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The five best games of E3 2017

E3 is finally over, after a seemingly endless stream of barely watchable conferences, Earth-shattering game announcements, utterly desirable plastic figurines, tepidly received hardware, surprisingly sweary trailers, zombies, androids, gods and superheroes, visions of the post-apocalypse (and zombies), more visions of the post-apocalypse (and Nazis), and visions of Mario *being* a dinosaur (no Nazis or zombies).

But did we get any of the things we wished for? The Manor folk are on hand to run through their top five games from this year’s E3 – Professor GreilMercs already listed his highlights, but here are the picks from the Baron and Lucius.

Baron Richenbaum Fotchenstein

#5 Marvel vs.Capcom Infinite

This game just hits me right in the Marvels and cranks the classic video game character nostalgia up to 11 with what looks to be a super fun and ridiculous single player campaign. This is the most excited I’ve been about a fighting game in ages.

#4 Doom VR

In theory this could be the best of all, because I loved the new Doom so much and was already thinking about playing it again and wishing it was VR capable, and here we are. I’m hoping that the teleport movement in the trailer isn’t the only option though, and slightly worried that the transition from non-VR to VR controls might be a little tricky for a game with so much fast movement and jumping involved.

#3 Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Looks to be more of the same of the last one, but that was a ton of fun so I’m quite alright with that.

#2 The Evil Within 2

A sequel to the greatest horror game of this generation besides Resident Evil 7? Of course I’m interested in that!

#1 Metro Exodus

If this can really live up to its promise of an open world set in the beautifully decrepit Metro universe, and the high production values of the previous games tend to make me believe that it can, then this could end up being the game of the year for me. Sci-fi, horror, first person shooting, and a huge world full of content? What more can a man ask for?!

Lucius P. Merriweather

#5 Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido

This new IP was announced quite late on in E3, but it quickly became one of the games I’m most looking forward to. It’s an action puzzle game from the makers of NES Remix, and it looks wonderfully absurd – you have to collect sushi from the conveyor belt in front of you and fling the dishes at your opponent. But the best thing has to be the music – check out the trailer to see what I mean.

#4 Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein: The New Order was a wonderful surprise after a string of lacklustre Wolfenstein titles – the story was compelling and the gameplay was a refreshing return to old-school health packs. The sequel – now set in a  Nazi-run America – looks just as good. Can’t wait.

#3 Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Well this one was a bit of a surprise. Thanks to leaks, we knew there was a Mario/Rabbids crossover game on the way, and most people groaned at the news, expecting some sort of dull mini-game compilation like the previous Rabbids games. But instead we got XCOM and Mario with a gun – I don’t think anyone saw that coming. What’s more, it actually looks really, really good.

#2 Super Mario Odyssey

We all knew that Odyssey would be good – there’s nary a dud game in the Mario back catalogue – but from the footage revealed at E3, it looks like it’s shaping up to be something extra special. The ‘possession’ mechanic is a wonderful idea, and the sheer variety of ideas on display is breathtaking. I mean, you can possess a dinosaur. A DINOSAUR. Roll on October.

#1 Monster Hunter World

This game came as something of a surprise, as it’s heading to PS4 and Xbox One rather than Nintendo’s machines. What’s more, it looks utterly stunning – after sampling Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in HD on the Wii U, I’m looking forward to another HD monster hunt with even shinier graphics. It seems Capcom have given the mechanics a long-overdue shake-up as well, so this looks like almost a new start for the series. Still, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will make its way to the Switch as well…

Special mention – It didn’t quite squeak into my top five, but I want to give special mention to Griftlands, a cartoon-style RPG from the makers of Don’t Starve where the emphasis is on charming and swindling your way through the game. Looks very promising…

And that’s it! Thanks for reading our coverage of E3 2017 – if you missed anything, you can find all of the posts archived here. See you back here next year! We’ll leave you with this wonderfully infectious tune ‘I’ll Be Your 1-Up Girl’ from Super Mario Odyssey…

(Apparently it’s sung by no less than Pauline, who’s now the mayor of New Donk City…)

UPDATE FROM LUCIUS – D’oh! I just realised I completely forgot to mention the new Metroid games, which were specifically on my wish list! Seeing as we have no footage of Metroid Prime 4 whatsover, it’s hard to put it in my top five, but I reckon Metroid: Samus Returns should go in at number 2, nudging out Sushi Striker at number 5 (sorry Sushi Striker). I played Metroid II recently, but it was a struggle to get used to the old-school gameplay (there’s not even a map for chrissakes), so I can’t wait to play the remake. Samus Returns seems to add some nifty innovations, too: check out the fancy counter move in the gameplay trailer below. Day one purchase, I reckon – and it’s been far too long since we had a new 2D Metroid.


