39 must-see PC gaming gems from E3 2017: Watch every trailer

39 must-see PC gaming gems from E3 2017: Watch every trailer

The times sure are a-changing. E3’s always been known as a console-centric gaming show, and it definitely still is on the surface. Given the infiltration of AMD’s APUs into the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and the resurgence of PC gaming, plus Microsoft’s ambitious Xbox Play Anywhere program, most of the blockbuster games announced for consoles at E3 actually wind up coming to PCs, too.

We’ve sifted through all the new games at the E3 events from EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Sony, and The PC Gaming Show to find all the PC gems hidden among the console rubble. These are the E3 reveals that PC gamers need to know about.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of the best single-player shooters of the past decade, and now B.J. Blazkowicz is back for more ludicrous-yet-heartfelt Nazi-stomping action. Here’s Bethesda’s synopsis:

“America, 1961. Your assassination of Nazi General Deathshead was a short-lived victory. Despite the setback, the Nazis maintain their stranglehold on the world. You are BJ Blazkowicz, aka “Terror-Billy,” member of the Resistance, scourge of the Nazi empire, and humanity’s last hope for liberty. Only you have the guts, guns, and gumption to return stateside, kill every Nazi in sight, and spark the second American Revolution. Fight the Nazis in iconic locations such as small-town Roswell, New Mexico, the flooded streets of New Orleans, and a post-nuclear Manhattan.”

Yes.

Anthem

Anthem, Bioware’s new “shared-world action-RPG,” looks an awful lot like Destiny—and what we expected Mass Effect Andromeda to be. You play as a freelancer who switches out customizable exosuits called “Javelins” to combat dangers outside the walls of what appears to be a post-apocalyptic human city. Check out the nearly seven minute-long gameplay trailer above for plenty more shooting, sci-fi, and robotic space ogres or something.

Star Wars Battlefront II

The first Star Wars Battlefront disappointed many thanks to its disjointed design, DLC that almost felt like extortion, and a complete lack of a single-player mode. Star Wars Battlefront II tackles all of those issues head-on.

A new single-player campaign puts you in the shoes of a Galactic Empire soldier seeking revenge on the Rebellion after the Battle of Endor, shining a light on events that took place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Multiplayer, meanwhile, looks like a bigger, badder version of the original’s, bolstered by the borrowing of many of Battlefield’s mechanics. And get this: EA will be releasing several themed “seasons” of free-as-in-beer free DLC, starting with the addition of The Last Jedi’s Finn and Captain Phasma as playable heroes.

Want to know more? Check out PCWorld’s extensive Star Wars Battlefront II hands-on for many more details and impressions.

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7 isn’t just the new entry in the beloved hyper-realistic racing series, it’s the Xbox One X’s flagship game. Microsoft revealed the game with a race on the famed Nürburgring in 4K, 60-fps glory, brought to life by a stunning dynamic weather system that makes Forza’s skies almost more interesting than its roads. 

Metro: Exodus

Finally, a new Metro game! The combat-heavy Metro: Exodus trailer didn’t reveal what the game will be about, nor whether series protagonist Artyom would be back. But it looks beautiful both in and out of the titular subways, and the scope of the game looks absolutely massive compared to what we saw from Metro 2033 and Last Light

Assassin’s Creed Origins

After a one-year hiatus Assassin’s Creed is back, this time in Ancient Egypt to explore the origin of the titular Assassin Order. The gameplay trailer shown at Microsoft’s events looked familiar, but brimming with Egyptian-specific touches like gladiator combat, angry hippos, pyramids you can scale, and an eagle that doubles as a spy drone. Fingers crossed this outing winds up more inspired than the cookie-cutter Syndicate and Unity after the series’ sabbatical.

Call of Duty: WWII

Call of Duty: WWII didn't have a major presence at E3 2017's blockbuster events, but it made an appearance at Sony's PlayStation showcase with a trailer showing off the game's multiplayer action—along with plenty of explosions and strafing planes and piled bodies. 

Next page: Sea of Thieves, Beyond Good & Evil 2, Destiny 2, and more.

Sea of Thieves

PCWorld’s favorite game of E3 2016, Sea of Thieves, was back for a much longer demo this year. Rare’s seafaring pirate game still looks absolutely incredible. This year’s gameplay trailer showed off written pirate riddles, exploring islands and jungles with your friends, stumbling on abandoned ruins and dank caves, digging up treasure, battling against skeletons and competing crews, and a ton more. Just watch it, and bask in the knowledge that the game will support 4K resolutions, ultrawide aspect ratios, and unlocked frame rates.

Skull and Bones

Seafaring and pirates, you say? Skull and Bones takes Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s beloved naval battles and expands it into a full multiplayer experience in a shared, reactive world. Hot damn does it look good in the trailer Ubisoft showed at E3—but the game isn’t slated to launch until Fall 2018, so don’t get too excited about it just yet.

Beyond Good & Evil 2

Fourteen years after the release of the first game, Ubisoft just answered some prayers with a cinematic trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2. It’s actually a prequel to the revered original, and Ubisoft’s running a Space Monkey program to “participate in the making of this great adventure.”

