Digital Trends Top Games of E3 2016

There’s a lot to see at E3, maybe too much, and playing video games is hard work. We rolled up our sleeves and took to the show floor, with an eye out for imaginative games that delivered on promises we’ve been made in years past.

But as it turned out, it wasn’t previously announced titles that stood out. We found that newly announced games, with already playable demos, made up our favorite moments of this massive conference.

Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild

Nintendo pretty much all of their eggs in one basket at E3 this year, but boy is it one hell of a basket. The fantastic A Link Between Worlds showed that Nintendo wasn’t afraid to get creative with one of its most formulaic series, remixing familiar elements in new and exciting ways.

Breath of the Wild continues on that trajectory, drawing from the series’ rich history, but also not being afraid to make fundamental changes to how you play. Link’s new ability to jump and climb gives the game a new level of physicality, with a vast, open world to take advantage of this new dimension. With a startlingly sci-fi opening, the game more or less just drops you on a gorgeous vista with no context and sends you off to learn about the world around you. Hyrule is a huge and inviting place this time around, and we can’t remember the last time we were so hungry to start exploring.

More coverage

God of War

The original God of War trilogy revolutionized action games. With its fluid, combo-based brawling, and delightfully over-the-top take on Greek mythology, the series captured millions of fans’ imaginations and made their protagonist Kratos one of the most iconic characters in gaming from the 2000s. Just taking the previous model of gameplay and doing “God of War but with Norse mythology” would have been more than enough for a lot of fans, but Sony Santa Monica’s reinvention (though not a reboot) of the series looks to be so much better.

A new, over-the-shoulder perspective brings you up close and personal with Kratos’ brutal battles, which look more immersive than the arcade-style brawling the series is known for. Kratos himself is also older and wiser, with a son to raise who will be with him for most of the game. Creative Director Corey Barlog and his team are taking a holistic approach to mechanics, theme, and presentation so that they honor the spirit of the original and treat nothing as sacred, and we’re chomping at the bit to see more.

More coverage

Civilization VI

Sid Meier’s Civilization series has been a pillar of PC gaming for decades, so a new numbered release bears a lot of expectations, especially with the huge shoes left to fill by the fantastic Civilization V. Fortunately, Civ VI has the same cobbler, being helmed by Ed Beach, who led development on V’s two major expansions that made V the masterpiece it is.

Civilization VI builds on the series’ legacy with smart advancements like cities that sprawl over the map, nuanced combat, overhauled diplomacy, and meaningful feedback between the tech tree and what you do in the rest of the game. It also looks gorgeous. After nearly 1,000 hours logged in Civ V, it was hard to imagine mustering the same level of excitement we once had, but we can safely say that Civ VI will have us saying “just ONE more turn…” for years to come.

More coverage


There were a lot of grappling hooks at E3 this year — Titanfall 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Batman: Arkham VR, to name a few — but only one of them can support the weight of an entire game. Flinthook, a plucky Rogue-lite from Canadian developer Tribute, gives players control of a masked space pirate who zips around procedurally generated ships looking for plunder. It is not the kind of game you expect to make a strong impression at E3, but it just goes to show that nothing beats imaginative artwork and refined, fun gameplay.

Flinthook doesn’t have a firm release date, but Tribute told Digital Trends the studio is hoping to have the game ready to go in early 2017. Based on its presence on the Xbox booth, it’s safe to say it’ll be on Xbox One and Windows 10, but it may come to other platforms as well.

More coverage


With all of the guns and explosions and massive robots of E3 this year, a small team of ex-Ubisoft developers left a strong mark with Absolver. In it, you traverse a fallen empire populated with opponents to fight alongside, and players to cooperate with in Dark Souls-style online multiplayer. Combat is purposeful and subdued, rewarding patience and perfect timing — or as the developers put it, “movement is your weapon.”

On top of a fluid, satisfying combat system, the team at Sloclap has built a rich RPG system with gear, customization, and an attack deck that lets you build your own combos. There are even weapons, but wielding them may put a target on your back. Absolver is lined up for a 2017 release on Steam and PS4.

More coverage

Home Theater

From soundbars to headphones, here are the best last-minute audio deals

Whether you're looking for a great new pair of headphones or a fantastic new soundbar to bolster the sound of your brand-new television, these are the best audio deals to be found this holiday season.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.

Bundle up for the huge ‘Monster Hunter: World’ expansion coming in 2019

Monster Hunter: World is getting a major expansion in fall 2019 called Iceborne. The expansion will be similar in scope as the Ultimate versions of previous Monster Hunter games, featuring new quests, monsters, weapons, and armor.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.