5 Rip-Roaring Games That Need To Be On Your E3 2013 Radar

E3 2013 Press Conference 640x360 5 Rip Roaring Games That Need To Be On Your E3 2013 Radar

E3: where the world’s media stands up and pays attention to the video game industry. The Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles is without doubt the largest annual convention on the gaming calendar and this year’s event is poised to be the most significant in over half a decade. Next-gen has arrived. The Xbox One and Playstation 4 are out in the public ether and, following Nintendo’s humble omission, three have become two. Sony and Microsoft’s head-to-head rivalry is a battleground that Nintendo have duly stepped away from – instead focusing on a software-centric Nintendo Direct that will last for one hour – leaving the industry heavyweights the freedom of the ring. In 6 days, the bid for gaming supremacy will commence at E3 2013.

We even have the introduction of new, alternative game consoles to contend with in the shape of Valve’s Steam box and the budget-friendly Ouya. Though the former won’t be present at next week’s expo, these two niche products convey just how far E3 has come from centring on the three industry giants and their exclusive skirmish to capture gamers’ imagination. And now, it seems that battle has migrated to the living room as Microsoft look poised to go through with their long gestating plan to take over our living rooms. Those controversial specks of dust have barely settled in the aftermath of the company’s initial reveal of the Xbox One and the hullabaloo surrounding their next-gen mantra has positively irked the core audience. Mind you, most of the criticism levelled at the new console and its powerful yet contentious gaming architecture is understandable. Given the reliance on an internet connection – now stated to be once every 24 hours – and some pernickety, still transient digital rights management, Microsoft have their work cut out for them if they intend to steer public perception back on track.

On the other hand, Sony has managed to retain public mind share regarding the ongoing console war precisely because they left the decision concerning DRM in the hands of the publishers. Industry cornerstones such as Activision, Ubisoft and EA will have the responsibility to/to not (delete as appropriate) implement some form of restriction that forces consumers to validate their gaming purchase online. Although, given that the latter company are scrapping their online pass business model, it’s still unclear how these publishers will execute the now infamous red tape.

Furthermore, mandatory installation is something Sony has maneuvered away from in the press, so the fate of the second-hand market remains extremely precarious at this point in time. In saying that, it seems as though the used game may end up becoming a casualty in the inevitable transition to the digital age – as evidenced by GameStop’s shares dip following May 21st. Regardless, one thing that will survive the forthcoming technological leap is the video game itself, and boy, that’s an area E3 2013 is set to deliver in spades.

Of course, seeing new IPs for the very first time is part of the E3 fun, but as we stand on the cusp of the next era of gaming, let’s recap the most promising confirmed properties and whether or not they deserve our attention.

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1) Watch Dogs

watch dogs 1 5 Rip Roaring Games That Need To Be On Your E3 2013 Radar

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Third-Person Open World
Available For: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, Playstation 4 & Xbox One
Release Date: North America: November 19th/ Europe: November 22nd

Who watches the Watch Dogs?

Granted it’s not exactly a newcomer to the crowd given its show-stopping reveal last year, but Ubisoft’s upcoming cross platform, cross-generation sandbox game is riding a wave of buzz in the lead-up to E3 2013. Set in the very near future, Watch Dogs centres on an ambivalent antihero known as Aiden Pearce. Part-time vigilante, full-time hacker, Pearce is a downright murky protagonist who uses Chicago’s omnipresent supercomputer; CtOS – Central Operating System – to access every byte of information imaginable.

Think Grand Theft Auto meets Assassin’s Creed. An intelligent open world adventure game that challenges conventions as much as it draws from them – the in-game feature that reveals propensity to crime, for example, echoes Minority Report. The level of detail on show here is staggering and while the game will become available for both current-gen consoles and next-gen systems this November, it’s fair to say the game will flourish on the PS4 and Xbox One in terms of performance.

The team at Ubisoft have built a profound, immersive world and given the multitude of options at the players disposal – including the ability to manipulate traffic lights, retrieve bank data and even access personal information from NPC’s via an augmented reality feed – Watch Dogs appears to offer the kind of gaming experience that makes you forget to feed the cat. The footage we’ve seen so far pairs stunning visuals with dynamic, jaw-dropping gameplay and if last year’s vertical slice is indicative of the entire in-game metropolis, then we may have a true classic on our hands.

What we want to know:

  • Just how much of the game is scripted?
  • Will the world be open to explore from the get-go, or will it be unlocked in an area-to-area basis a la GTA?

