We’re not far gone from the shuttering of E3 2019’s
doors, and while much of what was shown -- and announced -- won’t see the light of gaming day until next year or beyond, there was still some real gold in the building(s), even for 2019. And while we are an official Game Critics Awards
judge, among 64 other publications, each year we also highlight our 10 best games we saw regardless of whether they were playable or not, or if they’re out this year or at some stage in the future.
We also like to point out a number of other games that caught our eyes as potential nominees for the AusGamers Top 10 Best of E3
, but didn’t quite get into that illustrious 10, but are still worth words around.
And so, without further ado, please find our AusGamers Top 10 Best of E3 winners list -- these games appear in no specific order as this is a shared award for the full top 10.
The first-person shooter is a staple of the videogame landscape, and in terms of heritage they don’t get much bigger than DOOM
. With id Software
at the helm, DOOM Eternal is an excellent sequel
in the most traditional sense of the term. Taking everything that made the 2016 re-imagining or reboot of the franchise such a surprise hit, and building on top of that a mountain of new and refined ideas. From secondary functions added to weapons like a grappling meat-hook now part of the Super Shotgun to a Ghostbusters
-style energy beam added to the Plasma Cannon, it’s all a little overwhelming. In the best possible way. The expanded lore, new environments, traversal that’s somewhat reminiscent of Super Mario Odyssey
, all the pieces are here for what could very well be one of the best first-person action games we’ll see all year. And unlike a number of E3 2019 gameplay reveals, it’s out in November.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
The best thing about Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
is that coming from Respawn Entertainment
, we all initially expected some sort of first-person shootery type of thing. However, this third-person action-adventure title takes us into a visual-rich Star Wars
tale with fantastic combat, scripted and non-scripted high-octane action sequences, platforming, puzzles and exploration all mixed together to create something truly special. What results is a game worthy of the Star Wars name, and one that has identity beyond its years. We expect this new adventure to take the fanbase by storm and hopefully we see more in this burgeoning series grace our platforms into the foreseeable future. Essentially combine the best of The Force Unleashed
, modern Battlefront
games with a little bit of the Rogue Squadron
series, and you’re in the ballpark, but still not entirely close to what this truly
has to offer.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
We already touched on it in our in-depth hands-on preview
, but Infinity Ward’s
revisiting of the game that ultimately put them on the Triple-A
map in the first place, should not be misconstrued. This is a studio with full knowledge of what the CoD
DNA has always been, and have therefore revisited that space, with an aim to bring said DNA into modernity. The game is more mature, darker and absolutely gorgeous running off its new custom-built engine. We could be on the cusp of a generational change where Call of Duty is concerned, which we’ll explore further at another juncture, but for now know that the series is going back to gritty storytelling sans a Bruckheimer
-esque explosive lean, with a means to tap more into episodic drama-driven TV which currently rules the static moving image roost. And we’ll be all the better for it, in interactive form. Add to this multiplayer, and you’ve got yourself stew.
The other plumber is back, and this time he brings a sticky friend. Luigi’s Mansion 3 continues the ghostbusting
ways of Mario’s less celebratised brother, Luigi, as he once again enters a creepy mansion to handle the wayward spooks who’ve taken up residence there, and refuse to move on like distant relation, Boo, or even pay rent. Gooigi
as he’s known, is effectively an ectoplasm representation of our green-clad dunny unclogger, and stands as an alternative to a number of environmental puzzles and impediments Luigi himself couldn’t handle -- consider him the underpaid apprentice you never had, to take full advantage of. And we will take that advantage, to the absolute brown snake nines.
"It's arrested ectoplasmic brotherly development."
Stunning, challenging and quintessentially Nintendo
, Luigi’s Mansion 3 elevates this alt franchise to an entirely new audience, and we can’t wait to double flush our way through it.
Not gonna lie, we might have gotten a bit starstruck being run through the world of Oddworld: Soulstorm
by creator and industry legend, Lorne Lanning
. But that didn’t overshadow our critical eye. Thankfully, Soulstorm, while harkening back to the series’ roots, presents itself as a modern spin on a classic formula. Nothing from a charm and puzzle perspective is lost in being faithful, but visuals and transitional CG storytelling -- hallmarks of the original games -- keep things in check, while the game itself just feels
more up to date with gaming as it sits. Add to this technology that allows the game to shine visually, and also push the limitations of what a game like this can do, and you have a formula for a series return to form. We can’t wait to help Abe aide his fellow subjugated kin, again, with an entirely new visual and technological fidelity.
Dying Light 2
This shit is real. If there’s a game that can
challenge Cyberpunk 2077
next year, it’s the game developed by co-country peeps in Techland
. Dying Light 2
is threatening to be that studio’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
. We’ve known for a long time that these cats are capable of crafting a game, and game-world, but where they look to be taking Dying Light 2 is into areas not ever fully explored. Be it parkour and subsequent world traversal or the game’s in-depth and dynamic decision-making based on quests, relationships and who you side with, Dying Light 2 is simply brimming with life.
Ironic, really, given this whole thing started as an open-world zombie outing but has now transcended slaying the walking dead with tight-roping a fallen society thrust back into a post-apocalyptic middle ages. Keep a keen eye on this one.
The single most talked about game of the modern era, Cyberpunk 2077 can only fail from here. Expectation is as high for this as it has ever been for even the likes of the Grand Theft Auto
series or The Elder Scrolls
. And then some. With a bustling retrofuture blinding us with neon at every turn, Cyberpunk 2077 steels players with true choice and consequence, taking deep learning from The Witcher 3
, CD Projekt RED
is humbled by the hype but as lead quest designer, Paweł Sasko
, told us, they’re all work first up in Warsaw
“The thing is, we know that the hype is through the roof because we can see it right now, but we are doing absolutely everything in our power when we’re working, because we’re putting our hearts and [every available moment of] our time to put everything we can into this game.”
