E3 was a magical week full of games and wonder. After having the weekend to mull everything over, I’m back at you with my personal picks for E3 best in show just like I promised. Let’s get cracking!
Ubisoft did that thing again. Last year, they introduced us to the world of Watch_Dogs. Here we are a year later and that’s one of the holiday season’s highly anticipated games. That same year later and Ubisoft shows us The Division. The game has been classified as a third person RPG with shooting elements by the developers, but I like to classify it as an “Open World Third Person RPG Shooter,” which happen to be the coolest combination of words to use when describing a game. The story concept is great, the persistent world is great, the interface is great, the graphics are great, and I can’t wait to play this absolutely stunning game.
Of course this game had to make the list SOMEWHERE, but despite the fact that I’m biased in regards to Kingdom Hearts…it honestly was the biggest surprise I saw at E3. Sure, we got Mirror’s Edge 2 and Battlefront III, but those were games that had hints dropped about them in the run up to the event, even if they were slightly unbelievable. Versus XIII (now Final Fantasy XV) was also a nice shock, but it was a game that was supposedly being developed. We weren’t supposed to hear anything definitive on KHIII until XV was released. For them to throw Kingdom Hearts on the tail end of the Final Fantasy XV announcement/re-branding was surprising and truly heartwarming.
Despite the fact that it was announced last year, Watch_Dogs had a strong showing at this year’s E3 as well. With every little ounce of information released about this game, it’s proving more and more that it’s going to be THE game to be playing this holiday season. Ubisoft had a hit on their hands when they announced The Division, but Watch_Dogs has been in their arsenal the entire time. Have no doubts that it’s a heavy hitter.
Not only does Metal Gear Solid V look absolutely amazing visually, but it’s the one sequel that I saw that took the biggest chance with its formula the entire event. The game is going open world with realistic weather and passage of time. An open world doesn’t sound like what I imagine from a Metal Gear game at all. I will say, the stealth in this looks very good. You have to react with almost lightning fast reflexes on occasion. Reflexes worthy of the legendary Snake. They’ve even changed the tagline from “Tactical Espionage Action” to “Tactical Espionage Operations,” perhaps accentuating the steath aspect even more. The story sounds pretty good and the elements it explores, such as the ideas of illegal torture and child soldiers (mind you in a much…deeper and visual way than the previous games) are intriguing and not for the faint of heart. And, of course, there has to be some kind of strange mystery, this time manifesting itself in a boy who is rapidly healing while Snake and some other men extract some kind of package from his abdomen. All in all, a great game. Now let’s just hope Kojima is pulling a fast one with this whole Kiefer Sutherland thing.
I wasn’t going to do genre categories, but I feel like this is the one I should do…y’know…given there were about a billion of them shown. My choice for winner has to be The Crew for the sheer scope of what they’ve done with the game. The large world, the way you interact with friends, the crazy customization options, and all the different types of driving you can do make this the must have racing game of E3.
But now that I’m doing genre categories…sure. Let me toss four more at you.
I chose Second Son for this for a few simple reasons. The first being the gameplay, which looks like it’s improved so much on the normal inFamous style. It was always fun in the first place, but the new powers that Delsin has add a new sense of fun and freshness to it. Delsin himself seems like a very interesting character as opposed to the often cardboard Cole. The story and background also look great. On a superficial level, the graphics look absolutely stunning. It’s really hard to NOT pick this one.
Destiny’s showing at the Sony conference did something to me that doesn’t often happen. It took me from a mild feeling of “this is interesting, I guess” to “I need this in my life!” Destiny is truly a fantastic shooter. I love the loot drop system. I love the customization options. I love the sandbox world. I love the public events that show up every so often. Destiny is really going to be the FPS to beat this season.
I don’t feel like I should have to explain this one. It’s prettier Skyrim except multiplayer…why is that even a question?
Final Fantasy XV (previously Versus XIII) looks like a whole lot of fun, despite being the most major departure from the original formula yet (in the main series, at least…not counting XI and XIV). Hey. Maybe that’s just what the series needs. There’s a lot more action RPG in it than is traditional, but Noctis’ powers look incredibly interesting, and the verticality that some of the fights can take look fantastic. Even further, the story sounded great way back when it was still Versus XIII. I have faith that it hasn’t changed. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.
