For all of the months of build-up, here we are: a week after E3 2018 and in full-on conference withdrawal.
However, with all of our staff back and our votes tallied, it’s time that we showcase what was DualShockers’ top picks in Los Angeles for this year’s E3. And what a terrific show this year’s was.
Unlike last year’s Tokyo Game Show, the Readers’ Choice poll and DualShockers’ staff poll didn’t line up — not to say it didn’t win awards from us, either. However, given that we consider it the most important award, we are going to start off with that game first.
Now, without further stalling, here are DualShockers’ Game of the Show awards for E3 2018:
Reader’s Choice Game of the Show: Ghost of Tsushima
Also Best PS4 Game
Ghost of Tsushima enchanted many thanks to its spectacular visuals, intriguing story and setting, visceral combat that appears to nail the “lethal precision” of the samurai, and it’s charming environments. The environments that Sucker Punch created evoke a contrast between poetry and war, calm and tension. They don’t just look like Japan, but they feel like Japan.
Now, for everyone wondering about the tally, of the votes received 17% went to Ghost of Tsushima. Meanwhile the runners up were The Last of Us Part II (15%), Cyberpunk 2077 (12%), and Devil May Cry 5 (9%).
Game of Show: Spider-Man
Also Biggest Shocker!!! and Staff Choice (Tanner Pierce)
We’ve been sold on the idea of Insomniac Games making a Spider-Man title since it was first revealed a few years ago but somehow after finally playing it for ourselves at E3 we left more impressed than expected. With the best feeling web-swinging ever seen in a Spidey game and combat that truly makes you feel like the Wall Crawler, it’s easy to see how this one took home so many of our awards. September can’t come soon enough.
Additionally, we normally award our special Biggest Shocker!!! award to the game that catches us most surprise. And while the trailer for this really did leave our staff hooping and hollering, we couldn’t help but give it to the game with literally the biggest Shocker in it.
Best First Party Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Also, Best Nintendo Switch Game
If we were just chatting about the Best Nintendo Switch game award, it would be no question that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate mopped up the competition at E3 2018. However, we are going a step further with it — the game is also the best First-Party Developed title we touched on the show floor. With such a strong legacy, it’s hard to imagine Ultimate living up to the expectations, or (for that matter) surpassing Melee. However, if there is one game to do it, it would be Ultimate.
With a focus on character inclusivity and fine-tuning on mechanics, this is a game built from the ground-up with the competitive scene in mind. Even better, there seems to be a no-nonsense rule when it comes to new gimmicks. Sure, it may be the only major game that Nintendo brought to their E3 Direct, but it is a show stopper.
Best Handheld or Mobile Game: Elder Scrolls Blades
The Elder Scrolls: Blades wasn’t all that surprising of an announcement at E3 following Bethesda’s success with Fallout Shelter but what was surprising was just how great the game played once we tried it for ourselves. Between fluid combat and gorgeous visuals, Blades did more than enough to take home our award for best handheld game at the show.
Best Xbox One Game: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Also Best Platformer
Ori and the Will of the Wisps has a lot to live up for. To this day, the game’s predecessor — Ori and the Blind Forest — is frequently mentioned in the same breath as the greatest of the genre. However, my short ten minutes with Moon Studios and their new title has floored my expectations. Focusing on verticality, freedom of movement, combat choice, and simply breathtaking visuals, even long-time fans of the original should brace themselves for the game’s release.
Best PC Game: Dying Light 2
Back in January of 2015, Techland released Dying Light giving gamers something to play after the 2014 holiday season. To my surprise, I was greeted to a fantastic open-world zombie game at a time I believed the genre was getting a bit stale. Fast forward three years later. E3 2018 commenced and one of the first games I saw was Techland’s sequel to its zombie game, Dying Light 2.
Going in, I was optimistic. However, after they showed me extended footage of what was shown on Microsoft’s stage a few days prior, I was sold. If anything, Dying Light 2 is incredibly ambitious and if it successfully pulls off what it is trying to accomplish, like its dynamic open-world and fluid parkour combat, I have no doubt this will be a great title when it eventually releases.
