Josh Weavers runs us through the highlights from our full coverage of E3 2017, and some titles that didn’t get the chance to grace the main stage.
Cuphead has become something of a stalwart at E3 in recent years, first being announced in 2014 and returning every year since. Cuphead combines stunning visuals inspired by 1930’s cartoons by Fleischer Studios and Disney with challenging old school run and gun gameplay, creating one of the most charming games to have been announced at E3 in recent years. Finally after years of anticipation punctuated by several delays, due in no small part to StudioMDHR’s commitment to hand animating the game, this year Microsoft announced a release date of 29 September 2017.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Certainly one of the stranger titles to be announced at this years E3, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks to be a mash up of X-Com style turn based tactical gameplay with elements of exploration familiar to the Mario series of games. Stranger still is that the game actually looks like it has retained the strategic depth of a tactical RPG without sacrificing the light-hearted nature of the Mushroom Kingdom. Seems like Ubisoft and Nintendo have provided us with yet another reason to rush out and buy a Switch.
Monster Hunter World
Capcom’s latest entry into the Monster Hunter series of games seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat at this year’s E3, despite being a hugely ambitious project which could be one of Capcom’s best games in a long while. For those unfamiliar with the series, Monster Hunter is an action RPG, combining an in-depth item system with action in the form of slaying monsters which threaten the safety of various villages under the players protection. Having primarily been a fixture on the 3DS since 2011, Monster Hunter World looks to take advantage of the powerful hardware on offer from the Xbox One and PS4. Gone are the clunky load times between levels which hampered the fluidity of the old games, replaced instead by a gorgeous living breathing open world complete with destructible environments and an equally impressive monster design. Capcom producer Ryozo Tsujimoto walked us through the hunt of the T-Rex like Anjanath, demonstrating the complexity of the combat system, using a variety of mechanics including carefully placed traps like destructible rock formations which unleash torrents of water to disorient the monster and even luring other creatures from the world into the fight. Throw in the four player drop-in co-op and it seems that Capcom has a smash hit on their hands.
The Evil Within 2
After a fairly poor sales figures from the original title and the somewhat lukewarm reception to the game due in part to its convoluted plot and some uninspired design choices, a sequel certainly seemed unlikely. Yet, Bethesda still seems to have faith in the title, giving legendary Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami a chance at redemption with a sequel. Sebastian Castellanos returns as the protagonist, this time on a journey to save his daughter Lily who was previously thought to be dead. Evil Within 2 looks to have built upon the failings of its predecessor and has shifted its focus away from gore and jump scares to a deeper psychological style of horror reminiscent of Silent Hill. In an effort to make the Sebastian more relatable, Mikami and Tango Gameworks have thrown in intense themes, dealing not only with the psychological impact of the first games but also the character’s alcoholism and attempts to deal with the loss of his daughter. These tonal changes seem to have bled into the design of the game world with the enemies seeming more unsettling, than outright scary, all in all creating a much more interesting and appealing game. It’s possible that the Evil Within 2 could be a return to form for Mikami which survival horror fans have been hoping for.
Metroid: Samus Returns
Not a straight up remake but more of a reimagining, Metroid: Samus Returns is based upon the classic Gameboy title Metroid 2: Return of Samus. To the dismay of some Metroid purists, Nintendo have decided to use 3D polygonal art instead of the traditional 2D pixel art and we have to say, the results are impressive, Yoshio Sakamoto’s team have managed to update the game for the modern era whilst making it feel immediately familiar to fans of the original. Core game mechanics look to have remained the same but removing restrictions on angles of fire and including a new melee counterattack to deal extra damage to enemies feel like inspired design choices. Look forward to dusting off your 3DS on 15 September 2017.
Call of Cthulhu
Early signs are promising for Call of Cthulhu. Inspired by the Chaosium pen and paper RPG of the same name it seems that Cyanide Studios have grasped the tone of Lovecraftian horror perfectly if the cinematic trailer is anything to go by. You will play as Edward Pierce, a private investigator looking into the deaths of Sarah Hawkins and her family at their family home in Darkwater. It seems as though madness and insanity will play a key role in the game, with the trailer ending with the protagonist bound to a bed in an asylum. Cyanide Studios have also indicated that it will feature in the game mechanics, with each new horror having a lasting impact upon the mental health of Edward Pierce, developing new phobias which will then force the player to change their strategy in order to survive to the end. Call of Cthulhu has no official release date yet but will be released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC sometime in 2017
You can view our full coverage of E3 2017 here.