With a new console generation kicking off next year, E3 2019 was arguably a somewhat quiet installment in gaming’s biggest annual show. But that didn’t stop a trove of exciting games and gadgets from popping up throughout Los Angeles, from ambitious AAA fare like Watch Dogs Legion and the Final Fantasy VIII Remake to cool tech like the Sega Genesis Mini and Microsoft’s Project xCloud.
We got a taste of the future of console gaming with Xbox Project Scarlett, saw a bunch of smaller games that stole our hearts, and got our hands on exciting new peripherals that will change the way we play. After scouring the a packed Los Angeles Convention Center all week, we’ve handpicked the games and gadgets that you need to keep an eye out on for 2019 and beyond.
Best of Show: Watch Dogs Legion
The third entry in the series, Watch Dogs Legion, takes us across the pond to a post-Brexit London gone wrong. Surveillance drones and checkpoints are the order of the day as Bobbies are pushed aside in favor of private military.
As citizens are being dragged away to deportation zones or simply disappear in the middle of the night. It's up to Dedsec to liberate the people. Recruit anyone and I mean anyone to the cause and free the people by any means necessary. Even if it means an elderly ex-spy named Helen or Bernadette tasing the hell out of someone. — Sherri L. Smith
Final Fantasy VII Remake
While part of me is a little miffed at Square Enix for repackaging my adolescence and selling it back to me at full price, most of me is just impressed at how good that package looks. The Final Fantasy VII Remake is a gorgeous title that captures everything fans loved about the original game, which debuted more than 20 years ago.
You'll still encounter unforgettable characters like the stoic Cloud Strife and the overbearing Barret Wallace, and they'll still fight off a variety of colorful foes in their quest to save the planet. But this time, they'll have state-of-the-art graphics, fully orchestral soundtracks and a fast-paced battle system to help them do it. The Final Fantasy VII Remake could very easily have been a simple graphical upgrade, but instead, Square Enix has redesigned the game from the ground up, and it's an impressive showing. — Marshall Honorof
Sega Genesis Mini
Plug-and-play retro consoles are nothing new, but Sega’s take on the concept just might be the best one yet. The Sega Genesis Mini is an adorable recreation of the iconic 90s console, but what really makes it stand out is its massive 42-game library that mixes rare cuts like Mega Man: The Wily Wars and Darius with staples like Sonic and Streets of Rage.
With two faithfully replicated controllers out of the box, some excellent emulation from the folks at M2, and twice as many games as the SNES Classic and PlayStation Classic, the $79 Genesis Mini could be the best value yet in casual retro gaming. — Mike Andronico
CD Projekt Red has a well-earned reputation for delivering deep, open-ended narratives, and Cyberpunk 2077 aims to continue that trend. Playing as V, a morally gray hacker in a near-future dystopia, you'll have to carve out your own niche as you explore the visually striking environs of Night City.
Part of Cyberpunk 2077's appeal is that you can design V any way you see fit, from a close-quarters combatant, to a stealthy hacker, or anything in-between. But the game's biggest draw is that you have a significant amount of control over where the story goes, from the characters with whom you ally, to the balance of power between the various factions vying for control of Night City. That the game is also gorgeous and features fast-paced, customizable gameplay doesn't hurt. — Marshall Honorof
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go back to that world in a galaxy far, far away and rub elbows with the likes of Saw Gerrera while playing as a loose cannon Jedi in a fight for survival. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order offers stylish combat and a complicated story, focused on a Padawan fighting to stay alive in a world suddenly hostile towards Jedi. Who can you trust? Where will you go? And how many Stormtroopers will you choke along the way? -— Sherri L. Smith
As the guardian of souls stuck between worlds, you have to take care of whatever unfinished business or unfulfilled desires these anthropomorphic creatures have. Build them shelter on your ever growing boat, take them to a new location in a sea of dozens of little islands, feed them something special, whatever they need, you can accomplish with your transforming ball of light and permanently chipper attitude. And when you complete these objectives, you can bid goodbye to your temporary shipmate in a surprisingly touching farewell scene. The whole concept is charming, and when taken into consideration with the hand-drawn animation, makes you smile just to see in motion. — Richard Priday
Even with all the hubbub around Google Stadia, it was Microsoft’s cloud service that proved the most impressive at E3. Games like Halo 5: Guardians felt nearly lag free when we streamed them to a smartphone from Microsoft’s data centers, showing the promise of Xbox gaming on the go.
Even better, you’ll be able to use your own Xbox One as an xCloud server, streaming any Xbox game you own to your phone or tablet at no extra charge when the service debuts this fall. While Project xCloud isn’t necessarily being billed as a Stadia rival, it could prove to be the better cloud gaming option for those already in the Xbox ecosystem. — Mike Andronico
The action never stops in Doom Eternal - and that's a good thing. In this first-person shooter sequel, you'll take control of the Doom Slayer, who's out to destroy every demon on Mars, even if he has to tear them apart with his bare hands. That's not often necessary, though, as he's also outfitted with a combat shotgun, a plasma rifle, a rocket launcher, a chainsaw, a flamethrower, a microwave ray and plenty of other devastating weapons.
