While E3 ended two weeks ago, we’ve been churning out preview upon preview. Now that we’ve finally previewed everything we set out to cover, Richard Bailey Jr., Gary Swaby, Edward Velasquez, JakeJames Lugo and I have decided to collaborate by discussing our Best of Show picks from E3 2014. You might be able to discern our picks based on the tons of previews we’ve written; however, you may be surprised to find a few that we haven’t mentioned yet. We all played some impressive games, and each editor had to take considerable time before making his final decision.
Richard Bailey: Sunset Overdrive
Looking back at all that E3 2014 had to offer, there were plenty of great games that graced both the showroom floor and at behind closed-door presentations. However, if I have to pick at least one standout game that impressed me the most then that honor would go to Sunset Overdrive. When I first heard about the game, I honestly wasn’t that impressed by it, partially because I still didn’t know exactly what it was trying to be. After an extensive preview session with the creative team, my perspective on the new IP changed immensely, and I now fully believe it will be a certifiable hit for the Xbox One. Chances are if you’ve already seen the latest batch of gameplay and CG trailers, then you would agree that the game looks like a lot of fun. I can confirm that it’s even better than advertised, and you definitely should keep this game on your radar when it launches on October 28th.
Gary Swaby: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
There were a few games that struck my fancy at E3 2014, and it’s tough to choose just one out of the few. However, I have to go with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. My reasons are mainly to do with the fact that the presentation restored my excitement for the Metal Gear Solid series, which was previously lost due to the insulting package that is Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes.
The Phantom Pain demo was simply awesome. It had all the humor and sneaky fun we’re used to seeing in Metal Gear Solid games, with a bit of action thrown into the mix. The new cardboard box features were impressive, and shows how many options the new Fox Engine will provide for us moving forward. As a big fan of RPG’s I also enjoyed learning about the Fulton system and how it helps you develop Snake’s Mother Base.
Choosing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain over The Witcher 3 was an extremely tough decision for me. But it’s the long-time Metal Gear Solid nut inside me that made it easy for me to skeet my pants at what Konami showed us. Bring on 2015!
Garrett Glass: Superhot
When I previewed Superhot, I also experienced the Oculus Rift for the first time. Even though I felt dumfounded by my experience with the VR headset, I could still recognize Superhot for being a unique first person shooter on its own (the Oculus Rift is not required to play it). Time and bullets move only when I did, but that didn’t stop the adrenaline rush I felt as I strategically maneuvered down the hallway. I could also live out bullet-time fantasies by rocking my shoulders from side to side, dodging bullets nimbly–or at least that’s how I like to imagine how I looked while wearing the VR headset. Speaking of which, the Oculus Rift enhanced the minimalist art style by showing bits of shrapnel flying at my path, and I could thankfully see each piece’s trajectory due to the aforementioned time mechanic. If you complain about the homogenization of first person shooter games, then you should definitely check out Superhot. You don’t need an Oculus Rift to see that this game is special.
Edward Velazquez: Destiny
My love for Bungie’s most well known series, Halo, has been well documented on this site. Though I have kept my expectations in check regarding Bungie’s latest, Destiny, it was by far the best E3 experience I had this year. Based off the demo I played, I still don’t have a clear sense of Destiny’s MMO-like single0player, but what made me truly love Bungie in the first place was the way they crafted their competitive multiplayer. I played two matches of what was essentially a Territories match from Halo, and everything seemed familiar all while feeling like a completely new experience. The speed and the floaty jumps remind me of Halo, but having cool-out times for melee weapons and grenades is a great way to stop grenade spammers. I didn’t mess too much with the preset load-out in the E3 build, but it looked like there was a good amount of content there that I wish I had tested out. Nonetheless, Destiny jumped to a definitive purchase for me post E3, and it helped that I was really good at the game from the second I picked up the controller.
JakeJames Lugo: Ori and the Blind Forest
I don’t consider myself to be much of an Xbox gamer. Most of the games available don’t really appeal to me as much as titles on other platforms. Yet it takes a very special and unique game to cause someone like me to want to play on the Xbox One. Ori and the Blind Forest is that kind of game. It is a 2D platformer with a Metroidvania design, yet stands apart from other games with its beautiful art style and superb ambient soundtrack. The visuals take much inspiration from games like Rayman: Legends and Dust: Elysian Tail, but it also has similar elements to classic Miyazaki films like Princess Mononoke. The environments are vibrant and filled with a ton of little details that complement the ambient soundtrack, giving a whimsical feeling throughout. The game controls like many other popular platformers on the market, but mixes in RPG-like character progression, puzzles, and exploration elements to keep things fresh. Running through the levels searching for key items and pathways is fluid and populated with a variety of enemies and organic hazards. Combat comes from the use of a small magic orb that can not only attack enemies, but also solve puzzles and open up new areas. At the current moment, not much is known about the story or the depth of the character progression and exploration, all of which should come to light as the game nears release. For certain though, Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the most unique games to come to the Xbox One library, one that Xbox One owners should definitely keep an eye on.
While we’re confident in our choices based on our hands-on time with each game, we’re also curious to know what you think. Do you agree or disagree with our choices? Is there a game that you think deserves attention? Let us know in the comments section!