E3 is one of video gaming's biggest events of the year; a three-day gathering in Los Angeles where almost all of the industry’s major players show off their newest titles.
Here are the three games that stood out most to me from E3 2014.
RAINBOW SIX: SIEGE (Ubisoft)
In an industry full of military first-person shooters, it takes a lot to stand out. Rainbow Six: Siege is a brilliant revival of a classic brand that stood head and shoulders above the rest.
The game is built around a simple concept. There’s a counter-terror team trying to rescue a hostage held by militants in her house. The militants must fortify the house; the counter-terror team must breach the house. The counter-terror team has one minute to use drones to recon the house and plan a way in; the militants have that same minute to cover up windows, strengthen walls and figure out where to make a last stand.
What follows is a frantic three minute round where the best-laid plans can be ruined in an instant, and where the ability to think quickly and formulate on the fly can win the day. Key to that is using the game’s standout feature: Almost every part of the level can be destroyed, allowing you to bypass a fortified doorway by simply blowing up the wall next to it.
Rainbow Six: Siege has a core concept that’s smart, simple, and a lot of fun. The only downside? It’s not out until 2015.
Multiplayer shooters are so common that even Nintendo is getting in on the act with Splatoon. But, being Nintendo, this Wii U game is a little different to your average shooter. For starters, you don’t shoot bullets, you shoot ink. And you’re not a modern military force or a counter-terror team… you’re a human that can morph into a squid.
This might sound a little odd. But just go with it, because honestly? It works.
Splatoon features two teams of four using paint guns to try and cover an arena with ink. Whoever manages to cover more of the arena with their own ink wins. There’s another benefit to covering the arena with ink: With a tap of the button, you can morph into a squid that can swim quickly through your own team’s ink — but you’ll get stuck if you run into your opponent's ink.
The result is a game that has a great flow about it as you learn to shoot ink in pathways for you to quickly traverse as a squid, popping up on the other side to continue to cover the arena with ink.
It’s an exceptionally unique game and it has a really striking look — thanks to the colorful ink, you can literally see who’s winning simply by looking around you!
NO MAN’S SKY (Hello Games)
I have a confession: Unlike Rainbow Six or Splatoon, I did not play No Man’s Sky. Nor did I get a personal demo of it. All I saw was the trailer that was released at Sony’s press conference, just like everybody else.
But you know what? It’s almost impossible to leave it off this list, because this is the game everybody is talking about.
No Man’s Sky is a space exploration game taking you through uncharted worlds on a quest through the galaxy. The key to the game is that the worlds aren’t created by hand — they’re generated by the game itself, randomized so that each world is (in theory) truly different, stocked with different forms of life.
Everywhere you go at E3, someone is gushing about No Man’s Sky. And that’s probably because the tiny team at Hello Games has managed to hit a chord among gamers with their vision for creating a galaxy full of wonders. The most amazing part? The game was started by a team of just four people, before it underwent a massive expansion.
They now have a team of ten.