The E3 2018 team saw some amazing games this year, and we came away impressed with where the industry is carrying our favorite hobby. Some games stood out above the others, though, and we’d like to recognize those titles that wowed us the most. Without further ado, check out our Best of E3 2018 Awards!
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Winner, Best Action/Adventure
Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Origins was a surprise hit, rebooting the franchise with brand new mechanics, revamped gameplay, and a completely retooled storytelling mechanic. This year, we see a whole bevy of new firsts with our first female protagonist (outside of Aveline de Grandpré in Assassin’s Creed Liberation on the Vita) and a the return of some of the favored bits from games past. Open world naval combat returns, and is joined by massive 150+ battles on the beach, as well as RPG loot systems for equipment and leveling mechanics for the protagonist and foes. We have over an hour of gameplay — judge for yourself, but do so quickly as this one comes out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 5th, 2018.
Other nominees for Best Action/Adventure include:
Just Cause 4
Cyberpunk 2077 – Winner, Best Action/RPG
It’s hard to even describe just how amazing Cyberpunk 2077 was at E3, but since they won’t let us show you what we saw, that’s precisely what Maddy and Ron tried to do in their coverage writeup. The team at CD Projekt RED, not content to simply make another RPG, instead built a first person shooter with heavy hacking and RPG elements, once again raising the bar on what it means to be solidly in either genre. It was easily one of the most impressive titles we saw at the show, and one to watch out for…whenever the hell it comes out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Other nominees for Best Action/RPG Include:
Beyond Good and Evil 2
Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Winner, Best Adventure Game
After two demos and some hands-on time with the newest feature, jungle warfare, we were blown away by Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This isn’t the kind of Tomb Raider story we’ve known; It’s not necessarily good versus evil, ancient cities are a alive and well, and surviving the jungle requires stealth, timing, and resourcefulness. Tomb Raider fans are in for a real treat, and we can’t wait to see more about the final chapter in Lara Croft’s journey.
Other nominees for Best Adventure Game
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
The Last of Us 2
Ghost of Tsushima
Kingdom Hearts III
Tobii / Alienware Academy – Best hardware/software advancement
Since the dawn of eSports, the world’s best gamers have been rewarded for outperforming their opponents, but outside of pouring hundreds of hours into a game, or hiring a private coach, there have been very few concrete paths to help players up their game. We were blown away by what we saw of Alienware Academy, a joint effort by Tobii and Alienware, with the ambitious goal of helping all players, beginner and would-be pro alike, up their game. This free resource, launching in August, will offer tailor made video tutorials, replayable training sessions to help them commit those skills to muscle memory, and the statistics you need to see how you stack up against both other players and eSport professionals.
Other nominees for Best Best hardware/software advancement:
Kingdom Come: Deliverance – Winner, Best Expansion Pack
If you played Kingdom Come: Deliverance and said to yourself “Hey, this game is entirely too easy!”, then I wonder about your sanity and health. That, and I have great news for you. As part of a huge roadmap, the team at Warhorse showed us a live demo of several upcoming elements of DLC, both paid and free, that will dramatically expand the game. The first, From The Ashes, casts protagonist Henry as Bailiff of Pribyslavitz — the town that was burned to the ground in the campaign. His job is to rebuild it. Naturally, that means funding the operation, finding the artisans, defending it, acting as the local law, and much more. We also saw a new hardcore mode that turns up the difficulty level for those who like that sort of pain, and a whole host of new and exciting goodies coming later this year and into next. Check out our full preview right here for all of the details and you can see why it easily captured our Best Expansion award for E3 2018.
Other nominees for Best Expansion Pack:
For Honor: Marching Fire
Rage 2 – Winner, Best FPS Game
Simply put, Rage 2 makes first person shooters fun again. The massive open world, bizarre color pallet, and more mohawks than you can shake a shotgun at makes this one entirely too crazy to ignore. Playing as Walker, the last Ranger of the wasteland (I see what you did there), you’ll be taking on The Authority using every weapon and vehicle you can find, alongside a whole host of new “nanotrite” powers that came across akin to a force push, slam, and teleport that made combat an absolute blast. The id team released a pretty lengthy gameplay video, but you can also check out our full preview here to learn more about the game, and discover why it was our Best FPS of E3 2018.
