E3 2021 — Josh’s Favorite Games

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By Josh Nichols on June 22nd, 2021

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Alright, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reception regarding this year’s E3 but I was pretty impressed. Summer Game Fest had a much stronger showing than last year. Xbox’s calculated preparations and expensive investments over the past six years have started to pay off. Xbox Game Pass is bigger than ever with no sign of slowing down and Xbox’s slower first-party output is steadily increasing in speed with plans for consistent releases every few months on the horizon. Xbox and Bethesda’s E3 show had some huge reveals and also some tasty updates for games that were revealed previously. Nintendo came in with a really solid Nintendo Direct too, which is always nice to see. I love it when Nintendo succeeds and really hope they put proper online and a Virtual Console on the Switch. Those are the only two things they’re not doing right this generation, which is a pretty short list.

Video games are cool

E3 itself didn’t really feel present or involved but everyone but PlayStation and Capcom showed up with something to say. Capcom was there. They just didn’t need to be. They came to tell everyone they are going to start working on DLC for Resident Evil Village. But outside of a few minor bumps, it was a really good week. New indies were announced and we even got to see some early footage of Starfield. I feel like there were at least a few things for everyone but I had several things to cheer and scream about.

I celebrated throughout the whole week with announcements, updates, and reveals I was anticipating. There were even some surprise announcements that I wasn’t even expecting — like Metroid! It was a fun E3 for me throughout the whole week but especially during the Xbox, Devolver Digital, and Nintendo showcases, which were responsible for most of my excitement. Maybe my favorite games from the show line up with some of yours, or maybe you’ll end up with something new to look forward to that you missed during all of the excitement. And don’t worry — the Redfall trailer is waiting in my list below so we can all watch it for the millionth time.

Redfall

I know we didn’t see gameplay for Redfall but I don’t care. This was a fun and flashy announcement trailer that let us peek into the world being created by Arkane, including a look at enemies, characters, and the overall vibe. I could not be more excited for this game and can’t wait to murder vampires while surrounded by bright colors. I was also really surprised Redfall is coming in Summer 2022. That’s really close! Xbox has been my preferred platform since Microsoft’s first console dropped in 2001 and it’s good to see Microsoft in a good place again. The Xbox One reveal was nonsense, along with everything around the system until Phil Spencer took over and Microsoft started investing seriously in the Xbox brand again. We’re finally starting to see what these investments have produced and Xbox’s future looks better than ever. I imagine we will see some Redfall gameplay later this year. Xbox just needed to make sure everyone knew we wouldn’t be waiting too much longer for some impressive and unique experiences.

Halo Infinite

Halo has been among my favorite franchises since Halo: Combat Evolved and yet I haven’t been this excited for a new Halo title since Halo 3. I loved the campaign of Halo Reach but the multiplayer just felt weird and off. It didn’t feel like Halo multiplayer. Halo 4 is honestly one of my favorite games in the series in terms of how it feels and plays, but the atmosphere and everything else didn’t feel like Halo. Halo 5: Guardians isn’t a bad game. It’s actually a really good game. But it had the same problem as Halo 4 for myself and many other fans: it felt like another game with a Halo theme thrown on top.

Many Halo fans have had a complicated relationship with the series for the last few games. The games have still been good but they haven’t felt like the worldwide events or spectacles that so many of the earlier games in the series were. I was actually fine with the Halo Infinite reveal. Yeah, Craig was silly and didn’t look good. And there were some parts of the world that could have looked better too but I just didn’t care about those problems. Halo 4 and Halo 5 were STUNNING top to bottom. They still look good! But I’d rather have a Halo title feel like it belongs to the franchise than looking like a Call of Duty title in space. Identity is far more important than graphics. A game’s style and aesthetic are so much more important than looking realistic and detailed. It’s really good to see Infinite looking like a Halo game, which is a weird thing to say but whatever, we’re back on track now.

After delaying the game an entire year and deciding to focus on development a little longer, Xbox finally revealed the work that’s been done in the months since the initial reveal, and it looks incredible. It looks like a big-budget and important tentpole release but it also looks like Halo. On top of that, 343 Industries also shared quite a bit of information on the multiplayer, and it sounds like it’s going to be the best in the series. 343 is working hard to make sure it feels new and modern while also ensuring it retains that special spark that keeps this feeling like a new Halo instead of some random big-budget sci-fi shooter. It’s a good time to be an Xbox fan but it’s the perfect time to be a Halo fan.

Metroid Dread

There hasn’t been an original or mainline game in the Metroid series since 2010’s Other M, and most fans prefer to reminisce about 2007’s Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Nintendo released a remake and a spin-off from 2010 to 2017 but that’s all we’ve had outside of an announcement for Metroid Prime 4, which has been delayed at least once already. It’s been hard watching Nintendo underutilize such an influential franchise that’s helped spawn an entire genre of games but Metroid is finally back.

Metroid Dread is a direct sequel to 2002’s Metroid Fusion and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Fusion was my introduction to the series and despite being too linear most of the time, it introduced some really cool stuff into the series and remains a fun game to this day. Metroid Dread is releasing October 2021 and I hope Nintendo throws Metroid Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion onto the eShop or Nintendo Switch Online between now and then. I know I’m not the only one planning on replaying a few games in the series before Dread gets here. If the crime of retro Metroid exclusion does end up happening (it will) then we at least have Metroid Dread gameplay from Nintendo Treehouse, which does make the eleven-year wait a little easier to bear.

WarioWare: Get It Together!

I’ve told people Game & Wario was worth buying a Wii U for and I always meant it. It may not have sold as well as Mario Kart 8 but Game & Wario was still one of the best games to play with friends and family on the console. It only had a few games on it and wasn’t quite the same as WarioWare Microgames, which remains one of the best games on Game Boy Advance. It traded a frenzy of frantic and fun games for a few games that were bigger and played for longer periods of time. I was worried that was going to be the last title in Wario’s wacky spin-off series. I was hoping Nintendo wouldn’t blame poor sales on the game instead of the biggest culprit, which was the Wii U and its incredibly bad marketing and stupid name but I wasn’t confident. This is the same company that made us wait eleven years for a new and original Metroid game. Thankfully they didn’t and I’ll be first in line (not really, I’m lazy but Wario is proud of me) for WarioWare: Get It Together! when it releases. I’m hoping streams and YouTube videos help convince anyone on the fence because this is a really fun series that’s filled with variety, charm, and replay value. It should come as no surprise though. Wario’s always been num-bah one.

Inscryption

I’m going to be obsessed with Inscryption the second it releases. It’s blending a card-based battle system with psychological horror and escape rooms. Developers make games I love all the time but every once in a while a game gets announced that looks like it was designed specifically for me. This is one of those games and I can’t wait to pour all of my free time into it. WarioWare: Get It Together! is also one of those games and everyone better buy it. I don’t ever want to wait eight years for a new WarioWare game ever again.

Josh really likes video games. Horror is their favorite but they also like other stuff.

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