Top Three of E3 2014
This year’s edition of E3 was one the strongest I can remember mostly because the focus was on actual games. Thus, I found it very difficult to narrow down all the games that I liked to a list of three. Now that I’m done talking about media briefings it’s finally time to focus on what actually matters. I will only talking about games that showed actual gameplay so games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End are out. Before I get to my top three games, there were plenty of games worthy of honourable mention so here they are in no particular order: Yoshi’s Wooly World, Sunset Overdrive, Tom Clancy’s The Division and Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition Ex Plus Alpha.
This game came right the heck out of nowhere. Going into Nintendo Direct, most people were looking forward to Super Smash Bros. and hoping to get a glimpse of the new Zelda game. I don’t think people expected to be excited about an eight-person multiplayer paintball shooter featuring playable squids. There was no shortage of gameplay footage of Splatoon at E3 as it seems to be the game that everyone is talking about (in between sessions of debating Link’s gender in Zelda Wii U).
In Splatoon, two teams of four compete the cover the map with paint. At the end of the game the team that has covered the most of the map with their colour wins. Players control a squid armed with a paintball gun and can dive into painted surfaces of their team’s colour to quickly traverse the area. The game has seems to be well-balanced and every single splash of paint matters. Some of the matches at E3 were won in the last ten-seconds of gameplay.
Technically, Splatoon is a third-person shooter though I hesitate to call it that given that defies just about every convention that’s found its way into the genre in the past ten years. There are no cover mechanics, no guns, no blood, no leveling system, a bright and vibrant colour palette and accessible gameplay. It’s a welcome move away from what the shooter genre has become and closer to what it should be. Splatoon is the one of the best looking team-based multiplayer shooters since Team Fortress 2.
2. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
I wasn’t too invested by the end of Ubisoft’s media briefing but that was about to change when Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stepped on stage and presented one last game to close out the briefing. Rainbow Six: Siege had arguably the strongest gameplay début at E3 this year. While this game may not eschew as many shooter conventions as Splatoon, there’s something uniquely special about Rainbow Six: Siege that hasn’t been seen in a first-person shooter in a long time.
The words “tactical action” and “destructible environments” are the two most prominent buzzwords in the shooter genre. This is especially true with military shooters such as Battlefield and Call of Duty. Rainbow Six: Siege had more tension in a five-minute 5v5 multiplayer match than Call of Duty‘s explosive corridors and action set-pieces. In a multiplayer match with no respawning, every action matters which is breath of fresh air in comparison the arcade-chaos of conventional first-person shooter multiplayer.
It’s been a long time since a first-person shooter legitimately sold itself on tactical gameplay. The last game I can recall to do so was Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (which came out nine years ago). It’s about time the Rainbow Six series made a comeback and I couldn’t imagine a better way to do so than this.
1. No Man’s Sky
It’s strange that almost everything I could ever want in a video game is being offered by the same team that gave us Joe Danger. It’s baffling that everything I’ve seen from the $500 million Destiny falls short in comparison to the gameplay trailer of No Man’s Sky shown at Sony’s Media Briefing. Just about every aspect of this game, from the graphics to the gameplay to the atmosphere looks stunning.
For starters, the on-foot exploration looks incredible with creative creature design and some truly inspired art direction. Players can explore on foot or take to the skies in a ship. From there, players can seamlessly transition into space where they dodge asteroids and shoot down enemy ships. At some point, players can land on a nearby planet. The only thing that’s unclear is the objective of the game. It’s difficult to say whether No Man’s Sky is purely about exploration or if there’s something deeper to motivate players.
I have to admit that I’m still skeptical about this game meeting expectations considering that the team making it consists of four people. The promise of an infinite, procedurally generated universe is so tantalizing that I’m willing to look past any doubts I may have. No Man’s Sky stole the show for me at E3; no other game came close.