This year marks the first time that Top Shelf Gaming attended E3 in person. We were impressed at the showing at E3 2016 this year and downright overwhelmed by how hard it is to navigate the LA Convention Center when thousands upon thousands of other people are trying to get their hands on the same game you are.
I am most excited about God of War. God of War is one of my most cherished franchises, and I am glad to see it get the attention that I think it deserves.
God of War’s brutal hack and slash combat and exceedingly angry protagonist took up much of my time on my PS2. As the series continued to grow, so did the over the top feats that Kratos pulled off; each game I saw him doing more and more ridiculous things…and I loved it. It does seem a bit dated today.
It is 2016. That is a loaded statement for any developer, but especially one who wants to breathe new life into an established franchise. It is my hope that the gameplay mechanics and Kratos’ aggressive disposition have not been done away with, but tweaked just enough to make them relevant in the gaming landscape of 2016.
Even though it was revealed before E3 2016, I’m most excited to try out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Just from what I’ve seen and heard, it looks like Nintendo is taking the franchise in a different direction, with emphasis on exploration. It reminds me a lot of the original Legend of Zelda on the NES, where players are dropped into a world and forced to explore and survive, solely by their own merit and skills. I’ve always loved the Zelda games, but if the demo at E3 is any indication, Breath of the Wild looks like it’ll revitalize the franchise and bring it back to the roots that made it popular in the first place. As much as I am looking forward to God of War and Death Stranding, Breath of the Wild is the game I am most anticipating playing.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the only game I played last week that I’m dying to jump back into. I really enjoyed Horizon Zero Dawn and I’m positive that will be a great game, but I feel like it has few surprises left to offer me, whereas Zelda is still practically a blank Sheikah Slate. After playing the Zelda demo for over an hour, I am left with exciting possibilities of the countless wonders I still have yet to explore.
The only other game at E3 that gave me a similar feeling was the PlayStation VR demo of Psychonauts and the Rhombus of Ruin. That game is also wildly inventive and charming in its own right, but I’m not about to drop 400 bones on a PlayStation VR just to play it. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the other hand already has me reaching into my wallet waiting for the moment I can purchase the NX to play it.
I’m interested to see how a few different things develop: Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone from Sony, Pokemon Sun and Moon, and FIFA 17. HZD just looks like a really creative universe to play around with and it’s an absolutely gorgeous piece of work already. Days Gone interests me, though I fear it’s going to be a disappointment due to the less than stellar characterization that we saw from our lead man Deacon St. John (ugh). Regardless of how good or bad it will be, though, it will fill me with hometown pride for years to see a zombie open world shooter set in the beautiful Central Oregon high desert that I grew up in. Pokemon Sun and Moon is intriguing because I love the setting, and it’s a great use of the 3DS’ capabilities. I recently picked up my first Pokemon since Sapphire with Pokemon X, and the franchise has progressed into a game that A) doesn’t try too hard to raise the stakes by putting the fate of the whole world in the hands of a preteen and B) feels a lot more fleshed out as a whole. It’s hard to remember all 720 Pokemon, sure, but that’s why you have a Pokedex. Finally, FIFA 17 only for its single player story mode. I want to see what FIFA can contribute to this burgeoning trend toward focusing on stories in sports games and whether they can be the first game to really do it right.
Oh, definitely Zelda, by a landslide. Zelda has always been my favorite series, and I’ve stuck with it for years now. Finally, after a qualitative hiatus that has lasted (in my opinion) since the release of Twilight Princess, we’re getting what I think could be a revolutionary Zelda game. So I’m stoked.
So there you have it. Collectively the Top Shelf Gaming staff is loving the new Zelda. We’re all very excited for the next year of gaming. You can bet that we’ll be on the ground at the next E3 to bring you more commentary!