Best games from E3

Star Wars Battlefront
Star Wars Battlefront
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
Unchartered 4: A Thief's End
Unchartered 4: A Thief's End
For Honor
For Honor

Gamers will soon be spoilt for choice. While last year's E3 had very few notable titles for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game consoles, the next 18 months look set to be an exhilarating ride. Unlike last year, very few of the upcoming top-rated games will run on the older PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms, so buying a new console will definitely be on the cards for gamers this year. Here are our favourite games from the games conference in Los Angeles

1 Until Dawn

Release date: Aug 25
Platform: PlayStation 4

In this survival-horror game, eight friends are trapped in a remote mountain cabin and soon realise that they are not alone.

Realistic graphics and facial expressions, haunting music and plenty of sudden scares make the game a top choice for those who love the thrill of slasher movies.

What makes this game unique is that you get to play all eight of the characters, and that there are thousands of possible permutations as to how the final story plays out.

As you play, you will have to make choices that will affect how your story progresses.

An example of the big moral decisions: Do you risk your life to save your friend who is dangling off the edge of a crumbling tower, or do you leap away to save yourself?

Some choices - such as whether to be sarcastic or sympathetic to your nagging girlfriend - seem trivial, but all of them can have a huge impact on where the game finally leads.


2 Halo 5: Guardians

Oct 27
Xbox One

Nobody can resist Master Chief, even if he has gone missing and the new Spartans are now hunting him down.

Microsoft has spent a lot on marketing to create an air of suspense over whether our old hero has gone rogue but I suspect that in the end, Master Chief will be like Jack Bauer from TV's 24 - constantly misunderstood by the authorities, but always the hero at heart.

The new hero is Jameson Locke, who leads a fireteam of Spartans searching for Master Chief. Little has been revealed about the plot for the single-player campaign, but from the E3 demo, it looks as if Master Chief's old ally - the alien leader Arbiter - is back.

A new weapon, called the Plasma Caster, shoots balls of energy. It looks like a deadly weapon every player will want to get his hands on. To get up to speed on the plot before the game launches, download the Halo Channel app for the Xbox One or Windows PC and watch the five-episode Nightfall mini-series that casts Locke as the protagonist.


3 Call Of Duty: Black Ops III

Nov 6
PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/PC

The Call Of Duty series comes out with a new game every year, offering players new ways to make the bad guys go boom.

This year's game promises plenty of new ways to kill. Your hero has special abilities that can immolate the enemy, incapacitate him by making him retch, summon a swarm of fireflies, call in airstrikes, and much more.

You can play the campaign alone or in cooperative mode with up to three other friends. Multiplayer has a brand new look with players being able to choose from nine different classes of specialists.

Each specialist has a unique weapon and ability, although you can choose only one or the other before the match starts. The Outrider specialist, for instance, can equip a bow with explosive arrows instead of using a gun, and her Combat Focus ability is able to reveal the locations of all enemy soldiers.


4 Fallout 4

Nov 10
PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC

It is not about falling out with your parents or your enemies, but surviving a nuclear fallout. That is what the post-apocalyptic Fallout franchise is about.

In Fallout 3, the turn-based role-playing game became a shooter and a turn-based strategy hybrid game. Developer Bethesda extends the magic to Fallout 4, where you emerge from the self-sufficiency of your underground shelter again to return to the ravaged world.

While you will be able to wield many different types of crazy weapons, the new crafting system means that you can come up with really interesting gun creations.

What is most impressive, however, is the fact that Bethesda is launching the game within four months of announcing it - a rarity in the hyped-out video-gaming world where developers announce games years in advance.

For fans of the series, the good news is that your pet companion in Fallout 4 can no longer die.


5 Star Wars Battlefront

Nov 17
PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC

Think of it as playing Battlefield but in the Star Wars universe.

After queueing for 90 minutes, I managed to be part of the epic 20 versus 20 multiplayer re-enactment of the Battle Of Hoth, from the Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back.

I joined as a soldier with the Imperial Forces and was thrown into the thick of the action immediately as we had to protect our twin AT-AT Imperial Walker vehicles, as they moved in to destroy the base of the Rebel Alliance. I could fire into the crowd with a rocket launcher, take control of the smaller AT-ST walker to support its larger robo-brethren, and even pilot a TIE fighter. It was all a big mess in the battlefield but it was a lot of fun.

The game will also let you play as iconic characters such as Darth Vader and Boba Fett. If you are a Star Wars fan, this is the game to die for this year.


6 Battleborn

End of this year or early next year
PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC

Created by the team behind Borderlands, this game is a first-person shooter which offers you 25 characters to choose from.

The game takes on a cartoonish style reminiscent of the Borderlands series, but it also looks to be a part of a new genre of multiplayer action-combat games filled with heroes, such as in upcoming titles Gigantic, Overwatch and Battlecry.

You can play the story mode alone or cooperatively with four friends online, or engage in a five versus five multiplayer brawl.

