Our 13 favorite games from the 2024 summer gaming showcases

The end of E3 hasn’t been the end of summer gaming conferences, although it has erased one June gaming tradition: E3 awards. It was always a bit odd to pin blue ribbons on unreleased games because they did a good job of looking cool—especially knowing how different what we saw at E3 and what we got could be—but it was a fun way to digest the enormous pile of reveals, identify trends, and talk about the games we were most excited by.

There are no convention center booths to stick ribbons on anymore, but we’ll keep the tradition going virtually with a list of the PC Gamer staff’s favorite reveals from this years’ various showcases.

Our Top 3

Putting a comprehensive ranking together would be kinda silly (not to mention time-consuming) but we’ve got our picks for the top 3 games from the summer showcases that we universally agree have us extra-hyped.

1. Doom: The Dark Ages

Rich Stanton, Senior Editor: I’m exposing myself as a lover of simple things but the reveal for Doom: The Dark Ages had everything I want from a new entry in the series. It’s changed-up the theming big-time with the jump back to a medieval-ish setting, where of course you still have access to an army’s worth of guns, and the new shield saw weapon feels brilliantly judged to me. The success of the Doom reboots, for me, came down to their breakneck speed of movement, the game rewarding you for aggression and ballsy plays, and this weapon offers temporary cover, deadly ranged attacks, super fast movement options, and is basically a chainsaw when you get up-close. I mean… where do I sign up?

Doom: The Dark Ages was also a breath of fresh air in the context of all these other trailers, because barring a few seconds’ worth of intro cutscenes at the start, the trailer gets right into how many ways you’ll be able to eviscerate hellspawn. It shows the shotgun blasting off huge chunks of demons’ bodies, the shield bloodily whizzing through massed ranks, and best of all Doom Guy just sticking a big boot into a massive baddie. From one angle this game is as simple as they come. But sometimes you don’t want complexity. You just want a big level, jam-packed with nasties, and a beautiful array of tools that will turn them into little bloody chunks. In that respect, The Dark Ages was a shining light.

2. Perfect Dark

Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: Perfect Dark’s always had this mystique for me as the M-rated N64 game my parents never let me play⁠—I had to sneak in and watch my older brother shoot up those cyberpunk megacorp buildings. Despite that secondhand nostalgia, Perfect Dark’s disastrous Xbox 360 outing and the seemingly troubled development of its reboot gave me little reason to expect much of it.

But boy howdy, this looks like an immersive sim. This looks like Deus Ex. Everything from the corporate sterility of its near-future Cairo to the social stealth and exploration on display in the demo set off my classic PC sicko senses. Maybe the most unexpected pleasant surprise of the whole weekend.

3. Among the Wild

Chris Livingston, Senior Editor: There are lots of creature collectors and farming sims out there, but none of them look quite like this. The critters in Among the Wild are somewhere between cute and disturbing, and the game’s first-person perspective lets you look right into their goofy faces when you pick them up. That alone shot it straight to the top of my wishlist.

Plus, the devs at Nuggets Entertainment told me that unlike a lot of creature collecting games, these critters aren’t necessarily helpful on your farm. “They’re more of a pain in the ass,” they said. That means if one is carrying a piece of lumber or a fish around, they’re more likely to abscond with it rather than deliver it to you. I can’t wait to meet them and see just what a nuisance they can be.

Other reveals we really loved this year

In no particular order, here are more game trailers, announcements, and reveals we were excited to see at this year’s summer showcases.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows

Morgan Park, Staff Writer: Getting unreasonably excited about the latest Assassin’s Creed before my expectations are brought back down to earth is a time-honored tradition at this point—but I really do believe Shadows could be the best the series has been since it became loot RPGs. Ubi’s gameplay showcase focused on the right things to get classic AC fans excited: reactive combat that doesn’t look as spammy as Valhalla or Odyssey, and honest-to-god stealth mechanics inspired by Splinter Cell (you can even crawl through grass!). I have doubts about the whole two protagonists thing, but it’s hard to sweat the details when Ubi is finally making the Assassin’s Creed game I’ve politely asked for since 2009.

UFO 50

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: The indie squad behind UFO 50, which has been in development for years, really meant it when they said this was not a collection of mere minigames. I got to bounce around between almost 10 of UFO 50’s games at Summer Game Fest over the weekend, which wasn’t enough time to be good at any of them—many are tough, arcadey games that would feel at home on the NES—but it was enough time to be stunned by the scope of this project. Y’all, there’s an entire Japanese-style RPG in here reminiscent of Dragon Quest (only with a Wild West theme). 

There’s a full point-and-click adventure game, much like the classic Shadowgate. There’s a golf game with a twist, a reverse-Downwell (I forget the name, so let’s go with Upwell), and a game starring a flying walrus (he’s actually just having a nice dream). I guarantee you there are at least a couple games in here with that divine arcade touch that you could play for 50 hours all by themselves. Once you throw in those longer narrative-driven games like the RPG… I don’t think any of us are ready for 50 indie games this polished to drop on us all at once when it’s out in September.

