Top 10 Games of E3 2015

E3 is about the games. Yes, all sorts of games-related products show up, from hardware to peripherals and everything in between, but in the final analysis it is about the games.

When game publishers and studios make up the list of games they are bringing to E3 the usual motivation is down to when the title will be launched; the idea being to get their games that will release before Christmas before the games journos and into the press.

This is no ordinary E3 however. In fact this is a very different E3, one that comes around only once in a blue moon -- because this is the E3 is the one at which the current gen consoles - Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 - have finally emerged from their respective birthing stages.

We cannot understate the significance of that fact. Due to the traditional game creation cycle the first two years of a new generation of console tends to feature games that are generically applied to that console. The basic evidence for that phenomenon is the fact that these “new” games appear not just on the new generation consoles, but also for the previous generation.

The reasoning behind that is usually said to be the need to maximize profits for the new game projects, but that is not really it. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of those games were written for the OLD gen hardware, and ported to the new generation. Even the platform exclusives that are only released for the new gen!

But when we hit the two-year mark - when that all important anniversary comes up - well mates that is when it all changes for the better. That is when we start seeing the games that are built for and excessive to the new gen consoles. That is when we start to see games that truly push the boundaries of that new hardware, and THAT is when we start to see what all the fuss was really about when the folks at Sony and Microsoft told us we were going to love the new consoles!

At E3 2015 we are seeing a very large number of AAA games that we can only describe as a long list of games from game series' we are not only eager to see and play, but blown away by.

That said, this is a Top 10 article that covers the new, the exciting, and the important, and ordinarily we would only be able to share with you our picks for the Top 10 games at E3 2015, but this year that is not enough.

With that in mind we thought, hey, why not also mention the list of games that very narrowly did not make this list, both to bring them to your attention and acknowledge their importance?

The Games of E3 that did not make the Cut

It is only fair to point out that there were a number of games that will be presented at this year's E3 that, while they did not muster the moxie to make the cut for this article, are still worthy of notice. Winners in other words, in every way except having won.

So even though they did not make it we felt it was only fair to review the list of games that were considered but, for different reasons, fell below the 10 line:

Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight was not a tough call... Its low score results from the flat line of development that happened to the series after it was withdrawn from its original development studio and turned over to what amounts to an in-house studio at Warner Bros.

That said, even though the game is not the innovative powerhouse of new tricks and treasures that the first two games in the series represented, thanks to the solid foundation that was created by those first two games, its game play mechanics are every bit as fun, every bit as challenging, and every bit worthy of play.

The reason for that is really down to the overall experience of BEING the Dark Knight that you get to embrace in this game series. Because that was the one thing that they nailed, and got right from the start. In fact that immersive trip into the head of Batman leaves us in shivers and eager to get our hands on it nevertheless.


While Battlecry had an interesting presentation at the Bethesda press event, its heartbeat is something of a cross between Team Fortress and Borderlands - but hey, that means it is a mixture of Team Fortress and Borderlands! That means there is already a lot to like... And how cool is that? Pretty darned cool.

If our list had an honorable mention category for games that took a lot of different game play experiences, popped them into a blender, then spewed forth the best of them in one tight package, well then Battlecry would get that slot. But it doesn't. So there.

Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2 also put its best foot forward at the show, but considering the lack of momentum from the previous title combined with the odd leap forward in tech for the this one, it seems to be a niche title to us.

The good news though is that if you happen to be a gamer who likes deep, immersive, fun to play RPG games that use quirky and often immersion-busting tech, then Dishonored 2 is right up your alley!

And if you liked and enjoyed playing the original Dishonored - you know who you are! You are the gamers who unlocked the Mostly Flesh and Steel Achievement! Yeah, you are going to like this sequel. Big time.

The Division

Veterans of the games scene can remember the days when games that were based off of Tom Clancy books and stories practically ruled the floor - it hasn't been that long really.

The newest To m Clancy game though? It is called The Division, and it sort of stunned us in a strange way that left us wondering just what Tom Clancy would think of it?

