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40 Features

The Best Games of E3 2014

By CVG Staff on Tuesday 17th Jun 2014 at 9:00 AM UTC

Over the past seven days we've spent every waking moment of our video game-loving existence absorbing everything E3 2014 had to offer.

And by everything, we mean everything. In addition to covering the Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft and EA press conference; providing breaking news as and when it happens; interviews with developers and executives; previews; podcasts and more, we also scoured the show floor having a go on anything with a controller connected to it.

The games that we played or saw that stuck with us were given hand-crafted Game of the Show awards (yes, they're actually hand-crafted) to our favourites. There were 15 awards in total, and below are all the games we picked, selected by CVG's US and London team.

Rainbow Six: Siege

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Developer: Ubisoft
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Rainbow Six: Siege reveal trailer

We might never get another Rainbow Six Vegas, but Rainbow Six: Siege feels like it's taking the best aspect of the first two Vegas games (Terrorist Hunt), and spinning out into a full gam. Oh, and also throwing in the tension and precision of Counter-Strike, along with the destruction of Battlefield.

Ubisoft debuted a gameplay demonstration in its press conference - which CVG later played - featuring a team of four players on a mission to rescue a hostage being kept in a house. The multi-stage mission involved scoping out a house, coming up with a plan and then executing it. Like Counter-Strike, the action was all focused on a single, contained location, which has meant that its developers are able to make destructibility a central focus.

Everything, and we mean everything, seemed like it could be chipped away at and destroyed. In the demo both the cops and the bad guys were punching holes in walls, blowing up ceilings and more to get a bead on their enemy. Combined with co-op, this means that, when you're up against a team that communicates well, you're never truly in a safe spot. That level of tension is exciting to us.

You'd be surprised how closely the chatter during a real game resembles the scripted communication shown in Ubisoft's gameplay demo. However, as those who played Vegas or CS can attest to, the best laid plans of first-person shooter players almost always go awry, and the thrills of that mode were in dealing with the situations that arose as the enemy reacted to you. If Seige's final form can extend the promising gameplay experience of the E3 demo, it could take the series to new heights.

Buy now from Amazon

Assassin's Creed Unity

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Developer: Ubisoft
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Assassin's Creed Unity co-op gameplay video

We're intrigued how Assassin's Creed Unity turns out, given the success of Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, which threw much of the old formula into the sea; giving players to option to completely ignore the majority of the game in favour of pirating. Will Unity have a similarly unique hook, or will it fall back into old habits? That's the big question.

For now, we've really warmed to the idea of four-assassins teaming up to rid Paris of the Templar influence and deliver the people to a new age of prosperity. Ubisoft has a good track record of making thrilling co-operative gameplay experiences, most notably in the Splinter Cell series. If the same creativity is applied to Assassin's Creed Unity, we're in for something special.

Ubisoft's visually stunning E3 demo - which we saw played live on console - showcased missions which were appropriate in scope to accommodate four players. Both the outside and inner areas looked large enough to offer each player a unique objective or role to play, instead of just having three friends tag along on a single-player mission. We really like the idea of teaming up with friends in Assassin's Creed; each player bringing their own unique personality to their play style; having to rescue comrades and relaying on them too, letting the tactician come up with the flawless plan to execute the mission, and comprehensively failing to deliver on it.

Assassin's Creed Unity feels like a fresh start for the series and is easily looking like one of the most impressive new-gen titles of 2014.

Buy now from Amazon

Battlefield Hardline

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Developer: Visceral Games
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Battlefield Hardline teaser trailer

If it weren't for the Rapture-esque leaks, Battlefield Hardline's reveal - and immediate availability as a PS4 and PC closed beta - would've been one of the most impressive announcements of E3 2014.

And the real reason that Battlefield: Hardline is an exciting prospect, despite being strikingly similar to the recently released Battlefield 4, is pretty much a cliche: cops and robbers.

There's no denying the appeal of the old law-v-criminals theme, it's why we've played so much Payday and seen Heat so many times. But Hardline sets it apart with its scale and by being completely over-the-top in its action.

In the gameplay demo we played at E3 (and many of you via the PS4 beta), the heist escalates into a city-wide war in which the bad guys and the cops are essentially levelling buildings. That's pretty much the worst case scenario for a bank robber, but who cares about getting away with the crime when you're having that much fun doing it?

Buy now from Amazon

Batman Arkham Knight

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Developer: Rocksteady Games
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Batman: Arkham Knight gameplay trailer

Up until now what we've seen of Batman: Arkham City has been focused on the Batmobile, and Rocksteady's E3 demo was no different.

But the hands-on showcase suggested there's more to Batman's ride than just storming from A to B; Battle Mode transforms the Batmobile into a menacing, charcoal tank, allowing Bats to fire a powerful cannon at unmanned drones with full 360-degree movement.

The third-person shooter gameplay added another layer to the vanilla Arkham gameplay. And let's be honest; even if Arkham Knight is more of the same with a Batmobile and incredible - and we mean incredible - visuals, most fans will be OK with that. Let's not forget that 'the same' happens to be two of the best Batman games ever.

The next-gen depiction of Gotham City, with its dense architecture, gloomy alleyways and blinding lights has us incredibly excited at the prospect of getting back in to the bat boots again.

Buy now from Amazon

Mortal Kombat X

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Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC
Mortal Kombat X gameplay footage

After all these years, the joys of bloody and brutal battles to the death in Mortal Kombat still haven't diminished one bit, which might say a little something about us more than the series.

But Mortal Kombat has become so much more than a game of nasty thrills. NetherRealm's games no longer rely on shallow shock-tactics to sell (though X's E3 demo had plenty). They are satisfyingly deep while remaining accessible and beautiful to look at.

And best of all, NetherRealm isn't afraid to try new things. In Mortal Kombat X, a significant portion of the cast will be completely new characters, with some being related to classic characters. In addition, each character will have three varied fighting styles, which no doubt will make balancing the game a gargantuan task for its developer, but makes for a far more interesting gameplay experience. In the demo we played, every variety of Scorpion felt and played vastly different.

NetherRealm has also teased a persistent online gameplay mode which every player will feed into. While there hasn't been much more said about it, we're imagining an ongoing online Mortal Kombat tournament, where players fight for the survival of their chosen realms. We can't wait for this.

Buy now from Amazon

The Witcher 3

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Developer: CD Projekt RED
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
The Witcher 3 gameplay demo

CD Projekt is fast becoming the pre-eminent RPG developer in the west. Although some may cite BioWare, or perhaps Bethesda, what sets the studio apart is its commitment to delivering an undiluted role-playing experience.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the last game in the story of Geralt and, at this point, we're committed. We've spent hundreds of hours with the character in the world of The Witcher, so it's no surprise that seeing it all conclude excites us more than the finale to Game of Thrones.

Thankfully, it seems CD Projekt Red is pulling out all the stops for the last game; the E3 demo we saw showcased a game world exponentially larger in scope, which also somehow seems to have been given the same care and attention that the smaller predecessors enjoyed.

The new monster hunting gameplay opportunities shown in LA will no doubt provide ample opportunity to immerse ourselves further into the world and embody the legendary Witcher like never before. We are all kinds of hyped.

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