Rich Stanton, Senior Editor: I know I’m setting myself up for a fall here, but Konami’s remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater really has reignited my hype for the Metal Gear series. The approach the developers are taking is faithful, perhaps overly so, with the core of the game remaining identical but a major overhaul to visuals, more contemporary controls, and other minor touches (such as the original’s injury system now resulting in permanent scars).

I tried not to get hyped. I really did. But this remake looks absolutely gorgeous, and the densely packed jungle it’s recreating was always an amazing place to tootle around in. Some fans don’t like the new look of the main characters but I think they look as they should, and seeing things like the new CGC and reloading animations, which faithfully recreate the look of the original while being so much more detailed, makes this feel like something Konami is taking a great deal of care over.

Is Delta going to set the world alight? I suspect it may prove a little archaic for some. But for me, this showing suggests it’s going to be a real work of preservation on one of gaming’s standout classics. It’s been too long, Konami. Time to show us if you’ve still got it and, on this showing, it just might.

Cairn

Andy Chalk, NA News Lead: I really liked Jusant, so I was immediately intrigued by Cairn. It looks like more of a realistic, “because it was there” mountain climbing sim, and I’m not sure that will hold my attention—like Mollie, I’m really not into heights and the idea of climbing a mountain when there’s perfectly good flat ground to stand on does not strike me as a good time—but Jusant surprised me and I hope Cairn will too. 

The promise of meeting “unexpected companions,” hearing from people on the ground, and being forced to decide what Aava is willing to sacrifice to achieve her dream hints at a narrative element not really touched on in the trailer that I hope will round out the actual climbing. I’m not quite hooked at this point, but I’m definitely intrigued.

DeathSprint 66

Joshua Wolens, News Writer: Mario Kart is back. Mad Dash Racing is back as well. Trackmania 2? That’s back too. Smash TV, also, is back. DeathSprint 66 is pretty much The Running Man if it were made by someone who took the title entirely literally, and playing it is a joy. Players race on-foot around twisty tracks filled at every edge and cranny with elaborate death traps, gathering up weapons they can use against their opponents and building audience hype, a resource you can use to grant yourself crucial moments of boost as you drift in and out of corners. So I suppose it’s also Formula E on top of all that other stuff.

It’s thoroughly deranged and pleasingly simple, and I’m eager to spend some time racing against human opponents when it eventually dashes out of cover.

The Talos Principle 2

Andy C: It’s hard to overstate how jazzed I am that more Talos Principle 2 is coming. If I had to pick only one thing to play out of all the showcases that have aired over the past four days, this would be it. More puzzles, different perspectives, character growth in the aftermath of the world-changing events of the base game—I am hype! And that doesn’t happen very often, so you better believe I am putting it on this list.

Bogdan’s Cross

Andy C: I don’t know why, but that Bogdan’s Cross trailer hit me like a surprise left. It could be the mournful music—I’m a sucker for that stuff, you could set the Three Stooges to a lone, distant Highland pipe and I would stand at attention and shed a single manly tear—but after watching the video several times I think what really grabs me is its underlying essence of steadfastness in the face of futility. Bogdan’s not going to make it home (that’s just a prediction, but one I make with confidence), so what’s left when all hope is gone? Faith, I suppose. But what happens when that starts to crack under the pressure too?

And he’s a goddamn teddy bear! Yeah, I want to know more about this game. 

Generation Exile

Chris L: The concept of generation ships spending hundreds of years to reach their destination is kind of fascinating already, and a city builder set on a generation ship sounds like an interesting challenge. If you’re low on resources, you can’t just dig deeper or explore further to find more: your ship is self-contained and you only have available what you brought with you. Sustainability is a feature in some city builders, but it’s an absolute necessity in Generation Exile. 

Crescent County

Chris L: This life sim that’s somehow chill as heck but also has pulse-pounding races made Crescent County an instant click for my witch-list. Move to a cozy but sprawling island, make deliveries on high-tech broomstick (you’re a witch, if that wasn’t clear), and customize and upgrade that motorbroom so it can drift, phase shift, and even rewind time. Plus, there’s people to meet and crush on and a home to decorate, all in a gorgeous open world. Yes please.

Croakwood

Chris L: Frogs are cute. Little towns are cute. Building a little town for frogs is, at minimum, quadruple cute. A surprise announcement from Texel Raptor, developers of chill theme park builder Parkitect, introduced us to Croakwood, a relaxing town-building and management game with a piece-based building system and lots of handsome little froggy citizens to inhabit the village you create. I’m gonna hop right in as soon as it’s released.

PCGamer.com

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