E3 2014 – The 25 best games, Ranked, All on One Page
We cut through all the crap. No page breaks. No winners and losers. No snarky cynicism. Just all the cool stuff from E3 that you need to see, all on one page. Ranked from most to least exciting. Yeah, we’re good to you.
I watched every minute of every press conference and I cut out anything dull, predictable or disappointing. In our decision making process about what was most exciting at E3, we preferred games with new ideas, games that wowed the audience and trailers that showed gameplay. So here it is:
1. Witcher 3
Everyone’s already excited about this game, but the great thing about this demo is that it’s pure gameplay. Instead of IMAGINING how fun it will be to play, we got to SEE how fun it will be to play.
2. No Mans Sky
This one is very early, so it’s easy to get carried away, but the musical score and visuals are just so amazing that it’s hard not to get very excited. If the final game lives up to just 10% of the promise of this trailer, we will be in for something very special indeed. A great idea for a brand new game, this was one of the highlights of E3. No Mans Sky is the kind of game I imagined would exist in the future when I was ten.
3. Devolver Digital Showcase
A great developer, and this list includes Hotline Miami 2, so an instant highlight for me. I guarantee some of these games will be amazing. Even considering their small size and indie nature, few publishers will have a stable of games this good.
4. Ori and the Blind Forrest
It seems like they give away a lot of story in this trailer, but perhaps it’s all set up for the beginning of the game. While we don’t know the plot for Ori, we do know that it looks absolutely gorgeous and is a brand new title from Moon Studios.
From the makers of Limbo, this looks suitably grim and oppressive. I particularly like the weird walk that the adults do in this clip, suggesting some kind of police state or enforced conformity of the populace. Interesting!
A strong art style can really make a big impression at E3, and by taking influence from classic animation Cuphead shows us something that’s both familiar to us all, yet completely new in games aesthetics.
7. Sunset Overdrive
Nice to see some irreverent, gentle fun poking at the overly serious military shooters.
8. Far Cry 4
A nice trailer tonally with a suitably insane antagonist who takes blood soaked selfies. Let’s hope they build upon the great work they did with Far Cry 3 and nail the landing with the story this time. Also, shooting from cars and grappling hooks seem like a cool addition to what was already pretty solid gameplay in the last game. (Side note: Ubisoft were very motherfucking sweary. “We’re Ubisoft you cunts!”)
One of the only interesting and insightful talks I heard from any developer at E3 was Aonuma’s outline of the design of puzzles that the player can come to from different directions in an open world. This isn’t because other developers aren’t super-smart, it’s because Nintendo allowed the time needed for a smart game designer to talk to the audience in a mature way. And the new Zelda reimagined in an open world is looking great.
10. The Order 1886
This trailer was strong because The Order had looked a bit generic and dull in previous footage. Here, the visuals looked great and it had nice, smooth transitions between cut scenes and gameplay. An exciting new game that’s not a sequel!
11. The Division
Capitalizing on its show stealing appearance last year, The Division still looks strong. Of particular interest are the AR elements to the game, whether it’s the 3D map the player can pull up or the holographic images of peoples actions in the past. Very cool.
I must admit I almost left this off the list because of the terrible faux voice comms between the “players”. Have the developers ever actually heard humans talk? For the same reason we left Rainbow Six off this list because it was all too contrived and fake.
12. Halo the Master Chief Collection
A big theme of the Microsoft conference was their willingness to listen and learn to there customers. Just as they focused on “games” throughout the conference (as opposed to TV TV TV TV!!), they took on board previous criticism of the Halo anniversary edition for this new collection. With classic multiplayer gameplay included, this is a collection that seems to have taken the communities opinions seriously. And with 4000G points available, I am a dirty, flithy achievement whore and this is my price.
13. The Crew
If there’s one things that puts me off driving games, it’s laps. I hate laps. I hate doing the same thing again. Maybe that’s why The Crew appeals to me, with it’s huge game world. I love the idea of just driving without ever repeating my journey, and this time lapse, where the course goes from sandy desert to snowy mountain peaks, is really cool.
14. Magicka 2
Paradox are just a great company with a sense of humour, so I was glad to see this trailer from them at the Sony conference.
The really clever thing about Splatoon is how you use the ink you make to mark your territory and control the map. The ink effects are really cool too.
16. Grim Fandango
This got one of the biggest cheers from E3. Not really a trailer, but we have to include it.
17. Let it Die
With names like Grasshoper and Suda 51 attached, this is one to watch. I like the mix of FMV and gameplay in this trailer.
I mainly include this because of the artistic and musical talent working on the team.
19. Mortal Kombat X
A great, brutal trailer that included new characters and some brutal action. After the underwhelming cinematic trailer last week, this gameplay trailer was much better.
20. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
This leaked before the event, but it stands out as one of the most cinematicaly impressive trailers at the show. With Kojima behind the game, that was always going to be the case. Let’s hope that after the slight disappointment of Ground Zeroes, this is a fuller MGS experience.
21. Batman: The Arkham Knight
This looked pretty great. Perhaps the Arkham games are guilty of playing it too safe, but the visuals and environment looked great in this video. The Batmboile also seemed cool, although the “tank” section was a bit disappointing.
22. Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus
It’s Capcom’s 31th anniversary. Thirty firth. Capcom was at first accused of making Dead Rising 3 too serious, and while the actual game was still zany fun, this trailer shows how far they are willing to go with the insanity and over-the-top parody. Boom shaka-like-y.
23. Yoshi’s Wooly World
Nintendo’s conference started at a glacial pace, with 18 minutes devoted to Smash Brothers and their Skylanders… thingy. Once they began talking about new games though, they started strong with this: a beautiful looking new game with the familiar knitted woolen style that fans loved in the Kirby series. Now Yoshi has the knitted treatment and it looks cuddly and lovely.
24. Mario Maker
A new Nintendo series! Well kind of. Ok, not really. But a new style of game. So that’s cool, and in games where you can make your own levels everyone just makes 1-1 anyway. With dicks.
25. Shape Up
It’s not all shooting and stabbing. The way that Shape Up recorded your past performance and made you face off against yourself (with a kind of Scott Pilgrim style to the presentation) really intrigued me. It’s great to see a fitness game with effort and originality put into the presentation, and as an increasingly tubby writer, this could be what I need to get my ass in gear. And E3 isn’t the same without awkward displays on manliness like press up competitions.
So that was E3! I think it was pretty great this year. Sure, there’s too many sequels and too many shooters (and too little diversity in character design Ubisoft!), but the sheer breadth and variety of games on show means that there was something to excite everyone. Put it this way, if you don’t see something here that get’s you pumped for the year ahead, maybe you just don’t like games!
Anyway, this was lots of fun to write. Going through all the conferences I was glad to see how many new games series we have coming in the next year.
Why not tell me below, what did I miss? Why am I wrong. What excites YOU?