Best of E3 2014 – Our Picks

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chip Tamplin – Co-owner, Editor:

Having had the good fortunate of attending E3 this year, and getting to play many games months before their release, it was a very daunting task to pick my favorite games. Like Chris’ list, I had some minor criteria that games had to fall in to in order to make my list. First, I chose to negate any remastered games, so games like Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us Remastered were disqualified, despite how excited I am for both. Secondly, I won’t be including any games that didn’t actually show off some gameplay at E3, so if the game featured nothing more than a CGI trailer or random concept art, it won’t be appearing below (sorry Mass Effect 4, Mirror’s Edge 2, Uncharted 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider). Despite being able to narrow my list below ten, I had an impossible time trying to narrow it down to five like I’d originally planned. With that said, please enjoy my list as well as Chris and Conner’s and hopefully discover some games you’re excited for too!

The Division – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC:

As soon as I saw it unveiled at E3 2013, I knew The Division was going to be my most anticipated game, regardless of anything else that was announced. Now, a year later, there’s still nothing coming close to my anticipation for The Division. With a fun mix of RPG and shooter attributes, The Division encompasses everything that’s great about Tom Clancy games: tense, methodical and with heavy emphasis on teamwork.

For those who are unfamiliar with The Division, the game is set in New York City after a deadly pandemic sweeps through the city. A day into the outbreak, basic services fail and the city is thrown into utter chaos. Because of this, The Division – a covert group of self-supported sleeper agents – is activated. The agents in The Division are allowed to work independently and outside the chain of command.

I had the opportunity to see some extended gameplay courtesy of Ubisoft and even though it was only a snippet, it only made me more excited for the game. It was announced right before E3 that The Division had been delayed into 2015, but here’s to hoping the game will still see a retail release window in quarter one.

 

Halo: Master Chief Collection – Xbox One:

My favorite gaming memories of all time took place on the original Xbox. I’ll never forgot bringing my Xbox over to my friends houses in high school and playing hours of Halo: Combat Evolved via LAN parties on the weekend. There was no Xbox Live at the time, but it didn’t matter. Then we moved on to Halo 2, which I never got to play via Xbox Live, but was amazing to play with friends locally. Halo has been the essence of the Xbox since it launched and Microsoft has no intentions of letting that stop now.

With the Master Chief Collection, you’ll get all four Halo games that feature Master Chief (Halo 1-4, excluding Reach and ODST) in beautiful 1080p running at 60 frames-per-second. Every game will play exactly like it did, but wit the added bonus of better graphics. All four games will ship on one disc and will feature every multiplayer map that ship with each game, equating to around one hundred and ten maps. From the start, everything will be unlocked. You’ll be able to queue up maps to play across each game, seamlessly transitioning between each one. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to play Halo: Combat Evolved’s multiplayer online via Xbox Live. The game will also feature dedicated servers and, for those of you who are achievement whores like myself, the game will ship with 4,000 GS.

If you buy the game, you’ll also be treated to the Halo original series known as Halo: Nightfall. The live action, digital series has been created in collaboration between executive producer Ridley Scott and Director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan. The series introduces a pivotal new character that leads up to Halo 5: Guardians. We speculate it’s the other Spartan-looking character from the Guardians trailer, but who knows.

The Halo: Master Chief collection will launch on November 11th exclusively for the Xbox One. The Halo 5 beta will also launch this fall, which you’re guaranteed access to if you purchase the Master Chief collection.

Until now, the best box set value in gaming was almost unanimously The Orange Box. Now, with the official reveal of the Master Chief Collection, there may be a new #1 in town.

 

Little Big Planet 3 – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3:

Little Big Planet 2 was easily one of the best games that came out on PlayStation 3. It was beautiful, charming and amazingly fun and challenging for kids and grown ups alike. While we all knew a new edition of Little Big Planet would come out at some point, the reveal of 3 took most of us by surprise.

The first thing you’ll notice with the new iteration is its depth and added gameplay elements. On top of the series’ main character Sack Boy, you’re introduced to three new characters – Oddsock, who can wall jump and runs faster than Sack Boy, and Toggle, who’s much stronger than the other two and can also shrink down to fit through tall areas. Swoop, the last character, can fly.

We’ve only gotten a slight teaser of what to expect, but the game looks amazing so far and the four play co-op looks even better. This is easily one of my most anticipated games from Sony’s line up. Little Big Planet 3 will launch in November on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.

