Our E3 2014 Awards – What Impressed Us The Most

David Howard

David Howard

Editor-in-Chief

on June 13, 2014 at 5:00 PM

As the doors at E3 close for another year, the videogame industry’s biggest event has produced yet another impressive year with games galore. In the past four or five years there has always been either a newly announced peripheral or the announcement of (or lead-up to) a console launch – this year was the first time that was not the case. It’s therefore somewhat surprising that Sony didn’t make more of Project Morpheus during their conference other than a passing mention of it. There was, of course, also a lot of titles that were no shows, but we’ve decided to focus just on the titles that were there.

To celebrate yet another cracking E3, we’ve compiled a list of our very own winners; those games, trailers or surprises that impressed us the most and stay at the forefront of our minds.

Best Game

First up, is No Man’s Sky as Best Game. Officially revealed at VGX 2014 to a rapturous reception, a then four-man team at Guildford-based developer Hello Games took the headlines. Showcasing a game that was both conceptually brilliant but also expertly realised, filled with vibrant colours, interesting environments, and providing the opportunity to fulfil the dreams of many space exploration enthusiasts, No Man’s Sky looked mightily impressive. It’s showing at E3 only furthered this feeling.

Confirmation that the title will be hitting PlayStation 4 first grounds it in reality, a game that is well and truly heading to a TV screen near you at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future. Outside of a wonderfully (and procedurally generated) stylised world, No Man’s Sky will allow you to explore the vastness of space with the with almost total freedom in what you want to do. You can spend all of your time discovering new worlds, attacking or defending convoys, searching out other players that begin far, far away from you, or going on an adventure towards the centre of the universe.

No Man’s Sky is undoubtedly a hugely ambitious project, but one that has garnered near universal love and intrigue from day one – there’s no better response for a developer – and, just like VGX, it has taken E3 by storm.

Honourable mentions: Assassin’s Creed: Unity, The Division, Rainbow: Six: Siege, Sunset Overdrive, Evolve.

Best Trailer

The era of the E3 trailer is well and truly upon us, with almost every game receiving the treatment, but which ones stood out amongst the rest? Would it be the most emotive? Perhaps the most obscure? Or just the one with the most explosions? The answer is a combination of all three as Sunset Overdrive takes our Best Trailer award.

As the trailer was unveiled during Microsoft’s E3 press conference, most seemed to wonder why Battlefield Hardline (EA’s latest instalment in the popular franchise) would appear after Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare opened the show. As it transpired the bait and switch from Insomniac Games was what kickstarted this brilliant trailer. It had everything: a killer soundtrack, humour, quality CGI and was closed out with a seamless transition into some fantastic looking gameplay.

Honourable mentions: The Division, Dead Island 2, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Best Debut

Every year that are a selection of games that make their debuts at E3 and this year was no different. Whilst there were lots of titles that garnered interest, it was the final debuting (after May’s leak of “Project Beast”) of Bloodborne that we’ve given Best Debut to.

The title is in development at From Software (the studio behind PlayStation 3 exclusive Demon’s Souls and the multiplatform series Dark Souls) and will be heading to the PlayStation 4 exclusively in 2015 (with a spring release now rumoured). With Hidetaka Miyazaki reprising the role as director, the spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls is set in the fictional city of Yharnham in the 19th century and will sport a romantic blend of the Victorian and medieval eras.

A dark and mysterious debut trailer has since been accompanied by some terrific looking gameplay and for anyone who’s a fan of the new dubbed “Souls” genre, Bloodborne is shaping up to be a big hitter.

Honourable mentions: LittleBigPlanet 3, Halo: Master Chief Collection, Crackdown, Splatoon.

Best Gameplay Trailer

Whilst Sunset Overdrive may have taken the best trailer, the Best Gameplay Trailer goes to Rainbow Six: Siege. As this year’s final reveal at the Ubisoft conference (which is now somewhat of an expectation), Siege was unveiled as the newest title in the Rainbow Six series and replaces Patriots – which has subsequently been canned due to development issues.

It was the ideal way to show off such an impressive looking title and the level of destruction – which in compliments the degree of tactics required – was jaw-dropping. It, as The Division and Watch Dogs videos have in previous years, announced Siege in the best possible way and has it atop of many people’s most anticipated lists. The advantage of already having such a refined gameplay trailer is not worth underestimating and given that Siege is expected next year it gives great hopes of a truly spectacular game without a spectacular wait.

