You guys, it’s been so much E3. But I assume you’re kind of done with it now, right? The press conferences have been pressed, the trailers have been trailered, the promises have been promised, it’s all said and done. So sitting in the smoldering aftermath of E3, otherwise known as “The Slow News Week”, I ask you: What have we learned?
Well, we have a pretty clear picture of what is supposed to come out in 2014. In fact, a rather different picture than the list I put together at the beginning of the year. Ah, my youthful naivete. So now that E3 has come to pass, there are actually some pretty awesome games coming this fall. Here’s is my cream of the crop.
10. Super Smash Bros
Nintendo obviously has their safe list of titles they intend to release with every console generation. Marios of the Land and Kart? Check. Donkey Kong? Check. Pikmin? Check. Zelda? Coming. Super Smash Bros fits right into this list, giving the Nintendo faithful another title they can look forward to on the franchise check-list. While we all know what to expect from Super Smash Bros, we also can count it to continue the gameplay tradition which has served the series so well in past generations.
9. The Evil Within
I was unimpressed with The Evil Within during my time with the game at PAX East, but getting to go hands-on with it at E3 turned me into a believer. Sure, we all knew The Evil Within could be gross – after all this is the game with cover-art of a brain wrapped in barbed wire – but the jury was still out if the game could be scary. Getting to spend some time in a dark room with headphones on assured me that it absolutely could. Welcome back to survival horror Mikami-san, I saved you a seat next to me.
8. Far Cry 4
The announcement of Far Cry 4 right before E3 perked up a lot of interested ears. Far Cry 3 took the wandering franchise and dressed it up in blockbuster development, complete with Skrillex, and brought it to an audience which devoured it. Now the series returns, attempting to be a little more culturally sensitive, with all the compound-busting, wildlife-killing, first-person-driving you could handle. With the bad-guy reveal and combat gameplay demonstrated, Far Cry 4 looks likes more of Far Cry 3, and that is perfectly okay.
7. Bayonetta 2
Alright, as of right now, Bayonetta 2 is supposed to come out this year and finally give fans of the witch and her fast-action combat the sequel they have been waiting for. Highlighting the over-the-top action and combo-heavy mayhem Platinum Games is known for, Bayonetta 2’s demo showed that this time Bayonetta will not just be fighting angels, but also battling some of the demons she had previously summoned for aid. With tight controls and insane level design, Bayonetta 2 looks to be a sure-fire sequel.
6. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
It sounds like a cash-grab, right? Like some suit at Warner Bros said, “Hey we better do something with this Lord of the Rings franchise, because…you know, money.”
While that might have been the initial impression Shadow of Mordor left on people, the reactions from time spent hands-on with the game has been very positive. It was already nice to see Warner finally break away from the movie tie-in games, which has been the meat of production since the publisher acquired the rights, and dare to do something a little braver. Sporting a Nemesis system which allows enemies to remember past encounters, Arkham-style combat, and Assassin’s Creed-style traversal, here’s hoping Shadow of Mordor delivers something special.
5. Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation has been winning the hearts-and-minds campaign of Alien fans since it was announced in the spring. After spending some time with the game, I can assure people this is a tough-as-nails affair with plenty of tension and suspense baked right into the concept. Giving the players a single enemy which can not be killed offers a gameplay loop far more interesting than the numerous survival horror ideas we’ve seen in the past. Let’s hope Creative Assembly finds a way to keep this game tense and engaging throughout.
4. Pillars of Eternity
Obsidian is a studio which has always done good work. From preserving the beloved franchises of Fallout and Knights of the Old Republic, to their most recent release, South Park: Stick of Truth, the studio has done a lot while being restrained by gross deals made behind closed doors. Having the developer take on a labor of love, funded through Kickstarter is an inspiring idea. The footage shown shows gorgeous art and an intriguing world. Pillars of Eternity looks to be a game which takes the old isometric RPG and dresses it up for a new generation. If Obsidian can deliver a game on par with their previous work, Pillars of Eternity could be an very special game.
3. Ori and the Blind Forest
While sitting in the Microsoft press conference, Ori and the Blind Forest was the most interesting trailer I saw. While on the show floor of E3, the game was one of the best I played. Now, on the other side of E3, Ori and the Blind Forest has come from nowhere to be one of my most anticipated titles of 2014. The tight and fast gameplay blends with metroid-vania inspired level design to create an experience which is breathlessly intriguing. There is some combat to Ori and the Blind Forest, but the game seems to be at its best with its platforming, blending the styles of the recent Rayman games and Dust: An Elysian Tail. Those are high quality games to be compared to, but if the rest of Ori and the Blind Forest is as good as the first part I played, it deserves such comparisons.
2. Hyper Light Drifter
When I stumbled upon Hyper Light Drifter at PAX East, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. The pixel-art painted with vivid colors and odd gameplay systems threw me at first. However, after getting some time to play around with the involved mechanics and the mile-a-minute gameplay, Hyper Light Drifter instantly sucked me in. The title harkens back to the dungeon crawlers of old, like Diablo and Legend of Zelda. Hyper Light Drifter introduces many interesting mechanics which center around its impressive well-balanced combat and is the indie game to watch in 2014.
There’s not much else to say about Bungie’s follow up to the Halo franchise. The genres of first-person shooter and MMO seemed to exist on different planes before one of the best first-person shooter studios attempted the blend. After spending some time with the Destiny alpha, it is safe to say the well-paced and intelligently-crafted experience of Halo is still alive and well at Bungie, just repurposed towards a world of moon wizards and other mystical elements. With cooperative strike missions, countless side quests, and an intriguing story, Destiny offers a lot for players to sink their teeth into this September.
These are my most anticipated games in 2014, but what are yours? C’mon internet, I know you don’t agree with everything on here? Are you more excited about Forza Horizon 2 or Evolve? Let us know your most anticipated games this side of E3 in the comments below.