E3: The top 5 games I want to play now (plus one more thing)

As the 2017 version of the Electronic Entertainment Expo winds down and the next season of gaming begins, developers and publishers showed their focus for what they think gamers want and what their vision of video game entertainment will be.

From familiar faces to brand new heroes, the stories and gameplay of our future is vast and varied. From all the announcement and presentations, I chose five (plus one) things of which I wanted to see more. Obviously, there are so many others (check those out at the end), but these five stand out.

God of War

Ever since Kratos took that step off the cliff, I have been enraptured in the mythology, legend, and storytelling of the “God of War” franchise. The former warrior chief’s journey of god killing, power, and loss bade me to slay more monsters in hopes of finding redemption and vengeance for Kratos.

In “God of War 3,” Kratos kills Zeus, releases hope into the world and, in the process, sacrifices himself. A bloody trail of footprints was all that remained at the end of the 2010 game.

Seven years later, Kratos reappears, this time in the frozen lands of the Vikings and their Norse gods. He has a son, Atreus, by his side, and his fight with the gods apparently hasn’t ceased. Wielding a magical axe instead of his familiar twin blades, he fights oversized monsters toward an unknown path.

That axe acts very similar to a certain hammer in Norse mythology.

In an amazing scene, Kratos and Atreus are on a boat when a giant sea snake confronts them. Instead of a fight, the snake reveals itself to be the World Serpent, a mythological Norse being that will signal Ragnarok if it lets go of its tail.

Apparently, Ragnarok is coming, because the Serpent tells Kratos that he wants to help. But the goal is not revealed, and I’m left wondering if Kratos is back to his quest for vengeance against the gods.

The game is expected to be released in 2018. I hope it is early 2018.

Metro Exodus

While the background of a post-apocalyptic Earth has been done in a variety of games, the “Metro” franchise is very intriguing to me. The mix of underground life and dangers coupled with the hazardous conditions above will play yet another role in the upcoming “Metro Exodus” game announced at E3.

Terrible mutant creatures and hostile humans vying for power and survival in Russia highlight this first-person shooter. The gloom of the aftermath of a nuclear war is beginning to fade as nature and its green begin to make a comeback.

However, it merely hides the ever-present dangers, some of which should be avoided rather than confronted. It is a rough and tumble world and appears to offer some open world exploration.

The gameplay spans a year in the world, offering vast, non-linear levels. I’ll be losing myself in there for a long time.

The game is scheduled for release in 2018.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

In “Middle-Earth: Shadow of War,” we get to continue our fight against the Dark Lord, Sauron. Along the way, players will recruit leaders and followers to build an army strong enough to take on Sauron’s forces.

The lure of Middle-Earth and the Nemesis System are strong. It was fun to try and dominate or recruit as many enemies as possible in the first title, but with new powers and abilities, it should ramp up the excitement.

The new story features a return of Talion and Celebrimbor, who must go behind enemy lines to forge an army and turn all of Mordor against the Dark Lord, Sauron.

If the trailer shown at E3 is any indication, the dialog appears to be richer with just a touch of comedy thrown in. Bruz is my new favorite character.

The game will be released on Oct. 10.

Anthem

“Anthem” features battle suits that looked like Iron Man suits and take players into an open world as freelancers and explorers.

The suits, called Javelins, can be customized, and players can join together as a squad to tackle bigger challenges. The world is a mixture of technology and nature, creating a lush environment to explore, filled with savage beasts and ruthless marauders.

Freelancers are called to defeat the forces plotting to conquer humanity in a shared-world action-RPG. I’m looking forward to exploring this world and gaining all the loot it has to offer.

It reminded me of a bit of “Destiny” and a bit of “Horizon Zero Dawn,” for which I find nothing wrong. The game is expected to be released in the fall of 2018.

Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle

The Rabbids are coming! The Rabbids are coming, and the Mushroom Kingdom will never be the same.

“Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle” is an exclusive title for the Nintendo Switch and is a turn-based tactical shooting game in a similar vein as XCOM. The game features combo moves, cover systems and destructive environments for players to plan and execute their battles.

Rabbid Mario, Rabbid Luigi, Rabbid Peach, and Rabbid Yoshi join Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Yoshi as they try to restore the Mushroom Kingdom. It should be a fun and exciting ride filled with unpredictability and the kind of strategy I like in games.

The game will be available on Aug. 29 only on the Nintendo Switch.

There were plenty of other games that I am also excited to see (check out the 2nd Team below). But there was one more item from E3 that really drew my attention.

The first Devolver Digital press conference took place in Los Angeles. While there were no games shown (Devolver has put out some good indie games in the past), there was plenty of blood and carnage on display.

However, it wasn’t on a video screen. You have to see it to believe it. It is high comedy in the lowest possible form.

Back to the games. Here are the list of games I also want to see but didn’t quite fit into the top 5 list.