E3 2014 Personal Highlights and Disappointments

Well, it’s official folks. Another E3 is in the books and I don’t know about you, but it flew by. The 2014 edition was an interesting one with seemingly so many leaks and reveals ahead of the show. I was initially worried that this would dilute the actual show, but thankfully, it still had a few surprises left to reveal.


I’ve already revealed my thoughts around the big three: Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, but on a personal level, here’s my list of what I found to be exciting and somewhat disappointing.

The Division
The more I see of this game, the more impressed I come away from it. Essentially taking place in a post-biological disaster New York City, The Division mixes RPG elements, with an open world, and third person shooting. I strongly encourage you to go watch gameplay demos of this game if you have no idea what I’m talking about. This year at E3, Ubisoft showed off some more cool elements such as the “Echo” ability where the agents can render moments in time pulling information from security cameras, audio pick ups, and cell phone data. It was really impressive seeing these orange particles form into a picture and then fall away like sand once the agents were done. The standout moment was the agents trying to stealth takedown an enemy faction, failing, and then adjusting to the situation to stay alive. The ultimate goal was to capture a new base of operations for the team.

Sunset Overdrive
Arguably the showpiece for the Xbox One at this year’s show, Insomniac knocked it out of the part. First leading off with a witty, fourth wall breaking trailer where the lead character communicates directly with the viewer while fending off the enemy “OD” characters, it then moved over to actual gameplay showing off a new area of the city based in an amusement park. The character grinded around on a roller coaster, smashing huge stone towers, chaining together moves in a frenetic and glorious bit of colorful gameplay. Sunset Overdrive just oozes fun and colors and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Mortal Kombat X
After giving us a teaser trailer the week before, Ed Boon and company finally showed us actual gameplay from their upcoming fighting game and boy did it look great. The characters and maps alone have a nice visual upgrade to them (thanks to next gen technology) but the thing that most impressed me was how fast and fluid the character animations were. Interestingly enough, outside of Sub Zero and Scorpion, Netherrealm chose to show off four brand new characters being added to the roster instead of announcing old favorites. Certain characters like Cassie Cage appear to be descendants or at the very least related to former characters in some way, adding another layer of intrigue.

Far Cry 4
If you thought Far Cry 3 was insane, you’ll want to watch the E3 presentation of Far Cry 4 and it’s new antagonist, Pagan Min. In just the first five minutes alone, Far Cry 4 seems to exceed what Far Cry 3 brought to the table. Gameplay wise, events take place in the Himalayas, so you should be expecting high altitudes, rocky terrain, and plenty of space to use new tools like the Gyrocopter or glider suit. Sporting a new co-op element for players to work together on missions, players can also use elephants to help clear out enemies. It also doesn’t hurt that the visuals look incredibly good thanks to next gen power.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Sure, it was a very simple teaser trailer but the message it send was extraordinary. The first thing that caught your attention was just how jaw droppingly gorgeous the graphics and visuals were. The better news? This wasn’t generated by computers, it was captured from a PS4 directly. That alone gets me excited especially with how well Naughty Dog is able to push Sony’s systems. The Last of Us is a prime example of what they can do. I’m looking forward to learning more as we approach 2015.

Assassin’s Creed Unity
Unity has two major elements in it that I’ve been secretly hoping would be added in and upon seeing them in action, have rekindled my enthusiasm for the franchise. The first is the setting which is taking place during the French Revolution and a perfect playground for players to run around in. There are plenty of high profile people, a very unstable population, and one that should be filled with action and interesting plot points. The second which surprised me, is that Ubisoft is going full bore with 4 player co-op. No longer is it stuck to the “Wolfpack” multiplayer modes, we’re getting full blown co-op to play with in the campaign this time. With Unity locked in on next gen systems, this is also the best looking Assassin’s game ever developed.

No Red Dead
The big rumor floating around before the show was that a new game in the Red Dead franchise is being made by Rockstar. Now, I know Rockstar doesn’t do E3 and they announced officially that GTA V is coming to next gen, but I still kind of expected to see a reveal or announcement somewhere during the show. While I don’t doubt that the game is currently in development, I just expected maybe to see a trailer or something. Now that would have really energized the crowd!

A Quiet Gearbox
Aside from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Gearbox was pretty quiet at this year’s show. Why is that surprising? They’ve been constantly saying that they’re working on other things outside of Borderlands. I figured something would be ready to show off such as the former “Furious 4” game, Homeworld or maybe even the new Brothers at Arms. These are all games that Gearbox has mentioned, I’m just a bit surprised we didn’t see any.

A Missing Prince
With the rumors circulating that a new Prince of Persia title was being developed inside the UbiArt Framework, I expected some Prince news. We got nothing. Sure, his last game “The Forgotten Sands” didn’t win critics over and didn’t quite burn up the charts, but I think it’s time for a return of the Prince on next gen. I’d absolutely love to return to the 2008 title’s world.

No Gears Turning
Yes, Black Tusk has not had the Gears of War IP long enough so obviously expecting a live demo or gameplay trailer was a fool’s errand. Still, to hype up the fan base, maybe a live action or CG teaser could have been used? All we got was a very quick logo flash during the last Xbox One sizzle trailer at the end of the press conference.

The Fallout From No Fallout 4
I guess you could call this one a long shot even though information and rumors have been leaking out for well over a year at this point. I had hopes that Bethesda would surprise everyone and finally show off what an updated Fallout looks like. A good part of me wants to see the Boston area presented in this world as well as it’s rumored that Fallout 4 takes place in “The Commonwealth”, or the area formerly known as Massachusetts pre-war. Looks like we’ll need to wait a bit longer…

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