E3 2021 might have been over for a week, but it’s definitely still lingering at the back of our minds. With a whole week of conferences to sift through, we asked the most avid gamers of THE MAGIC RAIN to tell us which game they’re looking forward to the most, as well as what they think is the most underrated reveal that didn’t get enough love.
Most Anticipated: Elden Ring
Arguably my most anticipated reveal of E3 2021 was this high fantasy Souls-Borne game that has been silent since a teaser trailer was released in 2019. Not only did the new trailer deliver on all fronts for me, it showcased gameplay and most important of all, a release date.
Boasting a world setting that has deep lore designed by George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones (despite my disappointment with the HBO series) fame and gameplay by Hidetaka Miyazaki of Sekiro (my Game of the Year pick for 2019) fame, this game looks like an absolute masterclass despite near perfect renditions from past titles. Featuring the dark contrasting colours of a Souls’ game and the mobility of Sekiro, it adds new gameplay features such as a spectral horse mount alongside the ability to summon defeated foes as your ethereal companions.
With this game set to release on January 21st 2022, it is going to set the bar quickly as a strong contender for my Game of the Year candidate. However, I am heavily managing my expectations (looking at you Cyberpunk) but I sincerely hope From Software blows this out of the park.
Underrated Pick: Metal Slug Tactics
Screaming nostalgia at the top of its lungs, the Metal Slug franchise returns in an all new gameplay form, turn based tactical combat, to my absolute delight. The run and gun side scroller harkens back to its classic art style, memorable characters and various weaponry, reinforced by fluid hand drawn animations which has always held a special place in my heart.
This might fly under the radar of many people but for those who grew up (myself included) with the original arcade game will definitely get this game when it launches.
Most Anticipated: Forza Horizon 5
The standard for open world racing games have always been set by every Forza Horizon game since the first in 2012, with each successive release pushing the envelope even further. Forza Horizon 5 looks to continue that trend, with the vast deserts and lush forests of Mexico as its backdrop. To continuously push the limits of Microsoft’s hardware and deliver an adrenaline rush for petrolheads like no other game around, is testament to just how good the series has been.
It looks amazing, almost photorealistic, the car roster keeps getting larger, the map has some interesting surprises so that you’re always kept on your toes behind the wheel, and the insane amount of customization on offer from car modification to creating your own events, makes this one of the ultimate experiences, and almost certainly cements the Forza Horizon series as being truly unbeatable.
Underrated Pick: Unbeatable
Speaking of unbeatable, Unbeatable as its core is a very simple premise. It’s a rhythm game where you have to hit notes coming from 2 directions in time with the music. But for something as simple as this, presentation is almost everything, and Unbeatable delivers everything in spades. The game looks extremely stylish, the main character feels relatable, the gameplay is fluid and intuitive, and the music.
Oh my god, the music. It’s almost faultless and brings forth the argument that soundtracks can almost definitely make or break a game. I’ve already backed the game, played countless hours of the (white label) demo (which you can find on Steam for free), and I cannot wait for more. I love Unbeatable, and you should too.
Most Anticipated: Breath of the Wild 2
To be honest, I wasn’t asking for BOTW 2 because BOTW was such an amazing game that I was really satisfied with what was offered, and I know I can get back into that game anytime and still have a fun time with it. In fact, there are still many things I have yet to finish in the original BOTW. However, now that BOTW 2 is just over the horizon, I can’t keep myself from being excited for it.
BOTW is truly a landmark game for me, I’ve never quite gotten into open world games like Assasins Creed or GTA. It always felt like the world was filled with things to do for the sake of filling the world with things to do, but not in BOTW. The first time I played BOTW, it really scratched the itch of wanting a similar experience as playing Shadow of Colossus or Okami for the first time. The sense of wonder, and exploration experienced while playing BOTW is just indescribable.
My hopes and excitement for BOTW 2 is just off the charts after seeing snippets of what the game will be offering in the latest teaser. If BOTW 2 is going to be just as good, or heck, better than BOTW, it will definitely be a Game of the year, nay, Game of the Console material.
Underrated Pick: Halo Infinite
I wasn’t an Xbox kid when I was young, but I know of Halo’s instrumental influence and domination in its glory days. It was the game that got many people into gaming in the first place. It was also a game instrumental in developing the e-sports scene in its early days. Not only that, the storytelling and world building of the Halo universe is also phenomenal.
Sadly, I am not there to experience all these firsthand. But, the idea of being able to be a part of all these right now is definitely exciting, especially considering Halo Infinite multiplayer will be available for free. I hope that this will be the new glory age of Halo, and I can be a part of it this time.
Most Anticipated: Battlefield 2042
A return to form for the DICE team at EA, Battlefield 2042 seems to be shaping up to be their best title since Battlefield 1942. This slightly futuristic setting set in a near real world environment, paints a future with Americans against the Russians fighting over resources.
With up to 128 players in a huge map with destructible environments, this is set to be the biggest Battlefield game with some new features that will be implanted into the game that would make the game much more balanced with some quality-of-life improvements. Cannot wait to play this.
Underrated Pick: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
With how Marvel Avengers fared over the past few months, it is good to say that there will be some doubters for the game but honestly, this seems to be a different sort of game than Marvel Avengers. A single player game, you control Star-Lord with the rest of the guardians as your companions where you go and set foot to fight against Lady Hellbender.
As a third person action-adventure game, your dealings will affect how the story progress such as how Mass Effect is. Inspired by the comics of the same title, it does seem to have a very mature look to it and hopefully people will come to like it and be its own thing compared to the MCU version.
Most Anticipated: Breath of the Wild 2
It’s been way too long since we heard any Breath of the Wild news, so this week’s Nintendo Direct literally knocked the breath out of my system (pun intended.) The clip reveals so much to be excited about — Flying à la Skyward Sword, a new flamethrower weapon, Link’s glowing Sheika arm, and those are just the obvious picks.
Of course, there’s no BOTW news without the rampant fan theories. From the outlandish (Link’s new hand has time-travelling and/or dimension-hopping powers and he travels back to the events of Skyward Sword) to the more believable (Zelda is going to be a playable character with a brand new set of magical abilities, which I would love.)
Personally I don’t think the Zelda franchise is quite ready for a multiverse story, but who knows what could happen from now til 2022? Either way I am very, very, very excited.
Underrated Pick: Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
Everyone remembers when the Mario + Rabbids franchise was first announced. Not because of the game necessarily, but for the Rabbids creator weeping in the audience as his dream came true. (The thought alone makes me smile.) But beyond that, the game doesn’t get enough credit.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle introduced the first serious strategy game in the Mario franchise, surpassing everybody’s expectations with its level of challenge and user friendly presentation. Although not as challenging as say, XCOM, the game is still a great introduction for new players to the genre, and enough fun for experience players to enjoy. I expect the same will be true of Sparks of Hope.