Filed under Best-of Lists, E3, E3 2017

E3 2017: 5 new and exciting things from the Nintendo Spotlight

At a svelte 30 minutes, Nintendo’s E3 presentation was far shorter than its rivals – but it packed a few truly stunning reveals into its relatively slim running time. The low points were undoubtedly Reggie Fils-Aime’s interminable ramblings, where he stirred in metaphor after metaphor and ended up producing a truly inedible word soup.

“The game is fun. The game is a battle. If it’s not fun, why bother? If it’s not a battle, where’s the fun?”

Oooookay Reggie, I sort of see where you’re going…

“It’s a test that you pass, or a quest that you fail. A race against time. Fun and battle always locked together. But the game is also something else. It’s a passport to new worlds. Maybe even an odyssey.”

Nope, sorry, you lost me.

Anyway, onto the games. (Or battles?)

#5 Pokemon on Switch

Tsunekazu Ishihara from The Pokemon Company looked up from his notepad for long enough to tell us that a new Pokemon game is on its way for the Switch – and that was pretty much it. It’s exciting news, but all we know is that it’s in development and that “it may not release for more than a year”.

#4 Xenoblade Chronicles 2

We knew that this game was coming, but now we finally get to see a bit more of it in action. My first impressions were a little lukewarm compared to the reveal of the previous two games. The first Xenoblade Chronicles had the unique gimmick of taking place on two enormous giants, and X had giant robot suits and dinosaurs to dazzle the eye, whereas XC2 looks like it treads more traditional JRPG territory by comparison. BUT, with all the flying ships whizzing about, it has a strong Skies of Arcadia vibe – and that’s a very good thing indeed. The slightly ropey English voiceover may take some getting used to though. Apparently it’s still set for ‘Winter 2017’, although I will take that with a pinch of salt – both previous games slipped quite considerably.

#3 Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

We already saw this game at Ubisoft’s conference, but it’s worth highlighting here because – against all expectations – it looks like something utterly amazing. Basically, it’s Mario does XCOM, a sentence I never thought I’d ever write. As a huge fan of the XCOM games, I’m intrigued to see how this plays – and it looks pretty funny, too. Man, XCOM with a sense of humour – we live in interesting times…

#2 Super Mario Odyssey

This game looks seriously bonkers. And that is a very good thing indeed. The big change is that Mario can possess enemies by flinging his cap at them, which immediately brings to mind the underrated N64 classic Space Station Silicon Valley. It opens up all sorts of avenues for explorative gameplay, and from this first extended look, it seems Odyssey could very well beat Super Mario 3D World in terms of sheer imagination. The variety of environments is impressive – the design team has really gone for broke on this one. And Mario possesses a FLIPPIN’ T. REX AT THE END. Mental.

#1 Metroid Prime 4

In the end it was just a title, but it was enough. METROID PRIME 4. Three words that have sent the Twittersphere into absolute meltdown. Ten years after the last Metroid Prime game, and following the tepid reception to Other M and Federation Force, Nintendo has finally listened to the fans and given them what they wanted. And – bombshell upon bombshell – MP4 wasn’t even the only Metroid game Nintendo announced.

Those are my highlights, but we also saw glimpses of new Kirby and Yoshi games – neither set my world alight, although they’re sure to please fans of the series. The other big news was that Rocket League is coming to Switch – and already people who own the game on other systems are talking about getting the Switch version as well, just for the portability. It seems that Nintendo really hit on something that people love when they came up with the Switch, and judging by the strong games line-up in their presentation, the company has a rosy year ahead.


Filed under E3, E3 2017

E3 2017 hopes and dreams

EA will kick off E3 2017 with their pre-show presentation tomorrow, so we thought we’d put our heads together and come up with a list of the announcements we’d like to see over the next week or so. Maybe this is finally the year of Half-Life 3

Hey, what do you mean it will never happen? If E3 has taught us anything over the years, it’s that it is a place where dreams can be made (…and promises broken).

Professor GreilMercs – E3 (in my household also known as Nintendo Christmas) is always a time for high hopes and dashed dreams, but by now I’ve learned to accept what the Nintendo gods grant us rather than get myself too dangerously hyped.

Without a doubt Nintendo is going to be showcasing Super Mario Odyssey, one of its big releases for this year. It’s a game that I’m not super excited about, not being a big fan of 3D platformers in general, but that I don’t mind finding out more about. On the realistic side, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo filled in some info about the just-announced Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon and padded their presentation with some additional info about the soon-to-be-released Splatoon 2. There are also a number of previously announced Switch games that everyone’s been waiting to hear more about, including Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the new Shin Megami Tensei game. The game that falls into this category that I would be most psyched to see a trailer for would definitely be Fire Emblem Warriors, and it seems likely since details and images from the game have already started to be included in Famitsu.

