Game Informer's Best Of E3 2017 Awards
Although this E3 only had a handful of surprises, the show still generated tons of excitement. With the show open to the public for the first time ever, E3 saw nearly 70,000 attendees. With flashy press conferences from the biggest publishers, we saw new IPs, reveals, and announcements that generated buzz amongst fans. After scouring the show floor and seeing these press conferences for ourselves, we've rounded up our best picks from the show. Here are our E3 2017 awards.
DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN
Detroit: Become Human features three android protagonists, and from this unique perspective, players observe a world where synthetic life is valued only for its service to humanity. This year’s demo focused on a rebellious android named Markus with the power to cause other androids to turn deviant, effectively allowing him to build an army and start an uprising. The team at Quantic Dream uses this premise to deliver a choice-driven narrative, implementing gameplay mechanics and adaptive storytelling that should be familiar to fans of the developer’s other projects like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. Read our three biggest takeaways from its E3 demo here.
DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ
One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft’s press conference, Dragon Ball FighterZ features some of the most gorgeous renderings of Goku, Vegeta, and other classic Dragon Ball Z characters we’ve seen yet. The fighting also accomplishes the tall task of taking the over-the-top action of the cartoon series and wrangling it into a fun fighting system filled with Instant Transmissions, Father-Son Kamehamehas, and lots of collateral damage. Throw in a three-on-three, assist-happy roster into the mix, and you have the recipe for both a classic fighter and what could be one of the best Dragon Ball Z games in recent years. For more on why Bandai Namco chose to go back to 2D fighters, read our interview with producer Tomoko Hiroki.
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II
EA clearly listened to its fans' request to bring a single-player campaign to Star Wars Battlefront II, but that doesn't mean attention wasn't also put on refining the multiplayer experience. We saw a good chunk of gameplay at the finale of EA's press conference, and later got a chance to try multiplayer. We came away impressed with the changes, which include a new class system and redesigned weapons. Featuring cross-era characters and locales from both the prequel and sequel of Star Wars film trilogies, Battlefront II has lots of detail in its environments, and we look forward to seeing more. Read our in-depth preview of its multiplayer here.
SEA OF THIEVES
Sea of Thieves is Rare's swashbuckling, multiplayer adventure where you go pillaging with friends and battling other ships across an open world sea. Originally announced at E3 2015, it made a reappearance this year and got a 2018 release window. Its wacky tone is reflected in both the cartoonish visuals and with its gameplay that doesn't take itself seriously. You and a group of friends share tasks aboard a ship, including steering, hoisting sails, firing cannons, and more. After playing nearly half an hour of the game, we felt that Sea of Thieves showed promise and was the best cooperative title at E3 this year.
SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY
After finally getting our hands on Mario’s latest adventure, we can confidently say Super Mario Odyssey has both the iconic feel we’ve come to expect from the series and a few new ideas to freshen up the formula. Using Cappy, a magical spirit inhabiting his hat, Mario can possess all kinds of objects and characters, leading to new puzzle-solving avenues for players to follow. This includes turning into a Moai Statute wearing shades to see invisible platforms, embodying wall-mounted safety cones to fling Mario up buildings, and a T-rex. We’re not sure how that last one will be useful, but we can bet it’ll be fun.
FORZA MOTORSPORT 7
At E3, Microsoft used Forza 7 as a poster child for the graphical capabilities of the upcoming 4K-capable gaming system the Xbox One X, but its awesome visuals aren't the only reason to pay attention to this October 3rd title. The career mode has been rearranged away from historic races to center around what's in your garage, and there are plenty of racing events to keep you hunting after the over 700 cars in the game. In fact, the more cars you collect the better your rewards are as you level up. Moreover, for the first time in the series you can see your driver outside of the car, and they can be customized with over 300 firesuits. Check out the game's trailer for more.
MONSTER HUNTER WORLD
The Monster Hunter series has been serving focused audiences in North America for years, releasing primarily on handhelds and Nintendo consoles. Now, this action/RPG franchise is broadening its approach with Monster Hunter World. Releasing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and PC later), this installment continues the traditions of deliberate combat, careful preparation, and rewarding progression. A dynamic ecosystem is a major new feature, with monsters preying on each other in the large (and load-free) areas. You can turn that to your advantage in a fight, and gain an extra edge by joining up with friends for co-op hunts. For more, head here to read our impressions.
Bungie may have shown off the meat of Destiny 2’s changes at an event the month before E3, but what they brought to the show leaves us even more excited to play the RPG/shooter hybrid in September. The new weapon system makes switching much more fun, and the new grenade launchers have a powerful oomph to them. The new Arcstrider subclass is also an absolute joy to play, and further drives home Bungie’s point about making sure every subclass feels distinct this time around. Hopefully Bungie can make good on their promise to make the story more fleshed out this time, as we can’t wait to sink hours into the game come September.
MADDEN NFL 18
Madden is getting a story mode, but unlike FIFA's The Journey, the teams wants to significantly vary the gameplay within it from moment to moment. The story is called The Longshot, and it centers around Devin Wade trying to make the NFL after a period away from the game. Along the way Wade will be judged by scouts for his actions, flashback to his high school and college careers, and prove he has the skill and intelligence to be a QB in the NFL. The latter even walks gamers through memorizing and understanding play calls at the line of scrimmage. Apart from its first foray into a story mode, this year's Madden also features online co-op play through MUT squads, a new, optional passing accuracy mechanic for hardcore fans, specific player-controls for WRs and DBs, and more. The game is bringing a lot to the table, no matter what kind of football action you're looking for.
