The lights are on
After years of waiting for the next-generation consoles to take center stage, the 2013 edition of E3 finally brought the sense of innovation and newness in games we expect to ride shotgun with such a sea change. Blockbuster games are leveraging the hardware in powerful new ways, indie games have found a nicer seat at the table, and even the handhelds had a banner year with several Vita and 3DS titles turning heads. Here are our 2013 E3 Best in Show Awards:
BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS
Batman: Arkham Asylum, relatively unknown developer Rocksteady kicked off the best comic-based game series of the modern generation. For the third entry, the highly successful studio has handed development
duties over to Warner Bros. Games Montreal, and the franchise doesn't look to be skipping a beat. Batman: Arkham Origins is a prequel
title that follows Batman in his rough and tumble years, pitting him against a
younger Joker and other villains like Deathstroke and Black Mask. The visceral, responsive combat still serves as the heart of the experience, along with new
detective gameplay that lets Batman rewind crime scenes to aid investigation.
Arkham Origins feels great and promises to maintain the Caped Crusader's good
THE WALKING DEAD: 400 DAYS
Telltale's The Walking
Dead: 400 Days bridges the gap between seasons one and two, and it
looks to keep everything we love about The Walking Dead. Tense decisions,
difficult choices, and plenty of jaw-dropping moments all return in a new scenario that follows
five different character stories and takes you from day one of the zombie
apocalypse all the way to day 400. That means different scenarios will
reflect the time in the world. In one story, a diner can look untouched, but
later have boarded-up windows, acting as a safe haven. Telltale showed off
newcomer Vince's story at E3, and the the dialogue was spot-on, balancing humor and
moral dilemmas. By the end of the tale, one thing was clear: Telltale still
knows how to shock. Not only did an alliance have to be forged, but plenty of
blood was shed to get there. That's some impressive emotional torture for only
one portion of this adventure.
THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE
After almost two decades
of single-player adventures, players finally got the chance at this
year's E3 to explore the world of Tamriel with other players at their side.
Elder Scrolls Online draws from many of the successful mechanics seen in recent
MMOs, boasting extensive voice acting, an action-oriented combat system, and
story-based questing that moves past the standard grind. While the true breadth
of any MMO is hard to gauge in a short hands-on session, Zenimax Online went a
long way towards proving to show goers that its new MMO has the chops to carry
the legendary moniker. Moreover, the announcement that Elder Scrolls Online is
coming to both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in addition to the previously
announced PC version assures that the same mass audience who enjoyed
Oblivion and Skyrim on consoles can give this new experiment a shot.
Battlefield 4's multiplayer would have stolen the show during any other E3, but this year a titan fell to Earth. Half of Respawn's development team is made up of former
Infinity Ward members, so you know Titanfall is poised to deliver in terms of
gameplay and customization. The team is so confident in its competitive
experience that there is no true single-player campaign. Instead, Titanfall merges the blockbuster campaign feel into multiplayer, with dramatic epilogue
and prologue missions, along with NPC fodder to bring war zones to life. The cat and mouse gameplay between the mechanical Titans and their lithe pilots captured the imagination of E3 showgoers, and it was easily the most talked about multiplayer game at the show.
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