Best Indie Game: The Messenger
It’s hard to talk too much about why we love The Messenger without spoiling anything. After initially seeing the indie darling at PAX East 2018 earlier this year, the E3 build of the game dropped us later into the story with a slew of new items and challenges at our disposal. Every time we see The Messenger, we still find some way to be baffled by what Sabotage Studio has created. This is one that’s going to surprise you in more ways than one when it releases later this year.
Best Cooperative Game: GTFO
We didn’t know what to expect going into our demo for GTFO but we left nothing but impressed. More than just another spray-and-pray shooter, GTFO forces you and your teammates to work together to survive more than any other cooperative experience we’ve played in quite some time. With a tone that fluctuates between high action and quiet horror, GTFO defined what it means to be a co-op game more than anything else we saw at E3.
Best Competitive Game: Paladins: Realm Royale
Sure, there are a lot of competitive games that have graced this list — SoulCalibur 6 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, to name a few. But how about when looking at games that are uniquely prepared for the eSports, Twitch market? And if we looked deep in our hearts, we knew a Battle Royale game would be making the list in some form.
Enter Hi-Rez Studios’ latest (and popularity-surging) release, Realm Royale. Although we got to spend some time with the game when it was an optional mode to Paladins: Champions of the Realm, Realm Royale is making a compelling argument for itself through merging the tried-and-true battle royale format with hero-based mechanics. The outcome is clearly greater than the sum of its parts, and trampled on some of the other eSport-targeting competition at E3.
Best Expansion or DLC: Destiny 2: Forsaken
As a fan of Bungie’s multiplayer-focused first person shooter, Destiny 2, I always come back to it when new content emerges. However, I’d be lying if I said that the expansions that have been released have been top notch. Destiny 2: Forsaken, the next big expansion for the popular game, aims to rectify that with loads of new content that will not only bring me back but have me excited to play when it releases in September. Plus, the bow and arrow is far and away the best weapon Destiny will have to offer. That alone is a good enough reason to come back.
Best Puzzle Game: Tetris Effect
It’s hard not to give Tetris Effect our Best Puzzle Game award on principle alone. Stemming from the series that helped create the genre, this cheeky title is a beautiful psychedelic trip into the world of Tetris. Absolutely a game PS VR owners will not want to miss.
Best Online Game: Fallout 76
Ever since Bethesda acquired the Fallout name, the studio has given that universe the popularity it rightfully deserves. Everything that has been released in the Fallout universe has been a single-player experience; it’s an experience that tells a slew of interesting stories thanks to the studio. But what if Fallout was multiplayer? That is what Fallout 76, the next entry in the popular series, plans to answer.
The Bethesda showcase finally revealed everything we needed to know about the game and boy, does it look like a ton of fun. Everything from the Virginia setting, the retro power armor, and the deployable nuclear weapons makes this multiplayer focused title look like a fun sandbox to explore.
Best RPG: Cyberpunk 2077
While roaming the halls of the L.A. Convention Center, there was one game everyone was talking about: Cyberpunk 2077. The trailer on Microsoft’s stage gave just a small glimpse of what players can look forward to. Those who went behind closed doors and saw the 50 minutes of gameplay know that CD Projekt Red’s next game may have the most realized sci-fi world in a video game.
The world felt alive as V, the game’s protagonist, roamed the streets of Night City. The fast-paced first person combat – a whole new genre for the Polish studio – was frenetic and strategic as you take future drugs to boast your abilities and dash to avoid enemy fire. The choices you make truly affect the outcome of every mission as you take jobs from gang bosses and interact with the corporate scum that controls the city. CD Projekt Red had a strong showing and if Cyberpunk 2077 somehow releases this game this generation, it will surely be one of the best the current consoles have seen.
Best Shooter: Starlink: Battle for Atlas
Also Staff Choice (Michael Ruiz)
When it was revealed that Fox McCloud, the leader of the Star Fox team, was going to be in Ubisoft’s “toys-to-life” space shooter Starlink: Battle for Atlas, I was floored. As a long-time Star Fox fan, hearing the iconic gibberish followed by Fox himself was one of my highlights from the show. From there, I was sold.
