Rejoice, for E3 is over for another year, and we can all take a breath. The world’s biggest video games trade show brings such a flurry of news that it’s hard to stop and take it in before you’re whisked to the next keynote, the next conference, or the next big reveal.
It’s only now, with E3 over, that we can really take time to look back at some of the most impressive, intriguing, or downright bizarre games to get announced or outlined further at the show. Below you’ll find some of the trailers that are worth rewatching — or that you might have missed — from the last week.
Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo closed its E3 presentation — a presentation not actually presented on any stage at E3 — with the show’s standout trailer. Based on the footage we saw, Super Mario Odyssey is colorful, clever, and endlessly creative, giving Nintendo’s mascot Super Mario 64-esque 3D worlds to run around in.
Previous games have given Mario flying suits, magic mushrooms, and water-squirting backpacks, but Odyssey looks to give him the widest and wildest moveset yet. That includes the eldritch power of possession — he can use his apparently cursed hat to inhabit both living creatures and inanimate objects alike, allowing him to turn into taxis, dinosaurs, statues, and the internet’s favorite new frog.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
While many were hoping for a hint of a new Elder Scrolls game, Bethesda instead closed out its E3 keynote with a bloody and bombastic return to one of gaming’s first classics. Fortunately, it was more than enough to put ideas of orcs and elves out of mind for a good while.
The New Colossus builds on the alternate history Nazi America first presented in 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, but makes it both sillier and more of a biting satire — especially in the modern political climate. It’s a rare series that can mix ruminations on freedom and subjugation with fire-breathing robot dogs and wheelchair-bound shooter segments, but developer Machine Games seems to be having serious fun with the venerable Wolfenstein license.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Forget what you’re told, kids — swearing is cool. That’s according to Beyond Good & Evil 2, anyway, which peppered its first proper trailer with so many F-bombs that it sounded like a hyperactive sci-fi version of that scene from The Wire.
It was a slightly jarring appearance for the long-awaited game, which has been in supposed development for the better part of a decade, but it’s still got plenty of time to turn its style into substance. Ubisoft has confirmed that BG&E2 is still at “day zero” of development, and that the cuss-heavy trailer will eventually translate into a customizable RPG that sounds like a French take on Mass Effect.
Meanwhile, Mass Effect developer BioWare is making its own take on Destiny. Anthem moves away from the single-player RPGs that made the studio famous, promising multiplayer combat across a post-apocalyptic Earth. Players can choose different classes, each with their own sub-abilities that can provide overlapping aid to each other as they take down waves of feral enemies.
So far, Destiny, but Anthem looks slick and snazzy enough to potentially set it apart from Bungie’s shooter. The traversal system — in which players use suit jetpacks to travel beyond what remains of human civilization — gives it an interesting edge on fellow third-person titles like The Division.
Where DC has followed Marvel in its movie-making in recent years, it seems to be the other way around when it comes to video games. Marvel’s Spider-Man has a combat system that looks a lot like Rocksteady’s Arkham games, relying on timing of button presses to smoothly move Spidey between acrobatic punches and kicks.
The trailer for the PlayStation exclusive looked like great fun, tracking Spider-Man as he chased a helicopter through New York. But some have expressed concern about how much of the game will rely on quick-time events. Hopefully the finished game should offer a little more freedom for the web-slinger — even if he’s not allowed to kill anyone in the process.
Metroid: Samus Returns
The announcement of Metroid Prime 4 was the bigger shock, but with only the teasiest of teaser trailers to go on, it fell to Metroid: Samus Returns to keep fans happy. The newly announced 3DS game might not have the glitz of a new Prime for Switch, but it’s got a pedigree: it’s a remake of the Game Boy’s Metroid II, and it’s being overseen by series co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto. It’s also due out this year, making it the first Metroid release since 2010.
