For those who in the gaming world who may have missed it, this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo has recently come and gone, leaving in its wake all the shiny new toys we have to look forward to in years to come. All the next-gen consoles have fully arrived, so this was very much a year about the software that will be put on them, and oh boy, are there some juicy looking titles on the way. Below, in no particular order, follow just some of the biggest things we have to look forward to:
Shooters are becoming fun again: Sunset Overdrive and Splatoon
With an inundation of Call of Duty over the last 5 years, and with hyper realistic grimdark settings about war being hell seeming to be the standard recently, the high paced hyper extreme shooter of some years ago has fallen by the wayside somewhat. COD is all well and good, but there’s nothing quite like zipping around causing madcap havoc just because you can, as any any fan of Unreal Tournament will tell you. Sunset Overdrive for the Xbox One is developed by Insomniac, of Ratchet and Clank fame, and it looks suitably crazy, pulling out a distinctive ‘90s vibe. As for Splatoon, it’s a little title that came out of nowhere for the Wii U, and features a crazy combination of paintball duels and fights to the death that have to be seen to be believed.
And some of the classics are coming back: Doom and Star Wars: Battlefront
Although there was little (i.e. none) gameplay footage for the reboots of Doom and Battlefront, both have me excited nonetheless simply by their sheer existence. Thematically at least, the Doom reboot looks set to be the recreation of the crazy fight through Hell the original one was, so we can hopefully put the forgettable Doom 3 behind us after this. As for Battlefront, come on, we’ve been waiting for this one for years, through several developers and failed attempts. Its Battlefield, but with everything made into Star Wars. What more could you want?
Hideo Kojima will keep blowing our minds: Metal Gear Solid V
I’m fairly sure Hideo Kojima is insane at this stage, but I really don’t mind. Every trailer, including the E3 one that he released makes me more hyped for the next MGS. There are a hundred million questions I want answered, and each viewing seems to provide even more. Plus the graphics look absolutely gorgeous, the best on the market so far, and every new detail about gameplay promises that this will be the first definitive next gen title.
It’s going to be a good year for RPG fans, but get ready for lots of fanboy fighting: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Dragon Age 3: Inquisition
With Dragon Age 3 first dropping in October this year, followed by The Witcher in February 2015, fans of the Western RPG genre are going to be spoilt for choice. Both look amazing, with The Witcher building on its earlier success to leverage its higher budget successfully, providing gorgeous open worlds and a story that looks even more expansive and engaging than the last. As for Dragon Age 3, it seems to have recovered from its slight errors regarding number 2, and is set to be the true sequel to Dragon Age Origins we always deserved. With both titles nominally completing their stories, we have a lot to look forward to in terms of questions answered. And, like all things, prepare to hear lots about which one is better in any Internet discussion. As for me, I know I’m going to get both, and they’ll keep me going for a long time.
Each bit of news makes it better: Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS
We already knew it was coming, but Smash Bros is a series that is built on its character roster, and also a series built on slowly revealing information over a long period of time. At this E3, we had the reveal of customizable Nintendo Mii’s; Paulatena from the Kid Icarus Series, and most notable of all, Pac-Man. So if you’ve ever wanted to have a 4 way fight between Mario, Sonic, Mega Man and Pac-Man, finally you can. And isn’t that just a thing of wonder?
Dark Souls had a baby with Van Helsing: Bloodborne
Bloodborne is the official title of the game hinted at under the reveal name of Project Beast earlier in the year. Made by From Software, of Dark Souls fame, it looks and seems to play very similarly to that acclaimed series, but is set in a dark gothic, Transylvanian styled horror emporium. In my opinion, this was the best thing this company could do, which is transplant the fine gameplay and world building systems they developed in the Souls series, and place it into a different setting and aesthetic to keep it fresh. Rumored to be in development since 2012, and with legendary developer Hidetaka Miyazaki at the helm, this is a game that I am extremely excited about personally, and it seems set to simultaneously horrify and addict a new generation of players yet again.
No-one does open world like Ubisoft do: Assassins Creed Unity and Far Cry 4
Ubisoft may not change what they do very often, but what they do do, they seem to get better at each year. I personally have been a huge fan of both Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry for years, and these latest releases seem to be just as good or even better. AC: Unity, which interestingly drops the numbered sequel title again, is set in Revolutionary Era France, a period that seems made perfectly for AC gameplay. The big selling point seems to be co-operative play, with 4 human Assassins playing together in game at the same time to complete a mission. As for Far Cry 4, its set in the beautiful and awe inspiring Himalayas, a setting woefully underused in games so far, and seems to be just as vibrant and full of detail as Far Cry 3 was. The Far Cry series seems to go from strength to strength, improving each time, and the gameplay video here has me convinced of that. I expect hours of finding small collectables and storming forts in one way or another.
I still can’t believe we’re finally getting superhero games this good: Batman: Arkham Knight
The Batman Arkham series, since its first installment in 2009 has proven that you can actually make a game that lets you feel like Batman. And this latest installment seeks to conclude their own personal story, pitting Batman against a shadowy villain known as the Arkham Knight. With an even bigger Gotham city to explore, the main new installment this time seems to be the Batmobile, which for the first time can be driven around and used in combat at will. With a level of polish that I’ve come to expect from this franchise, I’m sure it will be step forward from last year’s Arkham Origins, and looks sure not to disappoint. As long as the villain isn’t secretly the Joker anymore, I’ll be happy.
Middle Earth’s Assassin’s Creed Batman Experience: Middle-Earth – Shadow of Mordor
Although I am absolutely positive that Shadow of Mordor is making Tolkien spin in his grave as we speak, I just can’t look away from how fun it seems. Set in the open world of Mordor between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you control Talion, a young ranger gifted with strange wraith powers. Gameplay looks to be a combination of Assassin’s Creed exploration, combined with Batman like combat and interesting magic powers, as well as a dynamic system of control over enemies, where every player can shape the form of their own game via the Nemesis system, as they manipulate enemies into positions that serve them best. It looks like it might be the sleeper hit of the late year-2014, and being tied to Middle Earth only makes it more prominent.