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Believe it or not, Traveller Tales’
newly-revealed LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
is beyond the real deal. Sure, this is a game wrapped in humour and brick collection, but for the first time in the series the game is being made with entirely new technology, and is doing more than a lot of other Star Wars licensed properties out there, in terms of brand representation. The ability to dog-fight in space, as well as traverse actual geometry for planetfall and more, makes this the most expansive entry in the franchise yet. Moreover, the idea that locales will change based on which chapter in the canon you’re playing through, and what’s happened there, means the open nature of how you approach the game is both dynamic and respectful of the brand as a whole. It’s also utterly gorgeous, future-proofing the series for at least the next handful of years.
This was an absolute surprise hit for us at E3 2019.
Watch Dogs Legion
What to say about this… Watch Dogs Legion
is potentially the most ambitious open-world game of the past decade, removing a single protagonist in favour of many heroes, all playable by you, at any given point. However, each one of them needs to be recruited to your cause, and every NPC (that isn’t a hardline enemy) is there for the ‘hacking
’. And their stories and plight isn’t part of a procedural algorithm, it’s all systemic, making the moving parts of Watch Dogs Legion truly something special.
The jury will be out on whether or not this dynamic approach to what NPCs actually mean in the world follows through on Ubisoft’s
promise, but having played the game personally, we’re of the leaning that this is on track to be an absolute game-changer.
The original looter shooter
, as the tagline constantly reminds us, is back and it’s back in the only real way we wanted -- bigger, prettier and not of the Destiny
lean. Couch or basic four-player online co-op awaits eager Vault Hunters, while an even more expansive story -- and game-universe -- offers players a way to engage in the Borderlands
pantheon. Add to this a spaceship that works as both an upgradeable hub and a means to explore the galaxy, and you have a game ripe for the looter pickings.
It might not be a massive leap forward, but if you got it right from the outset and only add to that formula, then you can sit back and watch the loot-fed dollerydoos roll in. Claptrap and all.
Iron Harvest: 1920+
Stiff not to make our Top 10, Iron Harvest: 1920+
only misses out because as an RTS it has a lot yet to prove. If you’re unfamiliar with this left of field PC outing, the game itself is a byproduct of Polish
artist, Jakub Rozalski
, and his spin on a mech-fueled alternative history to Eastern Europe
which took the pop-culture world by storm a number of years ago. Farmers, villages, meadows and more -- all serene in traditional landscape representation, found themselves overrun with giant machines of sci-fi and steampunk origins at the talented hand of Rozalski. And as a result of that, we now have the very promising Iron Harvest to look forward to.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
If you ever need proof that most reputable games journalists are capable of impartiality, then look no further than Fire Emblem: Three Houses’
place on this list. If I had my way, this would be number one, and number two, three, four… 100
. This series is in my top three franchises of all time, but like Iron Harvest above it, the game’s intended depth and its expected expanse leave it in the “need more time with it” pile. There’s also questions over how far the studio travels away from series tradition, design-wise, and that if they do, will it go too far, or not far enough? We’re of the camp that it will be brilliant, and we’ll know soon enough, but for now, Fire Emblem: Three Houses lives in the ‘almost’ camp.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII
is a game near and dear to my little JRPG
-loving heart (-- Rizzo
), and I’ve been looking forward to this remake long before it was first announced in 2015. Advent Children
still looks stupidly gorgeous for something that came out in 2006, and this feels as if Square Enix
made it in Unreal Engine 4
, on next-gen hardware, and for a 2020 audience no less. This isn’t in our actual Top 10 Best of E3 list because we don’t know when we’ll be able to play the full story; how exactly Midgar’s open-world will look or how many games it’ll span, but what we can say from our hands-on time with it is that everything about this project, from photo-realistic visuals to the feeling of swinging Cloud’s
buster sword in real-time, to a live-recorded rendition of "Let the Battles Begin
" feels exactly like what we’d want out of a modern Final Fantasy VII, only stretched into an epic trilogy.
The Outer Worlds
is renowned for creating RPGs with memorable stories, branching narratives, and stat-heavy mechanics that feel like the purest examples of the genre. The Outer Worlds
, with its satirical and almost bleak vision of a future controlled by corporations feels like a cross between Fallout: New Vegas
. And really, with a combination like that it's no wonder it’s one of our most anticipated 2019 releases.
Fantastic world-building and a kind of sweet send-off before the studio becomes wholly owned by a massive corporation in Microsoft
(oh, the irony), The Outer Worlds might just be the sleeper-hit of the year.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
So, upon elevator pitch they had me from the outset: “Oh hey, so this is, like, Civilization
-- do either of those games interest you?”
Shut up and take my money (slash give me my free review copy because I’m a letch.)
Ahem. Age of Wonders: Planetfall
is a 4X strategy game from strat experts (stratsperts
?) Paradox Entertainment
and Triumph Studios
that really is as advertised. And that’s works for us on so many levels. However, time with the game limited our ability to really bite into its nuances, though we were blown away with how the team translated such a deep game to console and controller, which helped it gain a Nominee nod. Keep an eye on this one, which is out in August, because it has “sleeper hit” written all over it.
This feature was written collaboratively by AusGamers contributors who either attended E3 proper, or were in attendance at this year's E3 Judges Week