The show is over – close the storybook
There will be no encore
And all the random hands that I have shook
Well, they’re reaching for the door
I watch the backs as they leave single-file
You stood stubborn, cheering all the while
E3 2017 has closed its doors, and our preview of what’s to come shows a wealth of promise for the industry and fans alike. With the extra amount of foot traffic this year, it made for more waiting in lines than anything. What I did get a chance to play, impressed me; not a single dud to be found with what I got my hands on.
Unlike 2010, this will only be a Best of Show, but just like 2010, Best in Show will be in two separate categories: Playable and Non-Playable.
One cannot diminish the impact of the trailers that played this year, and there were a couple that were outstanding. In regards to what was playable, my Best of Show will seem like a snapshot out of an E3 from twenty years ago. You’ll see soon enough.
But for now, lets celebrate the top three non-playable Best in Show:
3. God of War (PS4)
Most of us knew that a rebooted God of War was on its way to the PS4. I don’t think any of us were expecting to be as blown away by the quality, storytelling and feel of the trailer. I was never a huge fan of the franchise before, but this has me salivating over what’s to come. The nuggets of gameplay shown retained the brutal nature of the previous titles, as well as the fluidity of combat.
It said a lot in the time it was given; both gameplay and story felt equal part important, and were given enough time to intrigue gamers and excite them for what’s to come. Sadly though, we will have to ride that wave of excitement until sometime in 2018, when God of War is released on the PlayStation 4.
2. Detroit: Become Human (PS4)
Strictly as a trailer to a video game, Detroit: Become Human was one of the greatest trailers I have ever seen. It was cinema-quality, thanks in part to the truly magnificent detail on the characters shown. What seems like an android revolution is fueled by actual emotion throughout the trailer, as Marcus begins an attempt to rally androids behind him in their liberation. The trailer also notes the possibility of choice and how it plays an integral role in Detroit: Become Human, in what seems like the motif for developer Quantum Dream (Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain).
Being a fan of the aforementioned titles, along with this being one of the best trailers for anything that I’ve ever seen, Detroit: Become Human has quickly risen to the top of my “most wanted” list. As with God of War, the unbearable wait into 2018 will be a challenge, but will hopefully be worth it.
- Spider-Man (PS4)
Sony hit one out of the stadium this year with their trailers. Spider-Man was a title that I was eagerly anticipating as playable this year, but unfortunately it was not, but that didn’t mean the trailer didn’t hype me up even more. This glimpse of the gameplay was what sold me hard and made Spider-Man my Non-Playable Game of Show. The fluidity of Spidey’s movements, the seamless traversal through the construction site, and even the battle mechanics, all were highly impressive. True, the hand to hand mechanics do look reminiscent of the Arkham franchise, but there’s no doubt that a system like that lends its self to a vast amount of fluidity in motion and combat. The context sensitive battle options added an awesome layer of depth to the combat as well.
There’s even the series staple humor, done at the appropriate times. The visuals are highly detailed, especially towards the end with Spidey swinging through the city; it looked like a real, breathing city (though not totally like New York City, but I am always highly crucial of NYC’s depictions in video games). The quicktime events seemed appropriately placed and spaced out for the events unfolding, and I hope it’s overly loaded with them still.
Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man E3 gameplay trailer does everything needed to drive in anticipation and cravings for more. Unfortunately, like the aforementioned titles, we are going to have a long excruciating wait until 2018 for Spider-Man to swing its way onto the PlayStation 4 and into our hands.
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Moving from trailers to actual hands-on time with games at E3 2017, these are my top three playable Best of Show titles. And unlike the trailers, all three of these games are coming out this year:
3. Sonic Mania (Switch/PS4/XB1/Steam)
If you were to tell me that a Sonic the Hedgehog game in 2017 would rank as one of the best experiences I had at E3, you would think I was stuck in a timewarp.
But it’s 100% true.
