Summer Game Fest Best Games 2024
(Photo Credit: Summer Game Fest)

Our Favorite Games From Summer Game Fest 2024

With E3 being put out to pasture, Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest (SGF) seems to have taken up the mantle as the go-to industry event for publishers, developers, and games media to flock to during summer. We had a chance to attend this year’s event, and have rounded up the best games that we got to check out, either through hands-on demos or closed-door presentations.

Afterlove EP

Chances are, Afterlove EP hasn’t popped up on your radar before. Developed by Indonesian studio Pikselnesia, this hybrid dating sim/visual novel/rhythm game stood out at SGF. That can (partly) be chalked up to its slower-paced nature (compared to something like Phantom Blade Zero, which was being demoed nearby), but also because of its deeply personal nature. Pikselnesia’s founder and creative director, Mohammad Fahmi, passed away during the game’s development, and in many ways, Afterlove EP feels like a tribute to him. Set in a digital recreation of Jakarta (where Fahmi) grew up, the story focuses on Rama, a young musician still dealing with his girlfriend’s death.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows

As someone who fell off the Assassin’s Creed bandwagon a long time ago, Shadows might just be the entry that will bring me back into the fold. While we didn’t get to play this one for ourselves, the idea of being able to switch back and forth between a nimble, stealthy ninja and a lumbering behemoth of a samurai shows a lot of promise and it’s certainly a far cry from the rigid stealth mechanics that defined the franchise during its early years.

Delta Force: Hawk Ops

At this point, I’ve butchered this Delta Force Hawk Ops about a half-dozen times, usually referring to it as a jumble of words from the following list: Delta, Black, Ops, Force, America, and Hawk. My favorite so far is when I called it Black Ops: Hawk Force. Jokes aside, Delta Force is, in many ways, a mish-mash of mechanics and features from a few other AAA shooters. As a lapsed Battlefield fan, I instantly felt at home jumping into the attack/defend-centric Havoc Warfare, while Hazard Operations is geared more towards those who enjoy extraction shooters like Escape from Tarkov. The third piece of the puzzle, Delta Force’s narrative campaign, was MIA at SGF, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for its eventual reveal.

Dragon Age: The Veilguard

Not unlike Assassin’s Creed Shadows, we only got to see Dragon Age: The Veilguard as part of a developer-led gameplay presentation. Still, EA’s next entry in the long-running series has a lot going for it, and it could be the boost BioWare needed following the rather lackluster Anthem and the much-maligned Mass Effect Andromeda. The shift to more action-focused combat and a cinematic presentation might draw the ire of those who preferred the slower-paced nature of the first two games, but the dev team seems intent on delivering something that everyone can sink their teeth into. Appealing to a wide range of players is a lofty goal, so we’ll have to wait and see if BioWare can pull it off.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

Criminally, we only got to go hands-on with Elden Ring‘s upcoming DLC for a measly 30 minutes, but what we got to play was glorious. We won’t try to figure out the story based on our brief play session, but on the gameplay side, what we did see was very promising. From entirely new weapon types, enemies, bosses, and a huge area to explore, Shadow of the Erdtree is shaping up to be something special, and unlike every other game on this list, it’s set to release in just a few days. While I was sad to hear that this new DLC won’t add any new endings or impact existing ones, there’s a good chance this expansion will answer a lot of lingering questions that players have been obsessing over for the past two years.

Marvel Rivals

Yes, we are well aware that Marvel Rivals bears a few similarities to other hero shooters (namely, Overwatch), but this upcoming free-to-play title has a few tricks up its sleeve. Tapping into decades worth of existing material, Marvel Rivals features a sizable roster from the get-go, a mix of traditional shooter mechanics with more traversal-focused characters (Spider-Man, in particular, stands out from the pack), and a team-up system that lets specific characters play off each other. With a closed beta test rolling out in July, there’s a chance that some of you will get to take this for a spin before the rest of us.

Monster Hunter Wilds

Rounding out the trinity of “games we got to see but not play for ourselves” is Monster Hunter Wilds, though in this case, I kind of get why Capcom went this route. As an evolution of what we saw in Monster Hunter World, it should come as no surprise that Wilds is as complicated to jump into for the first time, and I can safely say that I would have died in record time if I was the one with my hands on the controls. Thankfully, the devs running the presentation know what they’re doing, and what we saw on display was incredibly impressive. As expected, the game’s environments are massive and constantly shifting, and it’s pretty wild (yes, pun intended) to watch how quickly the terrain and wildlife can change as a storm rolls in or out of the area. Thankfully, small quality-of-life inclusions like rideable mounts and mobile camps should ease the breaking-in process that every newcomer has to endure.

New World: Aeternum

I have to admit — I completely dismissed New World when it launched on PC in 2021, both because I’ve never been drawn to the genre and I primarily play games on consoles. New World: Aeternum, on the other hand, has piqued my interest. In fact, despite being an MMORPG, I was able to play through the first hour or so of the game solo, only teaming up with other players for a few combat encounters. As someone who prefers single-player RPGs that are more in line with say, the Witcher series, New World: Aeternum might just be my door into the world of MMOs.

Parcel Corps

On paper, Billy Goat Entertainment’s Parcel Corps is my dream game. It’s a modern mashup of everything you like about Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio, where you play as a freelance bike courier, diving headfirst into the gig economy as you scramble to deliver packages quickly. Like any good game, it’s easy to pick up, but mastering wall rides, rail grinds, weaving around traffic, and figuring out the fastest routes will certainly take some practice.

While Waiting

While Waiting is the only game on our list that isn’t confirmed to be coming to PlayStation, since the developers made a note to tell us that it’s fully playable with a controller, we’re certainly hoping that it makes the jump to Sony’s consoles. Much in the same way that Untitled Goose Game is a puzzle game disguised as a chaotic goose simulator, While Waiting is a puzzle game that’s disguised as… a game about waiting. In fact, you can technically “beat” each level (which typically only lasts a few minutes) by simply doing nothing, but the real challenge comes in poking around and experimenting with your surroundings to try and solve small puzzles. In many ways, While Waiting encourages players to intentionally cause havoc and push the boundaries of each level — as a game critic and game developer, it’s very much up my alley.