If there was one trend at E3 we could have done without this year, it was the constant string of delays pushing our most anticipated games back into 2015. We are bound to see plenty of this year's biggest hits show up at next year's show, giving us another chance to get excited for them all over again.
However, this leaves just a few stragglers behind for what seems to be a lackluster 2014. Worry not my friends, because you will still have some quality games to stack on your shelves before the next-gen of consoles finally gets rolling next year.
We've each selected two games from the show that we're looking forward to most. Our picks are arranged in no particular order, and they reflect our own personal opinions. What does that mean for you? Expect some oddballs and surprises.
Here are the games we are most excited for after E3 that will be coming out in 2014. Don't worry, we'll hit the pack coming in 2015 in the coming days.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
For Nintendo, the two biggest offerings on the Wii U this year are easily Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros.. The former, of course, has already released and lead to a solid surge of console sales. The latter will release on the console this holiday, but it will also hit the Nintendo 3DS on Oct. 3, 2014.
Based on everything we've heard so far from Nintendo and Director Masahiro Sakurai, this will be the biggest Smash we've ever played. Both versions will include exclusive new modes, completely re-tooled online multiplayer and a bevy of characters both old and new.
E3 brought with it a slew of new announcements that pushed the hype levels through the roof for Super Smash Bros.; among them were the likes of being able to use your own Mii for battle and the addition of amiibo.
The addition of Miis means, of course, an infinite amount of fighters to play with. Sakurai emphasized during the roundtable presentation during E3 last week that the team is working hard to make Miis very fun to fight with, so that should cut down any potentially boring play from making a billion different celebs and silly characters enter your private frays.
Then there's amiibo.
With Smash on the Wii U (and eventually 3DS, when Nintendo releases the NFC reader), you'll be able to buy physical amiibo figurines. Scan them into your game and you'll get level gaining friends and foes in combat.
I'm a nerd, I like physical statues and this appeals to me. If Nintendo can price them right and make them usable in as many games as possible, I'm beyond psyched for this line of figurines.
Super Smash Brothers – Nintendo 3DS
Super Smash Brothers – Wii U
Far Cry 4
I loved Far Cry 3. It was one of my favorite titles in 2012, easily. Even so, I wasn't sure whether to be excited about Far Cry 4 or not. The controversy over the odd boxart didn't do anything to add to my excitement, either.
Then E3 hit and we got to see some real footage from the game.
It looks like it's hitting a lot of the same notes that Far Cry 3 hit, but in a big, huge and gorgeous way. The segment we watched could be called a vertical slice for more than one reason. It was, of course, a short, planned sequence for us to enjoy, but the altitude the main character drops from the beginning of his assault on the enemy outpost until he parachutes down to the ground was incredible.
Too often we see open world games that happen across broad, flat areas. The islands of Far Cry 3 had their share of verticality, but I'm excited to traverse the mountains of Kyrat using the grappling hook shown off in the trailer.
The story has me interested as well. Instead of an American bro parachuting into the country, protagonist Ajay Ghale is a Kyrat native whose parents were prominent figures in the national rebellion, giving Ajay an intimate connection to what's happening. The villain, Pagan Min, is a Chinese national. These details alone give us basis for a much more interesting story than what Far Cry 3 had on tap.
Also, you can ride elephants.
If I were to pick a darkhorse, I would go with Alien: Isolation. Up until E3, we thought that the alien would be our only enemy, but recent gameplay demos have shown that he is both your hunter and your incidental companion.
We seemed to forget with all the focus on this intelligent alien that Amanda Ripley is stuck on a cloning facility gone haywire. Freakishly bald clones and soldiers are also out to kill her, and E3 showed us how Amanda is going to have to manipulate her pursuer into helping her clear a path to safety.
The Creative Assembly is a talented studio with a rich history in the strategy genre, and I would love to see them bring that level of creative thinking to a true survival-horror game. This is the big budget version of recent indie hits like Amnesia and Outcast, and I'm interested to see how a big publisher will seize on the genre's hype.
I have reservations about an Alien video game. Who doesn't nowadays? But SEGA isn't going to mess this up after the Colonial Marines debacle, and with the right team, never have I been so sure that the franchise is finally going to get it right.
The E3 trailer for Sunset Overdrive this year opened up with, really, the perfect explanation of why I'm so excited for this game. We have a bland and boring cover shooter going down in a random warehouse. Muted colors, generic enemies and a generic hero make up the scene's variables.
