Sage’s Gaming Corner: Most Exciting E3 Titles

by Sage Ashford

For a lot of people, E3 was a bit of a let down.  With next-gen on the way, there was a distinct lack of new IPs present at this conference, as most developers instead settled for simply clearing out the remaining games they had announced or hinted at earlier.  That having been said, I felt like this E3 was solid, walking away with an extensive list of games to look forward to.  With that in mind, I thought I’d recap some of the games I’m looking forward to that were introduced either at or around E3.

15.) War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: I’m not terribly big on mobile titles which is why this game doesn’t rank higher, but War of the Visions really sold me with it’s promise of a dark tale of intrigue and it’s multiple royal houses.  That plus it’s clearly trying to be something of a successor to Final Fantasy Tactics, my favorite Final Fantasy of all time. It remains to be seen just how good this game is, but going off what we know this game looks great, so of course it has no release date and all we got was an “in development” sign.

14.) Ghostwire: Tokyo: “Setting the incredible charisma of Ghostwire Tokyo’s director, Ikumi Nakamura, aside, the summary of this game doesn’t sound bad. I’m not big on survival horror, but a “spooky” action-adventure title where we’re playing as a supernatural being working to discover the truth behind a massive conspiracy sounds fun. What keeps this game from ranking any higher is how much we don’t know about it. Is it first person? Or (hopefully) third? What kind of combat does it have? Is this an open world or a level-based game? When does it release? With no platforms mentioned, it’s clearly a next-gen title, so these answers are a long way off.”

13.) Trials of Mana: A remake of Seiken Densetsu 3 wasn’t something I was asking for, but lovingly crafted remakes of classic SNES and PS1-era games is something I’ll likely never get tired of. An admitted flaw of mine as a gamer is that going back to pre-HD titles is difficult for me, so I tend to use it as a way to filter the burgeoning list of games I should be playing into something more reasonable.  Still, when the kind of love and care that seems to be present here is applied to a remake, I immediately sit up and take notice. Hopefully Trials will do well enough to justify continued remakes of the Mana series, and one day a new game.

12.) Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order: I’m not completely sold on this game just yet, but I like a lot of what we’ve been shown and heard so far.  The application of the Force powers sounds great, traveling to different planets for multiple wide open levels in a Metroidvania style of gameplay sounds great, and Cal Kestis seems like a likable enough character.  I’m mostly holding out to see how they choose to handle combat, and whether or not the story is worth caring about, since it takes place in the space between Episodes 3 and 4, and thus has something of an obvious ending.

11.) Astral Chain: This would be higher up on the list if I knew just how open the levels of the game were.  They keep teasing me with these beautiful environments of this gorgeous futuristic city that looks like something out of a classic late 80’s/early 90’s OVA series. Even just a small explorable city would make this more of a must-buy.  Still, it’s a gorgeous game that promises Platinum’s highly acclaimed combat in a setting I’m a sucker for, so I’m absolutely in.

10.) Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order: It still feels unreal to even have this game on this list.  Seeing Team Ninja, Marvel, and Nintendo team up together to pull off another Ultimate Alliance is a dream come true.  However, there’s no question that this game is clearly counting more on nostalgia than other titles, and it feels like it’s not necessarily going out of its way to evolve the game play from the PS2 era as much as it is making minor improvements here and there and updating the roster to be relevant to today.  I do appreciate the roster growth though, especially when it leads to inclusions like Elsa Bloodstone and the promises of additional characters like the Fantastic Four and more X-Men, so this is still a high-priority get.

9.) Pokemon Sword and Shield: I haven’t touched a mainline Pokemon game since the second generation, but with the series migrating over to the Switch I can’t think of a better time.  Though the graphical improvements aren’t as much as fans would like them to be, this is still a pretty game, and the Galar region is an inspired choice. It’s something of a downer that fans won’t be able to transfer all of their Pokemon into this region’s Pokedex, but that shouldn’t stop this from being a good game when it comes out in the fall.  Plus, it’s got Scorbunny.  That automatically makes it the best Pokemon game ever.

