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The Other Guys: Hidden Gems of E3

Every June is usually a cause for celebration in the tech, geek and gaming communities. The leading publishers in the gaming industry all meet under one roof in Los Angeles, California for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, that is otherwise known as E3. For one week, the leaders of triple-A gaming announce, present and demo their their upcoming software, hardware and new features for the coming year and beyond. Who will come out on top as the best in the industry? Welcome to FanBros’ 2016 E3 Coverage and the Hidden Gems of E3!
We’ve been covering the heavies here at FanBros this week. And with most publications, that’s all you’ll see. The conversation of what works better: Microsoft showing they will soon have the superior hardware or Sony retaliating with their consistent line-up of exclusives.

Because what’s hardware without software? But, what’s a console without the major publishers bringing the developers who can hit you with 3rd party games. You may have seen a few of the highlights from the main conferences, but we’re here to cover the other guys. Those niche titles that speak to certain fans. Those series that develop cult followings (Dark Souls). Or those small, under-the-radar IPs that may blow up into something huge one day (Call of Duty). Let’s check out the publishers who are giving us something new, something old and something a little extra:

 

BANDAI NAMCO

They’ve had their core AAA hit with Tekken 7 all over E3, but they have also doubled down on their powerhouse of anime titles over the years and are actually developing pretty fun games that add their IPs to pre-established/successful game engines.

Here are some of their best:

  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme vs Force

For those  who were lucky enough to have an arcade with this huge set-up (or even have an arcade near you in the US), you most likely stood for an hour to play this. For all Gundam addicts, this takes the Hall Of Famers of the franchise and commands you to do 2 vs 2 battles. I’ve never seen less than 4 people play this while 10 people wait for their turn, so if there’s a single-player story, I wouldn’t know.

  • Dragonball XENOVERSE 2

I may not be a big fan of the franchise, but I can respect the hustle. It looks like they games are ready to give the new Dragon Ball Super series some love.

  • Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization

This isn’t the creepy VR game that they’re currently making that simulates the traumatic experience the original series was based on… but, it’s also pretty good. This series has had a strong track record in terms of changing its playstyle to match the ever-evolving circumstances for the show. I commend it for that.

 

Square-Enix

This is not just the company that makes Final Fantasy XV, they also make some pretty solid titles. I’m especially a fan of the Enix half, since they don’t have the years-long delays that the Square half is notorious for.

For example:

  • Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD: Final Chapter Prologue

I don’t get this. Like… at all. I’m not even sure why the story numerical system hasn’t progressed to 3 after a decade. And I’m sure people will write me to explain why. But this has the kids going crazy. More power to them.

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

This is my bread & butter right here. The player’s options to become a Robocop-esque cyborg killing machine that beats information out of people OR a charming, stealthy hacker with a love for sniping is still available. It adds a level of choice that has been missing in games like Fallout 4. Any expansion on this excellent franchise has already made it into my shopping cart.

  • Nier: Automata

I was not aware of the colossal fan-following of this franchise until this week. And after seeing the combat in this trailer, I’m willing to look deeper into it. I’ll be grabbing the original out of the bargain bin soon.

 

Focus Home Entertainment

If I had to pick a favorite publisher of this show, it would honestly be Focus Home. Who would’ve thought? They are really going for new IPs that feel every bit like franchises in the making. But, even better; they’re new, fun, unpredictable solo experiences. While the new AAA titles are worth talking about, these welcome surprises are high on my list:

  • The Technomancer

The cinematic trailer for this is lit. The gameplay trailer for this is really solid. The story and creatures in this game are everything I need right now. The combat has been told to have a combination of Dark Souls blended with the companions of Mass Effect. Sold.

  • Vampyr

If you took the vampire storylines from Skyrim and you gave them the intense, dramatic action that mixes Devil May Cry  and The Witcher 3, then this feels like it could be an amazing guilty pleasure.

  • Styx: Shards of Darkness

If there was an award for most improved, Styx would have stolen it (pun intended). This honestly looks like the leaps and bounds sophomore effort of a company that’s finally gained traction. For those missing their Assassin’s Creed fix and want something with a story a bit more unpredictable: It looks like we’re in for a sleeper hit.

 

Starbreeze Studios

This is the game studio that got it start in the early 2000’s thanks to Vin Diesel. Their line-up consists of one game that is truly worth mentioning.

  • Raid World War II

As weird as that trailer is, the reason why it’s worth being excited is because this will be the closest we get to an Inglorious Basterds video game. The art deco tone is original, but the fact that this is from the makers of Payday, who have mastered the 4-player co-op mission style has made this the game you may want to introduce to your friends.

 

Atlus

The sole flag wavers of the JRPG genre. How have they kept it alive? Simple: They evolve it.

  • Persona 5

If you have a friend who talks about any of the games in the Persona series, it’s very hard to get them to stop talking about it. And for very, very good reason. They pack as much game as possible into this series and always add some unique flavor and style into it. While battling monsters, you’re balancing a teenage social life, getting attached to a large cast of characters, adding them to combat and being blown away by the seamlessness of all of these plots converging by the conclusion. Listen to that music. Watch the flow of that animation. And no two games feel like each other in this series. There’s good reason why even the spinoffs and movies/TV shows have been critically acclaimed: strong source material.

  • Yakuza 0 Legends

It looks like we’re finally getting a prequel to this series that hasn’t had a single failure (we’re going to try to pretend that zombie spinoff never happened). And an entry point is exactly what we needed. This series has packed excellent fighting systems, Godfather/Heat caliber crime storylines and satisfying conclusions in every chapter. If you haven’t jumped on at this point, the door is now officially open.

 

What sleeper hits are you looking forward to the most after this year’s E3? Comment below or be sure to follow us on @FanBrosShow!