E3 is over for another year. We can all rest now. Phew what a week. Except we have decided to do one last E3 related post. Both Blake and Stu have picked five games each they are excited for coming out in the next year or so. So, if you are wondering what makes the XtA founders tick, this should give you a clue. TO THE GAMES!

Stu’s Five

5) Collection of Mana

Starting off with a game compilation that I absolutely could play RIGHT NOW but I’m saving for a rainy day. The Collection of Mana was released not long after Nintendo’s Direct went off the air and it brings the three Mana games together – one of which was never released outside of Japan. Seiken Densetsu 3, or as we can now call it, the Trial of Mana is a game I think a fair amount of people probably never expected to ever get an English localisation. However, with more and more publishers putting out their back catalogues for new players to appreciate gaming from years past it seems anything is possible. That’s right, Nintendo. Anything is possible. Even bringing Mother 3 to us. Go on. You know it’s the right thing to do.

While we wait for Nintendo to return my calls, emails and vague subtweets about Mother 3, we have this collection to see us over. I have only ever played one of these games, that being Secret of Mana but oh boy do I adore that game. About eleven years ago now I was gaining an interest in older games especially from the SNES era and the Secret of Mana was one of the games I clung to during this time. I never played Mystic Quest/Final Fantasy Adventure but it was always on my wishlist.

I bought the Secret of Mana remake on the PS4 last year and while it was fine it did not hit the same notes as the original did so I am excited to play through that once again.

4) Doom Eternal

Doom. Doom Doom Doom. DOOOOOOM. I was pleasantly surprised when I played Doom (2016) for the first time about just how much fun I was having with it. I rarely play first person shooters anymore so it has to be something pretty special to hook me in and Doom was that game. The quick frantic nature of the combat was a welcome change to the slow approach I took most shooters at the time. I never played a whole lot of the first one but I played enough to know that I would be there for a sequel.

Well a sequel is approaching and I am almost there for it. I am going to try and actually finish the first one in the next couple of months to be totally ready to go to hell once again and tear demons in half. Literally in most cases. Everything that was shown at E3 sold me that this game would be more of the same but with the volume turned all the way up. Sorry neighbours, but Doom doesn’t care if you have church in the morning but I will turn it down I am so sorry please do not call the police.

3) Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

From something Hellish to something that made me go awwwww, Link’s Awakening was my very first Zelda game back on the Game Boy and I cannot wait to revisit it on the Switch. I was too young to really understand what I was meant to be doing at the time but now that I am older and wiser I look forward to still not figure out where I am supposed to be going. I am rubbish at navigating old school Zelda games.

However that is a challenge I will relish and the game looks adorable. The art style makes it look like a cute quaint experience which allows the game to have its own look while still retaining the perspective of the original Game Boy game. The world of gaming is full of remakes and remasters and collections but this one looks like a lot of love has put into it and I am really to seeing the results of that for myself.

Also, even if I was not already excited, I would have bought the game after seeing Link’s wee little face when he catches a fish. Let’s see it again!

2) Watch Dogs: Legion

I was excited for the first Watch Dogs when it was first announced. The idea of being able to hack into various things to cause mayhem was really appealing to me and I figured there was so much you could do with that idea. Then I played the first Watch Dogs and it was grim. The hacking stuff was fine but the potential felt missed with so much enforced combat thrust in our faces. The second was a tonal upgrade, taking themselves less seriously but really ramping up the fun factor. It was here I started being more optimistic for the series and I felt they were so close to really hitting all the right notes.

Then I saw Helen the granny assassin – an assassin who is a granny not someone who only kills grandmothers because that would just be upsetting – take down multiple guards with some seriously impressive moves followed up by a scene of her walking like an old woman would. I was not just sold on the game at this point, I had given it my credit card and told it to not worry about the credit limit. Go ahead, have a nice dinner. On me. My treat.

This game looks really good and it has found a new premise to make it stand out from its Ubisoft brothers and sisters. Instead of playing one character for a whole game you now can play as anyone. This is a great idea that works within the lore of the series where you play as a group rebelling against the surveillance state. Being able to recruit anyone into DeadSec and then playing as them really drives home the fact that anyone can take down the system while being a cool idea to boot.

It looks great, the premise is great and I really want to beat up corrupt government guards while playing as an Octogenarian and thank you Ubisoft for letting me live out my dreams.

1) Final Fantasy VII Remake

Four years ago I remember watching the Sony conference when the announcement popped up that after years of demands and rumours of it happening, Final Fantasy VII was getting a remake. It is the most hype I have ever been for an E3 announcement. For you see Final Fantasy VII may be a masterpiece, but if any of the FF games needed a remake it was this one. With the technological power of modern consoles coupled with a proper localisation team, this game could end up being something special.