“Join all the Space Monkeys on the dev team — and around the world — to crash-test, discuss and inspire everything from character design, to cultural influences, to the flight controls on our massive star-faring vessels. We want you by our side at the earliest stages of development and throughout production to take part in the adventure!”

Need for Speed Payback

The Need for Speed series revels in its love for all things Fast and Furious, and Payback is no exception. The brief demo we played at EA Play swiped a scene (almost) straight from the films as you raced to catch a semi truck, dodging enforcers to jockey into position for your passenger to climb onto the rig and steal a sports car right out of its trailer.

It’s like you’re playing a movie—in good ways and bad ways. Cutscenes consumed most of our five minute demo, and the game kept wresting control away to show cars exploding in Burnout-like fashion. This was just a canned E3 demo, though, and the actual car handling felt good. We’ll keep an eye on things and pay attention to whether or not Need for Speed Payback actually lets you, well, drive as the game gets closer to its November launch.

Destiny 2

Since I'm a PC gamer and thus never played the original Destiny, I have absolutely no idea what's going on in this Destiny 2 trailer. It's pretty much gibberish to me. But I'm still very, very glad that Destiny 2 is coming to PCs.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

This small standalone Dishonored spinoff—not an expansion—has you hunting down the Outsider himself, the mysterious goth demigod who gives his mark and heart to Corvo and Emily in the main games. Where the original Dishonored’s DLC starred enemy assassin Daud, this time you’ll take control of Daud’s lieutenant Billie Lurk. Given the technical heartaches surrounding the launch of Dishonored 2, probably wait for reviews on this one to make sure that it actually runs on PCs.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is the sequel to one of the PC’s most beloved medieval combat games. After debuting at last year’s PC Gaming Show with a highlight on the game’s siege tech, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord returned to E3 this year to show off its infantry and mounted combat.

Next page: The Crew 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Far Cry 5, and more

The Crew 2

The Crew 2 ups the ante on the original by adding in boats and planes to command, as well as what appear to be more expansive offroad sections on its massive open-world map. Our biggest gripe with the first game was that it simply didn’t control very well, so fixing that and nailing handling on sea and air vehicles sure seems pretty ambitious.

Crackdown 3

The first two Crackdown games are my guilty pleasure of the Xbox 360 era. The over-the-top, open-world superhuman romp was one of the first console games to offer online co-op, and it’s always a blast to play with friends. Crackdown 3 looks ready to double down on the insanity. Look no further than this explosion-ridden, Terry Crews-hosted trailer for proof. 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Shadow of War looks like a larger, more colorful version of the original Shadow of Mordor, with more regions, a more personalized Nemesis system, and, well, just more Mordor. The highlight of the fun seven minute-long gameplay trailer shown at Microsoft’s E3 event? A fight against a massive troll named Bruz the Chopper who, once dominated, turned into an amenable joker with an Australian accent.

I can dig it. 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The luscious Ori and the Blind Forest was one of the 10 best PC games of 2015, so we’re excited to see this atmospheric platformer get a sequel.

Far Cry 5

After teasing Far Cry 5’s setting last month—rural Montana, in a location beset by religious extremists—Ubisoft lifted the veil a bit more at E3 2017 with a gameplay trailer that revealed an explosive outpost mission, a dog that swipes guns, and a smooth sniper cohort that calls out enemy locations from afar. It looks like more Far Cry, basically, so here’s hoping Ubisoft can whip up some new gameplay experiences to prevent the series from starting to feel stale. Far Cry 3 and 4 were both stellar, but they felt awfully similar aside from their locales.

Battlefield 1 DLC

Okay, so Battlefield 1 isn’t exactly new—it was PCWorld’s 2016 game of the year, in fact. But at EA’s EA Play event, DICE revealed several exciting post-launch goodies coming to Battlefield 1.

This fall’s “In the Name of the Tsar” spearheaded the DLC offensive, brimming with six new maps, new Operations, a new women’s battalion, and a focus on the Eastern Front of World War I. Two other maps—Nivelle Nights and Prise De Tahure—are coming this summer, while EA also teased a new game mode focused on smaller maps and squad-based gameplay. We won’t hear more about that until Gamescom rolls around in August, though.  

Next page: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, Quake Champions, The Evil Within 2, and more

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

XCOM 2, another of 2016’s best PC games, is receiving an overhaul of its own in the form of the War of the Chosen expansion. This DLC adds three new “chosen” enemies that hunt you and grow stronger throughout the game, balanced out by a trio of new resistance factions you can recruit to fight alongside XCOM—and zombies that hate everything moving.

As a diehard XCOM 2 fan, this might just be my favorite announcement of E3. War of the Chosen looks like it’ll add a ton to the game and shake up XCOM 2’s year-and-a-half-old formula.

Killing Floor 2: Summer Sideshow

More fresh goodies for existing games! Killing Floor 2’s “summer sideshow” event add a horrific carnival full of murderous amusement park rides, bizarro circus attractions, and lots and lots of zombies. It launches Tuesday, and you’ll be able to play Killing Floor 2 free for the next week to get your feet wet. Warning: Once you’ve gotten hooked on this ultra-fun zed-blasting shooter, you’re probably going to want to buy it.