After Sega’s mishaps with the blue hedgehog over the last 15 years, most notably Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episodes 1 and 2, I couldn’t ever see them recovering. But oh was I happily mistaken. As a big time retro gamer, Sonic Mania scratched every single itch needed to bring the franchise back to prominence. It’s a throwback, through and through, from the catchy music to the visual style (which was, naturally, polished to take advantage of current television sets). The momentum issues of Sonic 4 are a distant memory, as Sonic Mania controls just like the Sonic games of yore.
Unfortunately, I can see how this will be a divisive title. Fans of the franchise and retro gaming as a whole will eat this up and appreciate the fact that it sticks so strongly to its roots, while critics will nitpick at just that, and complain about the lack of innovation and additions to the gameplay, which is a shame. As a whole, from what I played, Sonic Mania is that Sonic game that we’ve been waiting over twenty years for, and will be a day one pick up from me.
2. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle seems like a fan faction gone wrong. But this marriage of the highly lovable Mario franchise and the quirky, oddball Rabbids franchise makes for a honeymoon that gamers may never want to come home from.
Dubbed Mario XCOM by many, Mario Rabbids brings both franchises to a genre that they’ve never really been involved with, and the result is truly amazing. The 16 minute or so hands-on time I had outlined how players will be eased into the gameplay nuances, as well as slowly show glimmers of depth that become apparent towards the end of the demo. Players will have three characters on their side (one will always be Mario) as they navigate through each battle, strategically position themselves and unleash attack on the evil rabbids.
I’ve said it once before, and it’s a bold opinion to put out there – but I firmly believe Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has the potential to be this generations Super Mario RPG; it will introduce gamers unaccustomed to the turn based tactics genre with simplicity, as well as adding depth to veterans who would like something new to play. The cast of characters have the potential to become beloved pieces in the Mario and Rabbids universe, just as Mallow and Geno are from Super Mario RPG. August needs to hurry on up and get here so we can all get a shot at playing this Nintendo and Ubisoft collaboration.
I’m sure we all know what my Best of Show is by now, but in all honesty, it was really difficult to choose one over the other. Both games are promising and both games delivered in spades. But in the end, I had to go with this one for E3 2017’s Best of Show:
- Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
The creative minds at Nintendo are mad geniuses when it comes to Mario. While there were a couple of “low points” to franchise IMO (Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario 3D Land), they all had something memorable and some kind of hook. For Super Mario Odyssey, it felt like it was more than just a single hook.
Mario has always excelled in precision platforming, charming game worlds and a new gimmick that helps drive the experience forward. For the Galaxy franchise, there was the pointer that helped pick up bets, as well as minor motion gestures to perform certain actions. The feather in the cap of Super Mario Odyssey is…well, the cap. Mario’s hat caps off the overall experience, as it can be used to take out enemies, a platform to bounce off of, and a means to physically take over an item or person.
Need to cross this electrified wire but don’t know how? Toss your hat at the post and become electrified, shooting your way to the other side. Want to fling yourself higher up? Place that hat on a pylon and use the analog stick to fling yourself upward. That’s just a incredibly minor fraction of the possibilities Mario’s hat holds, as previews have show him as a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a frog, a goomba, a bullet Bill, and more.
Beyond the hat lies the signature gameplay we’ve all come to love. New Donk City, the hub world for Odyssey, is fully realized, with pedestrians going about their way, taxi cabs driving by, and so much more. Players can collect purple coins only good in New Donk City and redeem them in item shops. I went into one towards the very end of my playthrough and it gave me the chance to purchase a tuxedo, which I wish I was able to see.
The experience, even with the brevity of this demo, was nothing short of wonderful. With a franchise and enduring as this, to witness new release after new release with such craftsmanship, love and care, says a lot about Nintendo. Even with the less enjoyable releases, they are magical pieces of entertainment, and Super Mario Odyssey is looking to continue that rend, if not set a new standard for 3D platforming. If you were holding out for more games on the Nintendo Switch, between Mario Rabbids and Super Mario Odyssey, you have absolutely zero reason to procrastinate any further.