The gameplay in Doom Eternal is fast-paced and chaotic, and you'll always be running low on some resource or other - health, ammo, shields or fuel. As a result, you'll have to dismember every demon that crosses your path in creative ways as you work to replenish your resources. Doom Eternal's gameplay loop is supremely satisfying every step of the way; the fact that it has an interesting setting and a compelling main character are just icing on the infernal cake. — Marshall Honorof
Luigi’s Mansion 3
In a stacked E3 Switch lineup that included new Pokémon, Zelda and Marvel games, it was Luigi and his lovable ghost pal Gooigi that ended up grabbing me more than any other new Nintendo game.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 makes the series’ ghostbusting action more dynamic than ever, with satisfying new moves (slamming ghosts to the ground is a joy), and the addition of Gooigi, Luigi’s gooey, spectral half who can separate from Luigi to access unreachable areas and solve puzzles. Between its more intricate combat and fun two-character puzzle solving, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has me itching to dive back into Nintendo’s haunted house later this year. Also, I’ll never get tired of saying Gooigi. — Mike Andronico
You are a circle inside another circle, and must dodge everything that comes towards you. This basic rule is the heart of Hyperdot, but the fun comes from the multitude of other conditions you can add on top of the game. Each level is timed, and either flies by as you skillfully avoid the obstacles and complete whatever other objective you have, or ends abruptly due to your own error, but is ready to get you back into the action just as fast. This one will be great for fast-thinking puzzle fiends, but the promised co-op and level editor modes mean it could well suit many other kinds of players, too. —Richard Priday
Sure, Gears 5 and Halo Infinite might be in the pipeline, but Battletoads is the Xbox exclusive I’m most excited to play in the coming months.
DLaLa Studios has masterfully rebooted the iconic beat-em-up, complete with an intricate combo system, stunning hand drawn art, and a delightfully difficult new take on the game’s notoriously challenging hoverbike sections. I’m already looking forward to shouting in rage and joy with two other friends on the couch when the game hits later this year. — Mike Andronico
GAEMS Project IDK
The GAEMS Guardian case was already impressive. With a 24-inch display with powerful integrated speakers, 2 HDMI ports and several USB 3.1 ports just waiting for a console or PC, the possibilities are endless. But always looking to push the envelope, the company partnered with a custom PC maker to create at small form factor system that is powerful enough to simultaneously run and broadcast games. And while that’s great for gamers, Project IDK (I Don’t Know — yes, that’s the current codename), is a boon for content creators looking for a powerful mobile creation tool. — Sherri L. Smith
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
Twenty-seven campaigns. Thirty-five civilizations. Two-hundred hours of gameplay - if you don't count multiplayer. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition seems like it will live up to its name. In addition to including every single piece of existing AOEII content, the Definitive Edition will also feature 4K graphics, a fully orchestral soundtrack and a brand-new campaign, complete with four new playable races.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is a deep, gorgeous real-time strategy game with plenty of content for both campaign and competitive players alike. Furthermore, AOEII: DE will be available on the Microsoft Store, Steam and Xbox Game Pass for Windows, ensuring a healthy, inventive multiplayer community for many years to come. World history has never been so much fun. — Marshall Honorof
Loot, shoot, repeat. Borderlands 3 gives fans what they want with some slick new tricks that will keep them coming back more as well as garner some new fans along the way. Four new vault hunters all with new and intriguing powers are going up against the latest big bads on Pandora, the Calypso Twins. Fan favorite characters make a hilarious return as well as the irreverent writing we’ve come to know and love. Oh and about 1 billion guns. No, seriously. There are 1 billion guns in this game. — Sherri L. Smith
Espire 1: VR Operative
I have thought for a long time that VR games just weren't for me, but Digital Lode's stealth title has made me seriously reconsider. Espire 1: VR Operative has all your favourite stealth features like tense shootouts, fancy gadgets and sneaky acrobatics, the only difference being that you do these things with a headset and remotes instead of a controller. It's an effective combination and is enhanced by a great high-tech aesthetic and some uniquely Australian elements. Keep an eye on this game, ideally from around a corner with a thrown sticky-cam. — Richard Priday
It's hard to make an impact in the gaming headset business, but LucidSound might have cracked the formula. The company's new LS-50 headset will give you gamer cred, while still looking good enough to wear on the street when you detach the boom mic. But good looks aside, the LS-50's offer 50mm drivers and radios for wireless and Bluetooth so you can listen to your own music while gaming. Plus, they can connect wirelessly to either the PS4 or the Xbox One. And they just sound hella good. — Sherri L. Smith
Credit: Tom's Guide