8.) Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot: This is probably a little higher on the list than it deserves to be, and certainly higher than most people would place it. But ultimately, this new RPG from Bandai-Namco feels like the kind of game teenage me dreamed of.  The dork that was obsessed with Dragon Ball Z to the extent he wrote his own version of the Frieza and Cell Sagas would have gone to anime Heaven if he could’ve played an RPG that looked like the gameplay above.  The fact that there’s side stories and the ability to play as other characters means this is likely going to be the ultimate DBZ dream game, and for that alone it’s noteworthy to me.  If it included movie stuff, Dragon Ball Super, and some original villains I’d rank it even higher.

7.) Cyberpunk: 2077: This is easily one of the most anticipated games by the entire gaming community, but it landed seventh on my list because I really, really, really despise first person.  In fact, it’s a testament to how interested I am in this game and how much respect I have for CD Projekt RED this even made the list at all.  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of my Top 5 games of this current generation, and there’s a better chance than not this will be an excellent game as well, given the care and time poured into the adaptation of this property.  So even though a lack of peripheral vision makes me want to toss my PS4 controller into as many breakable objects as possible, I’m still down to go on an adventure with Johnny Silverhand.

6.) Final Fantasy 7: Remake: I was never the biggest Final Fantasy VII fan.  It caught my eye as a PS1 gamer, but ultimately I went in other directions to get my RPG fix.  However, it’s hard to deny how iconic this game is and what it meant for PlayStation and how it helped shape that generation.  It’s been almost two decades since I even touched Final Fantasy VII, but this game is being set up well and I’m curious to see if it can live up to my memories, and perhaps create a few new ones with it’s expanded narrative.

5.) Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Fire Emblem is one of my favorite tactical RPG series, it’s existence and popularity in the West serving as something of an apology for Square failing to create Tactics 2.  Fortunately the game only grew in popularity with the 3DS installments, and is now positioned on the Switch to turn into something special.  The graphics have taken a massive step up, and the story looks to have done the same, as it explores how the fires of war tear apart friends that belong to separate sides in a conflict.  And bottom line, having Fire Emblem finally return to consoles is awesome, even if I don’t yet own a Switch.

4.) Watch Dogs: Legion: Ubisoft has gradually turned into one of my favorite publishers.  They don’t make the greatest games ever, but they’re typically all games you can sink hours of time into, because there’s so much to do and the gameplay is just demanding enough to keep you engaged but without being so complex or difficult that it fries your brain to think of ways to overcome a boss you’ve been stuck on for hours.  Watch Dogs: Legion finally gives us the third installment of one of their biggest newer IPs this generation. This broken down, post-Brexit big brother version of London looks great thanks to it being drenched in 80’s-styled neon, and playing as the Resistance itself is an inspired choice.  There are questions as to how the system will work in the long run, but I’m still excited to be a Grey hat hacker again, nevermind exploring the only modern open-world IP we have left anymore.

3.) Tales of Arise: I’m the first person to admit that the Tales of series hasn’t satisfied me in a very long time. I tried both Xillia and Berseria and both of them eventually lost my attention, generally thanks to the generic backgrounds that felt like uprezzed PS2 environments. But already Tales of Arise is looking like a vast improvement with the screens we’ve seen.  Supposedly they’re aiming for a larger audience by going for the West a bit, but honestly I’d just be happy if they became less obtuse with the systems and let us change outfits without paying $4.99 or whatever.

2.) GreedFall: I’ve wanted Spiders to turn into a studio that delivered quality AA experiences for some time now.  Mars War Logs and Through the flames weren’t it, but GreedFall looks…special.  The combat has the impact Through the Flames lacked, while the story and design is far improved from either of those games, as they take on the idea of colonialism through a fantasy lens. Honestly, given this is coming out this year it almost took the #1 spot, except for…

1.) Marvel’s Avengers:  The only thing I’d been wondering about from the moment this game was announced was: How would they botch it? Would it be competitive only?  Would they make you play as a Shield agent? A AAA superhero game like this is like a dream come true, which in gaming often winds up being a monkey’s paw.
So when Crystal Dynamics showed this off and it wasn’t any of those things, I was already sold.  The designs aren’t perfect, but they aren’t the “great value” Avengers or whatever the peanut gallery on Twitter have been calling them either. It appears to be the game I never thought it could be: an open-ended title with the Avengers, adding new heroes and areas over time, where each hero could be developed as a player likes.  I still have my doubts–we didn’t see much gameplay, and ultimately the story is a question mark.  But still, Square and Marvel are off to a very good start and I can’t wait to hear more.

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