LOS ANGELES – There’s no getting around it: Walking through the Los Angeles Convention Center for the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo felt weird. This year’s new Sony gap exacerbated the fact that Xbox and EA were holding events elsewhere (and Activision, again, didn’t really show up).
As a result, this year’s E3 was the least attended iteration we’ve seen in years, but that was in no way the fault of the games on offer. We left E3 2019 impressed with a variety of games old and new. While we’re still running a backlog of hands-on impressions, the Ars gaming braintrust is already ready to name its favorite games from the show — all games shown with real, live gameplay† Granted, narrow preview builds mean developers can still fool us with some smoke and mirrors – this is E3, the land of unfinished games – but all of the demos below were good enough at E3 to pass our hype and sniff test. to endure BS.
Here’s, for your consideration, our unranked list of E3 2019’s Top 10 Games, along with a selection of honorable mentions.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Stadia
Expected release date: 13 Sept. 2019
In many important ways, our E3 2019 demo of Borderland 3 just delivered more border areas† That means more ridiculously frenetic and colorful shots with an unapologetically self-conscious, over-the-top, post-apocalyptic attitude. After seven years of waiting since the last numbered game in the series, that in itself is almost enough. In terms of sheer feel and beat-to-beat gameplay, we’re still not convinced anyone has surpassed existing Borderlands games in the looter-shooter genre, and this one already feels more polished in action than its predecessors.
That’s before we even consider some major new tweaks to the formula. First, each character now gains a number of special abilities, each with their own independent recharge timer. For my character, that meant juggling a portable energy shield and an independent drone that could distract and shoot enemies. Each skill now also comes with stackable “emblems” that can increase powers if you pour enough skill points into that field.
Outside of the demo, we were also sold on upcoming social quality of life features. This includes the happy standard split-screen co-op for local play on the couch, but there’s also a renewed ability to sell additional weapons asynchronously to friends via in-game vending machines or simply send them directly via an in-game mail service. . You’ll also be able to find a whole host of skins and cosmetic customization options for you and your weapons to customize your own look for others to see when they play online.
But that is above all the icing on the cake that we have been looking forward to for years. Borderland 3 provides just the excuse we need to collect lots of virtual weapons to shoot oversized beasts. -Kyle Orlando
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PS4
Expected release date: Aug 27, 2019
It’s been nearly ten years since Remedy Entertainment launched a video game that I could unequivocally recommend (Alan Wake) and three years since the studio is uneven Quantum Break showed that the developer knows how to create impressive, trippy battles.
Good news for Remedy fans, everything I loved about it quantum fraction—breathtaking visuals, dimension-shifting craziness and telekinetic superpowers – is prepaid to Checka new video game where mystery and plot don’t get in the way of engaging action.
My hands-on time with CheckThe E3 demo allowed me to flex the new game’s early superpower muscles, and boy, did it feel right. Warp dodging past enemies, aiming the morphing gun and using random physical objects as throwable weapons – I quickly hit a nice groove spinning like an X-Men character kicked out of Xavier’s school for being too awesome used to be. And Remedy’s battle arenas are designed to emphasize the game’s strengths by ensuring that attacks always come from above and below, forcing her to keep her wits about her and think strategically about which skill to take out for each. attack.
The clever lighting models and motion blur per object of Quantum Break are also back for this newer game, just with even more tantalizing distortion and color tricks. These are met by a plot that has clearly broken the “weirdness” dial, and the combined pack is already making me excited for what’s to come in “summer 2019”. -Sam Machkovech
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PS4
Expected release date: April 16, 2020
2019 was the second year in a row that cyberpunk threatened to steal the show. But it was the first year that we could see the skeleton of a complete RPG in a closed-door presentation.
This year’s demonstration focused on Pacifica, a half-finished “luxury” part of future Los Angeles that was abandoned by developers after a disaster destroyed its economic underpinnings. It’s now left to the impoverished Haitians who helped build it, having gathered in gangs and makeshift economies that both respond to your in-game reputation. The world-building you hope for from a developer like CD Projekt Red is reflected in the small details, like the way “real meat” has been banned by powerful corporate interests pushing synthetic replacements with stories of diseases carried by real animals.
The extreme customization of your character starts with choosing a backstory: did you rise through the streets or did you come down through the corporate world? It extends to the myriad of choices you can make, from assigning points by default to basic character traits to how you make your way through challenges. A netrunner can work their way into the minds of the guards to force them to point their weapons at themselves, while a stronger character can make their way through the door and through the guards as well.
Those choices extend to who you want to trust in the ever-shifting battle between the gangs and the Netwatch agents trying to rein them in. It wasn’t immediately clear from the demo that there was a single answer to that question that could certainly be considered “good” or “safe” or “moral” over the others.
While the game’s urban world seems interesting enough, the demo’s ending hinted at a much broader story in cyberspace itself, where hackers continue to search for a way to upload their consciousness and free themselves from their physical prisons. And that’s not even digging into the promising mix of stealth, hacking, weapon customization, limb-specific damage modeling, clever lighting effects, and Keanu freakin’ Reeves as your hero’s occasional henchman.
Crucially, the hour of travel, conversations, and fights we saw looked like a… Real game this time, unlike last year’s shoot-for-the-moon reveal. But apparent technical limitations in rendering, crowd sizes, and other technicalities didn’t stop us from eventually buying the same sales pitch as last year: a beautiful romp in the near future that we could play exactly how we want. -Kyle Orlando