E3 2013 Hype-o-meter: We tried 11, but ultimately had to settle for 10/10

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2) The Evil Within

Evil Within Story Key Features 5 Rip Roaring Games That Need To Be On Your E3 2013 Radar

Developer: Tango Gameworks
Genre: Third-Person Survival Horror
Available For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Playstation 4 & Xbox One
Release Date: TBC 2014

Straddling two generations like Watch Dogs before it, Shinji Mikami’s return to survival horror will be available on two versions of Sony and Microsoft’s consoles. Mind you, unlike the visually sumptuous urban locales of Watch Dogs, The Evil Within will take place in a dark, fear-inducing underworld. Players will peer anxiously over Sebastian’s shoulder for Mikami’s latest horror entry – which retains the familiarly claustrophobic third person point-of-view – a detective lost in a nightmarish realm after being knocked unconscious at the scene of a gruesome mass murder. With a minimalist HUD display and some truly arresting gore on show, The Evil Within doesn’t just ask for your attention, it absolutely demands for it.

In building a tense, visceral experience, the studio has crafted a game that not only hopes to serve as a faithful entry into the horror genre, but one that isn’t shy to turn the fear factor up to 11. Mikami’s mission to recapture the essence of survival horror is rather amiable. Particularly when you consider the recent track records of Resident Evil and Dead Space, which have each deviated from their initial promise of terror by veering towards the action genre. Diluting a franchise in favour of a broader audience is a tactic that Mikami is not fond of, particularly with his own beloved Resident Evil – in fact, since 5 and 6, the director has expressed his disappointment with the series’ tendency to ape Hollywood action.

Leaving crass, overused explosions at the wayside, The Evil Within seems to blend old school horror with an emphasis on providing a unique experience for the player. Limited ammo combined with shrill, unnerving music will surely induce a feeling of vulnerability and when it comes to Mikami’s latest terrorizing creation, it looks like the Japanese designer is poised to have our nerves on a razor’s edge once again. And hey, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

What we want to know:

  • Will the game take place exclusively in the nightmarish asylum?
  • Is there an emphasis on player choice? And how much does it affect the experience on a player-to-player basis?

E3 2013 Hype-o-meter: 9/10

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3) Super Smash Bros. 4

smashbroswiiu3ds 5 Rip Roaring Games That Need To Be On Your E3 2013 Radar

Developer: Sora LTD. / Namco Bandai Games
Genre: Arcade brawler
Available For: Wii U & 3DS
Release Date: TBC

Nintendo’s seminal brawling mash-up is poised for a triumphant return at this year’s E3. Though the game will be available on the portable 3DS, this is an important announcement for the company that could act as a long overdue shot in the arm for the Wii U. Initially announced two whole years ago, Super Smash Bros. 4 (not the official name) is – you guessed it – the fourth installment in Nintendo’s unfathomably popular series. It’s been a long time coming, but it looks as though this year fans will finally have their patience rewarded with some preliminary details on the next entry in the company’s beloved IP.

Super Smash Bros. will be available on the company’s 3DS, and while I personally find it hard to visualize the frantic experience on a 4 inch screen, Nintendo have promised that the game will feature some cross-platform play – including the ability to upload a customized version of your character from the handheld to the Wii U seamlessly. What’s more, Namco Bandai’s experience within the fighting genre – the studio has collaborated on the Tekken and Soul Caliber franchises in recent years – and their subsequent knowledge of HD brawlers will surely assist in delivering a true next-gen version of Super Smash Bros..

Since the first game in 1999, Masahiro Sakurai’s genre defining title has developed into a true pillar of the gaming industry. The kind that other franchises aspire to emulate and one that also serves as a true window of nostalgia into many a gamers’ childhood. Smash Bros. is renowned for its sense of humour and infinite replay value, so if the fourth iteration can build upon these fundamental qualities, then fans will be in for a treat during the company’s Nintendo Direct at E3.

What we want to know:

  • Will there be additions to the in-game roster?
  • Has the developing studio planned DLC for the game?

E3 2013 Hype-O-Meter: 8/10

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4) Batman: Arkham Origins

deathstroke 5 Rip Roaring Games That Need To Be On Your E3 2013 Radar

Developer: Warner Bros. Montreal
Genre: Third-Person Survival Horror
Available For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC & Wii U (Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate will be available for the Playstation Vita and 3DS concurrently)
Release Date: 25th October 2013

After delivering two excellent games in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, the development team at Rocksteady have passed along the winged mantle to Warner Bros. Montreal for Batman: Arkham Origins. Just like the title suggests, the third entry in the series is a prequel of sorts and will focus on the caped crusader during his preliminary days as a vigilante. The studio have promised a raw yet faithful rendition of Gotham’s dark knight and have announced their intention to draft in several villainous stalwarts for the game’s narrative.