Then the dread kicked in. We barely got any details for years. Occasionally they would share a little tidbit. Then it was a yearly reassurance that ‘yes, we’re still making Final Fantasy VII please be patient’, but patience had turned into apathy. As recent as April of this year my hype for the game was dead and I was resigned to potentially wait many more years before the game would come out. I am a Square-Enix fan after all, I always expect a long wait.

May 2019 came along and suddenly Square are back on the FFVII hype train with some new footage. It looks good but nothing would be able to get me to buy a ticket to said hype train without a release date. I am not the boy from four years ago, I am a man now. I am battle hardened and I refuse to get excited for a game that is more than a year away and WHAT’S THAT 3RD OF MARCH 2020 BAYBEE

NOW I can get excited and there is a lot to be excited for. This is a remake in every regard, it is totally changing the game. There are two ways to remake a game – you can either make it feel like the original with a nice modern gloss or you can totally reimagine it for a modern audience. FFVII has elected to the latter which is probably the best choice. A game that would feel like the original is pointless in a world where the game is available on every major console and PC. This stands alongside it’s parent as a brand new experience that aims not only to appease the hardcore FFVII fan but also bring in a modern gaming audience to its world for the first time.

The combat system is probably the best compromise they have done here – having the action take place in real-time but then slowing down time to flick through a menu to select an ability to use similar to the old system. The game looks gorgeous too and while it would be nice not to have to wait for further episodes, I have faith that they should not take AS long as we had to wait for this one.

The original Final Fantasy VII is a great game but it has its problems – especially the translation which is no fault of the translator who apparently had a couple of weeks to translate a game he didn’t get to play. Will the remake solve these problems and become the definitive version of the game? I’m inclined to say that the remake will rather take a place alongside the original and be its own thing while still engrossing people into the world of Final Fantasy VII.


Blake’s Five

5) Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Okay, it’s no surprise that FF7 is in my list too, we’ve all been waiting for it a long time. It’s not as highly ranked for me though as FF7 was never my favourite of the series, I already got my wish when FF12: The Zodiac Age was released. That said though, I do really like FF7 and the remake looks to impress with it’s size, look and Tifa. I mean look at her, she’s beautiful. Stu has already said everything about the game that needs said, so I shall move on to my number 4 pick!


4) Wolfenstein Youngblood

I LOVE Wolfenstein. I streamed The New Order all the way through a while back and honestly even back to the old Wolfenstein 3D game it’s been a firm favourite of mine. Another thing that anybody who knows me know I like is the 80s. Especially cyberpunk settings like Blade Runner, Deus Ex and GitS and the Retrowave 80’s vibe of games like Blood Dragon, Furi and Hotline Miami 2. This game has everything I could want in it, including Co-op! 

Taking on the role of the daughters of series protagonist BJ Blazkowicz, you are tasked with freeing your father from Nazi occupied Paris and the gameplay looks insane, much like Doom, there’s a lot of inventive ways to kill your enemies, including a very satisfying looking tomahawk. I mean come on, who doesn’t love a good tomahawk?



3) Doom Eternal

How could I go from Wolfenstein to anywhere other than Doom? The only ID game I love more than Wolfenstein is Doom. From the old days of playing it on my Gameboy Advance and PS1 all the way up to the hilariously brutal and fun PS4 release, I’ve always loved a wee trip to Mars to beat down on the local demonic populace, Hell, I even liked Doom 3. Doom Eternal promises more demons, more ways to kill and more fun, what more could I ask for?

Oh yeah how about EVERYTHING FROM DOOM BUT RAMPED UP TO 1000. Lucky us, because that’s what we’re getting.

2) Watch Dogs: Legion

In the same spot as Stu, I am seriously excited for Legion. I love the idea that any one of us can step up and make a difference if we want to, but like Stu I also love the idea that Grandma has just had enough and taken matters into her own lethal hands. The gameplay looks clean and the system for hiring new recruits into DedSec reminds me a lot of the system for hacking phones in Watch Dogs 2 so I hope we get more hilarious peeks into the private lives of the “N”PC’s.

I can’t wait to start running around gathering up an army of well-meaning but deadly grandparents who, together, can take down a global tyrant and bring freedom and hugs to the people! 

1) Cyberpunk 2077

I didn’t even need to say it, of course this game is number one. How could it not be? It has everything a Blake could want! It’s got the cyberpunk setting, the character customization, the music, the visuals, the gameplay style, the skill paths and most importantly KEANU FREAKING REEVES.

This game has everything I could hope for in it. I’m already excited for playing multiple times to do each branching type of play. I can’t wait to romance anyone and everyone (especially Keanu if it’s available) but most importantly I’m just excited for a huge game in a setting I love. As I said earlier in the article, the cyberpunk genre is among my favourites and seeing a game that not only harnesses it but literally names itself after it makes me feel all warm inside. 

This game looks set to steal away many of my hours and to be quite honest, I am extremely okay with it. Me and Keanu have a city to burn, and I can’t wait to start lighting matches.


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