E3 is finished. A wave of trailers, demos, and announcements flooded us, and slowly pushed back, leaving us with high-hopes for the upcoming year.
2015 is building up to be a fantastic year for gaming. Whilst this is bad-news for 2014 (since all major releases coming out this year have been delayed at least a few months), the flood of releases slated for an early 2015 launch-window is nothing short of fantastic. Since, E3 is a hype-building machine, let's see what got me genuinely hyped, and what I am still cautiously optimistic about.
E3 is and always has been console centric, but that doesn't mean there are no PC games showcased. In an age where multi-platform is the word of the day, true exclusives are few and far in between. Last year we had the mandatory announcements for the then "next-gen" consoles, complete with exclusive line-ups and tech-presentations. However, the number of games presented was not really all that great. In this regard, 2014 is no different. Many of last year's titles are making a comeback, expanding their original presentations.
Without further ado, let's discuss the games that seem great. Keyword, seem. After all, we've reached a point where the end-result might not look or play as good as the demo.
Far Cry 4
There's no mistake. Ubisoft is a master of presentation. A 15 minute demo of Far Cry 4 showcased just how this game is going to play. It might not be very different from Far Cry 3, but it doesn't necessarily need to be (not yet anyway), since that game was one of the best shooters launched in 2012.
What the trailer / demo promises is a gameplay broadening, not unlike what Assassin's Creed is going through with each iteration, a brand-new setting (an open-world in a Himalayan region known as Kyrat) and a new central antagonist wearing a fabulous pink suit.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The more is shown of this game, the more hype is built around it. The demo and trailers paint a game that is so large and ambitious that not many studios would be able to deliver. However, one only needs to remember the massive leap CD Projekt RED made with the Witcher franchise, from the 2007 original title to Assassin of Kings. Since Witcher II sold 1.7 million copies, it's very likely that CD Projekt RED now has the budget, and dedication to provide us with a proper follow-up.
Everything presented at E3 regarding Witcher 3: Wild Hunt makes it seem like an absolute monster. The open-world game is 30 times larger than previous Witcher games, 20% bigger than Skyrim, and features a dynamic day and night system, dynamic and responsive environments and a "realistic" AI, which also incorporates an unique monster AI, with special moves and traits. Also, Emperor Emhyr var Emreis of Nilfgaard is Charles Dance.
Bungie's Destiny is probably the only console-exclusive title on this list that I am actually interested in. Whilst I would have really enjoyed to see it on PC, we make do with what we get. The best way to describe Destiny is Halo on Steroids, infused with MMO juice.
As one of the most expensive games ever developed ($500 million budget), Destiny looks like a massive endeavour. Even the "Alpha" version that was made available to the press seemed really, really polished, so it's safe to assume this is going to be another one of those titles that are going to make history.
An exclusive release for the PlayStation 4, Bloodborne comes to us from the maker of Demons' Souls and Dark Souls, Hidetaka Miyazaki. Whilst the game mantains some elements from previous Souls games, like the meaty combat where a poorly timed swipe can prove fatal, it looks entirely new. The aesthetic is darker, with a more Gothic appeal, the player character isn't clad plate armour and uses a heavy shield, instead preffering leather and cloth, and moving around quicker and more freely.
For the time being we do not have that much to go on: only a 3 minute trailer, a handful of leaks (from when Bloodborne was known as Project Beast) and a small E3 gameplay demo showcasing Yharnam's moonlit streets, faster paced movement and the same weighty combat we got accustomed with.
At the time of writing, these are the games that stand out, and for one reason or another I believe they will actually live up to the hype. Further down are titles that seemed interesting, but there's still something about them that worries me. That doesn't mean the trailers / demos look bad (nothing looks bad at E3), just there are still some kinks that I probably won't get over until the game is released.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Everything about Dragon Age: Inquisition looks damn impressive. Yet, I am still cautiously optimistic. Why? Only one reason, and that is Dragon Age II. I recall the months leading up to the release, how the trailers promised this fantastic sequel to Origins, but when it launched, it was a complete disappointment. Recycled regions, a simplistic combat that dragged on for far too long (the animations were smooth though), and a storyline with plenty o' plot-holes. These are things I'd expect from a less experienced developer, not Bioware.
Yet, Inquisition seems to address most complaints people had regarding Dragon Age II. It is a bigger, broader game, built in a brand-new engine, which had (still has) a lot more time to be worked upon. It learned a few things from Skyrim (but who doesn't these days), but the core of a Dragon Age game is still there.
Rainbow Six: Siege
Think Counter Strike on steroids, with destructible environments. The E3 demo, showcased the game's multiplayer mode, with one terrorist team barricading themselves inside a house with a hostage, whilst the second team had to breach into the building to rescue the civilian. It was a very interesting concept, with terrorists deplyoing wall reinforcements, makeshift barriers and blocades to hamper the opposing team.
Siege has been under development from a new team at Ubisoft Montreal, and is the first Rainbow Six game since 2008. This is a title that focuses on cooperation, with procedural destruction and punishing difficulty. From the looks of it, Siege does a great job preserving the tactical aspect of the franchise, especially in the multiplayer, and we just don't have enough games pulling that tense cloose-quarters shooting.
Tom Clancy's The Division
Whilst Siege might look interesting in its own way, The Division is Ubisoft's hype-building giant, just like Watch Dogs was last year. This is an online RPG tactical-shooter that doesn't want like being called an MMO although it borrows many elements from the genre.
Powered by the Snowdrop engine, the Division focuses heavily on drop-in drop-out co-op gameplay. Of course, taking from its MMO roots, the game features PvP, player-to-player trading, skills, progression and exploration.
After the depressing failure that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, we were almost done with xenomorphs. However, what Creative Assembly is cooking up looks damn impressive. A survival horror in space, with only one alien playing a game of cat and mouse? The concept sounds interesting on its own, but Creative Assembly promises a game of attrition, where even though you have guns, flamethrowers and IEDs, you will always feel underpowered.
However, if I am not so willing to jump on the bandwagon, that's because Creative Assembly is not known for their horror franchises. In fact, this is the first time, the developer actually tackles something of this nature. Granted, everything we saw up to this point looked good, but in this day and age, that doesn't matter that much anymore.