By Ashraf Abdalla
It’s been a dry and unexciting year so far for gamers. The new console’s game catalog has been somewhat meager with only two must have releases. Thankfully, it is that time of year though. You know what I’m talking about, those glorious three days in L.A.’s expo center where all game makers show off what they’ve got in the works at the E3 Expo. This year did not disappoint, with a plethora of games on display to announce upcoming console exclusives, the expected and a few unexpected AAA titles, and a few indie surprises.
Let’s start with Sony’s PS4 event, that stole the show with the longest and most impressive presentation. At this year’s E3 the most popular announcement was the trailer to the already teased and highly anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which is being directed by the same people who worked on one of the best games of the last generation of consoles, the mind blowing The Last of Us. Sony had a few more surprises up their sleeve with DriveClub, the PS exclusive racing game, confirmed for an October release and is looking incredibly good with some of the best and most realistic weather effects to ever appear in a racing game. LittleBigPlanet 3 has been confirmed for release this November and this time Sackboy is going to get some new friends who’ll have their own personalities, abilities and style of play. This all came with the sad news that The Order 1886, Sony’s exclusive monster hunting game set in an alternate universe’s Victorian London has been pushed to early 2015.
The most impressive game was No Man’s Sky, which will be debuting on the PS4. It’s a very ambitious space exploration simulator rife with dogfights, and heavy on exploration in an infinite (that’s right I said infinite) randomly generated universe. Players can swoop down into a planet, get out of their ship, walk around on a newly discovered world, discover new species before jumping back into their spaceship and rocketing out to the stars!
Microsoft’s exclusive lineup was fairly disappointing, with only four notable callouts to be made. Crackdown is getting a sequel on Xbox One that is looking incredibly good, I can’t wait for that arcade super power secret agent romp in an open world city. Halo Master Chief Collection is coming this fall to Xbox One and will bring re-mastered editions of all the previous Halo releases. Also, Sunset Overdrive might bring an interesting twist to third person action games. Finally, Forza Horizon gets a sequel with incredible weather effects this fall.
There were many AAA titles being showcased this year, some of which are looking incredible. Mirror’s Edge’s reboot for the new gen consoles looks exciting but I am having mixed feelings about its clean minimalist look. Evolve has a release date on October 21st this year, and is looking even better. For those who don’t know, this great game is the labor of love from the great minds that brought us Left 4 Dead where 5 players are split into a group of 4 hunters, each a different archetype with its own unique abilities, and are out to take down a monster on an alien planet who evolves as he kills, feeds and levels up as the game progresses.
Alien Isolation had several new gameplay sequences on show that really highlighted how this gorgeous survival horror game is going for the claustrophobic terror of the first Alien film by Ridley Scott. Destiny the game from the Halo creators, where players take on the roles of the guardians of the last city on Earth, is confirmed for release on September 9 and is shaping up to be one of the best co-op romps ever made. There were also the staple Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Battlefield and Dragon Age announcements. The game most fans have been clamoring for is Assassin’s Creed with its renewed emphasis on stealth, more freedom in how you approach missions and a long overdue method of climbing down. There’s also the not so surprising announcements of a sequel to last year’s incredible Tomb Raider game titled Rise of the Tomb Raider and Fifa 15 which brings a host of new improvements visually and from a gameplay perspective.
For me the most exciting games on show were the new Batman Arkham Knight with an even bigger Gotham City and in a first for the series the Batmobile that can turn into a omni directional tank. The geek in me is ecstatic about that, and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage to wait till early next year. I’m also really looking forward to 2015 releases like the amazing looking Star Wars Battlefront, the classic game of massive battles in the film. We can also finally expect The Division which has been constantly delayed in development but is looking better than ever, hopefully it will live up to its hype better than Watch Dogs did. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor a third person dishonored style game set in the Lord of the Rings universe is another game on my wishlist. Last but definitely not least the follow up to the amazing Far Cry 3, the unimaginatively titled Far Cry 4 will take us this November to another exotic locale to fight another maniac. This time under the guise of a despotic self proclaimed king in the Himalayas and, get this, you can tame an elephant and ride it! I can’t wait. Let’s hope I can get to the controller before my wife does.