State of Decay 2

Zombies, you say? State of Decay was flawed, but a gem nonetheless, and State of Decay 2’s E3 trailer shows that the sequel won’t abandon what made the original so special. The teaser focused on the game’s survival and colony-building aspects—and drove home that not everyone you meet in a zombie apocalypse will be someone you can trust. With Dead Rising looking increasingly lifeless, fans of the restless undead will want to keep an eye on this.

A Way Out

The touching Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is one of the most memorable and unique co-op adventures of all time, and now developer Hazelight Studios has partnered with EA for another game with a laser-focus on cooperative play: A Way Out.

A Way Out tells the tale of Vincent and Leo, two criminals working together to break out of prison and find their families. The game’s only playable in split-screen co-op, either locally or online. One demonstrated sequence showed how one character could talk to a guard while the other sneaks past, or how the other could break equipment to cause the same distraction. It sounds terribly interesting, and Brothers was an unforgettable adventure, so we’re excited for this to hit PCs sometime in early 2018.  

Quake Champions

The beta for Bethesda’s forthcoming free-to-play shooter is now open to any and all PC gamers, and now you can play as Wolfenstein’s B.J. Blazkowicz, too. Still no word on a final release date, though. 

The Evil Within 2

The first Evil Within wasn’t all that great, being more of a gore game than a true horror game. And this trailer for Evil Within 2 is almost stunningly short on details or actual gameplay. But damn, it’s so stuffed with stylish, bizarre horror imagery that I find myself intrigued anyway.  

Next page: Fallout 4 and Doom in VR, major Minecraft updates, and more

Bethesda VR games

Bethesda first teased Fallout 4 VR and Doom VFR (VFR, like BFG, get it?) at E3 2016 and then promptly shut up about the games. Both were back at E3 2017 with new trailers and a promise to release on the HTC Vive sometime this year. 

The Darwin Project

Next to nothing was revealed about The Darwin Project during its brief appearance on Microsoft’s big stage, but it looks like a mix of Battleborn and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. I’m a sucker for battle royale-style games, so color me intrigued.  

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

South Park: The Fractured But Whole was supposed to launch last December, but wound up being delayed until this October. As such, there wasn’t much new information available at E3, but there was a hilarious new trailer.

Minecraft

Now that Microsoft owns Mojang, the original PC version of Minecraft just keeps on getting neglected. At E3, Mojang announced that the non-Java versions of Minecraft are receiving a big update that adds capabilities PC gamers have been enjoying for a long time—4K graphics and server browser support. They’re also getting something new and interesting: cross-platform play on Windows 10, iOS, Android, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and VR devices. Noticeably missing: The traditional PC version. Sigh.  

Next page: Intriguing indie gems

Ooblets

Ooblets looks like a mash-up of Stardew Valley, Pikmin, and Double Fine’s uniquely quirky style.

Ylands

Ylands (pronounced “islands,” but meaning “your lands”) is a new Minecraft­-like building game from Bohemia, the makers of the hyper-realistic Arma military simulation series. It may seem like a jarring shift, but the two games sound like they have a lot in common at their core—Arma’s long life can be chalked up to its flexible mod-friendliness, while Ylands keeps a similar focus on creativity and mods. In the trailer above, Ylands starts off as a seafaring survival game before spiraling into Wild West, medieval, underwater, and other different settings.

Griftlands

Klei, the makers of the superb Mark of the Ninja and Invisible Inc., revealed its latest game at the PC Gaming Show. “Griftlands is an RPG where everything is negotiable: money, loyalty—even morality. Choose your character and make your fortune,” the game’s Steam page says.

The Last Night

Who knows what The Last Night is actually about, but damn that’s some gorgeous pixel art. 

The Artful Escape

Speaking of gorgeous, mysterious games, The Artful Escape is a space-faring platformer where you jump by strumming a guitar and maybe make your way through a procession of 1980s album covers?  It’s weird, but I dig it.

Final page: Age of Empires Definitive Edition, a weird Ubisoft game, and more

Super Lucky’s Tale

Lucky’s Tale was a mediocre Oculus Rift launch exclusive in 2016, but now the mascot-centric platformer is expanding to traditional 2D screens in the form of Super Lucky’s Tale for Xbox and Windows PCs. It’ll launch alongside the Xbox One X on November 7.

Tunic

We don’t know much about this tiny indie game, but with its cute fox protagonist, distinctly Zelda-like isometric design, and a charming polygonal art style, it sure stood out from the crowd at the PC Gaming Show.

Transference

Uh, what? Stop messing with my mind, Ubisoft.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition

Let’s end things with a blast from the past. Microsoft’s releasing Age of Empires Definitive Edition for the classic game’s 20th anniversary, complete with 4K textures, modern gameplay tweaks, full Xbox Live multiplayer support, remastered audio, and new zoom levels. It’s not quite the new Age of Empires release strategy gamers have been waiting for, but it’s still a damned nice bone to toss to the true fans.

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