarch is back in business this year with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and I am very excited about it. One of the most exciting new additions to the mix seems to be Blackout, which is battle royale with a Call-of-Duty spin. We haven't seen it in action yet, and it remains to be seen how Call of Duty's fast-pace translates to the more strategic battle royale genre, but it is an exciting proposition all the same to see it happen. Another thing I am excited about is the new Zombies mode. After all, Treyarch created the fan-favourite mode, and every effort they have put forth so far has been better than the last--and this year appears to be no different. Then there is traditional multiplayer, which returns to the fast-paced, exosuit-enabled frenetic action that was missing in Call of Duty: WWII. And Nuketown is coming back, which is always exciting. There is no traditional campaign this year, and that will understandably upset some fans, but Treyarch is promising some story content from the game's solo missions that focus on each Specialist character. -- Eddie Makuch, Editor
Control is a game that's very difficult to describe in detail, but that's part of the reason why it's so impressive. Not unlike a twisted film from David Lynch, Control freely defies logic and consistency in favor of dreamlike and occasionally nightmarish sequences that toy with your understanding of the world and the characters suffering within it. You won't understand it at first, and that's precisely the point.
Jesse, the lead character who is both possessed by and in control of supernatural powers, seems to take it all in stride. She's trapped in a massive compound that changes shape and identity from one room to the next, all the while under threat from corrupted humans at various stages of transformation. Jesse's telekinetic powers allow her to manipulate objects in her surroundings, using desks to attack enemies, or clusters of smaller objects to form a protective shield. She's also got a shape-shifting gun that we only got a taste of, but Remedy promised it's central to character customization as Jesse's mission progresses.
Whether it's the otherworldly manifestations or Jesse's impressive moves in combat, Control looks simply incredible in motion. Remedy has proved that it can craft shockingly mysterious worlds in Alan Wake, and Quantum Break was a showcase for the dev team's ability to mix super powers and shooting mechanics. Remedy is combining its strengths for Control, and the result so far looks like it may shape up to be their most impressive game yet. -- Peter Brown, Senior Reviews Editor
The gameplay demo for Cyberpunk 2077 is completely overwhelming. There's a moment when you leave main character V's apartment and enter a lift. It has a clear glass door, and as you descend the stacks of small flats become a freeway filled with speeding cars, and then down to the seedy underbelly of the city. It happens completely seamlessly, without a loading screen, and drives home perhaps to most impactful thing about CD Projekt Red's new game: you are insignificant--at least to start with.
The world of Cyberpunk doesn't feel like a video game city where a story will happen to you, it's feels like a place that has always existed, and your story is just one of thousands happening at the same time. You're not the sole focus, the special one. The game isn't explaining its systems to you, telling you who everyone is and what everything means, it just is. The onus is on you to look at it, learn about it, and understand it. And that is what V aims to do as he or she takes on jobs to pay off debts and work her way into the upper echelons of society. There's plenty to say about Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay too--the fluid combat that allows you to dash around to gain the positional advantage, the exotic weapons that you can use to ricochet bullets or file through walls. The ability to hack people from a distance and turn off their guns, or be hacked so that all your secrets are laid bare and conversations become a lie detector test--but, honestly, I just can't get over the world and the storytelling opportunities it has in store for us. -- Tamoor Hussain, Editor
Dying Light 2
The original Dying Light made some clever choices in how it presented an open-world survival game. Focusing on undercover agent Kyle Crane's exploits in a ruined tropical city where the infected have taken over, the story took many turns--showing that there were worse dangers in the town aside from the hordes of zombies. In the years since it's release, the developers at Techland gradually fleshed out the scale of the game, adding in new multiplayer modes, DLC episodes, and updates that made Dying Light into something more. And after years of quiet development, the developers have finally unveiled the true sequel that looks to expand on the core systems, while telling a far more involved and dynamic story.
I had the chance to see a behind closed doors demo of the game, and the new approach to the game's storytelling looks to be a real standout. Taking place in the "modern dark age," a setting where technology is minimal, most areas are lawless, and firearms are in short supply--the new setting offers a greater focus on making important decisions, while staying one step ahead of bandits and the undead. With Chris Avellone, writer of Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 2 working on the main story, there's many key moments where your choices will make some drastic changes to one of the last cities in Europe. With a greater level of freedom for traversing the open-world, along with depth in the game's core combat system, Dying Light 2 is poised to be a stellar follow-up to one of 2015's most exciting games. -- Alessandro Fillari, Editor
The Elder Scrolls Blades
The Elder Scrolls: Blades has distilled the essence of the franchise and has allowed it to live in your pocket. While it might not boast the huge world of Skyrim, Morrowind, or Oblivion, the dungeons are satisfying to explore, its inhabitants thrilling to slaughter, and loot rewarding to plunder. While combat is quite basic, it’ll still take some practice to master. Striking enemies is done by pressing your thumb against the screen; the more accurate the thumb press the better chance you have for a critical hit. Once you spend enough time with the game, you’ll get the timing down for combos and to deal more damage. There are also abilities like a shield bash and block and magic spells like an ice blizzards and a lightning bolt, which were available during the demo. But as with any Elder Scrolls game, plenty of other abilities and weapons will be at your disposal.
