For our first official E3, we spent hours in the trenches, previewing as many games as possible. There were some games that stood out more than others, and made a defining statement at E3 2014. It's those games that we are choosing to honor with the first annual Arcade Sushi Best Games Ever (This Year) awards. The only qualification for entry was that the game was in a playable form at E3 2014.
We dug deep through our coverage, and managed to find the ten games worthy of earning a nod as one of E3 2014's Best Games Ever (This Year).
We love a game that doesn't take itself seriously. The more a game can win us over with over-the-top insanity and really fun gameplay, we'll more than likely love it forever. Sunset Overdrive has that potential, based on the demo we played at Xbox's booth. The multiplayer mode called Chaos Squad saw a team of eight of us trying to deflect waves of the monstrous enemies we've seen in all of the trailers, and doing so is pure insanity in video game form. We beheaded one poor sap with a vinyl record launcher. We blew up another with a Chinese firework gun.We found a group of enemies huddled together and blew them away with a fire-spewing shotgun. Even the classic machine gun was called the AK-FU, which we happily shouted as we blew them away. That demo was a blast, and we hope the whole game is the same way.
The Witcher 3: Wild HuntPC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
It'd be easy to say The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt just takes the existing Witcher series and makes it... witchier... but it does so much more. The world is gigantic. Not only that, but it's fully explorable to the tiniest detail. The combat has been refined and the presentation has been taken up so many more notches, it needs a new belt. CD Projekt Red isn't just creating the most robust Witcher experience, it's likely creating the most robust action RPG ever.
Tales from the BorderlandsPC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
We thought we would see the story-telling excellence of Telltale Games in the Tales from the Borderlands demo. We hoped we would see some of Borderlands' humor and insanity, but not so much that it took the attention away from Telltale's methods. What we got is a perfect marriage of the two; a match made in Heaven, and a game that could end up being Telltale's best yet. Tales from the Borderlands spins an interesting and intriguing narrative around the vibrant world of Pandora and the funny-but-insane people who live there, with plenty of new additions to both to make things seem fresh. The Borderlands touches will keep longtime fans happy, while the Telltale format is the strongest it's ever been for fans of the developer. Let's hope this becomes a catalyst for more game worlds in Telltale's format... Mass Effect Tales, anyone?
Developers have shown us what war looks like on the frontlines as a soldier, but we've rarely gotten a glimpse of the effects war has on the common man. This War of Mine delves deep into what it means to be a survivor. There are no respawns. There is no regenerating health. There is only the crushing reality that every day is a struggle to make it to the next. It's not just a matter of living though, it's a matter of how far you'll go to live.
Disney Fantasia: Music EvolvedXbox One, Xbox 360
We had very little expectations for Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved heading into E3. Dancing games have never really been our forte, and any game using the Kinect exclusively usually gives us a lot of pause. Believe us then when we tell you that Fantasia blew us away. You're not just dancing to pre-determined moves, you're not even dancing at all; instead you're manipulating sound with your movements, moving and swaying to the rhythm of a chart-topping pop song or classical masterpiece and literally bending it to your will. The game gives you three different remixes of whatever song you choose, then lets you mix them however you wish. Some sections can even be remixed mid-song and added to the track with no problem. This is the music game that could revitalize the entire genre, as it's fresh and new and everything that the music genre forgot how to do. We are all-in on Fantasia.
Alien: IsolationPC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
If you've been waiting for a video game to deliver the ultimate Alien experience, the wait is almost over. Our time with Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation left us cowering in the darkness, afraid to even step out into the light for fear of having our faces expunged by a xenomorph. The atmosphere of the original film is captured perfectly. The tension. The anxiety. The knowledge that you are not alone and everything else is out to kill you. It's all there. And it's wonderful.
Super Smash Bros.Wii U, Nintendo 3DS
Conversely from Fantasia, we had incredibly high hopes for Super Smash Brothers on Wii U when entering the Los Angeles Convention Center. We knew we'd want to play as many matches as we could to study every inch of the game, hoping our lofty hopes would be realized. Those hopes weren't just realized, they were transcended in a way we never expected. Super Smash Brothers for Wii U is the most crisp, tightly-controlled Smash yet, bringing the action to a perfect pace between the turbo-quick Melee and the slowed-down Brawl. Each new character in the E3 demo fits the format like a glove, with Little Mac and Rosalina particularly standing out. Each stage is colorful and detailed to the smallest minutiae, giving longtime Nintendo fans plenty to look for. The wait for Smash was hard before, but after tasting the forbidden fruit, it's become agonizing. We need it now.
Titan SoulsPC, PlayStation 4, PS Vita
Titan Souls is as gorgeous as it is deadly. In a game where just one hit kills you, you don't get a lot of time to take in the sights. At least, not with your first life. By the time you've been felled by any one of Titan Souls' challenging bosses, you've gained an appreciation for the thoughtful design of the game's world. That's saying nothing of the titans themselves, which are just as eye-catching and twice as deadly. If there was ever an example of beauty in simplicity, Titan Souls is it.
The Order: 1886PlayStation 4
Rare is the game where we briefly forget that the characters on-screen aren't real human actors, but 3D models of men and women under our control. The visual quality of The Order: 1886 is downright stunning, with some of the most lifelike on-screen movements and characters we've ever seen. The third-person action is tuned to perfection, building on cover-based shooters like Gears of War and exceeding them in every way. The new weaponry is particularly impressive too; the Thermite Rifle blasts a cloud of ash at enemies with one button press, then shoots a small flare with the other button, igniting the cloud and incinerating any poor bastard caught in it. There are other more standard weapons, but creative ones like this are what will make The Order stand out in the very crowded shooter market. We're confident The Order: 1886 will be a landmark game for Ready at Dawn, as that brief demo we played at Sony's booth was one of the best we played at the show.
EvolvePC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
With Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock Studios created a game full of memories of us and our friends surviving the zombie apocalypse. Based on what we've played of Evolve, the studio is going to be generating new and exciting memories for us once again. Coopetition has taken many forms before, but the whole of Evolve is based around the concept of four men being equal to one. Whether playing as man or beast (or robot), Evolve presents players with a lot of strategic options for making each encounter different. More importantly however, it makes each encounter fun. We can't wait to hunt down our friends. We know they definitely can't wait to tear us apart.