It’s hard to believe E3 2014 is over. The week flew by, with hundreds of games to check out, including new favorites that will release this year and 2015. Now comes the tough part – naming the top picks from the show.
This was a tough process, especially considering the quality of games shown behind closed doors, in theaters and playable on the floor. Regardless, we buckled down and came up with this elite list of favorites.
After its initial introduction last year, Destiny has come a long way. This sci-fi adventure was fully playable at the show, and didn’t let us down one bit. Whether on a speeder bike or kicking butt on foot, the game delivered with solid controls, breathtaking visuals and seamless single/multiplayer interactivity. Of course, those of you lucky enough to get into the Alpha this past weekend know exactly what we’re talking about. As for the rest of you, relax – a beta is on the way.
Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo)
Super Smash Bros. dominated Nintendo’s booth at E3. Both 3DS and Wii U versions of the game were playable, and provided a somewhat balanced fighting game for players of all skill levels. In addition, the introduction of Pac-Man finally gives us the opportunity to settle the great mascot debate. Who’s better, the great dot-chomper, Mega Man, Sonic or Mario? We’ll find out later this year.
Alien: Isolation (Sega)
In space, no one can hear you lose your mind after the Alien punctures your head with its inner mouth. Alien: Isolation perfectly recaptures the tension of the 1979 original, doing away with the usual first-person shooter format in favor of a survival/horror experience. The fact that you could die at any given second upon the most crucial of mistakes is absolutely intense. Between that and the splendid atmospheric recreation of the Alien universe within the game, this is easily one of the top contenders for Game of the Show.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Warner Bros.)
For the second straight year in a row, CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt absolutely floored us. With tons of next-generation polish lying within the game’s engine, and a combat system that lets you take on anything from thugs to large griffins, you’ll definitely have a lot of territory to cover when the game arrives early next year.
Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft)
Ubisoft stormed the show floor with a vengeance this year, bringing a number of sequels and new games (Rainbow Six: Siege!) with it. However, if we had to pick one from the bunch, it’s Far Cry 4. Featuring an all-new open world to tackle, tons of weapons to choose from, and a number of options when it comes to completing objectives, the game never lets up on fun. For good measure, riding an elephant into an enemy base and watching it run over enemies like ants is one of the guiltiest pleasures we experienced on the show floor.
Sunset Overdrive (Microsoft)
Insomniac Games returned to lunatic territory with its third-person action/adventure game, and at E3, the developer went all out with a huge multiplayer set-up for its Chaos Squad mode. Here, players chose from a plethora of wild, unpredictable weapons and traps while trying to defend generators. With solid gameplay and an entertaining presentation, this game easily stole our hearts. Plus, that energy drink they gave out didn’t convert us! (Yet.)
The Order: 1886 (Sony)
Ready At Dawn Studios is usually known for ports of more popular games, like the God of War games on the PlayStation Portable. However, The Order: 1886 will truly be a defining moment for the team when it arrives next year. Featuring a slick retelling on a past Victorian era, the game delivers on every front. The visuals are beautiful and take advantage of the PS4 hardware; the gameplay is lots of fun, especially with the weapons you have available; and the monsters you face guarantee you won’t be getting an easy night’s rest. We can’t wait for this one to arrive.
Battlefield: Hardline (Electronic Arts)
Finally, here’s a title that a few folks were skeptical of, a Battlefield game that revolves more around cops and robbers than soldiers. However, the multiplayer demo for Hardline paid off in spades on the show floor, with up to 32 players going at it in gun battles. In addition to a beautifully detailed city, the demo also paid off when it came to using vehicles – what better way to stop a robber than to run him or her over?
Batman: Arkham Knight (Warner Bros.)
Even with the recently announced delay into 2015, the excitement for Batman: Arkham Knight hasn’t waned a bit. Warner Bros. brought an all-new demo for the game to E3, introducing a new Battle Mode for the Batmobile that transforms it into a bad-ass roving tank that can eliminate anything in its way. We also got to see more of the vicious Arkham Knight, the Dark Knight’s deadliest adversary to date. Plus, Rocksteady Games added some great new gameplay elements, including the new Fear Takedown system, where you can take down three guys at lightning speed, before they even knew what happened. Oh, and we mentioned Kevin Conroy has returned to voice the Bat, yes? Brilliant.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity (Ubisoft)
We knew that Assassin’s Creed would be making a return at this year’s E3, but we didn’t imagine it would be as awesome as this. Unity takes place during the bloody French Revolution, and calls upon your silent hero to turn the tide in the favor of the peasants. For the first time, however, you won’t do it alone, as up to three players can join you in seamless co-op. For good measure, you also have some additional agility that lets you jump down the side of a building in mere seconds, and, for good measure, smash some poor fool’s head in the process. The combat looks nice, too, especially the ending executions. This one may not have open-sea sailing, but it definitely has enough blood-spilling to go around.