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The top 10 E3 games we want to play right now Add to ...

Another year, another Electronic Entertainment Expo draws to a close. Publishers big and small spent the week showing gamers, the media and retail buyers what they have in store over the next year or so in the hopes of attracting their attention and dollars.

Here are the 10 games that impressed us at this year’s show:

 

The Creative Assembly

10. Alien: Isolation

Anyone remember Aliens: Colonial Marines? No? Good. The upcoming Alien: Isolation is aiming to make people forget that 2013 game entirely. Where the upcoming release, from developer The Creative Assembly, differs is in its approach: rather than a first-person shooter, it’s a full-on survival horror game. The premise here is as it should be – the Xenomorph is the one to be feared, rather than the heroic human player. Speaking of, players take on the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen, as she hides from and escapes just one titular alien. It may very well be the scariest game since the first Alien-inspired Dead Space.

Publisher: Sega

Plaftorm: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

Release date: Oct. 7

Nintendo

9. Mario Maker

Yup, it’s yet another Mario game, but this one’s extra intriguing. In the spirit of other user-generated-content games such as LittleBigPlanet, Mario Maker will let players make their own custom Super Mario levels. Players will also be able to choose between the original retro Mario graphics or newer shinier ones. With the inevitable online sharing that’s going to happen, fans will undoubtedly come up with some phenomenal creations, which will put a new spin on the aging plumber.

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Wii U

Release date: 2015

Sony

8. LittleBigPlanet 3

Speaking of user-generated levels and LittleBigPlanet, the series that mastered it, a third instalment is on its way this year. Not only will all 8.5 million previously designed and shared levels work, LBP3 will also introduce multiplayer. Up to three additional characters will be able to join Sackboy as he adventures through Craftworld, with each having their own capabilities. Toggle, for example, can switch from being big and strong to small and fast while Swoop can fly and carry other characters. LittleBigPlanet 3 also holds the distinction of being Sony’s only big first-party-developed title, aside from racing game DriveClub, that will be released this holiday season.

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

Release date: November, 2014

Insomniac Games

7. Sunset Overdrive

Microsoft is similarly short on big first-party blockbusters. Fable: Legends, the latest in the fantasy role-playing series, and Forza Horizons 2, an open-world racing game, both look good, but they’re also both likely to appeal to relatively niche audiences. Sunset Overdrive, a humorous and colourful third-person shooter with elements of Tony Hawk skateboard games – believe it or not – stands the best chance of being a breakout hit. Designed by Ratchet & Clank and Resistance: Fall of Man creators Insomniac Games, Sunset Overdrive has a solid pedigree that could also pay off for Xbox.

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Platform: Xbox One

Release date: Oct. 28, 2014

Turtle Rock Studios

6. Evolve

The best part of a lot of video games is the boss battles. The natural question then becomes: what if the whole game was just boss battles? That’s the premise of Evolve from Turtle Rock Studios, the developers behind the Left 4 Dead zombie shooter series. In Evolve, four players team up to take on a fifth player, who controls a giant monster. The beast’s job is to feed on the surrounding wildlife and thereby evolve – hence the game’s title – into a stage-three super-monstrosity. The four hunters must work together to hunt it down before that happens. It’s tense, original and a heck of a lot of fun.

Publisher: 2K Games

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Release date: Oct. 21, 2014

Ubisoft

5. Valiant Hearts: The Great War

There may not be a more beautiful game engine in the business than Ubisoft’s UbiArt Framework. Previously used to drive such gorgeous releases as Rayman Legends and Child of Light, it’s now powering Valiant Hearts, a tale of love on the battlefield of the First World War. Based on letters written during that conflict, the game looks every bit like an emotional arthouse production – a real standout from all the loud and violent products that E3 is known for. The best part is the wait for it won’t be long, since it’s out later this month.

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

Release date: June 25, 2014

Moon Studios

4. Ori and the Blind Forest

Speaking of emotion … Thomas Mahler, game director at Moon Studios, insists Ori and the Blind Forest isn’t “an artsy-fartsy game that makes you sad,” even though it might look that way. Indeed, it’s as gorgeous-looking as Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts, but it’s also a very sharp platformer that promises action on top of a heart-warming story. It features full-on Metroidvania exploration, where new character powers unlock new sections of previously discovered areas, but it also looks like Studio Ghibli meets Rayman, perhaps with a Cirque du Soleil soundtrack added in. Four years in the making, Ori could succeed as that rare art game that also plays like a big blockbuster.

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Platform: Xbox One, PC

Release date: Fall 2014

BioWare

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition

In 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came along and forever raised the bar on fantasy role-playing games with its gigantic and beautiful open world. The next instalment of Edmonton-based BioWare’s Dragon Age series looks like it might be the long-awaited successor (on consoles) to that milestone game. Inquisition puts players in charge of an inquisitor, naturally, who is a leader of leaders – the head of a group of influential warriors, rogues and wizards who find themselves in the middle of a war between templars and mages. Their world, meanwhile, is being literally ripped apart by demons. The game looks fantastic and, as in other BioWare RPGs, players get to control a full party of characters who are fully fleshed out with back stories and believable relationships. The dialogue will doubtlessly be better than “I used to be adventurer, but then I took an arrow to the knee.”

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

Release date: Oct. 7, 2014

Rocksteady

2. Batman: Arkham Knight

With original Arkham developer Rocksteady Studios back at the helm, big-time innovation returns to the series that has redefined super-hero games. A big chunk of Arkham Knight features the Batmobile, a car that also happens to transform into a tank. Batman has all the usual gadgets and tricks at his disposal, but he can now also use his wheels to help solve puzzles, mow down enemies and escape tight spots. Long-time Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy returns after an absence from last year’s Arkham Origins – developed by Warner Bros. Montreal – while an entirely new villain (created just for the game) serves as the Caped Crusader’s foil.

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Release date: 2015

Ubisoft

1. Far Cry 4

There’s little doubt that France’s Ubisoft has come out of another E3 with the most impressive lineup of games. There’s the annual Montreal-designed historical adventure Assassin’s Creed: Unity, the upcoming Rainbow Six: Siege shooter reboot, the apocalyptic RPG Tom Clancy’s The Division, the open-world driving game The Crew, the emotional art game Valiant Hearts: The Great War, and of course the annual cash cow of Just Dance 2015, plus a new Just Dance Now that will work on smart TVs and smartphones. Atop the heap, however, sits Far Cry 4, which furthers much of what was established in its 2012 predecessor, one of the best shooters of the previous console generation. Far Cry 4 puts the player in another exotic location – this time the fictional Himalayan nation of Kyrat – with another psychotic villain, the self-appointed king Pagan Min, out for his blood. Gorgeous scenery, flying wingsuits and weaponized elephants are just a few of the elements that make this the most-anticipated title of the year. Now, if only Ubisoft can break character and avoid delaying the game.

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox one, PC

Release date: Nov. 18, 2014

Follow on Twitter: @peternowak

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