Best games at E3 2021
E3 2021 is officially over, but it brought with it a number of exciting new games.
We’ve also been able to get a closer look at some previously announced games, with new trailers, gameplay footage and deep dives ramping up the hype.
After watching all of the major conferences, we’ve picked out the very best games at E3 2021. So without further ado, here they are:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
Nintendo ended its E3 presentation on a high note, revealing the first gameplay trailer for Breath of the Wild 2. While the trailer didn’t give too much away, it sent the internet into a frenzy with lots of fan theories regarding the fate of Link, Zelda and Ganon.
What we do know is that Breath of the Wild 2 will return to Hyrule, but it’s now filled with floating islands to allow for more vertical exploration, akin to Skyward Sword. Link also appears to have gained access to some new abilities, as he was seen reversing time and spewing flames from a shield. Given how good the first Breath of the Wild is, the sequel has every chance of being one of the best Switch games of 2022.
The Trusted Take
I’m really looking forwards to the added verticality in BOTW 2, which will no doubt shake things up just enough to avoid it feeling like a complete retread over its predecessor. But until I see more gameplay in action, there’s a great deal that’s still up in the air (pun intended).
Halo Infinite will undoubtedly be the biggest game on the Xbox Series X once it finally launches later this year. We already know a fair amount about the story campaign, but Xbox shared a deeper look at the multiplayer during E3. First of all, the multiplayer mode will be free to play, even if you don’t subscribe to Game Pass.
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer looks very similar to previous entries, but that’s certainly no bad thing. Plus it’s been updated with next-gen graphics, which look spectacular judging from the gameplay trailer. It’s also been confirmed that Halo Infinite will support split screen, which is great news with more and more games are ditching couch play.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Ubisoft revealed one of the biggest shocks of E3 this year, after confirming its working on a new Avatar game. Admittedly this shouldn’t be too big of a surprise given Avatar is one of the highest grossing films of all time, but it’s still a refreshing change from all of the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings tie-ins.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be a third-person open-world action adventure game, and will be exclusive to next-generation consoles and PC. The world of Pandora looked stunning in the new trailer, boasting some of the best visuals ever seen in a game. With a 2022 release date, it’s still a long way off launch, but we’re looking forward to taking on the role of a Na’vi – even if it won’t be in 3D.
The Trusted Take
Avatar, quite possibly the most overrated film of all time, is getting a game. Does anyone care? Considering it’s been a decade since the film came out and the sequels are still MIA this feels about 9 years too late. It does look pretty, though.
With Microsoft acquiring Zenimax recently, it was expected that Xbox would come out guns blazing this year with a horde of console exclusives. And it did just that, with Redfall being one of the most fascinating reveals. Developed by the same team behind Prey and Dishonoured, Redfall is an open-world co-op shooter that sees you take on a horde of vampires.
There are four vampire slayers to choose from, each with their own unique skill sets and personalities. While you can group up with three other friends to bludgeon the blood suckers, it has been confirmed that you can play through the entire game on your lonesome if you prefer. Redfall is scheduled for a Summer 2022 launch, and will arrive on Game Pass from day one.
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Dark Souls fans have been waiting for news on Elden Ring for a long time, and it finally arrived this summer. A new gameplay trailer showed off the new world, as FromSoftware confirmed its taking a more open-world approach this time round, while also giving you the ability to ride a horse. Game of Thrones author, George RR Martin, will also be helping out with the story and lore, putting more of a focus on the characters than the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
While these new features are certainly exciting, Elden Ring will still retain the strongest elements of previous FromSoftware games, with various horrifying and difficult boss battles shown off in the gameplay trailer. There also looks to be a range of weapons, from heavy battle axes to staffs that allow you to meddle with magic. Elden Ring is confirmed to launch in January 2022.
