With E3 2014 winding up over the next few hours, it's time for our annual set of Game Debate E3 awards. As many of you found when we asked you to pick your personal favourites yesterday, selecting from the vast number of titles on show was pretty tricky; there are just so many great games out there that we can't wait to get our hands on.
Nonetheless, we've looked at what we think were the best games in a number of categories at E3 2014, and selected a number of stand out titles to win the Game Debate's best in show awards. Not only have we looked at stand out titles in various genres, but we've also selected the games we were most impressed with on each gaming platform...
Best RPG - The Witcher 3
It seems crazy to say in a year with a fair bit of decent RPG fodder on show, but this award was a no-brainer for us. Whilst we remain excited about Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, CD Projekt RED has never let us down thus far and, judging by what we’ve seen of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt so far, it's not about to start now. The game is still eight months from release and gameplay already shows a huge amount of polish, whilst CDPR have proved they’re not afraid to fly in the face of shareholders and profit margins if it helps them develop a game that they’re proud of. Roll on February 24th.
Best Action - Batman: Arkham Knight
The Arkham series has returned to the hands of Rocksteady for this iteration, and from what we’ve seen the veteran Batman studio looks ready to deliver. As well as looking slick, Arkham Knight is packed full of all our favourite Batman villains, including the new, mysterious Arkham Knight himself. Arkham Origins was a little disappointing for many fans last year, but this iteration looks like it could really bring the series back to its former glory.
Best Shooter - Rainbow Six Siege
When we saw that Rainbow Six had been reinvented as an online-only quickfire-round shooter we heaved a collective sigh. Once we’d seen Ubisoft’s latest in action though that all changed; the jaw-dropping destruction system opens up so many tactical opportunities that we can’t to try out. Ever since we spent hours shooting out all the lights in Goldeneye 64 this level of destruction has been a gaming pipedream, but no more when Rainbow Six Siege arrives next year.
Best Strategy - Civilization: Beyond Earth
Competition wasn’t exactly tight in this category, with a sad lack of big name strategy titles getting an appearance at this year’s E3. Of the few that turned up Civilization: Beyond Earth was undoubtedly the pick of the bunch. Bringing back fond memories of Alpha Centauri, Civilization: Beyond Earth is far more hostile than anything we’ve experience in Civilization before, tasking you with survival on a harsh alien planet while the variations on units looks fantastic.
Best Sports - FIFA 15
We’ve waited for a new graphics engine for the FIFA series for what has felt like years. After FIFA 14 made the leap on the next-gen console we were left out in the dark on PC, but at last we’re seeing the beautiful game in a beautiful new engine. The move to fully-realised crowds and far more detailed player models truly bring this one to life, while the new emotional response gameplay looks like it could really dynamically affect play for the 2015 iteration of this franchise.
Best Multiplayer/Co-op - Assassin’s Creed Unity
Those who shun the single player experience will have found plenty to suit them at this year’s E3. Not only did we see some exciting new multiplayer titles on stage - including Evolve and Rainbow Six: Siege - but undoubtedly the most talked about co-op and multiplayer experience of the conference was Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s 4 player co-op. Demonstrated in detail in a brilliantly descriptive Ubisoft trailer, the co-op looks like it could add a whole extra dimension to this title. Here’s hoping it lives up to expectations!
Best Indie - Ori And The Blind Forest
Whilst the talk of E3 tended to stay largely on the AAA reveals and big console exclusives, we saw both Sony and Microsoft attempting to deliver on their promises to offer a range of indie titles on PSN and XBLA. There were plenty that caught our eye - including Limbo devs second title Inside, Abzu (from the developers of Journey) and PS4 exclusive Entwined. In the end, however, the decision was simple. When an indie dev delivers a stunning trailer and promptly talks about creating a gameplay-driven experience, we sat up and listened. Ori and the Blind Forest hits PC and Xbox One this Autumn, and boy are we keeping our eye on it.
Best Racing - The Crew
We know this has got a huge following at GD and we love the look of it too, offering up huge coast to coast races, a massive single-player campaign and a massively in-depth multiplayer system. It’s not often we get a racing game with a massive and persistent open-world but having seen the information blow-out at E3 2014 we can’t wait to get behind the wheel and speed our way across the good old US of A.
Best Sequel - Far Cry 4
It felt like it was the year of the sequel at E3, but there was in particular that felt like it had come on in leaps and bounds from its predecessor. Far Cry 3’s idyllic island paradise was fun to rampage in sure, but Far Cry 4’s breathtaking Himalayan mountain looks truly insane. Vertiginous cliff faces, wingsuit mayhem, exploding elephants and breakneck chases along precipitous ledges means Far Cry 4 is going to be tough to be when it launches later this year.
Best New IP - Evolve
Asymmetric multiplayer is a hot industry buzzword at the moment, but nowhere is the concept demonstrated better than in Evolve. Pitting a team of four hunters against a single player-controlled monster, Evolve takes the teamwork required in Left 4 Dead to the next level. Class specific abilities mean every player needs to pull their weight, while the organic wildlife adds yet another layer of threat to both hunter and hunted. Plus, who doesn’t want to rampage around a jungle as the Goliath, snaffling up unwitting hunters.
Best Sony Exclusive - Bloodborne
Undoubtedly the highlight of Sony’s jam-packed E3 press conference, Bloodborne is Dark Souls reimagined. Featuring fast-paced combat, gruesome enemies, and a fully-fledged open-world, this is a tantalising prospect from From Software. Looking darker than any game from the studio that comes before it, Bloodborne is a gothic adventure that is sure to make Sony’s next-gen console stand out from the crowd when it arrives next year.
Best Xbox Exclusive - Sunset Overdrive
When Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac Games jumped ship and announced an exclusive for Xbox One, we knew it was going to be batshit crazy. Nothing prepared us for Sunset Overdrive though, a colour-drenched bombastic open-world shooter that’s as much Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater as it is Resistance: Fall of Man. The eye-catching visual style and fast-paced gameplay means Microsoft has a sure-fire hit on its hands come this holiday season.
Best Nintendo Exclusive - Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
The Legend Of Zelda Wii U version might have been a contender for this award, but the limited amount of air time and the tiny clip we saw suggested to us that that particular title probably won't be hitting our shelves much before 2016. Fortunately, Nintendo had another gorgeous looking bit of fun up their sleeved in the form of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. The Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World were one of the highlights of the game, so hearing that Nintendo were releasing a game dedicated to this pure joy was music to our ears.
Best PC Game - GTA 5
It’s been a long time coming, but GTA has finally been confirmed for PC and next-gen, and from what we’re seeing, the visual upgrade looks stunning. Without the significant hardware limitations of last-gen tech, Los Santos looks like it will be more engaging than ever, and it’s this above all else that made GTA 5 out most hyped PC title of E3. Credit has to go to Rockstar for this one; it takes an impressive kind of developer to steal the show at E3 without even showing up in person.