The game is a modern day dystopian saga of an elite unit of survivors who are part cop, part soldier, and following a viral pandemic that wiped out the vast majority of the population, are battling gangs of thugs and, well, gangs, in New York City!

We've read plenty of Clancy novels, but we cannot remember any that followed that theme. Actually it feels more like Stephen King's The Division, and not Tom Clancy. That said it looks good, and the game play mechanics look solid. Nasty smelly full of dead bodies and thugs New York here we come!

Rainbow Six: Siege

And speaking of Tom Clancy, what is clearly a reboot for the Rainbow Six series - Rainbow Six: Siege -- not only may very well restore interest in the game series, but is arriving from Ubisoft with a special bonus based on Microsoft’s revelation that the Xbox One will get full Xbox 360 backwards compatibility this holiday season.

According to Ubisoft, gamers who purchase Siege will also receive the first two games in the Rainbow Six series for FREE. Sure, the game play experience will basically be the same as it was on the 360, but hey, free is free!

LEGO Jurassic World

The thing about the LEGO games? It really doesn't matter how old you are, they are just wicked fun to play. Unfortunately LEGO games are also a lot like mopeds -- really fun to play with, but you wouldn’t want your friends to see you doing it...

Honestly LEGO Jurassic World very nearly made the list based solely upon the fact that it had dinosaurs. Argh! Dinosaurs! Because there are a handful of magic items that you can put in a video game that will automagically make it good - and dinosaurs is one of them. Another is the Ford GT40, and then of course there are chainsaws and grappling hooks. We're just saying.

Mass Effect 4

Yeah, we know, you are trying very hard to pick your jaw up off the floor and work your brain around the concept that the next game in the Mass Effect series did NOT make the cut to Top 10 games for this year's E3.

One of the reasons Andromeda got a pass also happens to be a very cool factor for the game: the fact that the game play interface and basic environment of the new galaxy we get to explore is clearly a massive homage to Joss Whedon's Firefly series.

Thing is, while in one breath they told us in no uncertain terms that the three games of the original trilogy were it for that storyline, they basically took another breath and then dropped hints that seemed to contradict that position.

Specifically they said it would be an bad idea if you held on to saves from the first three games. What?! No, really... That hint came from none other than associate producer Mike Gamble and he would know, right?

We always thought that the whole away-team planetary exploration find was one of those elements that they somehow failed to do enough with. We WANTED to explore. We wanted to BE explorers. We wanted to find current and dead civilizations, find awesome weapons, and the secret hidden repository for all of the original recipe Twinkies we KNOW are out there somewhere in the universe!

That said its reboot as an entirely new story arc means introducing a new protagonist, a new crew, a new set of goals and challenges, and a new story. That means that basically - taking the studio at its word and accepting that this is an ALL NEW story - the previous games mean nothing.

When you take away the momentum from the previous games, Mass Effect 4 simply does not belong in a Top 10 List. And won't until it proves itself. So there.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst

When the original Mirror's Edge was first announced, our gut reaction was just how much fun is running and jumping anyway? Cough-cough-Assassin's-Creed-cough-cough... But hey, it turns out that it can actually be a lot of fun, particularly if you immersed yourself in the story line.

So the announcement that the game that is NOT a sequel -- Mirror's Edge: Catalyst -- was to be a reboot of the first game, with Faith's past being the primary focus sorta left us scratching our heads. See we thought that they covered Faith's past already.

Need for Speed

We don't have to tell you that the new Need for Speed is a large open-world video game, but you may be happy to learn that it was created solely for the current generation of consoles, which suggests that graphics and performance will be sweet.

While we like the Need for Speed series -- because just like Jello there is always room for Need for Speed! Hot cars, mean streets, challenges galore and let us not forget collections and stunts you don't have to leave your seat to partake in? Yeah, good times were had folks. Good times.

But -- you knew that there was going to be a “But” here right? -- the fact that this reboot requires an always-on Internet connection just to play it was the trumpet of doom for its chance at a slot on the list.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Considering its chops as a long-running series, the newest entry in what we can only describe as the successful series reboot for Tomb Raider -- Rise of the Tomb Raider -- left us very happy with what we saw.

