Not every game from E3 can bask in the glory of a press conference demo, or benefit from a marketing budget as big as the game itself. Often a great game will slip through the cracks, and even games from the biggest companies can get ignored by the gaming press.
Some of the best gems of E3 2016 were covered very little, even by us here at OnlySP, whether because of time constraints or visibility. Here are five interesting single player games that you might not even have known were at the show.
1. GRAVITY RUSH 2
Originally for the Vita, the first Gravity Rush was quite the stunner — even more so in its remastered form. It is curious, then, that Sony were too busy promoting other games to give this PS4 sequel its due at their E3 presentation. You might have believed that the game just disappeared.
Thankfully, Gravity Rush 2 didn’t disappear, and it actually was at E3, with a new trailer and a demo on the show floor. Like the first, it’s a beautiful, bright, open-world game (think Infamous or Sunset Overdrive, filtered through a collection of Franco-Belgian comics). Players take control of Kat, who has been given power over her own gravity, allowing for flight, among other super-heroic powers.
Gravity Rush 2 has been developed from the beginning as a PS4 game but builds on what made the original so much fun. It’s especially good news that Kohei Tanaka, composer of the first game’s excellent score, will continue bringing Kat’s story to life.
It’s a crime that more people haven’t seen or heard of Gravity Rush 2 — if Sony had shown this instead of a second Days Gone video, maybe the game wouldn’t have been lost in the shuffle.
Gravity Rush 2 was recently confirmed for a release on December 2nd this year.
Unlike Gravity Rush 2, this next game can’t claim that not enough people saw it.
ReCore actually was shown on Microsoft’s stage — twice — and this year with actual gameplay footage, too. This might make ReCore the highest-profile game that was still mostly ignored at E3.
It might be because ReCore is both a new IP and not really in Microsoft’s usual wheelhouse: developers Armature Studio and producer Keiji Inafune (the former comprising some of the creative force behind the Metroid Prime trilogy, and the latter a core designer on Mega Man) have created a retro, 3D-platformer adventure with plenty of inspiration from those two franchises.
Perhaps it wasn’t even the type of game, but that Keiji Inafune’s own Mighty No. 9 was in the spotlight — some would say for the wrong reasons — eclipsing his other projects during the month of June. Either way, ReCore is a game I hope succeeds, as it represents a genre that so many worry has faded away. With the news that the game will launch at the lower-than-usual $40 price point, ReCore might even become Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s Ratchet & Clank – if it isn’t forgotten about by the time it comes out.
3. THE SURGE
There is a great change in a video game genre when it goes from the language of copying (“Doom-clone”, “GTA-clone”) to its own identity (first person shooters, open world games). We’re nearing that point with Dark Souls, and the developers behind The Surge are probably hoping they can be a bellwether for that change.
From Deck13, who brought us Lords of the Fallen, The Surge is an action-RPG with many of the conceptual trappings of a Souls-like. A great calamity has occurred, leaving the player to fight through many challenging enemies that were once humans? Check. Difficult, methodical combat? Check. A futuristic society with high-powered mech-suits …?
Well, they didn’t say everything was Dark Souls. Although the reception to Lords of the Fallen was mixed, it was a game with plenty to recommend it, and this time the application of the Souls formula to a setting that isn’t high fantasy should bring some added buzz.
So where is the buzz, then? At this year’s E3, the game’s publisher Focus Interactive put the game forward at the PC Gamer conference, despite it being a multi-platform title. Although the PC conference was a marked improvement over 2015’s, there just aren’t as many people watching it as the Sony and Microsoft presentations.
Hopefully, as The Surge comes closer to its release, it can get the same signal boost that Souls fans have given games like Salt and Sanctuary, Nioh and Eitr.
Similarly to Gravity Rush 2, Abzu made a stunning debut on Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 and was then never given a press conference demo, despite being from the art director of Journey and his new team, Giant Squid.
Abzu also takes place in a stylised world, but the game itself is very different from Journey; being focused on delivering a kind of “swimming fantasy” inspired by real-life scuba diving.
Like several others on this list, the fact that it isn’t an action game means that producing an exciting trailer is difficult. Still, Heavy Rain, Journey and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture weren’t big in action either but were able to reach a wide audience with a decent marketing push. Don’t let this one sink below the surface, Sony.
Formerly known as Twin Souls, OnlySP has covered Aragami in the past, including an exclusive interview with Lince Works’ co-founder David Léon. This small-team, big-ambition stealth game is all about making actual sneaking the focus of stealth again.
With an art style reminiscent of PlayStation 2 classics Okami and Sly Cooper, and mechanics inspired by Metal Gear Solid and the original Thief, it’s no surprise that Aragami was less popular at E3 — like ReCore, it’s in a genre that has been waning in popularity since the 2000s.
But if you happened to enjoy the first two PlayStations, and always hoped that 3D games would return to their roots, Aragami looks to be an exciting blast from the past with modern production values. And all this from a small indie team. Yes, Aragami didn’t deserve to be ignored at E3, and hopefully it won’t be ignored when it releases later this year.
Other Ignored Games
These are only the beginning of the fantastic variety of smaller games at E3. Even then, games from the most recognisable publishers and developers can get less attention than they deserve.
Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained and Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee were both at the show, but you might not have known that from their low amount of coverage. In addition to their other franchises, Square Enix brought two enormous RPG remakes, Dragon Quest VII for the 3DS and Final Fantasy XII, but both flew mostly under the radar.
Do you have any games you were excited about, but were mostly ignored at E3? Join the discussion in the comments below.
The opinions in this editorial are the author’s (a.k.a. mine only) and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.
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