Going into E3 2014, we listed eight potential game changers, video games that will have a huge impact at the show and beyond. Now that the industry’s biggest event is history and we played everything, it’s time to take a more serious look at the games that’ll not only sell millions of copies, but influence developers in the months and years to come.
Grand Theft Auto 5 Next-Gen
Of all the surprises at E3 2014, the announcement of GTA 5 coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC was arguably the biggest. Yes, the game is several months old and appears to include all previously released content fans experienced before, yet it’s so much more than a simple port. We would’ve been happy with a more stable frame rate and slightly higher resolution, but Rockstar Games tapped into the added horsepower to create something that crushes its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 counterpart. Players will benefit from an increased amount of traffic, more animals than before and visuals that’ll make a select number of players happy they skipped the previous version of the game. Everything from the swelling waves, beautiful mountain ranges and characters received next-generation facelifts. Ultimately, this puts GTA 5 on a whole other level compared to last year’s next-gen launch games. Its existence will inspire companies to pay special attention to last generation ports, which benefits consumers eager to experience these gems all over again.
If you need further convincing, watch this detailed and jaw-dropping GTA comparison video that puts the stark contrast between both versions on full display.
Most FPS games, no matter how revolutionary, often contain the same exact multiplayer modes with different names; Free-for-All in Call of Duty is essentially Slayer in Halo. This changes with Evolve, the highly anticipated co-op shooter from 2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios (of Left 4 Dead fame). Instead of relying on the same albeit fun modes, this title pits four players of different classes against another gamer controlling a gigantic beast. At first glance, the monster seems horribly overmatched, but the developers tweaked the game in such a way that one wrong move by this hunter quartet may spell certain doom. Not only does the creature possess powerful attacks, but it can also utilize the environment to slaughter its prey. If successful, Evolve will alter the multiplayer landscape by producing more imaginative ideas from rival publishers. Watch the epic trailer.
Super Smash Bros.
If Mario Kart 8 quadrupled Wii U sales shortly following its release, logic denotes that the new Super Smash Bros. will put Nintendo’s marvelous console in numerous homes around the world. The fact that thousands of E3 attendees mobbed the publisher’s booth to enjoy four-person multiplayer (each of the 10-plus stations were full at all times) and numerous others lined up at Best Buys across the country is a testament to the series’ popularity. Everyone wants a piece of this over-the-top multiplayer brawler and for great reason. Not only does it include new heroes like Mega Man, Pac-Man and the Animal Crossing Villager, but also GameCube controller support via adapter, breathtaking stages (we love the Pilot Wings board) and online play. It’s too early to predict how many systems this game will sell on both Wii U and 3DS, but Nintendo stands to clean up this holiday season.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
We knew with 95 percent certainty that Sony would show Uncharted 4 in some capacity, which it did with an all-too-brief trailer of hero Nathan Drake waking up face down in a puddle of water. Say what you will about the title (we certainly hope Mr. Drake carries on through several Uncharted games), but there’s no denying the authenticity of the graphics. This is no computer-generated cut scene because the developers at Naughty Dog are too skilled for such trickery. We’ll bet this is real-time footage running off the PlayStation 4. First, it looks incredible, and second, if Naughty Dog is able to achieve this sort of detail throughout the entire game, it will set a new benchmark for video game graphics, to the point where consumers will consistently compare it to the competition. Of course, it’s tough to argue against raising the bar. See the game in action!
Alien: Isolation with Oculus Rift
To be fair, Alien: Isolation by itself is a tremendous experience and without question one of the scariest games we’ve played. Strap on the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and you enter a whole new level of immersion. Being able to physically lean in to get a closer look at objects within the environment is a total mind trip, while viewing one’s demise at the hands of the snarling xenomorph will have you reaching for a clean pair of underpants. We knew Oculus Rift was cool, but combining it with Isolation produces one of those rare “a-ha” moments that we’ll remember years after this VR peripheral helps revolutionize gaming. It makes you feel like you’re on the doomed space station praying for your life. You simply can’t get that from staring at a flat screen.
To read more about our experience with Oculus and Alien: Isolation, check out this feature.