The best of E3 2016

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E3 2016 has come and gone. For all the cynicism and negativity surrounding the current direction for the industry, E3 is always a fun week full of surprising reveals, hilarious blunders, and great games. While E3 2016 fell in a transitional year for the industry, there was a good amount to enjoy at this year&#39;s event. Here are some of this year&rsquo;s highlights</p>

 

Zelda goes wild

Ever since Nintendo announced the Wii U, gamers anticipated the newest entry in The Legend of Zelda series. For the past five years, we have been given teasers, trailers, and glimpses of Zelda's new direction, but nothing substantial. Well Nintendo pulled back the curtain on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at E3 and it was magical.

In all honesty, I had to fight back the tears when Nintendo revealed the trailer. Breath of the Wild looks to be the Zelda I and many others have always wanted — full and total freedom to go off in any direction and do whatever you want. Complete some puzzle-focused shrines, climb the highest mountain in Hyrule, eradicate all bokoblins off the face of the Great Plateau, or go fight the final boss. It is your adventure and words cannot properly describe how happy it makes me feel. Truly, the game of E3 2016.

 

LOL Sony wins

I could probably make a witty joke about how Sony obliterates every press conference each and every year, but that would be too easy. Plus, the subtitle gets that point across.

Rather than dance around it, I'm going to come out and say it — Sony killed it. In possibly their shortest press conference ever, Sony went for an hour straight showing nothing but games. No time was wasted on long nonsensical monologues, meaningless banter, or executives getting off on all their success onstage.

Everything Sony showed off was impressive. God of War takes the series in a subdued yet highly intriguing new direction, Horizon stuns with its refreshing take on the post-apocalypse, Insomniac takes the reins on an exclusive Spider-Man title, Crash Bandicoot comes home with remasters of the first three games, Resident Evil VII returns the franchise to its survival horror roots, and The Last Guardian finally got a release date.

I know I'm missing a few details, but you get the gist of it. Sony showed the industry how you do press conferences and it was one of the biggest highlights of the show.

 

Horror returns to the spotlight

In recent years, horror games have been limited to the indie video game scene. Outside of The Evil Within, AAA horror games couldn't get off the ground as Konami cancelled Silent Hills and Capcom turned Resident Evil into a Hollywood action film. Be it survival, psychological, or atmospheric, it was great to see big horror games get a bigger spotlight than in years past.

In my opinion, there were three horror titles that built tons of good buzz around the genre: Prey, We Happy Few, and Resident Evil VII.

When the space bounty hunter simulator Prey 2 fell off the face of the Earth after an impressive debut, nobody knew what Bethesda would do with the dormant franchise. Nobody thought they would turn Prey into a psychological horror game. Although we only got a cinematic trailer for the game, the concept looks promising. Plus, Prey is in good hands with Arkane Games, the studio responsible for Dishonored, at the helm.

While We Happy Few maybe an indie game, it had a prominent spot at the Microsoft press conference. Microsoft's faith in the game must mean it is a special experience and the show-stealing gameplay sure backs that fact up. We Happy Few's use of atmosphere and ambiance creates an unsettling feeling that harkens back to the original Bioshock.

Last year at E3, Sony showed off a VR demo called The Kitchen. The tech demo showed how survival horror can work in virtual reality. Nobody thought that tech demo would expand into Resident Evil VII. The most shocking moment of Sony's press conference, Resident Evil VII's trailer and subsequent demo (available for download on PSN) paint an optimistic picture for a franchise that has been having an identity crisis in recent years.

 

This is only one side of the coin that was E3 2016. To see my picks for the downs of the show, take a click over to The worst of E3 2016. Unlike the hour that was EA's press conference, you won't be disappointed.

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