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The best games of E3 2014

Date

James 'DexX' Dominguez

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Sunset Overdrive: fast, fun, and wonderfully silly.

Sunset Overdrive: fast, fun, and wonderfully silly.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, held every June in Los Angeles, is an opportunity for every video game publisher and studio to show off what they have been working on for years.

There are hundreds of games on show, and competition is fierce. Every exhibitor wants to catch more eyes than their neighbours, but some titles rise above the rest.

The following is our top ten list of the most interesting, original, and intriguing games that were running at E3. Games that were only shown in video form have not been included; only those that were demonstrated with functional code, either demonstrated or hands-on.

Shadow of Mordor - There has never been a really solid Lord of the Rings video game, but this may be the first. Utilising a revolutionary "nemesis system", this tale of a ranger who can never die trying to destroy the leadership of Sauron's armies will react to everything the player does. Felled enemies will be replaced by their squabbling underlings, failed assassinations will lead to orc leaders bolstering their defences, and more. It is very ambitious, but seems to be fulfilling its promise. (October 2014)

Batman: Arkham Knight - Last year we had Arkham Origins, a disappointing prequel made by a ring-in studio. This time, series creator Rocksteady is back, and they have turned the Batman goodness up to 11. The entire city of Arkham is the playground, and players will be able to explore it at high speed in the Batmobile for the very first time. This may be their best one yet. (Early 2015)

Dragon Age: Inquisition - With the more powerful technology in the next generation of consoles, game studios are expanding older franchises in amazing ways. The new Dragon Age looks astonishing, giving players a gigantic open world to explore, filled with deeper interactions and more dynamic combat than ever before. Players have the choice to either brawl and fling spells in real time, switching between allies on the fly, or pausing the action and give orders. (October 2014)

Destiny - Halo creators Bungie announced their next title a long time ago, but it is finally almost upon us. A natural evolution of the work done on their most famous creation, Destiny is a sprawling science fiction epic, in which players can team up to fight a guerrilla war against a sinister alien threat. It features robust character customisation, a massive range of equipment and skills, and a vast online world, blurring the boundaries between shooter and MMO. (September 2014)

Hotline Miami 2 - Ultraviolent pixel art is back, in the form of Hotline Miami 2. The original was one of the surprise hits of 2012, a massive indie blockbuster made by only two friends. This sequel is officially the last in the series, and includes a deep but simple-to-use level editor with which players will be able to make and share their own unofficial sequels for years to come. (Spring 2014)

Ori and the Blind Forest - The great success of beautiful, thoughtful independent games has led to big studios and publishers mimicking their style. Ori is a platform adventure in the vein of Limbo, Braid, and Child of Light, a stunningly beautiful game that has been four years in the making. Apart from being a feast for the eyes, it also carries genuine emotional weight. It is so impressive that Microsoft apparently considered starting their press conference with it instead of Call of Duty, high praise indeed. (Spring 2014)

Alien: Isolation - James Cameron's Aliens has become such a cultural touchstone that many people forget the impact of its slower, quieter, and far more terrifying precursor, Ridley Scott's Alien. Finally, the chilling original is getting its own game, a sequel of sorts subtitled Isolation. This is not an action game, but terrifying survival horror, with Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda going in search of her missing mother and instead finding the same deadly creature. This is seriously scary stuff. (October 2014)

Rainbow Six: Siege - Fan favourite franchise Rainbow Six has been missing from our screens for six years, and when a new entry was announced at Ubisoft's press conference on Monday, the auditorium broke out in ecstatic applause. Special siege-breaking police attempt to break into urban fortresses to rescue hostages in this team-based tactical multiplayer game. It's tough, technologically breathtaking, and amazing. (2015)

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - Super Mario 3D World on Wii U featured a handful of adorable bonus levels, featuring Captain Toad, a treasure seeking adventurer. These levels were puzzles rather than action sequences, rewarding careful play and forward planning more than twitchy reflexes. Fans demanded a dedicated Captain Toad game, and Nintendo has delivered. It's everything we wanted and more; cute, clever, and challenging. (Holidays 2014)

Sunset Overdrive - At E3 2013, an Xbox exclusive title was revealed in a brief video that told its audience almost nothing about the game. We heard little about Sunset Overdrive for most of the ensuing year, until we were suddenly given a flood of details and it turned out to be fantastic. Coming from the people who made Ratchet & Clank, this is riotous, acrobatic shooter in a day-glo world packed with hilarious over-the-top violence. It's fast, fun, and wonderfully silly. (October 2014)

Special mentions should also go to:

Valiant Hearts: The Great War - A beautiful hand-drawn platformer inspired by real WW1 letters.

Fantasia - A Kinect title for Xbox One that puts the player inside classical and contemporary music.

Assassin's Creed: Unity - Controversy over a lack of female characters aside, addition of co-op play is very welcome.

Heroes of the Storm - A riotous mash-up of Blizzard's characters in an online brawl.

Super Smash Bros - It's been a long wait, but Nintendo's celebration of their favourite characters is looking good.

Forza Horizon 2 - Another huge, open-world driving game, exclusive to Xbox One, that is staggeringly pretty.

Magic 2015 - Finally players will be able to build their own Magic decks from scratch.

Bloodborne - A PS4 exclusive from the creators of Dark Souls in a Van Helsing-esque gothic world.

The Order 1886 - A gorgeous PS4 exclusive, this one mixing Ripper-era London with supernatural creatures and a dark rebellion.

Disagree with our list? Suggest your own titles in the comments below.

DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

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