We saw an underground dungeon and a more open forest area during our playthrough, and these environments are surprisingly well rendered for a small screen. While we didn’t get any time with the town-building aspect that was mentioned during the game’s initial reveal, we’re hopeful that it’ll allow us to build the Tamriel town we envision. We’d expect The Elder Scrolls: Blades to expend every percentage of battery life left on our phones. -- David Jewitt, Video Producer
Forza Horizon 4
Launched in 2012, the Forza Horizon sub-series has become immensely popular for its more arcade-style approach to racing games. The latest entry, Forza Horizon 4, launches in October and represents the "biggest paradigm shift" for the franchise to date, Playground Games says. Set in Britain, the online-focused game adds a big new feature in the form of seasons. This is a big deal because as each season unfolds, the game changes with different road conditions and tailored new content. It's a cool idea, and one I'm excited to see play out when the game launches. Also new for the sequel is the ability to re-wind time and pause in online matches, while the Xbox One X edition will have a 60 FPS option for players looking for the slickest experience. There are more than 450 cars in the game, so you can be pretty sure that it will have something you're interested in. There are also really, really gorgeous skymaps thanks to Playground spending a year capturing the night sky throughout all four seasons. When you look up at the sky in the game you'll want to just stop and stare. You can pick up Forza Horizon 4 this October for Xbox One and PC (and there is cross-play!). -- Eddie Makuch, Editor
Ghost of Tsushima
The characters in Ghost of Tsushima fight with a deadly stillness, only moving when they need to attack or parry. There’s never a wasted motion. Their silent duels are displayed against a gorgeous backdrop of falling leaves to create a beautifully juxtaposed silent foreground and emotive background. Ghost of Tsushima perfectly captures the same aesthetic of the old Japanese samurai films of the past.
I love Ghost of Tsushima’s commitment to historical accuracy. Although the story is fictional, the Mongolian invasion of the island of Tsushima actually happened. The samurai were really wiped out, and the Japanese natives were at the mercy of an unbeatable threat. You can tell that Sucker Punch did their homework.
Although I could just stare at Ghost of Tsushima’s gorgeous backdrops for hours, the game truly excels in its combat. The protagonist, Jin, is the last of the samurai. Faced against impossible odds, he needs to adopt a non-traditional strategy of subterfuge and assassination. The Mongolians refer to him as “a ghost,” and this directly translates into the combat.
Jin is deadly with the katana and disposes of threats quickly and efficiently. He’s a one man army who can silently stalk his target as easily as he can engage in a three on one duel. I love watching Jin stoically stand among a group of men who want him dead, before the quick flick and flash of his blade signals the loss of an enemy’s limb. Those fights are some of the most intense moments of combat I’ve ever seen. -- Jordan Ramee, Associate Editor
Kingdom Hearts III
For many fans, the Kingdom Hearts series is about being transported into iconic fantasy fairytale worlds and adventuring with beloved characters that feel more like old friends. My experience of playing Kingdom Hearts III after a 13 year wait is perhaps the most perfect encapsulation of that. In the time since the last mainline entry in the series I've grown older and more cynical, but the moment I heard the first few delicate notes of Dearly Beloved at the title screen, I became a teenager again. I suddenly remembered just how much I loved the series, and cared about the characters. Sure, older me knows that the story is mostly nonsense, but the joy I got from running around with Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the Toy Story gang completely pushed that aside. Kingdom Hearts 3 played almost the same as previous entries in the series, the camera is slightly wonky and the dialogue is awkward at times, but I just can't bring myself to get caught up on that, especially when wielding a Keyblade again is able to unlock the child at heart. -- Tamoor Hussain, Editor
The Last of Us Part II
Based on what we know so far, The Last of Us Part II seems especially brutal. But now that we've finally seen gameplay, we have a better understanding of the context of that violence, and that's one of the most intriguing aspects of Naughty Dog's highly anticipated sequel.