Other nominees for Best FPS Game include:
Gears of War 5
Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
Wireless Adapter for HTC Vive – Winner, Best Hardware
Virtual Reality is amazing, but let’s be honest — it’s a drag (literally) to have to deal with so many wires. They are hanging off your shoulder, or you have to rig them up into overhead wire looms or other bizarre contraptions. Playing any sort of boxing game runs the risk of catching a wire and causing all sorts of havoc. Well, HTC and DisplayLink are teaming up with Intel to free us from our wire shackles. Demoing in the most kickass (if completely bonkers) way possible, the team had us play Serious Sam with a giant spinning minigun in a huge open play space. You can see that in action, along with a clear look at the Y-shaped wireless adapter in this video here.
We don’t yet have a release date or pricing for the unit beyond summer of 2018. It’s hot as hell out here in Texas, which means it’s summer, so it shouldn’t be long!
Other nominees for Best Hardware include:
Victrix Pro AF Headeset
Asus ROG Phone/Accessories
Dying Light 2 – Winner, Best Horror Game
There were no shortage of zombie games this year, but Dying Light 2 parkoured over the top with its impressively huge world, combat updates, and a plethora of new items to help you take back the night. We loved that you have ability to change the world you explore based on your decisions, and that you could visit the cities of your friends via multiplayer to see what the world looks like, if you make different decisions. Most of all, we loved the way the world itself has evolved since the first game, both from a technical and a narrative standpoint. With a city four times as large as all of the original maps combined, and the need to go into the Dark Places, zombie nests, at night in order to scavenge what loot remains, there’s a lot to look forward to here. Check out our full preview right here.
Other nominees for Best Horror Game include:
OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead
Resident Evil 2
Anthem / Skull & Bones – Co-Winners, Best Multiplayer
I wracked my brain. I even slept on it for several days. The only thing that ended up happening is that I ended up having dreams about pirate ships and flying javelins. Both of these games are absolutely phenomenal, and I can imagine that both of them are going to soak every bit of my free time upon their release in 2019.
Anthem, the next game from legendary RPG studio Bioware, is the team’s first foray into multiplayer FPS territory in a persistent world, and from the time I spent with it (please ignore that terrible stage demo at EA Play — it didn’t do the game justice), it’s shaping up to be something magnificent. The controls felt right, the powers felt balanced and complimentary, and the javelins themselves feel like they are powerful weapons of war. If you watched the first Iron Man movie and thought “Yes, I’d like that in game form, please” then Anthem is for you. Anthem is headed our way on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on February 22, 2019, and you can read my thoughts on it and see video of it in action right here.
Switching gears, I simply couldn’t (and still can’t!) shut up about my time with Skull & Bones. Settling down with a team of 7 other players, I immediately started talking like a pirate as I set out to begin terrorizing the sea. The moment I set sail and leaned into the wind, only to have my deck groan as the wind pushed back, I knew this was something special. The game has evolved from a simple slice of what was once simply Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s naval combat system into something entirely different. Taking elements of Ubisoft’s highly successful (and equally as evolving) Rainbow Six: Siege series, the game now features highly customizable ships, captains, crews, drop-in/out multiplayer that merges when you get close to other players, randomized booty that uses color coded RPG-lite system (got me a purple legendary sail, I did!) and a very healthy bounty system that I found myself run afoul of as I began to scourge the local populace of their goods. Alas, my time amidships was short as I found myself headed towards Davy Jones’ locker, as you’ll see in our footage here. Avast! We don’t know when we’ll be getting our hands on this game, beyond some time in 2019, but we do know it be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Other nominees for Best Multiplayer include:
Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
Spyro Reignited Trilogy – Winner, Best Platformer
Spyro is back and better than ever. Rather than being just a simple re-release of the first three games in the trilogy, Toys for Bob has gone above and beyond to breath new life into the franchise by making the environments more vibrant and beautiful, and giving each dragon their own, unique design based on their homeworld. Best of all, all of this was only for the first game in the trilogy as there are still two more we have yet to dive into. Check out our hands-on time with the game in our preview here, as well as our interview with Toys for Bob’s Peter Kavic.
