Wccftech’s E3 2018 Awards: Cyberpunk 2077, Spider-Man, and More Bests from the Big Show
E3 2018 was a solid spectacle, featuring a good mix of indie and triple-A games coming out this year and the next, as well as some tantalizing peeks at groundbreaking titles that may just kick off the next generation of gaming. We got to play and see a lot of great games at E3 2018, including Spider-Man, Cyberpunk 2077, Kingdom Hearts III, Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (just to name a few), and these are our top picks from the show.
Note: While we tried to play everything we could, Wccftech only had a team of two at E3, so we couldn’t get to everything. These awards are based on the games we got to play ourselves or see demoed live.
Best Action-Adventure Game
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Some fans were understandably concerned when they learned Shadow of the Tomb Raider would be developed by Eidos Montreal rather than longtime franchise stewards Crystal Dynamics, but you can safely set those worries aside. Lara Croft’s latest not only measures up to past adventures, but, based on what I’ve played so far, could be her best yet. First off, SotTR might have been the best-looking title I got to go hands-on with at E3 – the environments, from crumbling ruins to steamy jungles, are amazingly detailed, and the game’s lighting and water effects are equally impressive. The game’s tomb exploration and puzzle solving are more than up to snuff, and combat, while streamlined, is challenging and satisfying. Add the series’ most dramatic story to date, and you have a game that looks like it could be a serious threat for Game of the Year awards. – Nathan
Best Action Game
My Friend Pedro
My Friend Pedro, a pet project of one sole ex-Media Molecule developer with a soundtrack of carefully curated thumping electronic beats from acts you might have never heard of before, turns the slow-motion gunplay of a John Woo blockbuster on its side and gives players all kinds of tools to make badass action montages in a sidescroller setting. There’s no shortage of blood and creative kills, ranging from ricocheting bullets off of frying pans or kickflipping a skateboard into the back of an unsuspecting goon’s cranium. The fluid weaving of gunplay and environmental hazards felt immediately reminiscent of Superhot in all of the right ways. My Friend Pedro may still have a few more months left to bud and blossom, but I can guarantee that it’ll be worth the wait. – Kai
Best Open-World Game
If you read my full hands-on impressions, you’ll know I had a few minor issues with Spider-Man. Most notably, I didn’t find the web-slinging as immediately intuitive as I’d hoped, but I concede I may have just needed a few more minutes to master the controls. Thankfully, Spider-Man’s combat is fantastic (probably the most entertaining of any game I played at the show), and the game’s visuals and overall tone are dead on. There were a lot of games competing for the open-world prize at E3 2018, but Spider-Man is getting the nod because of its lightness and sense of fun. I don’t mind the occasional post-apocalyptic wasteland, but sometimes you just want a big happy sandbox, and Spider-Man looks to deliver that. – Nathan
As technology grows and developers get a better grasp of what the current generation of consoles can do, so grow the shooters that one can find on them. Activision, EA, The Coalition, Devolver, and others all have their own takes on the shooter genre but there could only be one winner this year. For all of the incredible games out this year, I had to settle on the original 64-player team deathmatch: Battlefield V.
The jump in setting from World War I to World War II marks a cyclical return for first person shooters, but Battlefield V aims to reinvent what we already know about this great war with new modes and ways to bring the fight to the Western Front. Pushing Frostbite 3 to its limits, the amount of environmental destruction surpasses that of any previously Battlefield title to date. The promise of a new Battle Royale mode will be an interesting surprise and there’s plenty of news to look forward to before Battlefield V drops later this year. – Kai
Best Western RPG
We’ll have more to say about Cyberpunk 2077 in just a bit, but, needless to say, in addition to everything else the game is, it looks like it’s going to be a damn fine RPG. Unlike The Witcher games, you can now create your own character from scratch and you’ll have a huge amount of freedom to carve out your own sci-fi story. Most importantly, Cyberpunk’s Night City feels like a real, living, breathing place, which I think people are going to have a lot of fun getting lost in. – Nathan
Best Japanese RPG
Kingdom Hearts III
Few game series have teased and tempted the player with a sequel for as long as the Kingdom Hearts series has. For many players like myself, the original Kingdom Hearts was a cornerstone of their gaming experience that opened their eyes to the wonder that Square-Enix and Disney could create in tandem. Nearly a decade after its inception on PlayStation 2, Kingdom Hearts III will finally find its way back into our hearts and perhaps put the mystery surrounding Sora and Riku to rest once and for all.