Honourable mentions: Assassin’s Creed: Unity, No Man’s Sky, Far Cry 4, The Division.

Best Reveal

A large part of a successful reveal is how much expectation and anticipation there is for a title. Whilst both Bloodborne and the Halo: Master Chief Collection were well received and aptly revealed, it’s LittleBigPlanet 3 that wins our Best Reveal.

With Media Molecule stating that they weren’t going to be at E3 the expectation of anything from them quickly vanished – despite those of us, myself included, that thought they might be bluffing. It seemed as though they had been telling porkies when LittleBigPlanet 3 popped up on the screen during the Sony press conference but with Sumo Digital and XDev developing the title their words remain entirely valid.

A delightful gameplay demonstration – with the reveal of the whimsical new trio of characters – was only bettered by the announcement of a November 2014 release. Having games announced and revealed within five months is something of a rarity but is mightily refreshing. It also helps bolster a somewhat spare exclusive line-up for Sony this winter.

Honourable mentions: Grim Fandango, Halo: Master Chief Collection, Bloodborne, Crackdown.

Biggest Surprise

Surprises are often the best thing about E3 and this year had some great ones. LittleBigPlanet 3, as mentioned above was a pleasant surprise, whilst the reveal of the Battlefield Hardline Beta going live during the EA press conference was a master stroke – as was Destiny’s PlayStation 4 exclusive four-day alpha period. However, the Biggest Surprise at E3 this year was the Grim Fandango HD reveal.

I must confess at having never played LucasArts title my excitement is somewhat reserved, but I know that many of the staff are ecstatic of the news. Under the wing of Tim Schafer once again – though now at Double Fine – the ‘currently’ PlayStation 4 and Vita exclusive was extremely well received during the conference and currently came out of the blue.

Honourable mentions: LittleBigPlanet 3, Battlefield Hardline Beta, Destiny PlayStation exclusive Alpha.

Favourite Common Theme

There was a clear theme running through many of the games at E3 this year: that playing with your friends is number one priority. Our Favourite Common Theme was indeed the prevalence of Co-op. Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Evolve, Fable Legends, The Division, Far Cry 4, The Crew, Driveclub, Destiny, LittleBigPlanet 3, Super Smash Bros., Yoshi Woolly Word, Splatoon, Rainbow Six: Siege, the list goes on. Although some of these obviously feature competitive multiplayer as well, there’s an emphasis on teamwork and cooperative play.

Personally, I’m unbelievably pleased. Multiplayer is a gamemode I can usually take or leave but playing on the same side with friends (usually against an AI opponent) is something I absolutely adore. Four-player Assassin’s Creed? I can’t wait. Forming a close-knit team in The Division? I’m there. All that’s left is for EA to announced a two-player mode in Mirror’s Edge 2 and all my wishes will have been answered.

Honourable mentions: Indie games not being referred to as indie games, 2015 is the year.

Favourite Gameplay Feature

In keeping with our favourite common theme is our Favourite Gameplay Feature which goes to Far Cry 4’s gameless co-op mode on PlayStation 4. Being able to play Ubisoft’s latest Far Cry title without even needing the game is both fantastic news and incredibly clever. It acts as an incredibly marketing tool, allowing players to either show off the title or try it out with a friend, and also gives a significant reason to purchase the PlayStation 4 version over any other – a big win for Sony undoubtedly.

Given that this seems set to become a core functionality component of the PS4 it could be just the first of many games to include such a feature and I cannot wait to see how it works out.

Honourable mentions: LittleBigPlanet 3’s new trio of characters, No Man’s Sky’s procedural ‘infinite’ universe, Splatoon’s ink-based mechanics.

Most Anticipated Game

Finally, our final award is that of our Most Anticipated Game. Whilst this doesn’t feature the complex algorithm that is used for our yearly Most Anticipated Games feature, it was a landslide victory for No Man’s Sky.

Unsurprising perhaps, given that it was also the winner of Best Game, but No Man’s Sky has captured the excitement of nearly everyone who has laid their eyes upon it. 2015 cannot come soon enough.

Honourable mentions: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, The Division.