Game Informer's Best Of E3 2015 Awards
Walking through the show floor of E3 2015, you could feel the excitement flowing through the crowds. Those in attendance were still reeling from the barrage of outstanding trailers, big reveals, and surprising resurfacing of projects at the press conferences, and everyone was talking about the incredible line-ups featuring huge franchises and promising new IPs. With so many great options, picking favorites wasn’t easy, but these are the games that rose to the top and earned Game Informer’s E3 2015 Best in Show Awards.
UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END
Each new Uncharted game raises the bar for visual achievement and relentlessness action. Since Nathan Drake’s first adventure on PlayStation 3, we’ve been treated to massive explosions, epic set pieces, and more gun battles than we ever imagined. Uncharted 4 does more than just carry on the series’ tradition – it pushes the technology of the PlayStation 4 further than we’ve seen yet. To learn more about Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, check out our coverage hub from our cover story.
While it may not seem like a traditional adventure game, Until Dawn hits a lot of the same notes. Until Dawn plays out like an interactive horror movie, with the dark, photorealistic visuals needed to support a vibe authentic to the horror genre. Add to that a recognizable cast including Hayden Panettiere and Rami Malek, and Supermassive Games’ pulse-pounding title has all the potential to boost the heartrates of players later this year. To get a better feel about how it plays, you can check out our hands-on preview.
STREET FIGHTER V
The king is making yet another comeback. Street Fighter V is bringing all the 2D fighting goodness that it has become known for, but this time around, it’s introducing a new variable system that replaces SF IV’s focus attack. The variable system seems complicated at first, but it is an efficient and effective way to enhance your moves mid-match. If you’d rather use the EX attacks from past games, those are also available, giving you an awesome way to inflict tons of damage. To learn more about how the variable system plays, check out our hands-on impressions.
GUILD WARS 2: HEART OF THORNS
While this giant expansion has fans excited for many reasons, the introduction of Guild Halls is what had people buzzing at E3. These shared social spaces allow players to get together to perform tasks and go on quests. You can build the areas up, serving as a more advanced version of traditional player housing offering group adventures, specialized guild crafting, arena battles, and more. To go more in-depth with the Guild Halls, you can head here.
Gigantic is coming to both PC and Xbox One, attempting to bridge the gap that MOBAs have traditionally struggled to leap. Gone are the creep waves and the last-hitting, and in their place are control points that must be captured to gain power for their gigantic monster, which serves as your base. With the end goal of traditional MOBAs still intact, destroying the enemy base means annihilating a massive beast that can not only move, but also defend itself. To further educate yourself on Gigantic, you can check out our feature on Xbox One MOBAs.
HALO 5: GUARDIANS
The Halo series has always been known for its phenomenal multiplayer, but 343 Industries hopes to take Halo 5: Guardians to the next level. After an extensive multiplayer beta test, 343 has taken player feedback into account. The real selling point is Warzone mode, which thrusts players into massive battles including player-controlled characters, A.I. combatants, and bases that allow you to purchase new weapons and vehicles. This is a promising push by 343 to make Halo king of console multiplayer once again. If you're looking to learn more about Warzone, you can check out our exclusive first hands-on impressions here.
GHOST RECON: WILDLANDS
The scale of Ghost Recon: Wildlands’ open world is so massive that tackling it alone is daunting. Thankfully, Ubisoft has implemented drop-in/drop-out cooperative play, allowing your friends to hop in whenever you need them. While you can be in the same world and completing tasks independently of those you share space with, the game works best when you’re converging on the same mission and strategically coordinating to make things as smooth as possible. To hear more about Ghost Recon: Wildlands, head to our full impressions piece.
ROCK BAND 4
Harmonix’s full band experience is back. While the keyboards, pro guitar, and Rock Band Network are going away for Rock Band 4, players are getting new freestyle guitar solos, vocals that reward for improvisation, and dynamic drum fills to reward you for injecting your own touch into the song. In addition, the studio is working to bring all of the DLC from past titles forward to Rock Band 4, as well as ensure your old instruments are compatible. We went hands-on with Rock Band 4's guitar solos and reported our findings here if you're interested in hearing more about how they play.
SUPER MARIO MAKER
Designing levels for the world’s most famous plumber has long been a dream for Nintendo fans, and Wii U owners now have that opportunity. Giving players the power to create levels in Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U using dynamic creation tools that adapt to which game you choose would be cool enough, but Nintendo is also including developer-created levels, as well as the ability to share your creations with the world – given that you can beat them without dying. To hear more about how our hands-on time with Super Mario Maker went, you can click here to read our impressions.
NEED FOR SPEED
With the series’ strong racing pedigree in tow, Need for Speed brings elements from past titles and injects even more adrenaline. With intuitive customizations being taken to as macro or micro a level as you’d like, this Need for Speed feels like the fully realized version of what was first introduced in the Underground titles two generations ago. To better understand why we liked Need for Speed so much, check out our full preview.
Fallout 3 set a new standard for role-playing games when it released in 2008, and Fallout 4 hopes to do the same later this year. With a dense, detailed world to explore that feels more alive (as alive as a nuclear ground zero can feel, at least) than the landscapes of Fallout 3 and New Vegas, it won’t be hard to immerse yourself and lose hours upon hours in this rich RPG. To see the first Fallout 4 trailer, you can click here.
GHOST RECON: WILDLANDS
It was a great year for shooters at E3, but Ghost Recon: Wildlands caught our eye for what it does differently. Rather than being run-and-gun like Doom, or filled with giant set pieces like Halo 5 and Black Ops III, this reimagined form of the Ghost Recon brand throws you into a giant open world and lets you do what you please. It gives off a vibe similar to the recent Far Cry games, but with more strategy. The ambition of Wildlands could sound difficult to match with actual results, but everything we saw at E3 indicates that Ubisoft is on the right track. To hear about the other great shooters at E3 2015, check out our video where we discuss the top games in this category.