 

Yoshi’s Woolly World – Wii U:

This game was definitely one of the highlights of E3 for me. While it’s not a direct sequel to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, there’s no denying that it was heavily influenced by it. With beautiful coloring and graphics, it’s hard to feel bad about failing when everything is just so damned adorable.

I had the opportunity to play it for about twenty minutes and it worked perfectly. The controls were a bit challenging to get used to, especially with learning all of the things you’re able to do with Yoshi and the yarn, but it’s very fun and satisfying once you get the hang of it.

Unlike Mario games, where you’re tasked with completing difficult missions in a pre-determined amount of time, Yoshi games are set around exploring each level in as much time as you want. You’re able to freely explore and find all the collectables without all the blood pressure inducing panic you can experience in Mario games. This is especially fun when playing with a friend. As I played through the demo with my friend Garrett, it was a lot of fun to work cooperatively because if you didn’t one of you would surely die. This was definitely one of my favorite games from E3 2014.

 

CounterSpy – PlayStation 4:

I’d somehow missed the announcement of the game at E3 2013, but thankfully stumbled across a demo of the game on this year’s showroom floor. The name alone intrigued me, but after watching someone play it, I had to try it.

My favorite arcade game from the last generation of consoles was Shadow Complex, an amazing side scrolling shooter made by Epic Games (the developers behind the Gears of War franchise) and Chair Entertainment. Coupling my love of Shadow Complex along with my love of stealth and espionage thrillers was a match made in heaven. Due to the side scrolling nature, gameplay is rather simplistic (at least based off our time with the demo level), but a ton of fun. While I only got a small taste of the game, it’s definitely going to be a must-have when it comes out this summer on PS4.

 

INSIDE – Xbox One (timed exclusive), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC:

One of the best indie games to be released on the last generation of consoles was 2010’s Limbo; a gorgeous, albeit dark, side scrolling puzzle/platform game. Not much is known about the game yet, but the teaser trailer was certainly enough to get me amped for this game. Like its predecessor Limbo, INSIDE will be a timed exclusive on Microsoft platforms, eventually making its way over to PlayStation.

 

Splatoon – Wii U:

Certainly one of my more unexpected games announced at E3 was Nintendo’s exclusive colorful shooter Splatoon. The game features 4v4 online multiplayer battles. This isn’t the type of shooter we’re used to playing. Each player inhabits a squid-kid hybrid (of sorts) armed with a gun that shoots brightly colored ink in thick globs. The object was to cover the battlefield — a field with different levels of terrain and a team base at each end — with more ink than the opposing team. It’s simplistic, but a lot of fun. To add another dynamic level to the gameplay, you’re able to switch between the kid and the squid, giving you more abilities to win the match. For example, you’re only able to shoot ink as a kid (oddly enough), but in your squid form, you’re able to swim really fast through the ink to traverse the map faster as well as going through objects that the kid wouldn’t be able to. Likewise, if you try and walk through enemy ink, your movement speed will be reduced dramatically.

Like most shooters, you’re also able to talk out players on the other to slow their progress down. There are many ways to play Splatoon and I can’t wait to try them all when it releases on the Wii U sometime in 2015. This is far and away one of the most intriguing games from E3.

 

Sunset Overdrive – Xbox One:

As I said during Sony’s press conference, I couldn’t believe that long-time Sony studio Insomniac Games was releasing an Xbox exclusive. Sunset Overdrive, the brainchild of the studio that made Ratchet and Clank, looks absolutely amazing. With beautiful bright colors, tons of insane weapons, and parkour style of level traversing, Sunset Overdrive is set up to be one of the most insane games of the year.

We waited in line for about an hour to play the game and it was definitely worth the wait. Teamed up with seven other people, we were made to survive waves of infected as we protect our land. With an arsenal of insane weapons, we began creating havoc in Sunset City. Traversing the environment in the way you see the creators do it in the trailer definitely takes some getting used to, but with an auto-aim reticule, you’re able to get used to it pretty quick. We’ve still got a few months to wait until Sunset Overdrive launches on October 28th, but it’s definitely one of my most anticipated games of the year.

 

Honorable mentions:

Cuphead – Xbox One, PC:

While the gameplay snippet we’ve seen epitomizes “teaser”, the old cartoon art style immediately left me wanting more. We’re not too sure on a release date yet, but for now, Cuphead will be coming out for the Xbox One and PC. Studio MDHR have said they’ll look to possibly expand to other platforms upon its release.

