Top 10 Best Pre-E3 2016 Trailers

E3 is vast approaching. And by vast approaching, I mean that at the time of this article’s posting, the first E3 press conference (Electronic Arts) will be 3 hours away.

But that doesn’t mean publishers and developers are keeping their lips sealed for the big show reveal. Many observers have stated dismay over how many games have been leaked or revealed before E3 has even begun, decrying how there are so many reveals happening before the event that there can’t quite possibly be that many big announcements this year. Those saying that should likely be given a short E3 history lesson, as even last year we had the same conversation by the time Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection was announced well before Sony’s E3 Press Conference– a press conference that alone saw the welcomed return of The Last Guardian, and monumental reveals of games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, the Shenmue III Kickstarter, and Final Fantasy VII Remake.

But even so, there is still the point that remains: we have gotten quite a number of good to great trailers and reveals coming up to E3. So to pregame you all for the big show, here’s a top 10 list of my personal favorite Pre-E3 trailers that have been revealed in the last two weeks.

Honorable Mention: The Just Cause 3 Giant Robot DLC Trailer

There were actually two trailers for this DLC announcement, but this one wins on the strength of its writing. Usually I find this type of “trying-real-hard-to-be-cool” type narration to push me away from a trailer, but several moments still managed to make me burst out in laughter. To be honest, the only reason it’s not on the Top 10 list is because technically it’s releasing before E3.

#10. Surgeon Simulator: Inside Donald Trump (Gameplay Trailer)

Despite the implausibility of Donald Trump even having a heart to be operated on, this is exactly the kind of comedic, dumb, satirical jab at Donald Trump that I needed. Add to that, the excellent editing in this trailer and all of a sudden I really want to play Surgeon Simulator for the first time ever. Honestly, I actually hope Trump sues them just so that a more mainstream audience sees and plays it.

#9. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap – Reveal Trailer

Say what you will about NES remakes, animated trailers and indie games– this trailer had a whole lot of charm. From the initial animations to the cartoonish art style used in gameplay, my attention and interest was immediately hooked. Consider, also, that I had not even heard about Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap was an NES game that even existed. Could you imagine if I had actual nostalgia built into this as well? I can’t. But it looks great, anyway.

#8. I am Setsuna – E3 2016 Trailer

Man, I love Chrono Trigger.

#7. Rock of Ages II: Bigger and Boulder – Announcement Trailer

Okay, so, first of all, why was I not aware that there was a first Rock of Ages game? I’ve long been a fan of game trailers that stick to showing gameplay over cutscenes, CGI animation, or anything else, and this trailer shows exactly how effective that can be. The emphasis on its art style, and easily demonstrated mechanics may make it very easy to create a trailer, but whatever desired effect they were going for, they hit it straight on the mark.

#6. Agents of Mayhem – Official Cinematic Announcement Trailer

The only reason this trailer isn’t higher on the list is because Volition went hard against my “Cinematic Trailers are bad Video Game trailers” advisement. That being said, the characters immediately caught my attention and frankly anything that reminds me of how awesome Saints Row is automatically gets a bump on my list. Glad to see the humor is sticking around.

#5. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue E3 2016 Trailer

Even I am amazed at how far this game got up on my list. The original Kingdom Hearts quickly turned me off on the series after the Tarzan world had me go on a series of mundane fetch quests that had me backtracking the same path over and over for what felt like a good 8 hours. Yet the series has always kept my interest on the outside looking-in. The character designs, crisp animations and especially the music have always been parts of the series that I’ve admired. Every single one of those points were emphasized in this trailer, leading up to the closing seconds that seems to lift my heart every time I watch it. I didn’t think that anything would catch my interest enough to go back to Kingdom Hearts and play through the series to prepare for the imminent release of Kingdom Hearts III, but this trailer was it.

#4. Watch Dogs 2 World Premiere

So I’m cheating a little bit because I’m including all of the World Premiere that was livestreamed by IGN. The main reason for that is that the two trailers they actually released were a cinematic trailer and an awful, awful trailer for their main protagonist. While both are showcased in IGN’s reveal, the gameplay shown off surrounding it shapes it up really well– and quite frankly probably should have been the entire reveal trailer. For once, though, I’m completely satisfied with the developer commentary here– while at times they slip into the over-hype mode, most of it reminds me of the well executed developer commentary we more commonly see in Nintendo’s Digital Event, and I appreciate that.

#3. Yooka-Laylee – E3 2016 Trailer

If it wasn’t obvious yet, Playtonic Games is basically making a Banjo-Kazooie game. Hell, even their logo at the start is extremely reminiscent of Rare’s old N64 in-game logo. Yooka-Laylee‘s trailer does exactly what it should – it demonstrates it’s wide and varied gameplay mechanics, takes you over a few of its many worlds, and perhaps most importantly– slowly builds up to the final shot hanging over a vast world to explore. It makes the game just look awesome. Also they make a joke about Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts at the end, that was a nice touch.

#2. Injustice 2

About a week ago, Injustice 2 released a sleek Cinematic Reveal trailer that I loved enough to consider putting at #10 on this list. Then they came out just yesterday at the Mortal Kombat X championship and gave us an absolutely amazing gameplay trailer that did exactly what I was hoping the first trailer would have done. Bonus points for the Aquaman moment at the end. I did not see that fish coming.

#1. Horizon: Zero Dawn – Aloy’s Journey Trailer

While this pre-E3 trailer might mean that Horizon: Zero Dawn won’t be shown off at Sony’s E3 presentation, I could care less, really, because this is about all that I could have asked for. Far and away the coolest game on the horizon (ha, puns), this trailer not only set the stage for the game’s story, it also did so while showing gameplay, cutscenes, developed its main character, and most importantly: ended by creating interest into seeing wherever it is that Aloy’s Journey will take her. It is far and away the most must-see pre-E3 trailer of 2016. Watch it now. Watch it again.

February 2017 can’t come soon enough.

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