E3 2014: The Best Bits

In this photo by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), lots of people wait to get into E3 2014. But once there, what were the best things to see?
In this photo by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), lots of people wait to get into E3 2014. But once there, what were the best things to see?

E3 2014 should have been called E3 2015 because that’s when most of the games it showcased are coming out. If 2013 was about hardware and one  upmanship,  then 2014 was about games. That said, there weren’t many surprises. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all pulled off acceptable conferences, but none really wowed the crowd. If I had to choose, I’d agree with Todd Hargosh and say Microsoft pipped Nintendo to the post, with Sony sitting in third, but still sitting pretty, when it comes to sales. I’ve picked my best bits, the memorable, deplorable and ‘what the…?’ bits of E3 2014.

Best in Show

The stand out game for me (and a lot of other people) has to be No Man’s Sky from Hello Games. It was the highlight of the Sony conference and caused a buzz throughout E3 week despite not being on the show floor. The retro sci-fi graphics, the psychedelic colour scheme, the exploring alien planets in a procedurally generated universe.

It all sounds so fricking cool. It can’t come too soon. Watch the E3 footage from the Sony show again.

Worst in Show

Sony’s conference had some high points and some low points. Suda 51’s latest project Let It Die was a massive disappointment. Having enjoyed the likes of Killer 7, I was expecting something stylish, instead I got something appealing to the very worst the industry has to offer. The trailer was a relentless kill-fest with nothing to say.

Maybe there’s some in-joke I’m missing, but if there is, I don’t really care.

Most Controversial

Assassin’s Creed: Unity looks like a return to form for the series. I felt that Black Flag was a slick game, but it didn’t feel like an Assassin’s title, whereas Unity is taking us back to the series’ roots.

At the Microsoft conference, Ubisoft showed the new multi-player, co-op mode and it looked impressive. Then Twitter lit up when it was revealed that you couldn’t choose a female avatar and a Ubisoft spokesperson said it was “too much work” to create female assassins.  Once again diversity in games was up for discussion and it’s been analysed to death, so I won’t go there. I’m just heartened by the debate Ubisoft’s oversight has caused – not too long ago, this wouldn’t have been a story.

Biggest Surprise

I tuned into the Nintendo digital conference, not expecting much at all – maybe some Mario something and another Zelda.  That’s pretty much what we got, but it was all done with so much fun, style and humour that I was wooed. Yoshi’s Woolly World looked like the kind of gaming delight only Nintendo can dish up. The new Zelda looked de-gorgeous and Splatoon was almost an anti-FPS.

Who knew Reggie would be so cute in claymation? If the games were launching this year, instead of 2015, this would have been my top pick of the conferences. Wii U is struggling and needs these games now, not later.

Conspicuous in Their Absence

Once again, the grapevine lied. No The Last Guardian at the Sony conference and no Beyond Good and Evil 2 at the Ubisoft show. I wasn’t truly expecting the latter, but I thought The Last Guardian might make an appearance, but it wasn’t to be. Sony swears the game is still coming, so we’ll just have to wait. Again.

Those are the stand out moments for me. Of course there were more games that caught my eye, over the week, but all in all it was quite a conservative E3, as the industry settles into the next gen. It looks like 2015 could be a corker though.

Most played: Tomb Raider (2013)

Most wanted: Valiant Hearts: The Great War

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