No Man’s Sky – PlayStation 4 (timed exclusive), Xbox One, PC:

Chris will go more in depth into No Man’s Sky below, and that’s one of the reasons I moved them from my top list to my honorable mentions. No Man’s Sky is one of the most ambitious and captivating games in recent memory.

 

Chris Dahlberg – Owner, Editor:

While Chip was at E3 playing game demos, I was in front of my desk top wading through every trailer and bit of news that showed up online during the show to make sure we posted something about. Hopefully I’ll be able to go next year and actually have some hands-on with early demos and get to talk with some of the development teams, as I imagine that might have changed my picks this year if that had been the case. Narrowing down these picks wasn’t easy, as in my attempt to provide comprehensive news coverage I think I watched almost every trailer and live demo from E3. My main rule for deciding was whether what I saw actually showed gameplay and if it grabbed out and made me want to play it immediately. Over the years the E3 press conferences have tended to showcase a lot more CG teaser trailers than anything showing what the games will play like in their final form, so even though I was really excited for the announcement of new entries in the Phantom Dust, Crackdown, and Tomb Raider series (to name a few) I’ll be waiting to see more. Below are the games I truly consider to be standouts from this year’s expo. They’re not in any particular order.

No Man’s Sky – PlayStation 4, PC:

Joe Danger developer Hello Games surprised me with this open world sci-fi game at the VGX Awards late last year. I wanted it then, and I want it even more now. Sony showed a new trailer for No Man’s Sky at their press conference and it was one of the most stunning videos that I saw during all of E3. Each of the procedurally generated planets has its own ecosystem and different creatures, and this information can be shared online with other players. The trailer showed exploration on-foot and then a seamless transition into a spaceship, where the player than took off into space without any loading screens. I love the look of the game and it looks like the type of experience that will let me explore and experiment to my heart’s content.

65daysofstatic contributed a song to the trailer and it was a perfect fit, and during an interview with Gamestop, Hello Games said that the band might end up contributing more over the course of development. No Man’s Sky had me interested before, but its E3 appearance has me wanting to play it right now. Space games have seen a resurgence in recent years and there will be prominent PC entries in the form of Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen, but the interesting graphical style of this game and the way it looks like it’ll be easy to pick up and play makes it my most anticipated sci-fi title.

 

Yoshi’s Woolly World – Wii U:

The Wii U has had a few titles that have interested me so far, but nothing that would make me run out and buy the console right now. Nintendo’s E3 showing changed that, as they had some great titles on display and two Wii U titles made my list. The first is Yoshi’s Woolly World, which looks to take the foundation that Kirby’s Epic Yarn built on the Wii and takes it even further. This is definitely a Yoshi game first and foremost, as the trailer shows the trademark series gameplay that has him sucking up enemies and turning them into eggs that can then be used as weapons.

Another feature that was emphasized in the trailer was co-op gameplay, where two players can tackle the stages together and it’s also possible to suck up your co-op buddy to use as a weapon (something I have a feeling I’ll be doing quite a bit). The gameplay looks like the familiar Yoshi platformer with a few twists, but what grabbed me the most was the overall look of the game. Nintendo has done an incredible job of bringing this to life, as the textures are much closer to real yarn when compared to the Kirby game and the levels look just as interesting. Wii U hasn’t had a reputation for graphically stunning games, but I think Yoshi’s Woolly World qualifies with its art direction and I’m looking forward to taking it all in when it’s available next year.

 

Splatoon – Wii U:

If you had told me prior to E3 that one of the best looking games Nintendo would show at E3 was a team based third-person shooter, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But that’s actually what happened, and Splatoon may have been one of the most surprising announcements of the show for me. In typical Nintendo fashion, their shooter isn’t the norm for the genre. Matches are four on four and last three minutes in length, with players controlling inklings that can change between human and squid form. To put it simply, it’s like a giant paintball match where you try and hit the opposing team members with concentrated bursts of ink and change the levels to different colors in the process.

