E3 2018’s Biggest Games: Nine Months Later

With this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3) just around the corner both in schedule and location, it’s about time we look back on our coverage of last year’s biggest week in video games and see where things currently stand. As is standard for the annual benchmark event for the gaming industry, developers, publishers, and other companies large and small all made big promises at E3 2018. Some of them delivered, some of them fell through, and some of them are still so far off that we have no idea what they’re even about yet.

The Good

Resident Evil 2 — At a time when it seems like every classic game is getting an HD remaster (even Tetris), Capcom delivered arguably the best one yet in their full remake of Resident Evil 2. Coming out of E3 2018 as one of the most promoted and exciting games, Resident Evil 2 has introduced an entire new generation to the terror that is Mr. X and the classic survival horror gameplay that the series has moved away from over the last decade or so.

Metro Exodus — It doesn’t take long to figure out whether or not you’re going to enjoy the first two Metro games, and the third installment is no different. Among the people who believe they’re some of the best first-person shooters of all time, Metro’s combination of apocalyptic horror, mutant creatures, and tight story are tough to replicate, and Exodus effectively takes all of 2033 and Last Light’s strengths and executes them better than ever before. Steam/Epic Store PR debacle aside, Metro Exodus is worth playing for anyone who even semi-enjoyed the first two.

Marvel’s Spider-Man — Continuing on from the success of the Arkham games, the superhero takeover sprung on to PS4 with the exclusive Spider-Man entry from Insomniac Games. Not only did it become one of the biggest system-sellers of the holiday season, but it also teased the possibility of Spider-Man (possibly along with some other Marvel characters) becoming one of the faces of Sony for the PS5 and beyond. Given the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other superhero movies, it’d be surprising if we didn’t see more of it going forward.

Devil May Cry V — Although it’s not out quite yet, the latest installment of the Devil May Cry series looks like it’ll get things back on track after the controversial DmC “reboot” from a handful of years ago. Returning to the classic structure of Dante and Nero wielding giant swords, guns, and whatever other weapons they can use to stylishly take down demons always makes for a good time, and Capcom looks like they’re bound to continue their recent run of success with this one.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice — Alright, so the latest project by From Software isn’t actually releasing until March 22, but there’s no way that Sekiro isn’t going to be one of the most wonderfully maddening and violent games of 2019. Based on the gameplay and videos shown so far, those expecting a Dark Souls or Bloodborne clone might be a bit disappointed, but there’s no reason to think Sekiro won’t live up to the impeccable and brutal standards set by From Software’s previous titles.

The Bad

Anthem — Although it looked cool when shown in cinematic trailers on giant screens, Anthem never really seemed to know what it wanted to do as a game. Considering BioWare’s history of making fantastic role-playing games in the past, many Anthem supporters were hoping to get a high-caliber sci-fi RPG that can be played both solo or with a group of friends. Unfortunately, what Anthem ended up being (so far, at least) is just a knockoff Destiny that doesn’t do anything quite as well as games that came before it.

The Walking Dead — It’s been a bad year for video games based around The Walking Dead. First, Telltale Studios shut down while still working on the final season of their story-based game, and then Overkill Software decided to ditch their own half-finished game as well. Last year’s E3 was all about the wide variety of zombie games coming out, and clearly sacrifices had to be made in order for Resident Evil 2 and (hopefully) Dying Light 2 to prosper.

Fallout 76 — If there’s one game that really destroyed all of its potential in 2018, it’s Fallout 76. Coming from the industry giants at Bethesda Game Studios, everything about Fallout 76 seemed too underwhelming to be true when it was first announced. Few (if any) people wanted the traditionally single-player RPG to be turned into an online-only adventure that removed most of the storytelling, and even fewer understood how an entry in a series known for its plots was really supposed to work without a plot. Upon release, it was clear that it didn’t.

We Happy Few — On paper and in demos, We Happy Few looks like one of the more interesting and unique games in recent memory. From its premise to its art direction, everything about the game seemed very different from what a lot of the major game studios are doing these days. Unfortunately, in crafting a dystopian world in which everyone is on drugs all the time, the folks at Compulsion Games forgot why most people actually play video games — because they’re fun. We Happy Few often feels like a chore to play through, although maybe the right hallucinogenic drugs would fix that.

The Quiet Man — Much like We Happy Few, The Quiet Man took what could’ve been a fascinating concept and turned it into one of the worst games of the year. Having a deaf protagonist isn’t an excuse for creating a boring and stupid story that ends in a way that makes no sense (with or without sound), and the gameplay of it feels like something that even Quantic Dream would turn down.

The Questionable

Kingdom Hearts 3 — Look, Kingdom Hearts as a series is great. The new installment is a pretty good conclusion to what started back in 2002, and it would’ve been a must-have game for the PS3. Unfortunately, it feels a bit dated compared to modern games in 2019, and the lack of endgame challenge that the Kingdom Hearts (and Final Fantasy) games are typically known for is nowhere to be found in this one.

Jump Force — A lot of people were convinced that Jump Force was going to be the game to break the barrier of mediocrity that most of the Shonen Jump games fall under. It looked like it’d be a necessity for any anime fan, and might even win over some fighting game fans who were unhappy with the other current offerings. As it turns out, Jump Force was just more of the same issue-laden game with a shiny new coat of paint.

Dreams — Based on the creations that players designed in the beta, Dreams could be an industry-changing release when it comes out later this year. It seems to be living up to its promise of providing virtually limitless creative tools and allowing users to customize anything they want. Other than the unknown release date, what really raises suspicion about Dreams is how Media Molecule is going to deal with/guard against players using their tools to commit copyright infringement on dozens (if not hundreds) of other games.

Days Gone — For the last handful of years, Sony has been on a roll with their PlayStation exclusives. With Game of the Year contenders like The Last of Us, Uncharted (particularly 2 and 4, but the others are still respectable), God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, Spider-Man, and many more, there’s been little reason to doubt anything put out by Sony Interactive Entertainment. That said, April’s Days Gone has already seen multiple delays while providing little noteworthy information for fans to get excited about. For all we know, it could end up being the best game ever, but we’re a little more skeptical than we have been for previous Sony releases.

Death Stranding/The Last of Us Part II/Ghost of Tsushima — Unlike the concern over Days Gone, there’s little doubt that any of these three PlayStation exclusives will be anything but magnificent. The problem is that no one knows when any of them will actually release — or even vaguely what Death Stranding is about. Could they be some of the best games of 2019? Sure, but they could also be announced for 2020 or 2021 (which would likely be the PS5) and no one would even think twice about it.

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