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Friday, June 17, 2016

The Friday Ten: Our ten top moments from E3 2016

List by Matt S. and Nick H.

So that's basically it, then. Another E3 has wrapped, complete with its own share of celebrations and controversies. We saw a whole bunch of games announced or given full new trailers, and by the looks of things, the rest of this year, and into 2017, is shaping up to be good stuff indeed.

So Matt and Nick have put their heads together to come up with our top ten moments from E3 this year. Be sure to let us know your own highlights of the show in the comments!

Nier: Automata

Let's get something out of the way from the outset; unless something absolutely dramatic goes wrong, Nier: Automata will be the best game in 2017. It's a big call, given that 2017 also gives us Persona 5, I know, but I'm comfortable making this call, given that I still consider Nier to be the greatest, most intelligent, most potent game yet created. The trailer shows that we can clearly expect more of the same creativity and deep thinking in its sequel. I'm looking forward to critics getting this one completely wrong, too. - Matt

Hatsune Miku VR

I don't know if Miku VR was actually announced at E3 or not. The announcement came in over the E3 period, but its precise source where the news came from I neither know of, not care. The main point is that Miku VR is not just a tech demo, it's a real VR game, and it has a release date, and it looks really, really good. Play well, get to enjoy private performances by Miku herself. Life just can't get better than that, surely. - Matt


Dontnod's Life is Strange impressed me so much that I was always going to be interested in the team's followup. That followup, Vampyr, is looking really, really good. It's not easy to mix horror and RPG gameplay, as horror all-but demands that the audience is disempowered, but RPGs are all about the accumulation of power. That being said, horror-themed RPGs have worked in the past, and I have a great deal of hope that Vampyr will be another of these. Especially if it retains Dontnod's ability to craft a story that integrates genuine moral conflict. - Matt

Detroit: Become Human

I'm always up for more David Cage games. I know he's a controversial game creator, but as far as I'm concerned, Heavy Rain was brilliant, and Beyond: Two Souls was only slightly behind. Detroit is Cage's attempt to bring his narrative-focused approach to game design to a futuristic setting, which is going to be interesting stuff indeed. Already from the trailer we can see that moral conflict and philosophy will be central to the plot, and the game just looks incredible. I know there are going to be people that dismiss this one on account of the fact it doesn't play like other games they like playing, but personally I'm looking forward to something different, cinematic, and interesting. This was the highlight of the blockbuster stuff that Sony had to show, as far as I'm concerned.


Sony is at its best when it's backing indie and arthouse games, as far as I'm concerned. Bound is a great example of this. It didn't exactly get much of a push from Sony (which was far too busy showing off its endless stream of blockbusters), but nonetheless, this was my most anticipated game from the event. It's promising to be a platformer with meaning; balletic in style and tone, and a personal story about a woman and her memories. The concept alone is raising every flag to tell me this is the kind of game I'd love, so I can't wait for it to launch in August. - Matt

Skyrim Remaster

With all of the new and shiny things that E3 has to offer, it seems strange that one of the games that piqued my interest the most would be a remastered version of Skyrim – but there it is. Personally, I would have preferred a remastered Oblivion or the next proper installment in the Elder Scrolls series, but the latter is still a ways off by all accounts. Regardless, Skyrim was a brilliant and beautiful game and it was interesting to note how both of my daughters were so excited when the announcement for this game came on the screen. The enhanced graphics and mod support (including reports that it will basically work with all of the old mods available) for consoles should breathe some new life into a game that was easily one of the best of the last console generation. - Nick

Tekken 7

Everyone has their favourite fighting games for a variety of different reasons. Tekken has been arguably my favourite since I rented and played the daylights out of the first game on PlayStation 1 years ago. The series has seen a few downs, but has largely moved from strength to strength over the years. The trailer looked absolutely amazing, and the PC gameplay footage that has been getting shown has done nothing to dampen my excitement. Add in popular Street Fighter antagonist Akuma, and it might not quite been the Tekken X Street Fighter game many of us have been waiting for, but it should still be something pretty special. - Nick

Madden 17

Another year, another Madden. I hear the refrain, but having played more than 90 per cent of them anyway, I'm always keen to see what comes up next. One of the things I have harped on the series for over the last several years is that the audio commentary has been in dire need of an update. Not that hearing actual NFL announces Phil Simms and Jim Nantz (like them or hate them, they are rather polarizing) was a bad thing – it gave the commentary a sense of authenticity. But when you spend as many hours with the game as I do each and every year, the holes become readily apparent. These are big names in the broadcasting community and their time to commit to these games has been limited over the last few years. This leads to a lot of recycled commentary on top of a structure that was somewhat rigid and did not always gel with the action on the field. So to hear that Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis – two other very good but lesser-known announcers – have been signed on for more than just one year caught my attention. EA claims that it has already spent more time with these two in a matter of weeks than it could have with the bigger name announcers over the span of a year. This bodes well for the standard of the overall game. - Nick

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

First and foremost, it’s great just to see something on the screen here after so much speculation over the last several months. What was teased in the past was gorgeous, but hardly satisfying. We got a much more robust look at the venerable adventure series and it did not disappoint. It would be easy for Nintendo to simply roll with what has worked for it in the past, but my son (also an ardent fan of all things Zelda) and I both were impressed with the new twists that were shown off. The series looks modernised in several ways, from the open world exploration, the crafting and little touches like the weather and survival elements. They are not necessarily new innovations, but they look to take a beloved franchise and if not fully take it into another direction, at least keep it on a modern and relevant path. - Nick


My youngest daughter has a very discerning video game palate. Community games like Minecraft and LittleBig Planet number among her favourites, but there are other types of games that simply catch her eye and her attention for their beautiful aesthetics and creative design. Fe was one of the few games that I saw on screen and both my oldest daughter and I knew we had to call my youngest in to rewatch the trailer with us. Her reaction was exactly what I thought it would be. She loved the visuals, but more than that seemed fascinated with the potential encountering unique denizens and to explore the unique ecosystem that makes up the game’s world. Fe is something brand new, and I am always willing to give a new IP a chance to prove itself. - Nick

So, what were your best moments from the show?

- Matt S (Editor-in-Chief) and Nick H (US Editor)
The Friday Ten: Our ten top moments from E3 2016
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