Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Art: Bethesda Softworks

Super Mario Odyssey

The humdrum showings from its competitors left the door wide open for Nintendo to tear the house down, and to most people’s surprise, the company had the goods to take advantage. Of course, the mere mention of the words Metroid Prime 4 set the internet on fire, but the unquestionable star of Nintendo’s E3 2017 showing is Super Mario Odyssey, which revealed its true self to the world with a trailer where Mario inhabits everything and everyone around him while a bouncy pun-filled jazz number plays in the background. It’s as wacky as it is existentially terrifying.

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A Way Out

The breakout hit of EA’s showcase was A Way Out, the new game from the director of Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons. Its debut trailer made clear its lofty cinematic and character-building aspirations, but it also showed off its unique twist on co-op where each player is dedicated to one of the game’s two main characters and how their actions and perspectives will shift to suit each scene.

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The Artful Escape

This psychedelic stunner was tucked into Microsoft’s Sunday-afternoon showing and easily stuck out as the most colorful and intriguing clip of the bunch. According to publisher Annapurna Interactive, The Artful Escape is “about a teenage musician who embarks on a multidimensional adventure to inspire his stage persona.” We wouldn’t have guessed that beforehand, but now it totally makes sense.


Dragon Ball FighterZ

One of the biggest surprises of the show has been the rapturous reception to Dragon Ball FighterZ, a new 2-D fighting game from the creators of Guilty Gear that’s based on Dragon Ball Z. The trailer’s brief glimpse of brain-meltingly chaotic action should be enough to turn anyone’s head, regardless of your feelings about the anime. And if you grew up with the series? Well, then this is looking pretty much like a dream come true.

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Ashen

Everyone’s aping Dark Souls these days, but the moody debut trailer for Ashen, another standout from Annapurna Interactive, showcases an influence that goes beyond deliberate swordplay. Although its flat doll-like look couldn’t be more different from Souls hyper-detailed Gothic kingdoms, Ashen shares an eerie, evocative approach to character design that no other “Souls like” has come close to nailing.


Beyond Good And Evil 2

It’s been nearly 15 years since the release of the original Beyond Good And Evil, and from the looks of things, its long-awaited sequel is still a ways out, but the trailer Ubisoft used to announce it was one of E3’s most lively, eye-catching clips. If the final game is able to capture a share of its spirit and attention to detail, it might be a worthy successor.

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God Of War

Our second glimpse at Sony’s new spin on Kratos, everyone’s favorite god-murdering angry man gives a much better look at the Norse wonderland he and his son are journeying through and the gods he’ll probably be ripping in half. It’s looking just as beautiful as it is brutal, especially that scene of Kratos paddling down an ethereal river, presumably before he snaps the oar in half and shoves it through someone’s eye.

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The Evil Within 2

It took more than 20 minutes for Bethesda to do anything interesting with its Sunday-night E3 showcase, but it saved a couple of real heavy hitters for last. Given the middling survival-horror of the original, this bold, surreal reveal trailer for The Evil Within 2 might end up being even better than the game itself. This is the closest thing to a crazy Hideo Kojima trailer that we got this year, which is saying something.


Vampyr

The award for second closest thing to a Hideo Kojima trailer from this year’s E3 has to go to Vampyr, the vampire role-playing game from Life Is Strange creators Dontnod. Set to the song “Devil” by Ida Maria, it takes viewers on a bloody tour of the game’s flu-addled early 20th century London, flying through dingy back alleys and opulent manors before one final bit of sanguine psychedelia as the main character tries to suppress his thirst for human blood.

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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Easily the most memorable and buzzed-about trailer of this year’s show, the lengthy debut of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a shock to the system. It starts with live-action footage of era-appropriate entertainment envisioned as if it had been created under the auspices of an occupying Nazi force. Once the game footage kicks in, it bounces between scenes, aesthetics, and settings at an odd pace, subtly setting up the sequel’s story and oddball personality.

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