E3. The Pixel Party. The Digital Dance. The Big E. Every year, for four straight days, we’re bombarded by trailers, screenshots, and demos of tomorrow’s biggest games. But, of course, as with every bombastic battle royale, a winner must emerge from the annual gaming fracas in downtown Los Angeles. Below, you’ll find our awards for best in genre, as well as our editors’ best in show and dark-horse picks.
Keep in mind, however, that we flexed some restrictions about what could make the cut. Sure, plenty of games came out of E3 looking good. But looks aren’t enough when it comes to earning EGM’s coveted Best of E3 awards. The Crew decided that in order to qualify in any category, developers had to offer us more than a quaint little sojourn to Trailerton Abbey. To ensure our impressions and opinions offered the most value to you, intrepid readers, we only counted games demoed to us live or played by our own callus-covered hands.
Oh, and if you’d like a more in-depth discussion of everything we saw at E3, head on over to our Opinionated Guide to E3 2013 and check back on Monday for the E3 wrap-up edition of EGM’s Game Over Podcast.
For me, E3 2013 was about really getting up close and personal with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One—and, in that regard, I consider the show to have been a pretty decent success. And yet, the game I most gravitated toward was an upcoming release for our long-in-the-tooth current generation. That game? Dark Souls II. Shocking, I know—but with the developers swearing that the difficulty level won’t be dumbed down and my passion for From Software’s design philosophies flaring back up, I’m ready and raring to return to that world of pain.
Underappreciated Pick of the Show: Girl’s Fashion Shoot
One of my goals at EGM is to play those games no one else on staff will—so, my pick in this case is Girl’s Fashion Shoot, a quirky little Japan-developed 3DS title that starts with you trying to make it in the world of fashion modeling, and which ends with you heading up a popular fashion magazine. Until EGM allows me to fill our print pages with makeup tips and the latest fall fashions, I’ll have to live out my dreams digitally.
I always told anyone who’d listen that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was a far better Game of Thrones title than Cyanide’s atrocious official 2012 RPG incarnation of HBO’s dark, desperate, king-slaying epic. While I detested The Witcher 2’s cumbersome inventory, menu, and map systems, I absolutely loved the political intrigue and shades-of-gray decisions that truly impacted the proceedings. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks to keep all that while revamping the little details into a much more user-friendly, streamlined package, and I can’t wait to explore this vast world—said to be 35 times larger than the previous entry.
Underappreciated Pick of the Show: Total War: Rome II
I’ve always shamefully overlooked The Creative Assembly’s stellar RTS series, but no more. The epic, sprawling, historical Roman-era battles—complete with trampling elephants!—span from modern-day Spain to Afghanistan, and any strategy fan or history buff should put this one at the top of their list.
The enjoyment of my entire E3 hinged on this game, and I was so relieved to find out that Warner Bros. Montreal is building an experience that lives up to Rocksteady’s previous work. Plus, it’s constructed in a way that feels natural and makes perfect sense in the Batman universe. A crazy cadre of villains, tons of new gadgets, and a pumped-up Detective mode left this Bat-fan grinning ear to ear like he just breathed in some Smylex.
Underappreciated Pick of the Show: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
This was my favorite Nintendo experience at the show, and with good reason: Tropical Freeze features tight platforming, the return of underwater levels, and Dixie Kong making her Wii U debut.
Imagine the best session of Call of Duty multiplayer you’ve ever had, then add futuristic weaponry, jetpacks, and 10-foot mech suits that pick you up and stick you in their belly. That’s Titanfall, and it looked nothing short of amazing. The ambitious effort Respawn has put into crafting a multiplayer-only experience with all the cinematic immersion of a single-player campaign really shines through, and I honestly think Titanfall could well be the biggest new property of the next generation.
Underappreciated Pick of the Show: Octodad: Dadliest Catch
I think we can all agree that Octodad was the best satirical stealth cephalopod fatherhood simulator of the show, and that has to count for something, right? …Guys? Guys?
I came into E3 2013 with lofty expectations from next-gen hardware. After I sifted through major announcements, watched countless glamor trailers, and cast my personal fanboyism aside, Bungie’s Destiny resonated the most. Sights, sounds, performance, voice acting—it was all superb. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed finding a single fault in the extended demo I saw. If there’s any game that warrants pre-ordering a next-gen console, this is it.
Underappreciated Pick of the Show: Wolfenstein: The New Order
The New Order could’ve easily been a mindless Nazi shooter, but what I saw at E3 channeled some of best bits of two games I really enjoy, Rage and Dishonored.
There were a lot of big games at the show, but none have me as excited as The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. While this game might be a throwback to an older style of Zelda game, this sequel to A Link to the Past features the ability for Link to turn himself into a drawing and move along walls. This opens up some fantastic puzzle opportunities and unique gameplay options. I can’t wait to tear into this one later this year.
Underappreciated Pick of the Show: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Where’s the love for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag? Yeah, this franchise is a bit overexposed, but this one features pirates! I am so there!
Many games vied for the crown of best game of E3 2013, but they would all fall to EA’s titan.
…OK, we apologize for that line, but not for picking Titanfall. It’s easy to feel a bit apathetic toward first-person shooters at times, but the experience Respawn Entertainment is putting together here has a lot to rekindle our love for blasting away at enemies through the virtual eyes of a digital character.
While associate editor Josh Harmon was the one staff member to pick Titanfall as his choice for best of E3 2013, all of us were excited for what we saw and were left wanting more. The team at Respawn has come up with a concept that combines a fun, arcadey feel with deep shooter action, all mixed together with a host of new ideas and unique takes on the genre.
So, while plenty of games at E3 2013 had us eagerly anticipating more hands-on sessions, when it came time to make a choice on our top pick, it had to be Titanfall.
Runners-Up: Batman: Arkham Origins, Dragon’s Crown, Castlevania: Lord of Shadows 2
Runners-Up: Madden NFL 25, Powerstar Golf, Sports Friends
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Runners-Up: Dark Souls II, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Tales of Xillia
Need for Speed: Rivals
Runners-Up: DriveClub, Gran Turismo 6, Mario Kart 8
Runners-Up: Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Destiny
Runners-Up: BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasm, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, Killer Instinct
|Best Xbox One Exclusive
Runners-Up: D4, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5
|Best PS4 Exclusive
Runners-Up: DriveClub, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack
|Best PC Exclusive
Runners-Up: Company of Heroes 2, Dragon’s Prophet, Rise of the Triads 2
|Best Xbox 360 Exclusive
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition
Runners Up: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Super T.I.M.E. Force
|Best PS3 Exclusive
Runners Up: Beyond: Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6
|Best Wii U Exclusive
Runners Up: Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3
|Best 3DS Exclusive
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Runners-Up: Mario & Luigi:
Dream Team, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Shin Megami Tensei IV
|Best PS Vita Exclusive
Runners-Up: Killzone: Mercenary, Lone Survivor: Director’s Cut, Ys: Memories of Celceta
Runners-Up: Below, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Transistor