E3 stayed true to its name in 2018, delivering information at a rate overwhelming to even the most seasoned video game consumers. Amid the barrage of announcements, demos, and trailers, perhaps the most compelling developments came in the form of in-engine gameplay footage, which developers were particularly generous about this year. Gameplay footage is precious because it's a game's most honest representation. Plus, often-times it reveals new information about a game. That being said, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the cacophony. So as the dust settles, let's run through the 5 best gameplay trailers from E3 2018, in no particular order.
5 Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima was one of E3 2018's biggest sleepers. Not to say it hadn't attracted attention beforehand, but its show-stopping gameplay trailer proved the game's beauty doesn't end with its cinematic sequences. The stunning environmental detail, evocative color palette, and fluid character animation all bleed seamlessly into the in-engine gameplay.
Make no mistake, Sucker Punch drew up a wonderfully appealing world, but this lengthy gameplay demonstration shows that Ghost of Tsushima has a lot more going for it than its good looks. You can also check out the Japanese language trailer for a more authentic experience.
4 The Last of Us Part 2
Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part 2 Gameplay Reveal Trailer showcased the studio's talent for uncomfortably realistic voice acting, natural-looking character models, and dramatic storytelling. But that was to be expected, at least for anyone familiar with Naughty Dog's body of work. What really made the trailer special is its perfect synchrony with the original game's weighty emotional core. The early cinematic gently and beautifully confirms Ellie's sexuality, a stark reminder of the time passed since we last saw Ellie.
Things take a dark turn immediately afterward and we get our first glimpse of gameplay, which forcefully reaffirms the project's focus on horror and violence. Ellie is seen sneaking around a campsite and through a deteriorating structure before engaging in a lopsided battle with several determined killers. The combat appears a solid progression from the studio's previous work, boasting effortlessly fluid hand-to-hand and armed conflict. While Joel will be missed, we can't wait to jump back into The Last of Us world as our favorite post-apocalyptic heroine.
3 Rage 2
2010's post-apocalyptic first person shooter Rage saw mixed reception at its release, which makes the forthcoming follow-up's considerable presence and surrounding buzz that much more impressive. The near-universally positive response to Rage 2's wild trailer is a testament to the developers' passion for the project, a duo made up by id Software and Avalanche Studios. Predictably, the game will be an open world, first-person run-and-gun affair. Nonetheless, the trailer couldn't have done a better job making Rage 2 look ridiculously fun.
From front to back, the gameplay trailer is an intensely frantic good time, infused with a sick sense of humor and lighthearted tone. A variety of weapons, including projectiles, vehicles, and special powers, are used to rapidly blast through enemies, sometimes sending them hurling through the air. Whatever players thought of the first Rage, even if it never crossed their radar, Rage 2's gameplay trailer is not one to be missed.
2 Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Riding the momentum from last year's well-received Assassin's Creed Origins, Assassin's Creed Odyssey smartly offers a new, choice-based take on the series without diverging too far from the tried-and-true formula. Ubisoft's Gameplay Walkthrough almost immediately focuses on Odyssey's interactive dialogue, a function which will allow players to choose from different dialogue options that can affect the plot. From there, we're treated to a walkthrough of a stunning recreation of Mykonos City, restored to its condition in 431 BCE.
The demonstration shows a good bit of combat, which definitely looks like an evolution for the series, as well as a departure from the familiar techniques of the assassins from prior installments. The player will control a mercenary and employ parries, dodges, and special abilities, like the unbelievably cool "Sparta kick," to dispatch foes. Whether or not the addition of interactive dialogue will be a real game-changer, the trailer for Assassin's Creed Odyssey demands attention by showing off what the series does best: huge, gorgeous worlds to explore, engaging historical narratives, and exciting combat.
1 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ever since Nintendo's Smash Bros. Switch tease earlier this year, fans of the iconic brawler franchise have been forced into a grueling waiting game. Thankfully, it's safe to say E3 delivered the goods and created a satisfying anticipation for the upcoming Smash Bros. Ultimate. Not only did attendees have the chance to play the game themselves, but Nintendo confirmed with an insanely long gameplay trailer that per usual, Smash Bros. will be worth the wait.
The triumphant return of every character from the series, plus the induction of Splatoon's Inklings and Metroid's Ridley, made for a truly epic display. Character models, environments, and animations look top-notch on the new platform. Most importantly, the trailer ensured that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be much more than a port of Smash Bros Wii U, confirming the addition of new characters, new stages, and significant game design tweaks.
What was your favorite gameplay trailer from E3 2018? Let us know in the comments!