I managed to try the multiplayer fight at E3 and had plenty of fun with it.

I played Rath, a hero who wields dual swords, and who heals himself each time he hurts his enemies.

The other heroes include Miko, the mushroom warrior who hurls mushrooms to heal his allies, and Thorn, the elven archer who can release a volley of five arrows from a distance.


7 Horizon Zero Dawn

Next year
PlayStation 4

One of the best-loved debuts at E3, the game puts you into the shoes of a huntress called Aloy who is living in a post-apocalyptic world, 1,000 years into the future.

The world has regressed to the Stone Age, and numerous human tribes now inhabit a land where the flora and fauna have swallowed old buildings and skyscrapers. The graphics are top-notch and the world feels like a gigantic open sandbox.

It is also the Age of Dinosaurs, except that these dinosaurs are actually machines. Aloy has to find these aberrations and hunt them for resources.

Her main weapon is her bow which she can fit with a variety of arrows. She has explosive arrows, armour-piercing arrows, electric arrows for stunning opponents, and even rope and grapple arrows to pin large monsters to the ground.

Think of her as a more primitive version of Marvel's Avenger, Hawkeye, but with beautiful flowing tresses.


8 Street Fighter 5

Early next year
PlayStation 4/PC

The hit fighting game is back, but this time, it is an exclusive for the PlayStation4.

Cammy and Birdie, who were left out in Street Fighter 4, mark their return in the latest iteration, together with Ryu, Chun Li, M Bison, Nash and many other familiar fighters.

Apart from the amazing graphics, there are now two new special moves called V-Trigger and V-Skill, which are different for each character. Ryu can parry attacks with his V-Skill and can charge his hands with electricity for extra damage when he fires up his V-Trigger.

Chun Li's V-Skill lets her jump farther and farther away from projectiles to initiate a close combat combo, while

M Bison's V-Trigger lets him teleport, instead of dashing around the screen.

While the game will not be launched until early next year, several lucky players will be able to join the beta from next month.


9 Unchartered 4: A Thief's End

March next year
PlayStation 4

The developers are saying that this will be Nathan Drake's last chapter. This means that every fanboy will want a crack at the final game in the epic franchise.

Like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, Nathan Drake makes treasure hunting an action-packed adventure that keeps you at the edge of your seat. During the 20-minute demo at E3, fans were treated to a spectacle of a mega vehicle chase in which our hero tries to escape an ambush in a jeep.

The going gets tough when the enemy appears in some kind of a mini-tank, hell bent on destroying Nathan and his friends. There is no time to think, only to react, as Nathan's jeep hurtles forward in a roller-coaster race to escape, smashing stuff along the way and finding shelter among buildings.

Over-the-top action with eye-popping graphics and a return to the hit series make this another must for all PlayStation fans next year.


10 The Last Guardian

Next year
PlayStation 4

When Sony opened its E3 press conference by showing the Last Guardian, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena erupted in thunderous applause and screams of joy.

The much-awaited game, originally announced for the PlayStation 3 in 2009, had been delayed until now. Created by Mr Fumito Ueda, the genius behind Shadow Of The Colossus, the Last Guardian tells the story of a young nameless monk and his gigantic beast friend, Trico, which looks like a cross between a dog and a bird.

Their adventure takes place on top of a giant crumbling ruin, from which they are trying to escape alive. The boy must guide his beast-friend, finding ways around the labyrinths and tunnels. But they also need to work together. For example, he has to leap across wide chasms that he cannot cross on his own, and must rely on Trico to catch him in mid-air when he attempts the jump.


11 For Honor

Next year
PlayStation 4/ Xbox One/PC

Put away your guns because it is time to unsheath your swords.

Making its debut at E3 this year, For Honor received plenty of interest and its booth had one of the longest queues of folks trying to get a hands-on preview at the show.

You can play as a samurai, knight or viking as you team up with other friends in a brutal multiplayer slashing game. At first, you simply carve your way through computer-controlled soldiers. But all similarity to that button-masher ends when you come face-to-face with warriors controlled by other players.

You need to work with your team members to take out the enemy using a melee style. Parry, block, deflect and strike are the rules of the game.

This brand new franchise comes from the talented Ubisoft Montreal studios, the original team behind the developer's highly popular Assassin's Creed game.


12 The Division

March 8, next year
PlayStation 4/ Xbox One/PC

Money does kill.

A virulent disease that is spread through germs on banknotes is wiping out the entire population and causing the United States government and economy to collapse.

The country descends into chaos as the pandemic spreads across the land.

You are part of a classified unit, The Division, and are specially trained to handle a crisis like this.

The goal is to save whatever is left of humanity and to take back New York City.

While this game looks and plays like a shooter, it is a role-playing game at heart, in which you can level up your skills, weapons and gear.

ginlee@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'Best games from E3'. Print Edition | Subscribe