Square Enix kicked off Monday’s E3 presentations with a surprisingly short showcase (as opposed to a press conference). Several new games were presented, and while it may have been shorter than most wanted, there’s still plenty to get excited for.

After an introduction by Square Enix Holdings President and CEO Yosuke Matasuda, the showcase began with some exciting footage from Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Then Eidos Montreal game director Daniel Chayer-Bisson explained that Lara is trying to stop a Mayan Apocalypse and the game will emphasize survival skills, which he called “becoming one with the jungle.” Some gameplay footage gives a clearer indication of what Chayer-Bisson meant; with its utilization of the environment and encouraging distraction and diversion, the action seems similar to the stealth fighting found in the Batman Arkham games (minus Detective Mode), which suits me just fine. Chayer-Bisson then teased new traversal techniques like grappling, wall-running and full 360° underwater exploration, as well as plenty of landscapes and dangerous tombs to raid. Shadow of the Tomb Raider promises some great serial-style adventure with hard-edged action complimenting it (Lara looks pretty scary knifing those bad guys!). The game releases for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Steam on September 14, 2018, but is available for pre-order now.

Final Fantast XIV, Monster Hunter World, Square Enix, E3 2018

Next was a trailer for Final Fantasy XIV expansions: Stormblood and Under the Moonlight. There was nothing much on Stormblood, just vague, generic fantasy-style proclamations about standing together and being “the Warriors of Light.”  The music and editing during the Under the Moonlight segment reminded me of a trailer for one of those live-action Disney adventure movies they used to put out in the 90s, which makes sense considering the company; to that end, there’s a mix of tones, with dark, demonic villains in some clips and silly floating birds in others. Lastly we are told there will be a crossover between Final Fantasy XIV and Monster Hunter World! The dragons in Monster Hunter World look astounding, and that section of the trailers is edited perfectly to entice you to fight them. It’ll be great to see what Monster Hunter aspects are brought into the Final Fantasy XIV universe. This event should roll out in the next few months.

Following this, Michel Koch and Raoul Barbet, creative directors of Dontnod Entertainment, introduced The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a free-to-download game that takes place in the same universe as their previous game Life is Strange, but isn’t a sequel; the duo see it as their first foray into exploring the expansive world of Life in Strange. The trailer showed a little boy imagining he’s a superhero… and that’s it. There was more at the Microsoft conference, but apparently not a whole lot. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit will be available – again, for free – June 26th.

A trailer for Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age came next. It has good visuals, but the tone is very kiddie and the music is odd and doesn’t compliment the action well. This will be released on September 4, 2018, along with two special editions called the Edition of Light and the Edition of Lost Time. This was followed by three quick trailers: one for Babylon’s Fall, which looks terrific, adventurous and gritty, with epic fights; one for NieR Automata: Become as Gods Edition, which seems fast-paced and fun; and one for Octopath Traveler, which looks silly and boring (but then I’m not big on traditional RPGs). Babylon’s Fall will be available for PS4 and Steam in 2019, NieR Automata: Become as Gods Edition for Xbox One on June 26, 2018, and Octopath Traveler for the Switch on July 13, 2018.

Just Cause 4, Square Enix, E3 2018

Just Cause 4 was the real showstopper, though. The trailer advertised amazing visuals with minute attention to detail (the billowing blades of grass, the way the sunlight shines through trees, etc.). New additions in this sequel are extreme weather that effects movement and sandbox gameplay, new vehicles and handling, a customizable grapple, and more intelligent enemies with unique abilities for each archetype. This game looks incredible; beautiful to look at an undoubtedly fun to play. Just Cause 4 will be available for PS4, Xbox One, Steam and PC on December 4, 2018 and, I’m sure, will be on plenty of Christmas wish lists. Sticking with action, there was then a short trailer for The Quiet Man, where a live-action scenario featuring a deaf man encountering a street gang quickly morphs into the video game world as he handily dispatches them. Apparently this is how it will be in the game itself, which is pretty neat. The game graphics aren’t the best, but if the fighting they showed in the trailer is plentiful enough it could be very entertaining. The Quiet Man will be available on PS4 and Steam, and while no release date is given the trailer promised “more to come” this August.

Square Enix closed things out with the Kingdom Hearts III trailer, following the announced release date of January 29, 2019. As promised, Kingdom Hearts III will feature characters and locations from Disney movies Frozen, Wreck-it-Ralph, Tangled, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Hercules (among others not show in the trailer, evidently), alongside the usual Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Visually, it looks spectacular, and the different worlds visited are varied and should provide fresh gameplay throughout.

And that covers the Square Enix showcase. They have some excellent-looking games, and some for which I won’t be making any special GameStop trips. I was hoping for some news about that Avengers game they’ve been teasing, but I guess there’s still time; E3 isn’t over yet. How did you like Square Enix’s showcase? Which games are you most looking forward to? Am I the only one with no interest in Octopath Traveler (history suggests I probably am)? Let us know in the comments and stick around for more E3 coverage right here at Geeks + Gamers!

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