By Michael Mendis
The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 (better known as E3) has come and gone, which means a whole bunch of new trailers and announcements from some of the biggest companies in the video game industry. I’d like to highlight a few of the things that stood out to me from this year’s convention:
Xbox One X
New game consoles always get special attention at E3, and the Xbox One X is no exception. Microsoft’s newest addition to their console lineup (which includes the Xbox One and One S), the Xbox One X boasts much more powerful specs than its older siblings while still being able to play the same games and use the same accessories. Many games running on the One X will be able to run at or near a native 4K resolution, and people with 1080p TVs will see improved visuals as well. It’s an impressive piece of hardware that will run the best version of any Xbox game. The biggest sticking point is the price: at $499, it’s definitely meant for people who want a premium, high-end console experience.
Anthem (Xbox, PS4, PC)
This new game from developer Bioware (specifically, the team that made the first three Mass Effect games) is an open world action-RPG that can be played with friends. While there is plenty we do not yet know about it, we did get to see a gameplay demo, and it proved to be the most visually stunning game of the whole convention.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Xbox, PC)
What started out as a mod for the PC military game ARMA 2 has become it’s own standalone game in which a group of up to 100 players drop onto an island, grab whatever weapons they can find, and fight it out to become the last person standing. Battlegrounds has already made big waves on PC, including amongst our own community of gamers. Now it’s coming to console (first on Xbox), and it’s getting new features (such as foggy weather) and a couple new maps.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox, PC)
A follow-up to one of the most beautiful games of the last few years, Ori and the Will of the Wisps continues the story of the strange, cat-like creature Ori. We didn’t get to see any gameplay in this trailer, but assuming it’s like the first game, we should expect challenging platforming and a story that pulls on the heartstrings.
Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility
Another one of Microsoft’s announcements this year was that original Xbox games will soon become playable on Xbox One. It was a nice little surprise during the conference, and it’s a feature that diehard Xbox fans had been hoping to see since Microsoft first introduced backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 (Platforms unknown, but likely Xbox, PS4, PC)
The original Beyond Good and Evil game was a cult hit when it released in 2003, and fans have been begging Ubisoft for another entry in the franchise ever since. Finally we have a cinematic trailer announcing a new BG&E game, returning to the imaginative world that sucked us in all those years ago. It was an exciting and unexpected moment (in an E3 where we otherwise didn’t see too many unexpected announcements). Two downsides to point out, though: first, this game probably isn’t going to come out for a long time. Second, there’s an awful lot of foul language, which comes as a surprise considering that the first game was very family friendly (and in case you think I point this out just because I’m some sort of stick-in-the-mud religious person, I’ve seen people from secular gaming outlets and on secular gaming forums pointing out this same detail).
Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)
Normally one wouldn’t get that excited about the second remake of a game that came out over ten years ago, but Shadow of the Colossus is just that good. The PS2 classic tells the tragic tale of a young man who, in an attempt to bring his dead girlfriend back to life, makes a deal with a demon. Featuring cleverly designed battles against building-sized foes, Shadow of the Colossus is a game that shouldn’t be missed, and now that it’s being remade on the PS4 with a fresh coat of paint, it’ll look better than ever.
Marvel’s Spiderman (PS4)
Perhaps the single most impressive demo during any of the E3 conferences this year was the demo for Marvel’s Spiderman. In terms of gameplay, it takes a lot of cues from the critically acclaimed Batman Arkham series (which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that those Batman games stole a lot of ideas from Spidey’s traditional abilities), with it’s fast-paced combat and the ability to swing across the vast cityscape. It also retains Peter Parker’s signature wit and one-liners, giving the demo a measure of levity.