E3 2018: From ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ to ‘Spider-Man’ to more ‘Gears’ and ‘Halo,’ a look at some of the highlights of this year’s expo

LOS ANGELES – It’s hard to be surprised by much at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Sure, the massive annual video game trade show is chock-a-block with cool new games, as nearly 70,000 developers, publishers, retailers and media descend on Los Angeles to see what’s coming up in the world of interactive entertainment.

But in the age of the Internet leak — helped along this year by a Walmart Canada website slip-up that spilled the beans on a slew of upcoming games — real surprises are thin on the ground.

And yet, despite the gush of leaks, the 2018 iteration of the expo still managed to dazzle, delight and even cause the occasional jaw to drop. As E3 winds down for another year, these are my top surprises from the show.

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ electrifies

Poland-based CD Projekt Red, creators of the acclaimed Witcher franchise, finally took the wraps off the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. A 50-minute demo of the years-in-the-making sci-fi role-playing game showed a futuristic city of staggering size and detail, along with tons of fascinating RPG features. Sadly, there’s no release date yet.

Ubisoft does a barrel roll

The toys-to-life game Starlink: Battle for Atlas lands on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on Oct. 16 — that much we knew. But when Ubisoft revealed that the Switch version of the made-in-Toronto game will include the classic Nintendo character Star Fox and his iconic Arwing spaceship, some fans’ heads nearly exploded.

Ellie kisses, Ellie kills

A cinematic preview for the upcoming PlayStation 4 game The Last of Us Part II got tongues wagging for its tenderness (Ellie, the main character, shares a passionate kiss with a female friend), its violence (a gameplay sequence sees Ellie brutally killing bandits in self defence) and its incredible visuals. But, like Cyberpunk 2077, there’s no release date — or even release year — yet.

A samurai invasion

If you’re a fan of slicing people up with katanas, your future is as bright as the rising sun. Sony showed off the open-world PlayStation 4 game Ghost of Tsushima, set in a gorgeous feudal Japan, while Activision unveiled the slick and scenic Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, by the creators of Dark Souls. Sekiro comes to the Xbox One, PS4 and PC sometime next year, but — at the risk of sounding like a broken record — there’s no release date for Ghost of Tsushima.

‘Anthem’ could live up to the hype

My hands-on time with BioWare’s sci-fi multiplayer shooter Anthem was something of a revelation. The game’s suits of high-tech power armour fly with Iron Man-like agility, the gunplay feels good and there are definite signs of BioWare’s deep world-building. When it comes out Feb. 22 of next year, it might just be great.

Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man

Everyone knew Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man would have a presence at this year’s E3, but I’m not sure anyone predicted how good the game would be. I spent a solid hour with the PlayStation 4 exclusive, and I confidently predict it will be the best Spider-Man game — and one of the best superhero games — ever. It comes out Sept. 9.

Bethesda bets big

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The developers of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises stunned fans with an absolute tsunami of new game announcements, from the online-only Fallout 76 to a new co-op Wolfenstein to the tiniest first glimpses of the sci-fi role-playing game Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. Doesn’t anyone over there sleep?

Gears shifts up

As expected, Microsoft also showed off a cinematic trailer for Gears 5, headed to the Xbox One and PC sometime next year. But nobody predicted the announcement of two more additions to the franchise: Gears Pop!, a smartphone game starring cutesy characters from the Funko Pop! line of toys, and Gears Tactics, an intriguing PC strategy game in the vein of XCOM.

When is a new Halo not a new Halo?

Microsoft kicked off E3 with a trailer for Halo Infinite, featuring one of the sci-fi shooter franchise’s titular ringworlds and a glimpse of the emerald armoured super-soldier Master Chief. Turns out it was just a demonstration of the game’s visual capabilities and not an actual scene from the game itself. Hopefully we’ll learn more about Halo Infinite soon.

‘Beyond Good & Evil 2’ needs you

Ubisoft’s upcoming space pirate adventure is so impossibly ambitious that there’s speculation it won’t be released until a new generation of consoles comes out. In the meantime, the creators have partnered with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord.org to encourage artists, musicians and writers to help create content for the game. And if your work is used, you’ll get paid.

There’s too much good stuff on the way

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Just Cause 4, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, We Happy Few, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the Resident Evil 2 remake, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Tunic, Metro Exodus, Super Mario Party… the list of amazing-looking games coming over the next year or so is ridiculously long. But really, that was no surprise at all.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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