Best of E3 2019: From spikey-haired heroes with giant swords to cyberpunks with attitude

Final Fantasy VII Remake will not only feature updated graphics and audio but will also attempt to bring a fresh spin to its battles with a new combat system.
Final Fantasy VII Remake will not only feature updated graphics and audio but will also attempt to bring a fresh spin to its battles with a new combat system.PHOTO: SQUARE ENIX

LOS ANGELES - Amid the non-stop announcements of a new console and new hardware, as well as movie and television tie-ups at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) gaming convention, games are still very much at the centre of the conference, which opened its doors on Tuesday (June 11).

The Straits Times picks eight titles that made a big impression on the show floor and various briefings at E3, which is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center till Thursday.

1. Final Fantasy VII Remake

More than 20 years after it first wowed gamers worldwide, one of Square Enix's most well-known role-playing games will be given a new lease of life as the Japanese developer is releasing a remade version next year.

This version will not only feature updated graphics and audio but will also attempt to bring a fresh spin to its battles, with a new combat system that was shown in greater detail at E3.

An E3 gameplay demonstration of the title showed that instead of the static RPG battle system of the original, Final Fantasy VII Remake will be much more action-based. This will allow the player to control iconic characters like Cloud, Barrett and Tifa in a more dynamic way by moving them around the battlefield, switching between them on the fly, and launching attacks with the press, or mash, of a button.

But combat will still have a strategic element, allowing players to pause, if they choose, to better plan what special moves they will execute next.

Final Fantasy VII Remake will be an episodic game, meaning that it will be released in parts, with the first one dropping on March 3 next year on the PlayStation 4.

2. Bleeding Edge


Bleeding Edge reveals itself to be an enjoyable third-person competitive multiplayer game with exciting action reminiscent of Blizzard's hit game Overwatch. PHOTO: NINJA THEORY

At first glance, this four-on-four team brawler from British game developer Ninja Theory might seem confusing, with its bizarre mutant-like characters, busy-looking gameplay and packed arenas.

But once players get past the game's tutorial and orient themselves, Bleeding Edge reveals itself to be an enjoyable third-person competitive multiplayer game, full of nail-biting sequences and exciting action that is reminiscent of Blizzard's hit game Overwatch.

A freakshow-esque cast of characters across three different big types - assassin, support and heavy - mean that matches are expected to challenge players. As with any other team-brawlers, creating a well-balanced party will make the difference between victory and defeat.

Another plus: all characters can summon a hoverboard at any time to move more quickly, just because. The game will be available on June 27 on the Xbox One.

3. Borderlands 3


Players take on missions, on their own or in teams of up to four people, from other characters or from bounty boards to gain experience, in-game monetary rewards, and items. PHOTO: GEARBOX SOFTWARE

Borderlands is one of American developer Gearbox Software's most well-known franchises, with plenty of fans following the first-person shooter series since the first iteration was released a decade ago.

While 10 years might seem like a substantial time, it is clear that Borderlands' following has not waned. The latest game is clearly one of the most hyped-up titles at this year's E3 with a considerable marketing push, going by its many posters, advertisements and online buzz it has generated.

Players take on missions, on their own or in teams of up to four people, from other characters or from bounty boards to gain experience, in-game monetary rewards, and items. They can also earn these items by defeating enemies throughout the game in many different destinations across numerous planets.

The game will be released on Sept 13 on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.

4. Marvel's Avengers


The much anticipated Avenges will be a plot-driven action title with an original story featuring the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow and Captain America. PHOTO: CRYSTAL DYNAMICS

Fresh off concluding what has arguably been one of the most talked about movie franchises of all time, the Avengers superheroes have now left the big screen for the gaming console.

At Square Enix's E3 briefing, footage that appears to blend cut scenes with gameplay was shown off, to great fanfare, for the first time.

Based on what the developers let media in on, it looks like the much anticipated Avenges will be a plot-driven action title with an original story featuring the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow and Captain America.

The famous celebrities who depicted these characters in the movies will not be making a return, however, and the Avengers game will feature a whole new cast. More details will be revealed before the game swoops in early next year on PS4, Xbox, PC and Google Stadia.

5. Watch Dogs: Legion


Watch Dogs: Legion will allow players to control many other characters that can be recruited across the game's fictionalised version of London. PHOTO: UBISOFT MONTREAL

French developer Ubisoft made waves when it released its action-adventure title Watch Dogs back in 2014 and its follow-up in 2016, allowing players to play the role of a hacker exploring both an in-game real-world and a virtual one.

Watch Dogs: Legion looks set to up the ante for the series, by allowing players to control many other characters that can be recruited across the game's fictionalised version of London.

This includes ex-spies, drone technicians, people on the street and even elderly folks - which can make for some cute and hilarious sequences.

Each character in the game will have their own background and skill set. The type of characters recruited will also influence the game's narrative in their own way as the story progresses.

More details will be revealed closer to the game's March 6 release date next year on PS4, Xbox, PC and Google Stadia.

6. Cyberpunk 2077


Cyberpunk 2077's cast includes Hollywood superstar Keanu Reeves. PHOTO: CD PROJEKT

As if it could not get any bigger, anticipation for this title from Polish game developer CD Projekt Red skyrocketed when it was revealed at Microsoft's briefing that Hollywood superstar Keanu Reeves will be joining the cast of Cyberpunk 2077.

Players of the game, which will be released next year on April 16 for the PS4, Xbox and PC, will assume the role of V, a mercenary who they will have a big say in how they want to develop. This includes upgrading his (or her; players can choose to play a female V) skills, which include mastery in ranged weapons and proficiency in melee combat.

Based on what has been played and seen, the game is set to feature a large open-world, with six different regions, and an engrossing storyline - both of which are arguably CD Projekt Red's strengths, given how the developer made The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which has received over 250 "game of the year" accolades.

7. 12 Minutes


Players will relive the same set of actions and conversations several times, using the knowledge gained to help them progress as they try to change the game's horrific ending that will occur at the end of 12 minutes. PHOTO: ANNAPRNA INTERACTIVE

This independently-developed psychological thriller that was briefly shown at the Microsoft briefing presents an interesting premise - a man relives 12 minutes of his life again and again, which players will play in real-time.

They will be reliving the same set of actions and conversations several times, using the knowledge gained to help them progress in the next run as they try to change the game's horrific ending that will occur at the end of 12 minutes.

A lot of effort has been made by creator Luis Antonio to create a creepy, unsettling vibe, akin to hit thrillers like Rear Window and The Shining. The game will be out next year on Xbox One.

8. The Outer Worlds


Players will be tasked to unravel a conspiracy at the heart of a space colony as they negotiate the different politics of several factions in the game. PHOTO: OBSIDIAN ENTERTAINMENT

American developer Obsidian Entertainment has made it almost its trademark to create big, sprawling worlds full of choices that will have consequences to the plot. This other-worldlyrole-playing game is no different.

Players will be tasked to unravel a conspiracy at the heart of a space colony as they negotiate the different politics of several factions in the game. The decisions they make will influence how the game's characters and world see them, and will have an impact on the direction the plot takes too.

While this might make the game sound like a serious affair,a gameplay demo shown off at E3 suggests Obsidian has made sure to include plenty of humour and wit too.

The Outer Worlds will be released on Oct 25 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.