XCOM 2: WAR OF THE CHOSEN
As if XCOM 2's strategy wasn’t deep enough, Firaxis has added a host of new mechanics and systems to an already robust strategy experience. A new enemy type, called The Chosen, will hunt players throughout the campaign and slowly adapt to their strategy after each encounter. Another new enemy, called the Spectre, can sneak through the battlefield and create dark copies of XCOM soldiers. Thankfully, players can also bolster their ranks with a few new soldier classes. For example, the Skirmishers are half-alien hybrids that have turned against the alien overlords. If that’s not enough, War of the Chosen is adding new environments, mission objectives, and character customization options to create an incredibly robust experience that will feel fresh even to those who have put hundreds of hours into the base game. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen will release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 29. For more on this exciting expansion, head here. You can also listen to our interview with XCOM 2's Jake Solomon here.
XBOX ONE X
We’d like to see Microsoft make a stronger case for why Xbox One owners should upgrade to this new hardware, but the tech giant has made a beautiful new piece of hardware. Microsoft utilized a 2.3GHz custom octacore processor and an AMD GPU with 12GB GDDR5 RAM and 6 Teraflops of performance to develop the most powerful console on the market. Impressively, the Xbox One X is also Microsoft’s smallest hardware unit to date. The system’s specs allow it to run the Xbox One's current library of games with faster load times, improved anisotropic filtering, 4K output, and supersampling. Hopefully, we get to see how Microsoft’s software lineup will further take advantage of this powerful hardware punch before the system’s release on November 7. For more on the Xbox One X, head here.
Destiny’s first foray onto PC looks incredibly promising. This version (which uses Blizzard’s Battle.net platform as its backbone) looks and feels fantastic on a high-end machine. Playing Destiny at 60 frames-per-second makes it feel like a different game, the menus are snappier, and high-precision weapons like Hand Cannons gain new life when you can snap your cursor over targets instantly. On all versions, vistas are more expansive, and the reworking of zones to make them more populated makes Destiny’s world feel like more of a real place instead of something you read about in the Grimoire. All of this leaves us excited to play Destiny 2, regardless of which platform we end up playing on.
VR continued to have a presence at E3 this year, and we came away most impressed with Supermassive's The Inpatient. Billed as a psychological thriller and prequel to Until Dawn, The Inpatient is set many years prior to the first game. You play as a man with amnesia who wakes up in a mental asylum, which is the same sanitarium that you explore in Until Dawn. In the short demo we played, we were interrogated by a sinister doctor while strapped to a chair, experienced unsettling flashbacks, and jumped out of our skin when a jump scare occurred in a dreamscape section. The Inpatient uses similar mechanics to Until Dawn, using both scares and decision-making to immerse the player. It's a concept that we found works well, and we're excited to see more.
METROID: SAMUS RETURNS
Every E3, we hope for a new 2D Metroid game, and it never happens. That’s why fans’ jaws dropped when Nintendo made this surprise announcement during its E3 livestream. Metroid: Samus Returns is a 3DS remake of Metroid II, which originally released on Game Boy in 1991. This reimagined adventure retains the same story and flow, but developer MercurySteam (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow) is adding a modern spin. That includes mechanics like a melee counter move, plus Amiibo functionality. The action looks and feels great, and we can’t wait to suit up for more.
SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY
Nintendo’s spacing out of key Switch releases like Mario Kart 8, Arms, and Splatoon 2 over several months seems to be working out so far, but for many of us, the Switch has been a Zelda machine. That should change come October, as Super Mario Odyssey has shown itself to be the next must-play Nintendo game for the system. Its platforming is rock-solid and creative, and its characters (including mayor of New Donk City, Pauline) make each area fun and rewarding to explore. It may still be a few months away, but if Nintendo can deliver games with as much promise as Super Mario Odyssey on the regular, we’ll be very hopeful about the Switch’s future past its first year.
Uncharted: Lost Legacy looks amazing, but Spider-Man has always been amazing. Every adjective that has ever been featured on the cover of a Spider-Man comic could be applied to Insomniac’s new open-world action game. Players will be able to use a mix of stealth and improvised action as they take on Spider-Man foes like the Kingpin and Mr. Negative. An abundance of quick-time events during Sony’s onstage demo had a few fans worried, but Insomniac assured us that these quick-time moments would be used sparingly. For more impressions based on our behind-closed-doors demo, head here.
STATE OF DECAY 2
Go on supply runs, manage a community, and take out zombie hordes in this post-apocalyptic survival experience. State of Decay 2 stands out among Microsoft’s stable of titles with a harrowing and dynamic world full of improvements. A cleaner interface and cooperative multiplayer are just a couple of ways the team at Undead Labs is addressing concerns from the original State of Decay. Plus, this sequel builds on the core fantasy with deeper combat, characters, and simulation elements.
Originally titled The Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, this shooter has re-emerged as Hunt: Showdown three years later, with new monster-hunting-meets-survival-shooter direction that feels fresh. With its gothic horror aesthetic and clever twist on the battle royale genre that titles such as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds have popularized, Hunt: Showdown stood out to us as the best PC exclusive at the show. You can read our deep dive that breaks down the creepy cooperative action here.
SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY
We had a good idea of what Super Mario Odyssey was heading into this year’s show, but what we saw there did a fantastic job of singling out what makes it unique among the mainline Mario games. The ability to possess anything that isn’t nailed down or wearing a hat should make for some fantastic and creative levels, and the worlds we’ve seen so far look gorgeous, moving away from the Galaxy series’ bite-sized levels and going back to creating colorful worlds where exploration and critical thinking are as key as platforming prowess. All of these changes left us excited to see what other ideas Nintendo has in store for us come October, and it’s the game we’re most looking forward to playing after E3.
What were your favorite picks from the show? Let us know in the comments!