It was a whirlwind week in Los Angeles, but E3 2018 has finally ceased overloading our senses with all the latest and greatest video games yet to come. We were all over the scene trying to play the newest and most exciting games publishers like Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and more had on hand, and came away hopeful for the next few years of this multi-billion-dollar hobby. Why you ask? Mostly due to these games we got to witness in action first hand. These are the best games we saw at E3 2018.
Ghost of Tsushima
As one of the most visually stunning games unleashed at the Sony PlayStation conference, Ghost of Tsushima piqued our interest early. Set during the first Mongol invasion of Japan in the 1270s, Ghost of Tsushima gives players a chance to explore the full island of Tsushima as protagonist Jin attempts to curtail the Mongols. Ghost will feature an open-world, complete with dynamic weather systems and procedurally generated clouds.
More than that, it will feature gameplay inspired by true samurai warriors (Sucker Punch worked with HEMA for accuracy), classic samurai films (long, cinematic angles and pacing), and it will track all the blood spatter in real-time. After getting an up-close look at the game with the developers at Sucker Punch, we can't wait to get our hands on this samurai epic that's all about mud, blood, and steel.
My Friend Pedro
Developed by a former Media Molecule level designer, My Friend Pedro is the combination of Trials HD, Deadpool, and Max Payne you never knew you needed. Coming to PC and Switch sometime in the future, My Friend Pedro puts you in the role of a masked vigilante with incredible weapon skills. He also happens to talk to an imaginary banana.
Bestowed with some magic banana focus, the vigilante can slow time when necessary to wreck some thugs with outrageous acrobatics and clever gunplay. It's an ultraviolent game, but it's not a title that rests solely on that violence for the sake of it. There's a puzzling element to it too, as the linear levels challenge you to score the most creative kills you can with guns, frying pans, skateboards, and more.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Anyone afraid the Assassin's Creed franchise would be in danger of oversaturation again by releasing a new entry just one year after Origins can rest easy. For all intents and purposes, Odyssey looks like it's taking the franchise in a fantastic new direction that builds on everything that came before. Taking a more in-depth RPG approach to this game, Ubisoft for the first time is offering dynamic dialogue, which comes with consequences on multiple levels.
There are going to be small consequences that play out in a single mission, others that span an entire chapter, and still more that will affect the overarching narrative. Combined with all-new combat mechanics, the ability to choose your protagonist, and romance options, and you've got a game that should easily surpass all previous entries.
Forza Horizon 4
Sports and racing games don't really get much attention compared to the more elaborate titles on display at E3. That doesn't mean they aren't worthy of accolades, though. Already a fan-favorite racing series, Forza Horizon is taking things up a few notches with its fourth entry this fall. Moving to the United Kingdom for this game, there are plenty of unique new landscapes to enjoy from the farms out in the countryside to the windy streets of Scotland's capital.
In addition to hundreds of cars rendered with loving attention to detail, Forza Horizon 4 will also introduce seasons for the very first time. Instead of a stock climate for the duration of the game, or relying on DLC to go wild with weather, Horizon 4 will change from spring to summer to autumn to winter automatically (seasons will shift once a week). This change will happen for everyone at once across the whole game, so this could be the most realistic racer with arcade tendencies ever released.
Insomniac Games' Spider-Man is just a wonderful piece of work. Due out later this summer, Peter Parker's first true next-gen adventure will find him protecting the full island of Manhattan, brought to life in exquisite detail. He'll have to contend with the power vacuum left behind by the Kingpin's imprisonment, and that means the likes of Mister Negative, Shocker, Electro, the Lizard, and plenty more will be out to stake a claim on the city. Swinging around the city to fend off threats of all varieties is a blast, and Insomniac has really nailed the acrobatic agility of Spider-Man when it comes to combat. Factor in the delightful script that captures Parker's wit oh so well, and you've got a contender for the best Spider-Man game of all time.
We Happy Few
Previously, We Happy Few was shown off at media events as a sandbox-style BioShock, complete with procedurally generated towns that challenged players to survive the drugged out denizens of Wellington Wells. This year, Compulsion Games debuted the first story elements of We Happy Few, and we're way more into what's going on in Wellington Wells now.
In the role of Arthur, players will have to dig deep to uncover the secrets of what happened to the people of Wellington and why everyone is so keen on being addicted to the drug, Joy. From what we've seen, it's not going to be a very happy story, and the outskirts of Wellington are full of hard truths of a fictional post-war Britain. We won't spoil too much, but as a thematic cousin to BioShock, We Happy Few should have no trouble drawing you in just as easily as it got us.
Fans of XCOM and other tactical strategy titles rejoice, for there is a new Cold War-era strategy sim coming that will satisfy the micromanager in all of you. In addition to being a clever twist on the era of spy chaos between the CIA, the KGB, and the Mossad, Phantom Doctrine gives you the power to control every single aspect of your agency.
From digging into your research files to link opposing secret agents to missions and locations, to crafting the skill sets of your agents, and even customizing their identities if their cover is about to be blown, there's almost no aspect of Phantom Doctrine that's not in your control. And if you were worried about not getting to use MKUltra to brainwash enemy agents, you definitely can. This game will scratch your tactical strategy itch and then some.
Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu
While Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu and Let's Go, Eevee may have more simplified control aspects, that doesn't make them any less enjoyable. In fact, it actually makes them more appealing to newcomers, especially when using the Poke Ball Plus controller. The game itself may be a reimagining of a previous Pokémon game, but the new visuals and expanded portability of the console, give both Let's Go games a different enough feel. Factor in the ability to play with two people on the same Switch, and you've got another Nintendo game that's surely going to be a fixture in long lines at conventions, airplane rides, and probably other gaming events.
World War Z
Though World War Z has absolutely nothing to do with Valve's beloved Left 4 Dead franchise, Saber Interactive has laid the groundwork for what could (and should) be the spiritual successor to that legendary co-op zombie shooter. Set in the movie universe, but with the narrative concepts drawn from the original book, World War Z will team groups of four survivors up against the zombie swarms in New York, Jerusalem, and Moscow, to name a few locations.
Each area has a handful of chapters to explore, with teamwork necessary to complete some fairly basic objectives. Where World War Z sets itself apart is in the inclusion of the Swarm. There's nothing more terrifying than 500 zombies rushing at you down a narrow New York street with nothing to stop them but the weapons you have on hand. It's a thrilling escape, and one that stands out even in a gaming climate that's just about over zombies at this point.
CD Projekt Red has a fantastic pedigree, but even we weren't sure how the talents displayed throughout The Witcher franchise would translate to a futuristic world of cyborgs and neon glitz. Then the developer went and put on easily one of the most impressive showings at E3 this year, shattering our expectations for Cyberpunk 2077 into millions of tiny pieces. It's still very early in development, but the nearly hour-long live demo showed a technical mastery we just couldn't believe. The first-person action called back to genre staple Deus Ex, but CDPR has a host of ways its game diverts from familiar path, including a much deeper and open world than we've seen in most FPS RPGs. No matter how long it takes for CD Projekt Red to deliver the final game, you can rest assured we'll be among the first in line to jack in.