My Top Ten Video Game Highlights from E3 2021

I know this is incredibly, credibly late. But I’ve been busy… and lacking in motivation… I still wanted to talk about E3 in some capacity this year. Or whatever it was that passed for the “Electronic Entertainment Experience” that happened exclusively online in 2021.

I’m not as “on the pulse” with game development as I used to be, I’m hardly managing to find time/money to play the games I want to play at the moment without worrying about what’s coming out in the next 24 months. But my jaded old bones are still capable of feeling some excitement and there were some games revealed at the event.

So I thought I’d just list the ten things, in brief, that really grabbed my interest this year.

Metroid: Dread

Hell yeah new Metroid game. I love the Metroid franchise, even though Nintendo don’t foray into proper science fiction very often. I feel bad that I never finished the remake of Metroid II that came out a few years ago. But playing a game like that one a 3DS was painful for someone with big meaty paws such as myself.

Metroid: Dread looks like a game made in that same vein. Which makes sense considering MercurySteam are also involved with the development of this game as well.

Look. As much as we all want to see whatever the hell Metroid Prime 4 is going to be, the franchise started as a side view action game. Hell, they named the entire genre after it, so I have no issues with them returning to the franchise’s root and making this game.

While I’m not going to order this list in any way, this was probably the announcement I was most excited about from the entire show.

WarioWare: Get it Together

WarioWare is good fun. Strangely enough, I’ve only ever played one of the games myself. That’d be Touched on the Nintendo DS. Despite the fact that I kind of missed out on the series since then, I’m more than ready to give this new one a go on the Switch.

My only concern is that the game has you controlling little avatars in order to complete the microgames. This might be a sign of my narrow imagination when it comes to video games development, but it feels like having this requirement is going to limit the variation and the fast pace of those little games.

Then again, my only real experience comes from a game where all the games made use of a touch screen, which is an inherently faster input device. So I won’t know till I see the game in action myself.

Forza Horizon 5

I thought this year was going to be the year of the more classic style Forza game. Not that I’m complaining, I am a much bigger fan of the arcadey, open world mayhem of the Forza Horizon series. Like one of the plagues right out of the bible; the Horizon festival descends down upon a certain corner of the globe and totally consumes every piece of natural beauty before moving on.

I only assume leaving that location a destroyed husk of tire marks and destroyed local beauty. Or maybe it’s more like a virus that is constantly consuming until the entire globe is one large festival. Either way, the lastest victim of the Horizon Festival is Mexico, and it looks beautiful.

These games are amazing to look at and this one is no different. It’s a shame that I don’t have an Xbox Series X yet, because this would be one of the few games coming out to actually own that console for. Either way, with this coming to Game Pass, there’s no question I’ll be picking this one up on day one.

Atomic Heart

You might notice that by the time this list is over, games like Starfield and the Breath of the Wild sequel are going to be absent from it. That’s because, for the most part it feels like an absolute given that those games are going to be titles I’m interested in. The thing is, they’re both known quantities for me. While they’ve shown next to nothing about them, I feel like I have a good idea of what expect from them.

That, plus we’ve known about those games coming out for ages already. Which means most of the stuff on here are games that came as a surprise to me, or unknowns that I want to know some more about.

Atomic Heart is very much in the second camp. Based on that announcement trailer alone I am super intrigued by it. Trailers for this game have been knocking about since 2018, but this new trailer from E3 was the first time it came to my attention.

The strangeness of the world combined with the tone of the trailer gives me Bioshock/Fallout vibes, which is how it looks like it plays. Right now, all my interest in the game comes from the way it looks, the world is that combination of creepy retro-future that works for me. So this game is definitely on my radar.

My only hope is that it doesn’t just end up being another Outer Worlds. All style, lacking in substance.

Slime Rancher 2

I quietly loved the first Slime Rancher game. I’m not sure if I ever talked about it on my blog before. It was a game that hit all the right boxes for me in the same vein as a Pokemon game. A slow paced, collection driven game in which finding more cute little slimes is also how you unlock more of the world to play in. It’s just so bright, cheerful and cute.