Finally getting my hands on Kingdom Hearts III after all these years was almost like a dream. The swordplay felt better than ever with being able to swap between keyblades on the fly and combo into stylish finishing blows with the greatest of ease. Kingdom Hearts III’s creative team can finally show off what they’ve passionately worked on for these many years and it certainly shows. The world of Toy Story, from Andy’s house and beyond, looks even better than the classic movies it’s based upon. – Kai
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
They don’t make ‘em like they used to! Jumping, flying, and immolating enemies as a tiny adorable dragon is as fun as ever, and it’s clear developer Toys for Bob has devoted a huge amount of effort to getting Spyro Reignited Trilogy right. The collection’s updated visuals are remarkable, featuring some of the best animation I’ve ever seen. Never has the (totally overused) “It’s like playing a cartoon!” description been more apt — I really felt like I’d somehow got my hands on a playable Pixar movie. Spyro Reignited Trilogy looks to be every bit as good as the Crash Trilogy. In fact, it may be a little bit better. – Nathan
Best Survival-Horror Game
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Much more than a remaster or port onto Sony’s latest platform, Resident Evil 2 Remake completely reworks the campaigns of Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield into something unforgettable. The setting of the Raccoon City Police Department might be familiar, but the contents within are brand new and remixed in ways that will keep veterans on their toes. By shifting the action to the over-the-shoulder camera that’s grown in prominence since Resident Evil 4, the suspense is kept closer to the player and more focused on the aftermath of a city ill-prepared to handle a zombie outbreak on any scale. – Kai
Best Fighting Game
Dead or Alive 6
2018 has been off to a great start with a number of highly regarded anime-based, or airdash, fighters. Those still yet to come include a few recently announced during E3 2018 fall into more of the 3D framework of fighting games. While some of the heavy hitters that we’ve been waiting for a new release from, Netherrealm in particular, didn’t show up on the main stage, a couple of long-awaited sequels did. Publishers Bandai Namco and Koei Tecmo both showcased fighting games whose last mainline entries were back in 2012. Soulcalibur VI may have had a solid showing, ultimately I found myself more interested in what Dead or Alive 6 had to offer.
Dead or Alive 6 looks to be a great return to form for the series that both veterans and newcomers can hop into and enjoy. Among the new features includes a new Break Hold/Blow system that give characters powerful new moves to turn the tables, something that series veterans feels quite divided over. The series’ signature juggling system looks better than ever, and yes, destructible clothing is back once again. – Kai
Best Rhythm Games
There weren’t a lot of rhythm games to choose from this year but even if there were some stiffer competition to choose from, my vote would still solely be upon the twin games of Persona 3 Dancing: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5 Dancing: Dancing Star Night.
Both of these games were ones that I previously imported and finished just prior to E3 2018, but as the English release will be fresh to a Western audience, I felt they qualified on style alone. Each game follows a similar framework of both original tracks from the RPG they’re based upon as well as remixes that turn familiar songs into entirely different genres. There’s also an insane amount of costumes and accessories to fit your dancing partner with. If you’re skittish about hitting the dance floor with your current repertoire of moves, why not pick up Persona 5 Dancing: Dancing Star Night and learn a few new steps? – Kai
Best Co-op Game
World War Z
Games based on movies don’t exactly have the best reputation, but Saber Interactive’s World War Z definitely deserves to be on your radar. The 4-player co-op shooter is fast, intense, and more varied than its trailers have let on. The game’s trademark zombie swarms, which can contain up to a 1000 undead, are genuinely impressive, and lobbing a grenade into a mass of them and watching the bodies go flying is deeply satisfying, in a dark sort of way. Check out my full impressions and interview for more info on this under-the-radar co-op gem. – Nathan
Best Competitive Multiplayer Game
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate doesn’t alter Nintendo’s franchise in any significant way, but, honestly, it doesn’t have to. Smash Bros. is tried and true multiplayer fun, and a few minor tweaks, like faster dashing and changes to dodging, should make Ultimate more aggressive and frantic than ever. Also, come on, the Ice Climbers are back! That alone earns Ultimate this award. – Nathan
Wccftech’s Game of E3 2018
It was tempting to choose a game we actually got to go hands-on with for the Best Game of E3 2018 award, but, ultimately, there was no denying the astonishing, next-level impact of Cyberpunk 2077. As Kai and myself described in our full impressions, the live demo was a technical marvel, serving up eye-melting better-than-movie-quality visuals. Hopefully CD Projekt Red releases footage of the demo to the public, because seeing really is believing.
But Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t just a technical showcase, it looks like it’s going to play great, too. The game’s role-playing systems are sure to be deep and addictive, but the real surprise was the quality of its action. The game was a serious contender for our Best Shooter award — this is a legit, brutal, and innovative FPS. Cyberpunk is trying to be a lot of things, and the game seems to be nailing most of it. Cyberpunk is the vanguard of the next generation of gaming, and it can’t come soon enough. Get hyped. – Nathan
Nathan’s Top Picks
I’d say I lucked out at E3 2018, with the large majority of what I saw showing promise on at least some level. Starting with the games I actually got to play, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Spider-Man are more or less neck-and-neck, with Lara Croft’s latest narrowly emerging as my favorite, as I’m more into linear adventures than open worlds. Surprisingly, the licensed co-op shooter World War Z really managed to impress me, and I’m kind of in love with Indivisible’s gorgeous 2D visuals. Other games I played that just narrowly missed my top 5 include Sony’s rock-solid zombie survival game Days Gone, the charming graffiti adventure Concrete Genie, and the predictable, but still diverting, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
As for hands-off demos at E3 2018, Cyberpunk 2077 was the easy winner, but Dying Light 2, Ghost of Tsushima, and The Surge 2 also put on impressive shows. I was expecting to rank The Last of Us Part II higher, but its live demo was almost identical to the one shown during the PlayStation E3 press conference with no additional info provided by Naughty Dog. I’m still hyped for The Last of Us Part II, but the demo I was shown did little to increase my excitement. Games that didn’t quite make my hands-off list include Just Cause 4 and Total War: Three Kingdoms.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- World War Z
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Dying Light 2
- Ghost of Tsushima
- The Surge 2
- The Last of Us Part II
Kai’s Top Picks
Now that E3 2018 is safely in the rear view mirror, I can say that this year’s presentation was one of those I’ve been most excited for in a long while. Sony might not have shown anything more to follow-up on surprises like Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue III, but what they had to showcase is finally putting the power of this console generation to its full potential. There were so many great games to see this year that we had to break it down into what was a feast for our eyes and what was actually playable. With so many of these games coming out in the next year, my wallet is already weeping for what’s to come in September and on. To settle the fanboy debate early on, I chose Ghosts of Tsushima over Cyberpunk 2077 for my best Hands-Off Presentation on pure virtue of coming out sooner.
- Resident Evil 2 Remake
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Kingdom Hearts III
- Battlefield V
- My Friend Pedro
And there you have it, Wccftech’s picks for the best of E3 2018! What are your thoughts on this year’s show? Which games are you most excited about? Let us know by voting in the poll below, where you can select up to five of your favorites!
- Cyberpunk 2077 30%, 187 votes187 votes 30%187 votes - 30% of all votes
- Ghost of Tsushima 11%, 68 votes68 votes 11%68 votes - 11% of all votes
- The Last of Us Part II 10%, 60 votes60 votes 10%60 votes - 10% of all votes
- Marvel's Spider-Man 5%, 34 votes34 votes 5%34 votes - 5% of all votes
- Metro Exodus 5%, 31 vote31 vote 5%31 vote - 5% of all votes
- Resident Evil 2 Remake 5%, 30 votes30 votes 5%30 votes - 5% of all votes
- Anthem 4%, 23 votes23 votes 4%23 votes - 4% of all votes
- Forza Horizon 4 4%, 23 votes23 votes 4%23 votes - 4% of all votes
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey 4%, 22 votes22 votes 4%22 votes - 4% of all votes
- Kingdom Hearts III 4%, 22 votes22 votes 4%22 votes - 4% of all votes
- Devil May Cry 5 3%, 19 votes19 votes 3%19 votes - 3% of all votes
- Shadow of the Tomb raider 3%, 19 votes19 votes 3%19 votes - 3% of all votes
- Dying Light 2 3%, 18 votes18 votes 3%18 votes - 3% of all votes
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 3%, 16 votes16 votes 3%16 votes - 3% of all votes
- Gears 5 2%, 13 votes13 votes 2%13 votes - 2% of all votes
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 2%, 13 votes13 votes 2%13 votes - 2% of all votes
- Battlefield V 1%, 8 votes8 votes 1%8 votes - 1% of all votes
- Tom Clancy's The Division 2 1%, 7 votes7 votes 1%7 votes - 1% of all votes
- Control 1%, 5 votes5 votes 1%5 votes - 1% of all votes
- The Surge 2 1%, 5 votes5 votes 1%5 votes - 1% of all votes