Chalk up another successful year of the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The 2013 show was quite good when it came to current and next-generation games, as well as getting hands on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Now comes the hard part – picking five games that really stood out and surprised me. There were too many to count, but here are five that come to mind immediately. Time to pre-order.
Mad Max (Warner Bros. Interactive)
When we booked our appointment with Warner Bros., we already had several great games to see, including Dying Light, Batman: Arkham Origins and Lego Marvel Super Heroes. However, the company pulled the digital rug from under us with the announcement of Mad Max, the latest from Avalanche Studios, creators of the Just Cause series.
This appears to be a magnificent open-world adventure that matches the sheer brutality of the Mad Max films, ranging from taking out someone with a shotgun to ramming your way through a punk-filled compound as it blows to smithereens. The game has a cool Red Faction Guerrilla open-world vibe and it looks great for a next-gen effort. The ability to customize your Charger is a nice touch, as you can modify it for either speed or durability depending what the missions call for. Max doesn’t quite resemble the old-school Mel Gibson character, but we can deal with that.
Mad Max will definitely turn heads next year. We just hope there’s a Thunderdome level.
Dying Light (Warner Bros. Interactive)
Warner Bros. fired on all cylinders. The new Batman looks great, Lego Marvel Super Heroes should be a blast and you know how we feel about Mad Max. However, it really shook us with Dying Light, the latest from Dead Island developer Techland.
Dying Light feels like a separate zombie-killing entity from Dead Island, one that relies more on pure adrenaline and maneuverability than teamwork. You play a parkour-running survivor who finds himself stacked against the odds as he hunts down airdropped shipments in a plagued world while fending off the undead with whatever weapons he can find. The introduction of even deadlier creatures – which come out at night – is startling and really bumps up the challenge.
With beautiful next-gen graphics -- it’s coming to current gen consoles as well -- and gameplay that feels just right, Dying Light could be a huge hit for Warner Bros., possibly creating a new franchise in the process.
Activision didn’t have much at its booth. Granted, they were big titles– Diablo III for consoles, the newest entry in the Skylanders series, Swap Force and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
One big highlight – for obvious reasons – is Destiny. The Bungie-created project received its first unveiling this week with 12 minutes of multiplayer-fueled gameplay in an exciting scenario surrounding old Russia. Though the behind-closed-doors presentation wasn’t much different from what we saw at Sony’s press conference, it’s still nothing short of phenomenal. What Bungie did with its next-gen engine looks impressive, especially when it comes to lighting and of course weapon selection.
Bayonetta 2 (Nintendo)
Nintendo brought plenty of familiar franchises to E3 this year, including a new Mario adventure, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Breeze and plenty more for Wii U and 3DS. However, it was the return of a certain gun-toting witch that threw us off guard and left us wanting more.
Bayonetta 2 was playable, so we immediately jumped on a kiosk and mercilessly beat enemies into shape for about 20 minutes or so, executing skillful attacks like demonic foot stomps and overkills that included a shredding device and a hangman’s noose. Platinum Games packed the game with plenty of sexiness and flair, just like the original was known for. The graphics are fantastic and the epic battles need to be seen to be believed. Nintendo definitely has an ace in the hole with this sequel – though we won’t see it until 2014.
Titanfall (Electronic Arts)
Gamers wondered how the debut effort from Respawn Entertainment would fare. Well good news…you’re in for a multiplayer delight.
We watched 15 or so minutes of wild multiplayer action on two screens, and every bit of shoot-em-up goodness you can find in a game like this is here. The map size is perfect, the use of mechs dazzling and the creative ways you can kill enemies – ranging from flinging them from an exploding mech to shooting one’s head off– really accelerates the game to another level.
We’ll have a preview of Titanfall and everything you can expect from it soon. We can’t wait for this battle to begin next year.