This category was a tough call, since all the sports games at the show had obvious pros and cons, but NHL 16 seemed to make the biggest improvements over its version from last year. Though it still has a ton of ground to make up before it reclaims the series’ former glory, the gameplay adjustments make it much more playable than last year’s disappointment. The return of EASHL is a big plus, and the morale system could spell big things for the Be A GM mode. Ready to go in-depth and learn more about NHL 16? Check out 60 things we know about the upcoming hockey game.
One of the best strategy series of all time is back, and it’s feeling as good as ever. Taking control of the mobile base called the Avenger, players continue the tradition of commanding their units in the fight against extraterrestrial life. While there will undoubtedly be casualties, you can now drag your fallen comrades back to the extraction point to avoid losing their gear. Soldiers can also carry wounded allies back to the extraction point to revive them after they leave the map. XCOM 2 is also introducing secondary objectives into the formula, making it a deeper overall experience. Learn more about why we had so much fun playing XCOM 2 in our full preview.
Just before E3, Oculus held a press conference to reveal the retail model of its upcoming VR headset and highlight some of the software titles on the way. With developers like Insomniac Games, Gunfire Games, and more backing the Rift with exclusive projects, it looks like the headset will be a strong haven for those looking to truly immerse themselves. Plus, with the new motion-controlled Touch controllers, Oculus has more ways than the competition to make players feel like they’re in the game. With so much VR tech at E3 2015, you can find our cheat sheet here.
Fallout 4 set the industry ablaze with its reveal prior to E3, and its full introduction at Bethesda’s E3 press conference fanned the flames. The open world looks immense, and the building tools are a great addition. This installment is also notable for taking strides to make the different versions more equal; while the feature is still up in the air for PlayStation 4, Xbox One players will be able to use PC mods on their game. If you're ready to hear more about Fallout 4, you can check out 19 new details we learned about Fallout 4.
On the next page, we give our picks for the best exclusive titles for each platform.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TRI FORCE HEROES
Fans were hoping to get a glimpse of the upcoming Legend of Zelda game on Wii U, but were instead treated to the promise of a new cooperative title on 3DS. Tri Force Heroes delivers a multiplayer adventure with several puzzles that require you to think through how to complete them with your team of three. It feels like a perfect mash-up of Four Swords Adventure and A Link Between Worlds, though Nintendo did not specify its place in the larger Zelda universe. Grab your 3DS and two friends and get ready to tackle this co-op adventure later this year. Sit in on our co-op session by reading our full impressions.
PERSONA 4: DANCING ALL NIGHT
The Vita landscape has been pretty barren these past couple of years. Regardless of the platform’s situation, however, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is shaping up to be an excellent travel companion. The game features remixes of the most popular songs from the Persona series, as well as multiple playable characters from Persona 4. With gorgeous animations and a complex control scheme, Persona 4: Dancing All Night seems like another fun rhythm title in the Vita’s library. To learn more about Persona 4: Dancing All Night, you can head here.
It may seem like an odd choice for XCOM 2 to go PC-exclusive given the reception Enemy Unknown received on consoles, but Firaxis has its reasons. Going this route has allowed Firaxis to include new features, procedurally-generated levels, and more polish. XCOM 2 blew us away at the show, and looks like it will be a major reason to own a gaming PC if you don’t already. You can learn more about Firaxis' PC-only approach here.
SUPER MARIO MAKER
Nintendo has always capitalized on its nostalgic strengths, but this title does so in ways never before seen. With Super Mario Maker, Nintendo is not only giving fans a new 2D Mario experience based in the icon’s greatest adventures, but also the means to create their own levels and spread them across the globe. If the community embraces these tools and shares their work as we think they will, it could mean endless replayability for the truly passionate Mario players. Super Mario Maker is all about the community, but you can't upload videos directly to YouTube. Find out its justification for this here.
UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END
The cinematic series by Naughty Dog is jumping to the PlayStation 4. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End looks to bring all of the signature elements that made the series a household name for gamers. Big action sequences, awesome gun battles, and an enjoyable narrative are just the start as we find out more about Nathan Drake’s past, his family, and (if the title is any indication) his fate. Whether this is truly his end or not, this is one game that no PlayStation 4 owner should miss when it hits early next year. Check out our full thoughts on Uncharted 4: A Thief's End's E3 2015 showing here.
HALO 5: GUARDIANS
The next chapter in the Master Chief saga looks like a good one. While the Spartan has faced off with fierce foes in the past, Spartan Locke and Fireteam Osiris have gone through similar training as Chief has, making them a deadly threat. Add the extremely promising Warzone multiplayer mode to the engaging story, and the overall package looks like a must-play title for Xbox owners. To find our in-depth coverage of Halo 5: Guardians, you can head to our coverage hub from our recent cover story.
On the next page, we give our pick for Best in Show.
Seeing Fallout 4 in action made us somehow even more excited to play than we were before. Not only did we get a look at the immersive world that promises to be the densest Bethesda has ever crafted, but we learned about the enhanced V.A.T.S. system, the upgraded combat mechanics, and the new building features. In addition, Xbox One (and potentially PS4) players are able to use PC mods, meaning that those who prefer to play on console are able to alter their experiences in ways never before seen in the franchise. Add to that the promise of more branching narratives and the prospect of a bigger and better experience than what was seen in the acclaimed Fallout 3, and November 10 can’t get here soon enough.
What was your favorite game of the show? Share your picks in the comments section below!