The Trusted Take
Elden Ring looks absolutely astonishing. Though the demo was brief it looked to fix nearly all my concerns about past Souls games and be the first entry since Bloodborne to bring the gameplay mechanics truly forward. Highlights include the ability to run into battle on a noble steed and much more developed magic mechanics, which look way more fun than anything I’ve seen in any Souls game. Color me excited.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
After the disastrous launch of the Avengers, you’d think that Square Enix would want to shy away from Marvel for a little while. But instead, Square Enix confirmed that it’s working on a Guardians of the Galaxy game, and it looks great if the trailer is anything to go by.
Importantly, this won’t be a live service game like Avengers. Instead, it’s a single-player campaign where you take the role of Star Lord. To some fan’s dismay, you won’t be able to play as Gamora, Rocket, Drax or Groot, but they’ll still be along for the adventure as companions. The trailer showed off some fast-paced gameplay, as Starlord dons his boost thrusters and dual pistols to take on a variety of peculiar aliens. It also captures the humour of the comics and films perfectly, driving up the potential of this original story.
We have to admit, Battlefield games have become a bit generic and predictable in recent years, but the new entry seems to be changing tactics by ditching the single-player campaign and boosting the multiplayer player count to a whopping 128.
What’s more, Battlefield 2042 features dynamic weather effects, so tornados and sandstorms can intervene with the combat to keep players on their toes. There will also be a huge range of character classes, maps and weapons made available, with even more arriving with post-launch seasons. Battlefield 2042 will launch on 22 October 2021, and could well be one of the biggest multiplayer games of the year.
The Trusted Take
If you told me a few months ago that a Battlefield game would be one of my favourite games of E3, I’d probably have laughed in your face. But Battlefield 2042 looks a fantastic candidate to become my new multiplayer obsession with its massive 128 player count. And who wouldn’t want to drive a helicopter into a tornado without the bone-crushing consequences? Sign me up!
Nintendo unfortunately didn’t reveal any more details on Metroid Prime 4 during E3, but it revealed the next best thing: Metroid Dread. This will be the fifth instalment in the 2D Metroid series, following on from Metroid Fusion that launched on the GameBoy Advance back in 2002.
With the series being dormant for a number of years, Metroid Dread looks like a major leap forward with impressive graphics for the Switch. The gameplay trailer also showed off robotic enemies that can’t be harmed, forcing Samus to adopt some stealth tactics along with her usual blaster combat and Morph Ball puzzles. Best of all, Metroid Dread is launching as soon as 8 October 2021 which is only a couple of months away.
Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon is one of Xbox’s strongest exclusives, with the open-world racer allowing players to venture off road and engage in all sorts of social activities with their friends online. For Forza Horizon 5, Xbox is taking the series to Mexico, with a range of environments from jaw-dropping canyons to vibrant jungles.
With the likes of 4K and ray tracing upgrades thrown into the mix, this looks to be the absolute best looking games for next-gen consoles yet. The trailer looks fantastic, taking racecourses to the likes of volcanoes and mountains for some breath-taking sights. There will also be multiple weather events, with Mexico’s tropical storms and dynamic seasons boosting the immersion to new heights. Forza Horizon 5 launches in November, coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one.
The Trusted Take
Wow – easily the standout demo from E3 for me. Forza Horizon looks utterly incredible and Playground Games deserves all the praise it’s getting. The lightning, the detail of the Mexican landscapes and the fluidity of the racing should make for the ultimate title to really show off what the Xbox Series X can do. I bought an Xbox One S a few years ago purely for Forza Horizon, and I might just have to invest in Microsoft’s next-gen vision again for this.
Forget Halo and Forza, if any game is going to convince PlayStation loyalists to switch to an Xbox, it’s Starfield. This is a next-gen RPG from the same studio that made Skyrim and Fallout 4, with Bethesda describing the game as a “Han Solo simulator”.
The teaser at E3 didn’t give us a look at any of the gameplay, but the new teaser trailer looks hugely impressive as it explores a spacecraft on an unknown planet. Some concept art for various locations were also revealed, such as a city built into a mountain range and an alien jungle filled with all sorts of zany plants. Other than the November 2022 launch date, we don’t know much else about Starfield at this point, but considering Bethesda’s impressive record, it would be a brave man to bet against this sci-fi epic.