However, even if my favorite anthropomorphic fox was not featured in the game, Starlink is still a solid game. Maybe not the best in the visual department on the Nintendo Switch, it is still the Star Fox game I’ve been waiting for. The controls are pretty intuitive, easily learning how to effectively take out my foes. Switching weapons and pilots on-the-fly is useful and offers a bit of strategy when fighting certain enemies. Lastly, it’s just a whole lot of fun.
Good space shooters are hard to come by these days. Seeing Ubisoft take a leap on something different than the usual open-world action-adventure game, especially the toys-to-life fad that has died down since Skylanders and Disney Infinity released a few years back, is somewhat refreshing.
Best Fighting Game: SoulCalibur VI
Also Staff Choice (Tomas Franzese)
While there were tons of intriguing fighter present at E3 this year like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Dead or Alive 6, and Jump Force, none impressed us more than SoulCalibur VI from Bandai Namco Entertainment. A combination excellent presentation and the implementation of mechanics that make this entry feel like a return to form for the series wowed us enough for it to take top spot for Best Fighting Game at E3 2018.
Best Racing Game: Forza Horizon 4
Very few racing games grab our attention like Forza Horizon 4 did. Whether you got a moment to test the game out on the show floor, or simply watched the E3 2018 announcement trailer, you won’t be able to separate yourself from the breathtaking visuals. Focusing on dynamic seasons and shared world experiences, Forza Horizon 4 is developer Turn 10 Studios’ best chance at outdoing their last visual masterpiece.
Best Sports Game: PES 2019
PES 2019 has a lot to prove going into this year. With the FIFA series picking up the license for the once-exclusive Champion’s League, developer Konami has an uphill battle — and is fighting tooth and nail to showcase what they can bring to the table in the world of football.
Thankfully, our hands-on time with PES 2019 leaves us feeling optimistic
Best Strategy Game: Total War: Three Kingdoms
Don’t let the game’s recent delay distract you. Total War: Three Kingdoms is an absolutely marvelous strategy game, which should be no surprise given it is headed by the genre masterminds at Creative Assembly. Anyone looking to scratch a wartime itch will without a doubt be excited to pick up this game on PC.
Best VR/AR Game: Creed
We are fairly far removed from 2016 and 2017 — the years that every single game on the market had virtual reality baked in to a degree. Now, approaching a strong second-wave of VR titles, Creed: Rise to Glory by developer Survios leads the pack in what it brings to the table. Demoed on the PS VR headset, Creed goes well outside the realm of other motion-based boxing games you may have played before. Implementing phantom exhaustion, interesting mechanics, and the latest in gaming VR technology, I was panting and sweating from one prize-fighter round.
Best Action/Adventure Game: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software has become a beloved and well-known studio with the release of the Dark Souls series. Since then, many, including myself, are always anticipating what the studio has to offer. At E3 2018, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was formally revealed with a new trailer flaunting gameplay that is a vast departure from the combat people have come to know and love.
Seeing it in action, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is more vertical and fast-paced than its predecessors. The grappling hook helps you get the advantage on your enemies by surprising them from above. The familiar stamina system is replaced by posture; the goal is to disrupt your enemy’s posture, leading to an opening for a tremendously violent, yet satisfying kill. This isn’t just another Souls-like game. From Software delivers enough changes to its various systems, as well as its setting, that it feels like an entirely new experience while still bringing the difficult experience fans are accustom to
Staff Choice Awards:
Dead or Alive 6 (Lou Contaldi):
Dead or Alive has always maintained a passionate fanbase at DualShockers, and I’m no exception. The newest iteration — Dead or Alive 6 — is no exception, even with the game shying away from inclusion of fan favorites. Though, with robust and tight gameplay and stages that will have you shifting up strategy, playing a couple of pick-up rounds with Producer and Director Yohei Shimbori was an instant highlight from my time at E3.
Resident Evil 2: Remake (Logan Moore)
Resident Evil 2: Remake was one of the most surprising reveals of this year’s E3 but this remake seems to be much more than a fresh coat of paint. Utilizing the phenomenal new engine from Resident Evil VII, RE2:R brings in some modern gameplay and graphics while still keeping the core intact of what made the original so great. In a time where the Resident Evil series is in its best position in years, we’re excited to go back to the roots of this franchise early next year.
If you want to read more about DualShockers E3 awards, you can enjoy reading about the 2017 edition.