Take Harvest Moon, smoosh it together with Pokémon and Animal Crossing, and then swirl in an extra sugary dollop of cuteness, and you’d get something like Ooblets. The Double Fine game lets you grow and raise adorable mini-monsters — the eponymous Ooblets — and lead them into battle around the pastel-shaded world.
If training your mini-monsters gets too tiring, why not take some time out to get a haircut, rearrange your furniture, or go for a ride in a hot-air balloon? Whatever you do, it’s bound to be extra cute.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
If Mario and friends seemed like strange bedfellows with Ubisoft’s nubby little rabbids, weirder still is the type of game they’re starring in. Kingdom Battle offers tense turn-based strategy, rather than laid-back platforming, and plays like a cutesy version of X-COM. In the same year we saw Mario turn into a T. rex and a taxi, it’s still perhaps more unsettling to see him crouched behind cover, blasting away at enemies with the Mushroom Kingdom’s version of a plasma gun.
Hidden Agenda’s story of cops and serial killers could be straight out of a police procedural, but the way it unfurls looks truly novel. Developer Supermassive Games is encouraging people to play it in groups, where they can affect the narrative by using their phones — not a controller — to vote for different approaches in different situations.
It’s a clever angle by Supermassive, who realized that lots of people played their last game — teen horror homage Until Dawn — as a party game, sitting down to watch the brutal slayings together just as they’d watch a scary movie with friends.
A Way Out
A Way Out — shown during EA’s press conference — also toys with a multiplayer format to move its storytelling forward. Set in a prison, you and a friend (or internet stranger) control two characters as they try to escape, and exact revenge on people who wronged them. The game only works in split screen, always showing you what your partner is doing in specific situations so you can work together to complete your own prison break.
The conceit is one game director Josef Fares has used before, in Starbreeze’s well-received Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons. His new game could be suitably imaginative — at the very least, it should offer novel ways for you to scupper your friends’ plans.
Vampyr looks like it will offer similar amounts of choice, but unlike A Way Out or Hidden Agenda, is a resolutely single-player story. The vampire RPG casts you as a member of the undead, but a more enlightened version of the typical blood-drinker, able to stave off the desire to just chomp on the nearest neck. You’ll need to make a series of decisions throughout the game that will affect not only the immediate objective at hand, but also how you and your vampire kin are seen later in the game.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Battlefront 2’s E3 trailer did the impossible — it made The Phantom Menace seem cool. The trailer drew heavily from the movie, showing the battle for Naboo’s capital city of Theed, but making it seem more dangerous and dynamic than it ever seemed on-screen. Even the battle droids, deployed in the movie as hapless comic relief, looked more like unflinching murder machines.
The trailer only got more exciting as it reintroduced whirling Sith menace Darth Maul and Yoda, here in his incarnation as heavily CG-ed backflip frog man. Later stars Rey and Kylo Ren also make an appearance, as do Episode VII’s tweaked X-wings, supported by the Millennium Falcon as they whizz through an asteroid field.
Middle–Earth: Shadow of War
A star was born at this year’s E3. Meet Brûz the Chopper, Shadow of War’s conspicuously Australian orc warlord, and enjoy his jocular assessments on life in Mordor. Shadow of War ups the stakes on 2014’s surprisingly good Shadow of Mordor, allowing you — as the ghostly Bright Lord — to build even bigger armies of orcs, led by warlords you’ve coerced into following you.
That’s how you lull beasts like Brûz over to your side, as the trailer shows. My only concern is that if anything happens to my new Aussie orc friend, I’ll be very sad.
Monster Hunter World
This one gets in on pure potential. The trailer itself, shown during Sony’s keynote conference, revealed off a lush, wild world, packed to the treetops with beasties, but didn’t do a great job of explaining the cult success of Capcom’s series.
Fortunately, the killer loop — of downing bigger monsters to craft better gear so you can down even bigger monsters to craft better gear, and so on — seems to still be in place. The trailer didn’t show how players will team up to off the biggest foes, a vital part of the series so far. Also absent were the Felyne, Monster Hunter’s cat comrades, and any indication of just how long players will spend turning meat on a stick. Expect more before launch next year.