So the announcement of a sequel took me by total surprise and I’m pretty much on board to buy up whatever they’re selling irrelevent of what changes they’ve made (or not made) to the game. Honestly, I’d be perfectly happy with just more of the same.

Halo: Infinite

I did say something about not being super excited about known quantities. And honestly, the reason this game is on this list is because it’s coming to Game Pass. I’m just interested to see whatever the hell this game ends up being. After all the big promises about the future of the Halo and new direction of the franchise to bring it up to speed with other, more modern first person shooter games, I just need to know more than anything.

Being honest, my interest in this game is more akin to morbid curiosity than actual excitement at this point. I’ve not felt super strongly about any of the Halo games since Bungie left and 343 took over development on the franchise, but it’s the big promises, the delays and my feeling that this is just going to end up being another Halo game that draws me in.

Had this been a full priced release for me, I wouldn’t have touched it with a ten foot barge pole. But with it coming to Game Pass, I am very ready to get my hands on this and see what it ends up being now that this trailer pretty much confirms that the game is coming out this year.

So it’s on here for a little bit of a different reason than every other game.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

I’ll put my hands up and admit that I really like the Borderlands games. Sure, the tone and the attitude of the franchise that really solidified itself with the second game hasn’t ages especially will since 2012. But I like playing them, if not for the story, but for the gameplay and character building aspects of the vault hunter classes.

Wonderlands is a spinoff that looks like it takes the content of the Borderlands 2 DLC Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep as inspiration. Blending the Mad Max-esque style and setting of Borderlands shoving it into a Dungeons & Dragons style world of high fantasy. Except with guns.

That Tiny Tina DLC was a great expansion, so the promise of turning it into a full spinoff game seems like a great move to me. Plus it sounds like we’re going to get to make our own characters for the first time as a part of this game instead of picking from one of the four pre-made vault hunters.

I’m really interested to see more about this game. I’d actually love for them to lean pretty hard into the classic D&D class archetypes and reapply them into a game where you’re using guns and magic instead of swords… and magic. I’m going to keep my eyes very well peeled for more information on this one.

Redfall & Back 4 Blood

I’m intrigued by this one if nothing else. Oh right, I put two games into this same entry. Well, that’s because anything I can say about one of these games can also apply to the other. While last year was the year of battle royales, 2021 seemed to be the year of Left 4 Dead clones.

There are a ton of them coming out, but these are the two that stuck out the most to me. Back 4 Blood is basically the followup to the first two Left 4 Dead games from the people that made those two games. While I was less than enthused by their first game as Turtle Rock: Evolve, them going back to “basics” so to speak, is enough for me to want to see what Back 4 Blood looks like.

And while we know even less about Redfall, we don know it’s from the developer of Dishonered, which is a mark of quality in my eyes, and it has super-powered teens fighting vampires. And that’s pretty much all we know. Bethesda ended their show with the cinematic announcement trailer.

But it was unique enough to make me want to see more and keep my eyes out for it when they eventually do show some gameplay for it. And hey, it’s coming to Game Pass as well, so there should be no shortage of people to play it with.

Replaced

Cyberpunk is big right now. I ended up missing out on Cyberpunk 2077, taking a wait and see approach to it after release. And then it caught on fight and never went out. So needless to say, as much as I am still curious about it, I feel like I’m going to give 2077 a semi-permanent rain check. Unless of course CD-Prokekt red eventually sort it out.

In the meantime I need to quench that cyberpunk thirst elsewhere and Replaced is another game that really grabbed my attention on look and style alone. Another announcement trailer that gives us minimal information to work with, but looks super moody and has a super unique graphics style.

Plus, I like the look of that combat. I’ll be keeping my eyes open to see more of what this ends up being.


There’s my late E3 post. There is some stuff coming out, but it looks like most of it isn’t going to be hitting us until 2022. This year isn’t going to be without games, but I’ve written up a list of everything that I play to play this year and a lot of it looks like it’s going to be taken up with remakes and older games. Again.

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