I’m actually the most surprised that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege has made it to the top of my best of E3 list, especially since I’ve never enjoyed a Rainbow Six game before. The methodical pre-mission planning sessions in previous entries has all the appeal of Rob Ford (the Mayor of Toronto) in a string bikini. I’ve been so turned off by these planning sequences that I never even tried to play the Rainbow Six Vegas games, but I’ve heard pretty good things about them.
As you can imagine, I went into Siege dreading the experience, but one round of hands on time changed my mind completely. The main reason for this is that the methodical planning over structural blue prints has been replaced by sneaking tiny robots into the enemy’s base while they build traps in preparation for your arrival. The basic idea of planning your perfect route into the house is still available, but now you have to do it on the fly.
The pace of the game has picked up in other aspects as well. The “enemy” (and that’s Ubisoft’s official term for the guys who are not playing as Rainbow Six members) only have 1 minute to reinforce walls for better cover, blow out walls to create ambush locations, or drop razor wire on the floor.
The maps are also much smaller, so you run into the other side quickly. The objectives in Siege are also quicker to accomplish. In the demo I played the objective was to rescue a hostage/eliminate the enemy, and once I got the hostage out of the house the round was over. I didn’t have to spend countless seconds chasing the other team around the map in a game of cat and mouse.
Other than that, the game is built on a solid foundation of Call of Duty twitch game-play. At this point that type of game-play has been done so often that it is hard to mess up, and so in theory it should not be a problem at launch.
In 2012, Yager Developments put out one of my favorite games of that year: Spec Ops The Line. The members of that development team (who are not working on Dead Island 2) were at E3 showing off a spaceship combat game called Dreadnought.
The idea is to give love to bigger capital ships since there are a ton of games (like Eve: Valkyrie, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter or Crimson Skies) that will let you take on the role of a fighter pilot. In Dreadnought you take on the role of the captain of one of five ships and (at least in the demo we saw) challenge other fleets of five ships to combat. You then go head to head in a team death-match or other game-modes that Yager was not ready to announce yet.
The cool part is that Dreadnought is by no means a simulation, and anyone can feel the triumph of being Captain Kirk without needing the knowledge of Mr. Spock. The game feels very much like other competitive multiplayer games because it is class based. There is a medic ship that can heal other ships, and there is a heavy ship that is the bruiser of the fleet. Yager made a sniper class ship by strapping a virtual rail gun to a virtual engine, and the scout class is obviously fast and sneaky. The final ship is the destroyer class capital ship which feels like the “assault kit” of most shooters, and by that I mean it is your basic well rounded ship that is good to get started with in Dreadnought.
The game also has class based abilities (like how the medic ship can heal), and a basic energy management system that will get the FTL crowd excited; however, trust me when I say that Dreadnought is closer to Battlefield 4 than it is to Artemis or any of those Star Trek bridge simulation games.
While my first and second choices were easy picks for this list, Alien: Isolation just barely beat out other games like Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain and No Man’s Sky. In the end, Alien: Isolation won this spot because it feels like a game, and I know that sounds odd. Unfortunately, this E3 was far more about the promise of what most of these games could be in 2015. Alien: Isolation was just there to be played, and while the demo wasn’t lengthy it did not take long to understand what this game is.
Alien: Isolation is basically a playable version of the final 20 minutes of that first Alien film. It looks that way with a great recreation of that 1970s sci-fi movie technology, and plays that way with you running and hiding from one single alien that you can’t kill BECAUSE IT IS A FREAKING ALIEN!!!!
Spoilers for Alien, but at this point I am completely convinced that the only way Alien: Isolation can end is with explosive decompression.