Other nominees for Best Platformer include:
Mega Man 11
ASTRO BOT: Rescue Mission
Pokemon Let’s Go – Winner, Best RPG Game
I know, it’s controversial. There are no shortage of Pokemon players who are dreading everything about the Let’s Go! games, but I firmly believe that this is Game Freak taking a very healthy risk. By creating a lower-barrier-to-entry title in the Pokemon franchise, Game Freaks is not only opening Pokemon to a different audience, but also creating a sandbox where it can test a plethora of new features without upsetting their core audience. Despite being such an early build, Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu played perfectly, tossing a Pokeball using the Pokeball Plus was buttery smooth and accurate, the entire experience was fun and refreshing, and I got to ride an Onix. We’ll have to wait and see more about what kind of staying and replaying power this title brings, but from what I saw, this is going to be a charming installment of the Pokemon franchise.
Other nominees for Best RPG include:
Divinity Original Sin 2: Definitive Edition
Two Points Hospital – Winner, Best Strategy Game
CLEAR! The team from Two Points Studios is applying the chest paddles and a 700 volt shock to the genre to bring back the ailing hospital sim genre. A whole bunch of folks have tried to replicate the success of games like Theme Hospital, but it took the game’s original creators and their unique brand of humor to bring Two Points Hospital to life. The game is slated for release at the end of this year, and is shaping up nicely. We went hands-on with the game recently and came away laughing, and the last few months have only made it better. Every new malady seems to be funnier than the last, and the treatments are equally as bizarre and hilarious. This is one we’ll be watching closely, so stay tuned!
Other nominees for Best Strategy Game include:
Rise of Industry
Valkyria Chronicles 4
We Happy Few – Winner, Best Survival Game
Creepy, weird, surprisingly open world, and wonderful — we absolutely got lost in We Happy Few and had to reluctantly tear ourselves away when our hour is up. A perfect blend of wit, beauty, story, and macabre, the various facets of this survival game all intertwined to deliver an engrossing and additive package. From the absurd of Arthur, the playable character, becoming invisible whenever he sits on a bench and reads a paper, to the shocking scene of finding two lovers having hanged themselves in an attic, to the so-disturbing-we-had-to-laugh realization that we just unwittingly grabbed a corpse and threw it around, We Happy Few is an eerie, unsettling, and utterly addicting experience.
Other nominees for Best Survival Game include:
Ghost Giant – Winner, Best VR
Ghost Giant tells the story of a sad little boy who you, as a ghost giant, have been sent to befriend. The thing I remember most about the demo is how tactical everything felt; every single thing in this cogwork little town felt handmade and approachable, and I wanted to interact with every single item and character. Ghost Giant feels like the perfect introduction to VR, for young and old alike, and the nature of the world, which unfolds like a diorama around you, only helps enforce the pop-up-book, nursery-rhyme feeling of the heartwarming story and its characters, and charmed its way into into my heart.
Other nominees for Best VR include:
Trover Saves the Universe
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Winner, Best Fighting Game
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate takes everyone that was great about Super Smash Bros. for WiiU and amps it up in speed, flashiness, and, in a way, fan service. Inkling and Ridley are incredibly fun additions to the series, and there is a new competitive focus in the game with its overhaul of 1v1 matches. Overall, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate feels good and looks beautiful and we’re curious to see how the game feels when we have every character ever from the Smash Bros. series available at our disposal. Check out our thoughts in our full preview!
Other nominees for Best Fighting Game include:
Dead or Alive 6
Forza Horizon 4 – Winner, Best Racing Game
Forza Horizon is back and better than ever. It fully highlights the awesome power of the Xbox One X showing beautiful landscapes being torn up by highly detailed vehicles. The inclusion of seasons allows the game to have a living world of different events weekly, and each season brought its own hazards that makes the game feel fresh and exciting. Forza Horizon 4 focuses on what we love about the season: flashy and fun.
Other nominees for Best Racing Game Include:
Team Sonic Racing
The Crew 2
FIFA 19 – Winner, Best Sports Game
Fifa 19 brings back the Frostbite engine and shows off how beautiful the game could be. With the addition of the UEFA leagues for the first time in 10 years. Using this to build a bigger and stronger network of leagues, as well as a new shooting mechanic help Fifa 19 feel more fresh than ever as you plant your feet on the grass.
Other nominees for Best Sports Game include:
Mario Tennis Aces
Madden NFL 19