Sunday Conversation: E3 Highlights

By Mark Delaney, 1 year ago
After a lead-up that involved more leaks than Edward Snowden's biopic, E3 week has come and gone -- and still managed to save a few surprises for the show. Whether they caught us off guard or we totally saw it coming, we on the news team had plenty of takeaways from the show. The next few months and years ahead are sure to deliver a ton of great games, so we decided to collect the opinions of several news staffers to share what we liked best. Just as important, we invite you guys to pitch in your thoughts, as well. What did you love? What disappointed you? What has you screaming at your screen and quoting Futurama? Here are some of our highlights. As a general outline, we've kept our input limited to Xbox and W10 stories. Having said that, don't assume you have to do the same -- and don't assume some of us aren't crying happy tears over the PS4 Spider-Man game.

Kelly had her heart aflutter at the sight of one hardened photojournalist:

After all these years, he's still got it.After all these years, he's still got it.

I know the Dead Rising series is your typical love-it-or-hate-it type of game, but I'm in the "Love It" camp. There's something about the wacky mix of gameplay — the limited inventory, the constant time management, the silly weapons and vehicles, the utter lack of seriousness in the midst of the zombie apocalypse — that stole my heart a long time ago. Seeing Frank West back as the star of Dead Rising 4, taking selfies with zombies, wielding a candy cane gun and causing insanity to the tune of "Jingle Bell Rock" brought a huge smile to my face. Dead Rising 4 is the top moment of E3 for me.

Chanse isn't taking any chances. He just wants more Skyrim:

Are you ready to lose sleep all over again?Are you ready to lose sleep all over again?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is one of my top highlights from E3 this year, it may sound stupid to choose a remaster as one of my favorites, but the hundreds of hours I spent exploring Skyrim on Xbox 360 is one of my fondest and most cherished gaming memories from the past decade or so. Getting to do that again, with mods and even more beautiful surroundings, only makes me want to go back.

Kevin can't wait to get back behind the wheel:

Beach day!Beach day!

This E3 especially has seen far more games catch my attention than normal. Titanfall 2 and Civilization 6 certainly stand out as highlights, but I have to say the brightest star was Forza Horizon 3. It's rare that we see a game so in touch with its identity. The trailer opened up with a montage of the beautiful and diverse land of Australia, letting us imagine where we'd go. Then it showed the new cars, letting us imagine what we'd do. The whole time the music was playing, letting us imagine how we'd feel. Finally it put it all together: racing through the ocean, flying high in the desert, and speeding through a forest narrowly dodging the trees with your friends. It's what the Forza Horizon series is about, and that's why it's my game of show.

Sam is most interested in exacting violent personal vendettas:

Mafia III, like the rest of the series, feels a bit like a very effective time machine.Mafia III, like the rest of the series, feels a bit like a very effective time machine.

Sadly, I was underwhelmed at this E3. I was hoping for a lot from some of the newer IPs but a lot of pretty yet directionless gameplay demos left me uninterested. I never would have guessed this if you'd asked me a week ago, but my game of the show is Mafia III. It was the only open-world game on display that didn't go with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to filling its spaces, and focused instead on tight (if familiar) gameplay in a unique setting. The story trailer was the most compelling of the whole show for me, and what a soundtrack! I can't wait to dive in to New Bordeaux later this year. Check out this article to see why.

Lastly, for me personally, I'm still not sick of zombies:

Live together, die aloneLive together, die alone

I couldn't decide if my highlight on the Xbox side of things was Sea of Thieves or State of Decay 2, but held over the fire of having to compile this article, I eventually sided with the latter. While the swashbuckling of Rare's new IP looks like a lot of fun, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding it. With State of Decay 2, I have a good idea of what I'm getting, namely the awesome base building, exploration, and permadeath of the original, now with four-player co-op. The original game had to ax the co-op from its gameplay suite due to time and budget constraints. After it blew up, Microsoft seems to have given them the keys to their own developmental castle. I can't wait to see the final version.
These are just some of our favorites we're looking forward to. What has you excited?

If you're still dizzy from the week and need to play catch-up before weighing in, you can do that very easily with our E3 Hub. If you want more of our musings, you'll find plenty in the latest episode of the TrueAchievements Podcast.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is one of three voices on the TA Playlist podcast. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his fiancée and son. He almost never writes in the third person.