A lot of the combat in the section shown during Sony's press conference looks almost scripted--Ellie cinematically dodges melee strikes and gunfire, and she pulls an arrow out of her shoulder after a particularly harrowing run past some archers. But according to the game's co-directors, Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau, those moments are entirely in your control. Dodging is an active part of combat with a variety of animations depending on the type of threat, and dealing with arrows is a separate mechanic from healing with its own considerations and status effects.
All of this adds depth to combat that says a lot about who Ellie has become. Her transformation after the events of the first game is heavily hinted at in her movements; her strikes seem to have an immense amount of anger behind them, and her defenses reveal a person who is not only desperate to survive but hardened by having to fight. It remains to be seen exactly how combat works and how Ellie has evolved as a character, but this is a great start. -- Kallie Plagge, Associate Editor
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Resident Evil 2's upcoming remake rides a fine line between new and old. While it triggers nostalgic memories with its familiar characters and locales, it instantly makes you uneasy with its new rendition of events and mechanics from the classic survival-horror game.
All throughout my plodding trek across the RPD, I rarely felt a sense of safety. An area would be recreated exactly as I remembered it, but then the game would completely mess with my expectations. The empowering over-the-shoulder shooting featured in latter games has changed to make shots harder to line up. A deeper focus on exploration with more freedom overall to explore and discover secrets offered a welcome change of pace, but at the same time, the absence of the series' iconic door loading screens created a more seamless, yet hostile environment than the original.
I walked away pleasantly surprised from my time with Resident Evil 2 remake. As a massive fan of the original, I had reservations. But after playing it, I can't wait to jump back in. There's something so special about the way it takes advantage of your knowledge of Resident Evil 2, pleasing you with its faithful renditions of well-known locations, while at the same time terrifying you with everything it does differently. This persisted all throughout my experience with the game, and I can't wait to see all the changes it makes once it finally releases early next year. -- Matt Espineli, Associate Editor
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer From Software. As you might imagine, given the studio's track record, it's a tough action-RPG. The developer insists Sekiro is not part of the Soulsborne series, but it still appears to be in the same vein.
This time round, the studio is exploring 16th century Japan, and you play as a one-armed ninja. Well, sort-of one-armed; your left arm is cut off by the game's main enemy, and you replace it with a customizable prosthetic. This can be equipped with add-ons such as a ranged Shuriken, or a Firecracker than can blind enemies and scare those who are frightened of fire, and a Loaded Axe to deal heavy damage. Of course, you also carry a sword: Miyazaki, the game's director, says he wanted the theme of Sekiro to be "a clashing of swords," and this is reflected in the game's combat. Your sword, which you hold in your able hand, is used to both injure your enemies and reduce their posture. Reduce their posture enough, and you can deal a deadly finishing move.
Of course, they can do the same to you, but should you fall, Shadows Die Twice has a handy solution: bring yourself back to life. You can resurrect in Sekiro, and this can be used to your advantage by letting enemies walk away before you come back to life and strike them down from behind.
Sekiro is to be published by Activision, and it's coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2019. For more on the upcoming action title, check out our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice gameplay impressions. -- Oscar Dayus, Staffwriter
Spider-Man may well be one of the world’s most beloved superheroes, but video games haven’t done right by the wallcrawler in some time. After a smashing success with Spider-Man 2, paired with one of the best superhero films of its era, the character languished with a steady stream of high-concept but middling adaptations. With Insomniac’s Spider-Man, the character has come back swinging. While Insomniac’s take on the venerable character is unmistakably familiar, it’s the little touches that make this latest iteration really stand out.
This Spidey is a master of improvisation, thanks to a mixture of Arkham-like combat mechanics and environmental hazards that are easy to grab at a moment’s notice. The feeling of speed and momentum as he swings around New York City is unmatched by any previous Spider-Man game, taking him to new and dizzying heights. And visually, the character designs stand out as unique takes on classic characters, from Spider-Man’s own duds embossed with a white emblem to the believably DIY take on Shocker that remains respectful of the source material.
All of this combines to make the character feel fresh again. It’s been a long time since I’ve whiled away the hours simply patrolling the city, swinging and looking for citizens to save, and just generally being your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Now I can’t wait to step into his boots. -- Steve Watts, Newswriter
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
By this point, you generally know what to expect from a new Super Smash Bros. game. Each installment in the series has built upon its predecessors incrementally, introducing a few new characters and stages, refining the underlying mechanics, and ramping up the fan service. And while all of this applies to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Switch as well, the game still manages to surprise and delight like few other fighters thanks to its sheer breadth of content and snappy combat.
True to its name, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is far and away the most feature-rich entry in the series to date, boasting a staggering number of stages, characters, and items. The roster in particular is massive; not only does it feature every character to have ever appeared in the series, but many of them have received dramatic overhauls, so even recurring fighters such as Ganondorf are as exciting to use as newcomers like Ridley.