The Evil Within 2
The actual evil within is milk, apparently. Vast swathes of it, transforming itself into screaming human faces and pulling people down into its depths, like creamy sentient goop. Well, it’s either milk or something even weirder, hinted at in the trailer for the follow-up to Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami’s 2014 title. The first game was solid in combat and enjoyably wacky with its plot, meaning that the second could be a confidently spooky experience.
Looking similarly spooky is 4A Games’ Metro: Exodus, set in a ruined version of Russia in which human survivors live in subway tunnels to hide from horribly mutated monsters on the surface. These creatures will happily chew your face off, but in previous Metro games, one of the biggest threats is the world itself: a radioactive and poisonous place that will kill you if you don’t keep your gas mask and suit maintained.
Exodus’ world looks a little brighter — perhaps time has cleared some of the worst of the fallout — but it’s still ruled over by oversized wolves, rats, and giganto-bears that you’ll need to avoid or kill off as you move around.
Far Cry 5
You’ll find far more affable canines in Far Cry 5. As the in-game trailer shows, friendly dog Boomer can be used to seek out and distract members of the game’s violent cult, making them much easier to dispatch with an array of guns. Human buddies can also be deployed, picking selected enemies off from sniper positions, or strafing them with bullets from the sky.
The supremely shooty trailer also highlights vehicles you’ll be able to drive and pilot, including pickup trucks, aircraft, and farm threshers. Boomer’s the real star, though: the mutt chews on enemy arms, tears out their throats, and then brings you their rifles like a macabre game of fetch.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
There’s no Nathan Drake in this new Uncharted, but newly minted headliners Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross look like they’ll be keeping that character’s legacy alive. The PS4 exclusive’s trailer shows them leaping chasms, pulling guns, and double, triple, and quadruple-crossing their friends to get their hands on treasure.
The Lost Legacy gives us a good chance to better get to know characters we’ve met before. Chloe starred in Uncharted 2, while Nadine stepped into a starring role in Uncharted 4, but that doesn’t mean they’re fast friends — their alliance in The Lost Legacy seems mighty uneasy.
God of War
Or, Dad of War, as it should now be called. The new game in the Sony series sees ultimately angry man Kratos trade his Greek mythology in for Norse legend, his shaven face in for a big, bushy beard, and his single life in for a son. With his American accent and normal child body, that son seems a little incongruous in a world of fantastical beasts and vengeful gods, but then anyone would look a little weedy set against a hulking man-brute covered in red body paint.
The dad life hasn’t affected Kratos’ training regimen, however. He can still lay into snarling monsters and spitting demons with wild abandon, slicing them up with his axe, bashing them to pieces with his shield, or just ripping them apart with his bare hands.
Skull & Bones
It’s good to see that Ubisoft didn’t just shelve the excellent pirate ship technology it developed for Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. Instead, it seems to have become the basis for Skull & Bones, a seaborne combat game that pits pirates against pirates and players against players in multi-boat battles.
A variety of ships are on offer, from big brigs all the way down to little sloops, each specialized for a different purpose on the high seas. Most importantly, the trailer seems to confirm you can still get your crew to sing sea shanties as they set sail.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
With Hayao Miyazaki seemingly in a quantum state of retirement, Ni No Kuni II might be the closest you get to a new Studio Ghibli film for a while. The Japanese RPG sequel has lush animation and wildly imaginative characters, with a new and extra-lovable companion to replace the last game’s delightful Drippy.
There was no sign of The Last of Us 2 at this year’s E3, but Days Gone made up some of the slack, showing a zombie apocalypse that looked a lot like Naughty Dog’s end-of-the-world adventure. Main character Deacon showed how players could use zombies as a weapon, sneaking past groups of scavengers before unleashing the horde on them, letting him sneak to his goal unharmed.