It looks like a lot of fun based on the trailer, and it kind of reminds me of De Blob mixed with a third-person shooter. The Wii U Gamepad will be used for specific features, and there are some other gameplay elements showcased in the trailer that give Splatoon a genuinely different feel from the multiplayer shooters I’m used to playing. It looks really fun and downright hectic, which is definitely a good thing. My one concern is how the team aspect will play out, as there are plenty of games out there that are meant to be team shooters but the player base doesn’t let it work out that way. Splatoon will be out next year, and it’s on my radar!

 

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – 3DS:

Persona Q is going to be the game that convinces me to finally buy a 3DS. Sure, the E3 trailer didn’t necessarily show that much footage we didn’t already know about and there’s quite a bit of gameplay out there since the title launched in Japan recently, but Atlus still made the most of their expo showing with a new trailer and limited edition announcement. If you haven’t been keeping up with all of the series announcements, this title is a spinoff that brings the cast of Persona 3 and 4 together for a brand new storyline.

Just like Persona 3 and 4, Q has a very stylish look and I like the chibi character models the developers went for as it gives the spinoff a feel of its own. It’s supposed to be closer to an Etrian Oddysey style dungeon crawler than either of the Persona titles the characters come from, but that still appeals to me and I’m ready to see just how much fan service is crammed into the game. The limited edition comes with a 3DS XL case, soundtrack, art booklet, and tarot cards, and it’s clear this is one of Atlus’ main priorities for 2014. I’m a Persona fanatic and the more I see of Q the more hyped I become, making it an easy pick for one of my stand outs of E3.

 

Kingdom Under Fire II – PlayStation 4, PC:

The Kingdom Under Fire series has been fairly underrated in my opinion, as each of its entries has attempted to merge elements of hack and slash action with real time strategy and other tactical options. After two games on the original Xbox and Circle of Doom on the Xbox 360, developers Blueside and Phantogram have been hard at work on this sequel. Development started as far back as 2008 on the PC, and I have to admit that I’ve forgotten it was in the works over the years as it would disappear from the spotlight for lengthy periods of time.

Kingdom Under Fire II resurfaced in a big way at Sony’s E3 press conference, and they released a five minute trailer made up of edited in-game footage. It looks absolutely incredible, and seems to fulfill the potential of the large-scale battles and sheer chaos that the developers hinted at with their earlier titles. This time around there are also MMO elements being added into the hack and slash RPG and RTS base, as there is a single player campaign as well as online multiplayer that is said to feature a persistent, changing world. The best news? Unlike the previous Kingdom Under Fire games which were normal retail titles, II will be a free to play release on PC and PS4. It should be out soon in Asian countries on PC, with a Western release date still TBA. I was surprised to see this one resurface and come back in spectacular fashion, and look forward to seeing how the fusion of Dynasty Warriors style action and RTS/MMO features works this time around.

 

Project CARS – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U):

I tend to be pretty bad at racing games, but I still enjoy playing them. There were quite a few of them showcased at this year’s E3, but the one that stood out to me the most was Project CARS which Sony highlighted during their press conference. Developer Slightly Mad has raised funds from the community and has built the game with feedback from players and professional drivers. They’re placing an emphasis on realistic physics and allowing players to drive a wide range of vehicles.

The trailer showed off GT, Open Wheel, go-kart, and what looked like NASCAR racing so rather than simply going for an accurate simulation of one type of motorsport the development team is going to allow you to try all kinds of different things. It mentions that you can focus on one type and try and dominate the competition in that type of racing, or try and compete in all of them. But I also have to mention just how good the game looks, as it has clearly come a long way in the couple of years Slightly Mad has been working on it. In particular, the cockpit view looks stunning and I think that Project CARS might be one of the first racing sims in years that actually convinces me to try and learn the ins and outs. It’s set to come out this November, and even with competition from Forza Motorsport 2 and Driveclub I suspect this might be the one I’ll check out first.

 

Not a Hero – PlayStation 4, Vita, PC:

Devolver Digital announced a major partnership with Sony at E3, with quite a few of their titles set to release on PS4 and Vita as well as PC. The publisher showed off some very cool looking indie titles, including one of my most anticipated 2014 titles, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. But out of Devolver’s lineup, the one that stood out the most to be during E3 was Not a Hero. The game is a 2D side-scrolling cover shooter from Roll7. It looks completely over the top in the best way possible, as the way you take cover is to move into the background at certain locations before popping back out to blast away enemies. There’s an emphasis on quick shifts out of cover and fast movement that has you flying across the screen like an action movie hero.