But what makes Ultimate such an engrossing fighter and one of the best games we got to play at E3 2018 is that it fully embraces competitive play. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS made strides in this regard, but Ultimate doubles down by increasing the pace of its gameplay. The controls remain as accessible as ever, only now combat feels much speedier, resulting in even more exciting and intense battles. The game also places a stronger emphasis on skillful play by introducing directional air dodges and other advanced techniques. Like the best fighting games, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is easy to pick up but endlessly satisfying to master, making it one of my most anticipated releases of the year. -- Kevin Knezevic, Associate News Editor
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
The recent Tomb Raider games have focused heavily on fleshing Lara Croft's backstory, while making her overcome brutal and overwhelming challenges. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which aims to be the darkest game of the series, the adventurer will have to put a stop to the Mayan apocalypse in Central America. But while fighting off the forces of Trinity and other ancient threats lurking in the hidden tombs over the course of her journey, she'll begin to question whether her influence in the region is making matters worse.
I had the chance to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider at the game's reveal last April, and while it feels very similar to the past titles, the darker tone and story gives it a far more interesting flavor. Much like Tomb Raider (2013) and Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow focuses on giving players more freedom in how they'll the explore the environment, which will have the largest setting the series has seen yet. To go along with the darker tone, Croft will utilize a number of new skills and stealth moves to take out the heavily mobiled PMC forces that have invaded the land. It'll be interesting to see how far Lara Croft is pushed to her limits in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. And if our small hands-on time was any indication, the conclusion to the Tomb Raider origin trilogy will definitely leave a lasting impression on the character. -- Alessandro Fillari, Editor
Skull & Bones
The backbone of Skull & Bones has taken all the best bits of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and added a level of breadth to create a fully-fledged pirate experience. Like the water ships sail upon, it both has shallow parts and a deep end. To beginners or wannabe sailors, there’s enjoyment in taking the helm of a number of ships that have their own unique characteristics like speed, strength weapons, and abilities. For the hardened admirals amongst us, there are gameplay elements that would even test the heartiest of sailors. For example, learning to cut the wind so your ship can make the most out of speed and maneuverability as well as learning how to effectively disguise your ship to hide from AI and sneak up on ships in the horizon.
If you’re looking for an authentic pirate experience, Skull & Bones is as close as you can get. Crews will shout and yell in response to commands, and during quieter moments they’ll sing the sea shanties you love from the Black Flag, but they’ve been dialed up to 11. And all of this happens on beautifully rendered oceans dotted with islands and detailed historical vessels for you to cannon, board, plunder, and sink. -- David Jewitt, Video Producer
Tom Clancy's The Division 2
As with the original Destiny, the first Division improved greatly over time. Creating a shared world shooter with long-term progression that's meant to interest players indefinitely is no easy task. The Division 2 looks to be continuing that by introducing eight-player raids and DLC expansions that are free for all players (at least for the first year of the game).
In going hands-on with the game, it immediately struck me that its shooting mechanics have been enhanced significantly. While there remains a dissonance with the way human enemies can absorb numerous bullets, there's now a level of precision and tightness to the controls that was lacking in the original Division. Seamlessly moving between cover points feels better than ever, and the endgame specializations' special abilities--such as a crossbow that fires explosive bolts--are fun to use, even if they aren't as impactful as Destiny's Supers.
The improvements to the moment-to-moment action are welcome, but what's most encouraging is what Ubisoft is saying about The Division 2's endgame. Things like the aforementioned raids could present the sort of high-end, challenging activity that keeps players occupied after finish the main story. The company seems generally aware of the need to deeply invest in what players are expected to spend their time doing in the endgame, and that's encouraging. If it's able to pull that off and offer an interesting evolution of its PvP Dark Zone--something it isn't talking about yet for Division 2--Ubisoft might just manage to realize the vision it has for the franchise. -- Chris Pereira, News Editor
Xbox Adaptive Controller
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is an important piece of hardware. Not only does it allow people of all kinds of disabilities to play games, it also shows that Microsoft is willing to invest in catering to that audience.
The controller acts as an interface between Xbox One and any number of third-party controllers. This means those with disabilities can use whichever device best suits their needs--be it a joystick, chewing device, motion controlled switch, or anything else. As long as it can communicate through USB or 3.5mm jack, the Adaptive Controller can see it. What's more, Microsoft says this will be forward-compatible with all future Xboxes, and it's even open to making it work with PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller launches in September for $100 / £75 / AU $130.
-- Oscar Dayus, Staffwriter