More info on Super Mario Odyssey is a dead cert for E3.

We should probably also expect to see at least some of the multiplayer-centric fluff that Nintendo has been pushing for the last few years, like the ones from 2015’s underwhelming presentation that included The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, Metroid Prime Federation Force, and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival (yawn). It also wouldn’t be surprising to see at least one new line of Amiibo announced, and some more Wii U to Switch ports. The most likely of these is the much-speculated new version of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U that would include all the previously released DLC and some new characters and modes (such as the 3DS-exclusive Smash Run mode). This would be a super easy win for Nintendo, and including obvious characters like the Inklings from Splatoon and Spring Man or Ribbon Girl from ARMS would get them tons of points from fans.

We can expect a few announcements from left field, but as a longtime Nintendo fan any revivals of long-ignored series would be definite highlights for me (the announcement of Kid Icarus: Uprising in 2010 will always be a fond E3 memory for me). It would be great if this were the year we finally found out what Retro Studios (of Metroid Prime fame) has been working on since 2014, and of course a new Metroid game would always be welcomed with open arms (although fans have been waiting for a new 2D game several years longer than a new first-person Prime game). Likewise, any new entries in dormant series such as Advance Wars and WarioWare would be great to see, and I personally wouldn’t mind seeing a Switch follow-up to the Wii Fit series either.

Could this be the year that we finally see a new Advance Wars?

Oh, blast it all, I’ve gone and gotten myself overly hyped once again. Well, only a few more hours until we find out what E3 2017 has in store for us. Happy E3, and here’s hoping for a very merry Nintendo Christmas!

Baron Richenbaum Fotchenstein – My main concern is the rumors about Bloodborne 2 being announced. This seems unlikely, given that From Software has already publicly stated that they have no intention of doing a sequel to Bloodborne, but a man can dream.

Dare we hope for a Bloodborne sequel?

If that doesn’t happen though, I’d like to see whatever other new game or games that From Software is working on, more new horror games, more new Marvel games, some big new PlayStation VR titles, Death Stranding gameplay, anything at all about Cyberpunk 2077, and I hear there may be new Wolfenstein and Evil Within reveals coming too.

Lucius P. Merriweather – In some ways, my dream E3 announcement is that there will be no announcements whatsoever. I already have a healthy backlog of games, and there are dozens of titles from the past couple of years that I’d dearly love to pick up and play – so the idea of adding even more ‘must-have’ games to my purchase list sends a shudder through my wallet.

Still, I can’t deny I’m excited about another E3 – as Professor GM points out, it’s basically Christmas for gamers. One title that I’ve had my eye on for a while is Vampyr by Dontnod Entertainment, who made the wonderful Remember Me (review here) and Life is Strange. It’s set for release in November, and it’s shaping up to be something special, so I’ll be keeping my peepers out for more news on this intriguing game.

Vampyr looks very good indeed.

In terms of surprises, I’d love to hear an announcement of what the oddball Japanese developer Swery has been up to with his new company, White Owls. I loved the Twin Peaks-esque Deadly Premonition (sort-of review here) – so much so that I recently backed the board game version on Kickstarter – and Swery has already promised that his new game will be “perverted, violent and crazy”. The crazier the better, I say.

I’m also holding out hope that we’ll get some wonderful surprises from Nintendo – top of the list would be the announcement of a new, ‘proper’ Metroid game (2D or 3D, either would be fine). Anything Fire Emblem-related will also see me pricking up my ears with pleasure, and the resurrection of a few old franchises would be more than welcome. Pilotwings, Advance Wars and Wave Race are three that spring to mind. The announcement of GameCube titles on Switch – see my recent wishlist – would also have me jumping up and down with glee.

Come on, it’s about time we had more Samus in our lives.

You can file these next three under ‘highly unlikely’, but I would be whooping with delight if there were announcements of sequels to Silent Bomber, Skies of Arcadia and Lost Kingdoms. There’s some vague sense of hope for these, at least: CyberConnect2 have recently been taken off the Final Fantasy VII remake, so maybe they’ll decide to do a Silent Bomber sequel instead (OK, I admit it’s a long shot); SEGA recently said it plans to revive some old franchises, so Skies of Arcadia COULD be among them; and finally, From Software, the developers of Lost Kingdom I and II (and also some game called Dark Souls or something), is supposedly working on three unannounced games, so there’s a chance that one of them might be a Lost Kingdoms sequel.

OK, it’s a very, very slim chance, but it’s a chance nonetheless.

Oh, and Half-Life 3. I reckon this is the year. Called it.


Filed under E3, E3 2017