For the past three years, every time E3 has rolled around, I’ve been sick and had to stay home from work.
No, I’m serious. It’s not what you think. I’ve simply had the good fortune to have had head colds and bronchitis at precisely the right time each year, allowing me to lounge about my living room for days watching live streams of all the latest AAA offerings.
Sadly, this year, I’m in good health. :/
That’s not to say I can’t still catch the occasional broadcast between meetings and after work. Last night, I watched Sony’s E3 Press Conference (most of it, anyway; see below). From what I saw, 2016 is shaping up to be an awesome year for the PS4.
Here are the top three PlayStation 4 titles I’ll be looking forward to…
1. The Last Guardian
I think I can safely speak for all Ico and Shadow of the Colossus fans when I say…
It’s been a very long wait. For years now The Last Guardian has been in limbo, with no news to speak of except for annual trademark renewals and vague murmurings about whether or not the game remained in active development. Tonight’s announcement, then, complete with ample quantities of in-game footage, felt like a huge win for patient fans of the series.
Which is why it would have been lovely had I actually been able to see it in the live broadcast. :(
Work, errands, and Portland rush-hour traffic conspired to make me late. Not just late, but perfectly late. I found out about The Last Guardian not by seeing the gameplay trailer, but by catching a post-announcement glimpse of the game’s designer, Fumito Ueda, waving to fans in the audience.
But I digress. Thankfully, I was able to catch the full announcement in the replay.
If you’ve not played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, it might be hard to understand the hype around The Last Guardian. Having played both games numerous times, I still find it difficult to explain in short form just what it is that makes them so special. Suffice to say for now that each game makes impressive use of very simple elements to establish a rich sense of history, place, and story. There are key events in each game that have a surprisingly deep, emotional impact on players. Ico is the first game I ever played that moved me to tears. Shadow of the Colossus was the first game that prompted me to question the protagonist’s motivations (and then, again, moved me to tears).
Come next year, when the wait is over and I sit down to play, I’ll keep the tissues handy.
2. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
I’ve already written about my love/hate (but mostly love) relationship with the first Mirror’s Edge game. Based on that, I think it’s clear what I’m looking for here.
Okay, maybe that’s a little over-the-top. Setting aside my gripes about the annoying combat system and incessant gunfire, Mirror’s Edge was still an astounding game. I’m eagerly waiting to see if its full potential is realized in the sequel.
That potential isn’t in the story, though I hope the writing has improved. Neither is it in the action sequences or combat. The strength of Mirror’s Edge is in its flow. It achieves an unrivaled sense of physical freedom. Here’s hoping the designers build on that idea instead of restricting players to a single, forward-only path penned in by enemy fire.
3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The entire Uncharted series is a bit of a family favorite around my house. Which is to say, I’m a terrible parent who occasionally lets his children watch violent, sweary things. Thankfully, they seem none the worse for it, and only rarely do they resort to sweary violence themselves (there was just that one time, and let’s be clear: that old lady threw the first punch).
If one thing sets the Uncharted games apart for me, it’s their cinematic nature. Few games weave together excellent writing and solid gameplay so well, creating an experience that is as enjoyable to watch as it is to play. They’re among a very small number of games that my wife will watch from beginning to end as I play (this was also true of Naughty Dog’s masterpiece, The Last of Us).
It’s clear from the title that Naughty Dog wants us to wonder if this will be the last game in the Uncharted franchise. That’s understandable. I’m sure there are a lot of other stories their creative team would like to explore. Whether or not this turns out to be Nathan Drake’s last adventure (or maybe Sully’s last time out as Nathan’s sidekick?), I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing ride.
Okay, those are my picks, how about you? Which of the games from E3 are you most looking forward to?