Sharon’s E3 2017 Favorites

With a swift and sudden sweep of my arm across the top of the table, months — nay, years — of backlog video games tumbled violently to ground while the glow of E3 2017 on the television filled the room with expectations and excitement…figuratively of course, because I mean, who has physical media these days am I right?

Okay, so maybe the scene was a little less dramatic than that.

Narrowly avoiding toys strewn about the room by my ten month old son, I looked to my husband and asked, “Have you seen the schedule for E3 conferences this year?” He nodded in shared bewilderment and we tried to figure out if we were in favor of, or put off by, the weekend broadcasts; certainly the late nights would be a challenge. E3 is a tradition in our house, and we look forward to following the news and zeitgeist (and even the snark that goes along with it) and this year was no different.

Because of the aforementioned little one, the past year of video games has been slow for me to say the least, and my backlog grows. So going into this E3, I knew that there would be games I won’t be ready to play until well past release date. Nonetheless, there were some titles shown during this year’s run of press conferences that will make their way into my sleep-deprived but heavily-caffeinated hands one way or another.

Cuphead

I could still use a little more information about the gameplay of the ‘run and gun’ Cuphead by Studio MDHR, but with a September 29th release date, that information isn’t far off. Truth be told, artist me is absolutely committed to this title because of how beautiful it looks. All eyes have been on the indie studio since the first introduction of Cuphead, and I am excited about all the hard work that has gone into this title. I can’t wait to pour over all the details as I play this game and, undoubtedly, play it again and again.

Crackdown 3

Agility orbs, baby! My Crackdown and Crackdown 2 experiences were well above par. With heavy focus on the multiplayer experience, I not only played this franchise myself, but also gifted the titles, more than once, to friends so I could play with them in the multiplayer world. I am thrilled to jump into both the multiplayer and single player aspects of this open world action adventure game by Sumo Digital and Reagent Games. It’s going to be a top priority to keep this one from ending up in the backlog.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm




Now this may sound a little…erm…strange, but hang in there with me. I’m very excited to watch this episodic graphic adventure published by Square Enix. I’d be thrilled to play it myself, sure, but I would be equally okay to watch this one throughout the gaming community. Life is Strange pulled me in and made me invested in the characters and the story. I loved comparing people’s choices and how the gameplay unfolded in each episode. This prequel to Life is Strange is poised to pull me right back in, and if for some reason it looks like this hot little title won’t make it into my hands, there will be plenty of satisfaction gained from hopping into the Twitch community to follow along. Regardless of whether or not my hands are pressing the buttons, I won’t miss Life is Strange: Before the Storm.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War


Following Shadow of Mordor, Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a third person action role playing game that takes us back to, well, Middle Earth (*fangirl squee*) to find the main character. If it’s anything like its predecessor, it will offer a robust gameplay system leading us through orc-filled quests and a beautifully crafted open world. Based on the trailer, Shadow of War, published by Warner Bros Interactive, appears to have included everything that worked in the first game and then some.

Anthem


Okay Bioware, you have my attention. Am I sad that Anthem looks like a departure from the Mass Effect gameplay that everyone has come to desire from the studio? Heck no! While this does appear to be an open world action role playing game, it also touts a “shared-world” experience; something I am not typically in favor of. However, I have needless faith that before its late 2018 release, Anthem will create a user experience that is perfectly married with the gorgeous in-game footage that was premiered at this year’s E3. When the time comes, I’mma grab some friends and the nearest exo-suit. I’m ready.

Beyond Good and Evil 2



15 years in the making you guys, fifteen! For those of you who may be too young to be connected to Beyond Good and Evil, the endearing tears of Michel Ancel, creative director on Beyond Good and Evil 2, were genuine. Those of us who loved the critically-acclaimed 2003 title have been hopefully waiting (but not holding our breaths) for this reveal. Ubisoft has dangled the cheese in front of us in the past, and all the while they were working hard to bring us what looks like a very new experience expanding upon the world gamers were begging to revisit.

Mouth agape, eyebrows furrowed, I muttered to my husband more than once, “well, THIS is different.” But different doesn’t mean bad. Beyond Good and Evil 2 is a prequel to the 2003 title and presents a combination of sassy characters over contrasting bleak story beats. This appears to be a new, more cinematic, experience that is setting up a world and experience that gamers already love. How will everything tie in together? I’m going to have to wait, as there was no release date discussed, but this is a can-not-miss title for me.

Moss



I won’t be playing this because I am not a VR adapter; however this adorable title by PolyArc Games deserves a bit of attention as the first game to make me think “awww, maybe I’ll have VR one day.”  A single player action adventure puzzle game, the trailer is not only intriguing and artful but also immersive and thoughtful, a delightful reprieve from the heavy handedness of some of the more mature titles that made my list.

Arriving at a point in my life when I need to be a little more focused in where I spend my time and money, the excitement of E3 becomes one of much more focus and analysis. Would I love to grab the new God of War or Assassin’s Creed, try out the new Forza or Far Cry? Well, of course, but as much as I would love to play ALL THE THINGS, as an aging gamer and new mom, only a select few will realistically make it onto the figurative and literal shelf (#adulting, am I right?); these are the titles I will be keeping close tabs on and eventually invite into my life and gaming platforms of choice.

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