Transistor, from Supergiant Games (creators of Bastion), looks really cool. You play as a singer named Red, who controls a sword called Transistor…a sword that had tried to kill her minutes before she held it. Once she obtains the sword, an enemy called The Process tries to end her and take the sword. The game looks very interesting and offers a blend of action and turn based strategy. When Red’s action bar is full, she can freeze time and execute moves in super speed after planning them out. It looks really fun, and I can’t wait to play Supergiant’s follow up to Bastion. Mind you, this may have won the category, but E3 showcased a lot of great indy games. I imagine that this generation, they’ll get a lot more of the exposure they deserve.
And now for some awards that are…a little bit different.
Octodad: Deadliest Catch is the sequel to a student project. The first game was DePaul University’s entry into the 2011 Independent Game Festival’s student showcase. In this game, you play as Octodad. He’s an octopus trying to disguise himself as a human. He has a family and everything. This game is so bizarre. It’s an exercise in what happens when you take browser game QWOP and put it in a 3D plane…with an octopus as your main character. This isn’t to say it doesn’t look funny and entertaining. It’s just…weird.
Whether or not you approve of Sony and the PlayStation brand, it’s hard NOT to approve of Shuhei Yoshida, who’s passion and charm make him one of the best higher ups to watch on stage. The man has an infectious smile and…who are we kidding. Have you heard him speak? Only Shigeru Miyamoto himself could fight Yoshida’s adorableness, but with Nintendo absent from the keynote stage, it was Yoshida’s time to shine.
Last generation, we were inundated with floods of zombie related gaming media. This generation, despite still getting a few zombie games, we have to crown a new king for games to flood us with. A few runners up include mechs, massive open worlds, and racing games, but it’s hard to skip social connectivity as the key point for most developers this generation. That’s not a bad thing, and it probably won’t get tiring like zombies did, but it was in virtually everything this E3. Racing games, shooting games, single player games that turn into multiplayer games…it’s around every corner. Just goes to show, no matter which console you go with…you better have some friends around.
On the last award with “Social connectivity,” I could almost make the phrase “we’re blurring the line between single player and multiplayer” the winner of this. I won’t though, because I’ll do you one better. The winner of this category is “second screen experience” because everyone is pushing it. The PS4 is pushing it with the Vita. The One is pushing a lot of Smart Glass stuff. The WiiU…well…clearly. So many games offer connectivity with tablets. Everyone is going crazy with the second screen experience. It’s so weird, though it’s all mostly pretty awesome. Also, I suppose this is more of a buzzphrase, but who’s judging, right?
Who cares about my feelings or your feelings towards the console. The true fact is that nothing I heard the entire week got as many cheers as Andrew House announcing the price of the PlayStation 4. Their used and always online policy got significant cheers, but the simple fact that Sony was undercutting the Xbox One by $100 was astounding and almost unbelievable. How were they supposed to make money if they were selling it that low (in a world where $399 is low…what’s happening…)? Gamers didn’t care. It was just a welcome sight to see.
LeBron James. He’s a love him or hate him celebrity. He’s on the cover of NBA 2K14, which prompted 2K to say “let’s have LeBron talk to his digital self and pretend like it’s a surprise he’s talking to his digital self as if he didn’t record the dialog.” It was a bizarre way to promote the game, which was strictly through graphics that are good, but not really good enough given the crazy advancements other games THIS generation have made. All in all…LeBron James. The end.
I was with a group of friends watching the EA press conference right before we recorded this episode of TOPS. While watching the sports game section, we noticed that they all had some kind of technological buzz word. NBA had BounceTek. Madden had True Step. Fifa did not seem to have one, but leave it to a friend in my group to shout “so what is this one going to be? Accu-Balls or something?” We proceeded to guffaw for many moons. I know nobody cares…but I do, and that’s really the most important thing. (I would later come to find out that they had one called Pure Shot, but Accu-Balls is much funnier.)
So ends GeekTi.me’s small look at E3. It’s been such a great week full of fantastic games. I can’t wait for the coming months, but my wallet sure can.