Cut to a door with "Insomniac Games" written on it and the muffled sound of rock music. Out pops the hero of Sunset Overdrive, and with him comes a splash of gorgeous color, unique tunes and a quip about lame cover shooters.
Sunset Overdrive aims to be the antithesis of modern gaming's heavy leaning on crappy standards brought on by military shooters. It looks amazing. Here's the trailer I'm talking about.
When that trailer actually nears the three minute mark and kicks into real gameplay, the first things I thought were "holy crap, the colors" and "did that gun just shoot fireworks with green dragon explosions?" It did, and those colors are amazing.
Watching our hero grind all over the amusement park, blowing up mutants with weapons only the folks at Insomniac could create, I got excited about this game. More excited, really. It's on my radar in a huge way, and it's easily one of the titles I'm looking forward to most in 2014 following the convention.
If Insomniac can riddle Sunset Overdrive with incredible weapons, fantastic humor, vibrant visuals, crazy characters and addictive gameplay, this game could stand tall among the others releasing this year. It could be the first absolutely killer Xbox One title.
Clearly, much of Nintendo's focus is going to be on Super Smash Bros. for the next few months. Truth be told, I don't have college roommates anymore to duke it out with until the early hours of the morning like I did in Melee's heyday, so I might not be getting as much mileage out of this game as I like to think I would.
Since Nintendo's premiere title is not my number one, that leaves me with another Wii U game that I am more curious about than I am waiting to be blown away by. It might not be a popular choice, but I am in love with the idea and concept of Hyrule Warriors, my most anticipated game coming out in 2014 post E3.
I've always had a secret love for Tecmo Koei's Dynasty Warriors series, and I sunk more hours into mindlessly hacking apart ancient China than I'd care to admit back on the PlayStation 2. They are cheap action games, but you can get a lot of mileage out of one if you know where to look. Unlocking secret characters and costumes, completing missions, uncovering secrets, beating time trials, revealing historical facts.
It's all there, a completionist's best dream and worst nightmare wrapped into one.
The Legend of Zelda setting doesn't hurt the formula one bit. Familiar faces, familiar themes, familiar tools, all shown through a new light and new mechanics. That's what has always made Nintendo so special, right?
I don't think we've seen all that Hyrule Warriors has to offer. We've only seen brief glimpses of Link's arsenal, four playable characters, and an environment or two in Hyrule. A lot is being held back, which is why I am so curious.
I want to feel how the bow, boomerang, and hookshot work in battle. I want to see who else I can control, and I especially want to go exploring down in some dungeons, seeing which classic tropes make it and which don't.
If Tecmo Koei includes a Hyrule historical encyclopedia like it does in every Dynasty Warriors game, I would blow my mind in unlocking every last passage from it.
The only problem with Hyrule Warriors I can foresee is pricing. If Nintendo slaps a $59.99 price tag on this game, forget it. This experimental idea is a $30 purchase at most.
2015 will change the face of gaming, but we have a full year until E3 throws all these new titles at us again. We are all curious about what is waiting in store for us in the coming years with the new technology, but I am equally curious about what Hyrule Warriors has to offer in a bit of an old-fashioned kind of way. Secrets, unlockables, and just straight-up raw fun.
Forza Horizon 2
It's almost a foregone conclusion that I'll be excited about a Forza game. I loved all five Motorsport iterations so far and Forza Horizon was an unexpected treat that had me worried until the controller was in my hands.
The setting, courses, and events of Horizon, however, pulled me in right away and got me interested. The game did a great job of combining Forza Motorsport's appreciation for all sorts of cars with a more approachable feel.
Now Forza Horizon 2 is almost here. Playground Games is building it on the Forza Motorsport 5 engine and, once again, replacing the AI-controlled racers with Drivatars. Thanks to the more open nature of the world, Drivatars won't be as literal this time and should make for more interesting opponents. The team is also doing away with the obnoxious boss battles that acted as gateways to the different levels of race event.
Forza went from a start-up racing franchise to one of Microsoft's big tent poles in just a few years. Forza Motorsport has its groove down, but we've only had one Forza Horizon. I'm looking forward to seeing if Playground Games can make the formula work a second time and how Forza Motorsport's Drivatars change up the game – hopefully for the better.
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