The problem was what we saw was pretty darn close to the game play from the last game -- Tomb Raider. Don't take this the wrong way - we LIKED Tomb Raider! In fact as series reboots go, it fired on all cylinders and kept us very nicely immersed.

That said though, when you are rebuilding an established series you really need to add in more hooks than a return of the same content and mechanics that the previous title had. In the case of the Tomb Raider games that is admittedly difficult to do, true, but the one thing you do NOT do is use the same basic focus for the sequel.

The previous game was billed as the chance to experience the less-polished Lara Croft before she matured into The Tomb Raider. But that is also the focus of this one it seems -- which is why it did not make the cut.

Now that you have seen a selection of the games that, while they genuinely impressed us, did not make the cut, let's check out the ones that did!

Top 10 Games of E3 2015

The main floor at E3 is a stunning experience for the initiate - actually for the first three or four you attend it is still pretty overwhelming -- but eventually you get used to the massive space, the noise, and the ton of information that is coming at you from every direction. Well mostly used to it.

At the show everything is geared up to slap us with the best first impression they can manage for each game title just to get you in the door. Once you are there though, you usually get to have some hands-on me-time with each game, and THAT is where the opinions form.

Oh sure, anyone can make a great trailer, but a great game is way more than a selection of cinematic cuts intended to communicate the flavor of play. A great game is not one that includes expensive souvenirs handed out after the briefing. You can't BUY us man, you gotta impress us!

So after sitting through the official pre-event press briefings, and based off of our extensive notes from the event briefings, demos, and hands-on play, here are our picks for the Top 10 Games of E3 2015 that really impressed us!

10. Star Wars Battlefront

Developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE), distributed by LucasArts, and published by Electronic Arts, Star Wars Battlefront will arrive on November 17, 2015 in North America and November 20, 2015 in the UK for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One.

Firmly placed in the Action-Adventure and Shooter genres, Battlefront is a first-person / third-person (you can switch seamlessly) game that is reminiscent of Battlefield, offering the players the chance to play as the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire as you battle from planet-to-planet. And the planets in the game include Endor, Hoth, Tatooine, and Sullust.

The third game in the series, Battlefront offers the players foot-based combat and vehicle-based combat for both air and ground vehicles. Sadly there is no space combat in this sequel. We should also add that there is no campaign either, this being a cooperative and player-vs-player romp with offline cooperative missions and online player-vs-player.

The weapons, characters, gear, and abilities are fully customizable, which is necessary due to the class-based scheme that is used for character creation. That said, in addition to rolling your own, for the offline cooperative matches players can opt to play as one of the iconic characters from the series including Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Boba Fett among others.

Online play supports maps with up to 40 players, with 12 maps being available at launch. Based on previous announcements, it is fair to say that the game has an aggressive DLC schedule planned.

Speaking of DLC - the first expansion pack, titled Battle of Jakku will launch publicly on December 8, 2015, in advance of the upcoming movie for which the expansion serves as a prologue.

The movie releases on December 18. Gamers who own their copy of Battlefront before December 8 will receive the DLC for free. Gamers who pre-ordered the game will receive access to the first DLC pack a week earlier.

One of the elements that really makes Battlefront shine is the fact that DICE got wicked serious about not simply making a Battlefield sequel, but doing it right. Now granted it being DICE, and considering their long term experience with their Battlefield franchise, we never doubted that they could make a bang-up first/third person shooter. But that was not their intent.

The wizards behind the game dug into the vault at Lucas Films and pulled out the original props and kit that was used to make the movies - then they visited the actual locations where the most iconic of the scenes were shot. You know, the scenes that basically set the stage to define each planet?

They took that and rolled into the game with the result being about as realistic a game play experience as it is possible to obtain on today's hardware. 1t not only looks pretty great, but it should be at the top of any Star Wars fan / gamers list of games for the new season.

To be blunt we really liked this one and we expect that the taste that we had was just that - a taste - and the Full Monty will deliver every bit the promises that the preview and demo play gave us.

Posted: 22nd Jun 2015 by CMBF
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