In terms of story, Batman: Arkham Origins will be set against the festive period. As Christmas Eve descends on the streets of Gotham, Black Mask places a bounty on Batman’s head peaking interest from eight deadly assassins – including Deathstroke and Deadshot, which the studio recently confirmed. Though we haven’t witnessed any gameplay from Origins, it’d be safe to assume that Warner Bros. Montreal will build upon the core fighting mechanics that made the first two games so much fun to play, while tweaking the system here and there for increased realism. We do know that the garden variety enemies will have the ability to counter attacks in the game, which will lend credence to the immature feel of controlling a younger, wet behind the ears Batman.

Behind the scenes, however, the ongoing saga of Kevin Conroy remains rather ambivalent. At one stage he was ruled out of the game and then let slip that he has in fact voice acted as Batman and was simply abiding a NDR. However, with Roger Craig Smith voicing the younger Bats in Origins and Troy Baker replacing Mark Hamill as The Joker, how Conroy will fit into this prior universe remains to be seen. Perhaps Rocksteady are focusing on a next-gen title with Conroy and Arkham Origins is acting as a generational stop-gap in a similar vein to God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgement. Unfortunately, that’s a question we’ll just have to stick a pin in until next week.

What we want to know:

  • Will players face each villain sequentially or in a random order?
  • Does Warner Bros. Montreal plan to implement a multiplayer component?

E3 2013 Hype-O-Meter: 8/10

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5) Destiny

Destiny The Law of the Jungle G 08 5 Rip Roaring Games That Need To Be On Your E3 2013 Radar

Developer: Bungie
Genre: Massive Open-World Shooter
Available For: PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 & Xbox One
Release Date: TBC 2014

After defining an entire genre with their first-person Xbox exclusive Halo, Bungie have crafted a new sprawling space opera in Destiny. The project marks the studio’s change of publishers who, after previously working with Microsoft to bring the adventures of Master Chief to fruition, have partnered with Activision for a brand new franchise. Boasting the depth of an MMO, Destiny inhabits a universe set 700 years in the future, wherein factions of humanity have broken into colonies and diverged across the solar system. Wavering on the brink of extinction, the remnants of mankind take shelter within ‘The Traveller’ – the same divine-like sphere seen in the game’s advertisements – protected by the Guardians. Which is where we, the gamer, come into play.

A seamless experience. That’s the message Bungie have championed for their latest creation and one they hope to implement in the form of a dynamic, yet tangible gameplay experience. On-the-fly matchmaking and a deep layer of customization are integral strands in the game’s gargantuan DNA structure. Because more than anything, Destiny will be huge. Billed as a ‘Shared World Shooter’, this is a game that acts as a tantalizing microcosm for the potential depth and immersion future games will consider par of the course – the kind of interstellar world that is just too addicting and grand in scope to pull away from.

Will Destiny live up to its sprawling, unparalleled ambition? We’ll find out soon enough. Because truthfully, we haven’t seen much in terms of gameplay footage, which is an aspect you feel could make or break Bungie’s grand endeavor. Destiny needs to avoid the pitfalls that games such as Dust 514 fell into – see performance issues and clunky shooter mechanics. What’s more, the game focuses on co-operative play and will subsequently be always-online which, despite what developers continue to declare, is an in-game caveat that seems to do more harm than good. In saying that, the production value on display here is rather staggering and, come E3 2013, Bungie may well put these early preconceptions to bed when they take centre stage.

What we want to know:

  • Will Bungie implement cross-platform saves, or are they waiting for confirmation from Microsoft and Sony on the matter?
  • A detailed look at Destiny’s mobile interaction and just how it influences the game.

E3 2013 Hype-O-Meter: 9/10

Honourable Mentions: The Elder Scrolls Online, The Witcher 3, Thief, Saints Row 4, Battlefield 4, Beyond Two Souls, Pokémon X & Y, and Call Of Duty: Ghosts.

What do you make of the list? Are you excited for E3 2013? Tell us what games you’re most looking forward to see at the conference in the comments below.

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  • Punkindrublic1

    FFXIV ARR lol… Maybe if it came out in time about 4 years ago it might have made the list…oh well I’m still holding on to hope that it will be good. Hope there will be coverage on it at E3. Hope you guys will have someone on it at E3.