The demo footage that Gamespot showed had optional mission objectives listed, so it looks like there will be a lot of challenges beyond simply killing everyone and finishing the level. Roll7 has gone for a pixel art style that works well with the hectic action, and even though indie games seem to be a dumping ground for pixel art of all quality levels there’s something about the way it is used in Not a Hero that stood out for me. It won’t be out until 2015 for PS4 and Vita, but if you’re a PC gamer like me you’ll be able to check the game out before the end of the year.

 

White Night – Xbox One, PC:

I have no idea where this game came from, but I want to play it right now. White Night is a third person adventure title with puzzle and survival horror elements that has a striking black and white visual style and is set in the U.S. circa the 1930s. Developer OSome Studios cites the original Alone in the Dark as an inspiration and also says they’re trying to channel Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch.If they can come anywhere close to this combination this could be one of the most interesting titles I’ve come across all year, and based on the E3 trailer it’s looking quite promising.

The trailer shows the main character exploring the environment, and with the black and white graphical style there’s an eerie sense of what may be lurking in the shadows as the darker areas are completely black. Gameplay wise it looked closer to your standard survival horror/adventure where you investigate different areas, though it did look like there was a driving section. I’ve already watched the trailer about ten times since it first appeared as part of Microsoft’s indie spotlight, and can’t wait to experience everything White Night has to offer for myself.

 

Conner Wright – Editor:

The Crew – Xbox One, PlayStation 4:

This is the game I’m most excited for. Ever since I first played Flight Simulator, I liked the idea of exploring the United States in HD by car. I used to play with Google Earth for at least forty-five minutes a day. The game has arrived. Despite being pushed back multiple times by Ubisoft, the (hopefully) final release date is set for November. In this game, you get to drive with your crew and perform takedowns or compete in races. Your playground? The United States of America. The Crew launches (as of now) on November 11, 2014.

 

Sunset Overdrive – Xbox One:

Chaos. That’s the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Xbox exclusive Sunset Overdrive. An evil energy drink company has taken over, and you get to use your custom character to fight off the villains (who overdosed on this energy drink and turned in to monsters). There are your typical hordes, but also special monsters. Your arsenal includes but is not limited to bowling ball launchers, roman candle guns, and exploding teddy bears. I simply can not wait to explore Sunset City and just go bananas. Not to mention that extremely fun respawn system. Sunset Overdrive launches on Xbox One on October 28th, 2014.

 

Assassin’s Creed: Unity – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC:

October 28th is going to be a fun day for me. As a fan of Assassin’s Creed, I have been let down greatly by the previous two releases, AC3 and AC4: Black Flag. However, Unity shows a lot of promise. It is set in France during the Reign of Terror and it looks to be headed towards the right direction: more like Brotherhood, Revelations, and AC2. Not to mention, the 4 player co-op looks like great fun and I can’t wait to get a taste. I hope my expectations aren’t too high.

 

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby – Nintendo 3DS:

Ah, Pokemon. Just the title of the game brings back countless childhood memories. The first Pokemon game I ever defeated was Pokemon Sapphire, so when I heard the re-make was coming, my excitement went through the roof. I don’t even have a 3DS (will be buying soon), but getting one just became worth it when this got announced. People have been screaming for a Hoenn Region remake for a while now, and here it is. Both games have exclusives as well. For example, if you want mega-evolved Sableye, you’ll have to get your hands on Sapphire. Which one will I be getting? Sapphire, no doubt. The games launch on November 21st, 2014.

 

NHL 15 – Xbox One, PlayStation 4:

I wrestled with which game I anticipate 5th most for a while. I ended up going with NHL because, as a player of sports games, I wanted one on here. I just got in to hockey this past year, the only hockey game I own is a cheap one for 360 (NHL 08 to be exact) and I really anticipate that 7 year difference in my games. The game looks absolutely gorgeous and, brace for it, it looks like EA did a great job with this one. My favorite sport is football but come on let’s be real, Madden has been pretty subpar (or worse) the past few years and honestly, Madden 15 doesn’t look like much of an improvement to me. The question remains for NHL, however, who will grace the cover?

Thank you guys so much for reading our picks of our favorite games at E3 2014. This is only the tip of the iceberg for our coverage. There were so many more games revealed and shown off this year so check out the following links for many more games to check out!

Microsoft press conference

Sony press conference

Nintendo press conference

Ubisoft press conference

Electronic Arts press conference

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