E3 is always an exciting time because you know there is going to be at least one thing that you can’t wait you get your hands on and play. Luckily for me, I had multiple things that made me reach for my wallet before seeing that some didn’t even have a definitive date yet. However, to slim down the list, there were a few things I needed to consider first.
Cinematic trailers don’t work for me, especially when it is a new franchise. That means games like Redfall and Starfield won’t be here on the list. We know next to nothing about either, and I can see that they have potential due to their developers’ pedigrees and general concepts. However, my excitement is on pause for the foreseeable future. The games also MUST be showcased at Summer Game’s Fest or E3 to be included.
These games are ones that I know EXACTLY what I will be purchasing, and I can’t wait to spend ludicrous amounts of time playing through. With that, let’s dive in and see what games appeared to be showstoppers to me.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release date: October 8, 2021
I have never played a Metroid game but I have been ticking off the months since Nintendo announced they were restarting development on Metroid Prime 4 because I was hoping that would be my introduction to the series. However, Nintendo has instead thrown us a curveball (as they do) with the announcement of the latest installment in the 2D Metroid series with the long rumored Metroid Dread.
I may not be familiar with Metroid but I am familiar with games like Hollow Knight and I really want to see more of the genre’s roots. What better way than the newest entry in the legendary series that helped to start it all. I look forward to what secrets Metroid has in store, and I hope there are plenty of secrets to discover.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of the Black Water
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, PS5, PC
Release Date: 2021
So, like many, I didn’t really use my Wii U. I think I sold the console after a year of owning it and having only played Zombie U. However, that means I did miss out on the occasional gem like Smash 4 and Fatal Frame. Fatal Frame is the sequel to the first horror survival game I ever came in contact with on the original Xbox. I was way too scared (especially since I couldn’t read) to successfully get through the game but the concept always intrigued me.
Maiden of the Blackwater stars three different characters who are exploring dark ruins and woods populated by gruesome ghosts. The only means to defend yourself? A camera. Yeah, you need to take pictures of the horrifying spirits that are trying to scare you to death. The 13 Ghosts version of Pokemon Snap. I love survival horror and can’t wait to finally give this franchise a proper try when it releases this year (hopefully near Halloween).
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 5, 2021
A remaster of the original four games in the Super Monkey Ball series was confirmed at Nintendo’s E3 Direct. A classic if there ever was one. Super Monkey Ball was one of the most unique games on the Gamecube but the franchise has largely fallen off since its hay-day. There is Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz but that game falls a little short of the intensity and overall quality of the original games.
After all, the original Super Monkey Ball is one of the most fast paced games to speedrun as you bounce along the difficult tracks that have no walls and plenty of places to slip and fall. I never could afford the game as a kid but my best friend owned a copy and we would play it all the time. I can’t wait to take another plunge and see if I can even practice a few speedrun attempts.
Mario Party: Superstars
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 29, 2021
I love Mario party. It was the first game that my small child brain could really get a hang of on the N64 because Pokemon Stadium was difficult, Donkey Kong 64 was confusing, and Paper Boy was annoying. However, Mario party laid out all the basics, explained everything, and made my uncle angry when I stole stars from him. It was great.
Mario Party Superstars uses five boards from the N64 games and 100 of the best hits of Mario Party’s past. This game should alleviate some of the issues that some people had with Super Mario Party as it could be a little simplistic. If the boards are 1:1 recreations from the original games, there should be more route choices and options to screw with friends. Plus, there is online from day one, so I have no problems picking this up to play alone now.
Platforms: Xbox Series X | S, Cloud, PC
Release Date: December 2021
I stand by that Shaun White Snowboarding was an underrated game. It may not have been complex but it offered me a chance to go out boarding with some friends and felt like we were on a virtual trip together. Though we didn’t get a ton of gameplay, Shredder’s announcement gives me similar vibes to Shaun White Snowboarding. All I want is to low key ride down a mountain while performing tricks and my friends ride around by my side.
Shredder was a simple showcase but that’s really what I want from my snowboarding games. Simple tricks and a space to hangout with friends. Not everything needs to be SSX but it wouldn’t hurt if this game had the option for something more fast paced as well. We will have to wait and see how the trails look when it releases.
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, PS5, PC
Release Date: January 21, 2022
The “sequel” to Dark Souls as George R.R. Martin claimed has finally been shown and it looks…very similar to the Souls franchise and that’s okay. I am not good at the Dark Souls games but I enjoy their ruthlessness and expansive worlds that slowly unlock themselves to the player as they earn tiny victories throughout the realm.
Elden Ring is made by the same studio and director as the Souls games but with the addition of Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin to lend some of his lore talents. The gameplay appears to be very Soul’s like with giant grotesque monsters and knights that look like they can crush the player with one swing. However, the few environments shown so far almost seem to have a lighter high fantasy feel to them.
There is more light and green than I am used to seeing in Dark Souls game, so I wonder if the tone will be just as gloomy as those tend to be. Or something more akin to The Witcher? We won’t have to wait much longer to see how the games compare though with it coming this holiday. Praise the sun!
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, PC
Release Date: September 23, 2021
We finally got more Sable news at this E3 with Shedworks Studios showcasing more of the game’s features, characters and setting. Sable is a young nomad from a tribe that lives out in the middle of a mysterious desert. The nomadic people live a simple life except for the technology that they pillage from the old fallen spacecrafts around their home. This helps to give them a little bit of technology in their lives such as the bike that Sable uses to traverse the desert landscape.
Sable leaves her home in search of herself and adventure on her little hover bike. The game promises to be one of self discovery, mystery, and visual awe. Just look at the the art style which is directly inspired by Moebius. Any game where I can explore vast vistas and ride on a bike like I am exploring the surface of Tatooine is a winner in my book!
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PC
Release Date: 2021
Halo is one of my favorite franchises that still regularly makes games from my childhood. Yet, ever since the acquisition by 343 I haven’t enjoyed the franchise’s newest installments, such as Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, all that much. The MCC on the other hand is one of my most played games every year since it came out. I think there were two reasons for this divide. The story felt bland and empty in the newer entries and the art style felt devoid of the original games’ spirit. The double whammy made the new games less engaging to me when I was looking for something very particular.
However, Halo Infinite has finally shown gameplay (that looks good) and my excitement has been renewed for the franchise. The trailer showed the new direction the story has taken in regard to Cortana’s rampancy and a multiplayer reveal that almost seems like the perfect blend between Bungie and 343’s multiplayer philosophies. Not to mention, the new art direction is very reminiscent of the style in the original trilogy. Infinite finally feels like a new Halo game and I hope it lives up to its potential.
Breath of the Wild 2
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 2022
Of course, I have Breath of the Wild’s sequel on the list. Next to Halo and Hollow Knight, Breath of the Wild is my most talked about game so far on this site. The original release of BoTW in 2017, on the Switch, blew me away and made me forgive Nintendo for the last seven years of disappointment I had felt at that time. With its expansive explorable world, survival mechanics, and sandbox, I couldn’t stop playing. In fact, I am purposefully staying away from BoTW now so I can start playing it when we have a definitive release date for the sequel.
The trailer was short but it packed a punch and revealed a lot that we hadn’t known before. The Sheikah Slate appears to just be a new arm for Link, Hyrule Castle has taken to the skies, Gannon is back, and Bekoblins and Stone Talus’s have a close working relationship now. Link’s next adventure somehow feels even more expansive than the original BoTW just because of the increased focus on verticality and I can’t wait to see how Hyrule has transformed. Hopefully, we can stop Ganon early 2022.