These are our picks for the best PC games of E3 2017.
By Brad Chacos and Hayden Dingman
Every year, it gets harder to pick the best PC games from E3, because every year, PC gaming engulfs more of the traditionally console-centric event.
Over 40 hot new PC games appeared during E3 2017’s opening weekend alone, with even more lurking on the show floor proper. That’s a lot. Now that the show’s settling down, we’ve sifted through them all to bring you this highly subjective list of the 10 best games of E3 2017.
That’s all you really need to know about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. I was already pretty sure this would be my favorite game of the show just based on my love for predecessor The New Order and Bethesda’s press conference trailer. But the demo was wilder than I could even imagine, with series protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz awakening from a coma to find himself confined to a wheelchair, a passenger on a stolen Nazi U-boat.
When the Nazis arrive to take back their submarine, Blazkowicz is forced to fight them off from his chair. The best part? Every time you shoot your machine pistol, the recoil pushes your chair back a few paces.
It’s as dumb, as cheesy, and as incredibly creative as any sequence from The New Order. I can’t wait for the game’s full release in October.
Brad: What he said.
Brad: Metro: Exodus excites me for the same reason as Wolfenstein. The other games in the series are that damned good.
The extended trailer revealed instantly harkens back to Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, beginning in the titular subways before transitioning to the grim, post-apocalyptic surface riddled with living dangers. Don’t let the vast scope of the level in trailer fool you, though: Exodus, like its predecessors, won’t be an open-world game, 4A Games tells PCGamesN. Story will still be a major focus, with gameplay that blends ideas from both the Metro and Stalker series. Sounds superb.
Leaving behind the pastoral forests of the original game, Pillars II takes place in the titular Deadfire Archipelago, gives you a ship as your headquarters, and tasks you with sailing around to find adventure. It’s a bold and ambitious-looking sequel, although that’s a snap judgment made from a five-minute hands-off demo presentation during E3. Hopefully we’ll learn more about this one soon.
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen expansion
Brad: I’m a hopeless fan of XCOM 2, one of PCWorld’s 10 best PC games of 2016. I’ve spent over a hundred hours playing multiple campaigns and a Long War 2 campaign. Hell, I wrapped up another heavily modded campaign just last week.
So hearing that XCOM 2’s getting a massive expansion with all sorts of major changes gets me excited. When War of the Chosen releases on August 29, it’ll add three new “Chosen” enemies that attack you and grow stronger over the course of a campaign in Shadow of Mordor-like fashion, going so far as to disrupt your operations on the strategy layer as well. That’s balanced out with the addition of three wildly different resistance factions you can join forces with, fresh soldier capabilities—and a new zombie enemy that attacks everything and just keeps coming.
Sea of Thieves
Hayden: My favorite game of E3 2016 was back this year in expanded form, answering the question of “What exactly will we be doing in this game?” Rare showed off island exploration, digging up buried treasure, and all manner of other pirate-y shenanigans this year. Oh, and you can now shoot yourself out of a cannon, whether to board a ship or just disembark on an island with extra panache.
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Sea of Thieves
Ubisoft might be working on a more serious pirate game in Skull & Bones, but it’s Sea of Thieves’s low-key charm that’s won my heart. I’m looking forward to crewing up with my friends when it launches next year.
Next page: Our final five picks for the best PC games of E3 2017.
Skull & Bones
The game that inspired Skull & Bones
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag
Brad: Pirates and video games go together like peanut butter and jelly. I’m as excited as Hayden is to see what Sea of Thieves winds up becoming, but I’m also just as intrigued by Skull & Bones. Sailing the high seas in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was a blast. If Ubisoft manages to recreate that feeling in a standalone pirate simulator that revolves around naval battles, ship customizations, and new sea shanties, my timbers could very well wind up shivered.
Ubisoft’s focus at E3 was squarely on Skull & Bones’ multiplayer, though. I’m far more personally interested in a singleplayer campaign to scratch that Black Flag and Sid Meier’s Pirates itch. Hopefully we’ll hear more about the prospect as Skull & Bones sails toward a release date towards the end of 2018.
Hayden: Going into E3 I was skeptical of Destiny 2. I still am, actually—its blend of RPG and shooter mechanics has never really sounded appealing to me.
But after demoing the game in Nvidia’s booth, running on a PC equipped with an Intel Core i7-7700K and an Nvidia GeForce TX 1080 Ti, I can say this: The game is damn pretty. It may be the best-looking shooter I’ve ever seen on PC, with DICE’s work on Battlefield 1 and Star Wars Battlefront as the only real competition. That’s all the more impressive considering Bungie hasn’t put out a game on PC since 2004’s Halo 2.
It played better than I expected, too, with the guns feeling snappy and powerful despite the bullet-sponge boss enemies. It didn’t feel nearly as contrived as, say, The Divisionand its faux-realism. If Bungie can summarize three years of Destiny lore for a new PC audience, I think this might end up one of the year’s best shooters.
A Way Out
Brad: Between being raised on consoles and being a dad, I’m a major fan of couch co-op games. They’re an unfortunate rarity on PCs, but Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons bucked that trend and punched you in the gut emotionally.
So I’m thrilled to hear EA’s working with Brothers developer Hazelight on A Way Out, a strictly multiplayer co-op game that puts you and a friend in control of a pair of criminals hell-bent on escaping prison. Driving, adventure, exploration, narrative choices—all done with a partner, shrieking and arguing just like the in-game duo would. Hazelight’s history has me excited about this one.
Brad: The Crackdown series never managed to perfect its explosive, open-world superhero action—but the first two games were an absolute blast to play, especially co-op. Crackdown 3 is the first to ever hit PCs (thanks to Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere initiative) and it looks ready to lean into the over-the-top antics I adore from the series. You can even play as avowed PC enthusiastTerry freakin’ Crews, as shown in the glorious 4K trailer above.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Hayden: The rest of my picks for E3 2017 are more concrete—we’ll see all of them if not this year, then the next. Beyond Good & Evil 2 is my pie-in-the-sky pick though. After over a decade of rumors, of starting and stopping the project, of hearing vague rumblings that Michel Ancel was working on a sequel, it’s finally true.
All Ubisoft needed was a short CGI trailer, not even any game footage, and people were instantly swept up in nostalgia. Whether it’ll actually be any good, and when we’ll even see it? Who knows. But for the moment I’m content just knowing it’ll see the light of day. Another year, another long-shot game announcement. Sometimes the publisher has a heart after all.
But wait, there’s more!
To dig a bit deeper into what’s new in gaming, PCWorld has rounded up all the big PC game reveals of E3 2017, collecting all the trailers in one convenient location. Sit back, relax, and enjoy while we wait for all these games to actually hit the streets.
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