Game Chronicles E3 2014 – Best of Show WINNERS

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best of e3 2014

The 2014 E3 Show is over and this year it was all about the games; hundreds of glorious new games that were playable on the showroom floor and just as many being hinted at with flashy trailers and hands-off demos.  We’ve been scouring through all of our reader mail and tweets and sorting out all your votes for the best of the best.  We had dozens of nominees; sometimes in a single category, and at times we had four and five-way ties that we ultimately had to settle with a few key votes from our staff.  But everything has been tallied so let the results begin…

Best Media Briefing

WINNER: Sony

RUNNER UP: Nintendo

Sony crushed the competition when it came to stage presence, pacing, quality of content and the sheer number of surprises during their massive two-hour event.  They dropped the bomb on attending media with announcements for LittleBigPlanet 3 and a Grim Fandango reboot.  They wowed us with new hardware like Project Morpheus and PlayStation TV and services like PlayStation Now, plus it seems that nearly every major upcoming title had some sort of PlayStation exclusive feature.  The Nintendo online event was a close second with their rapid-fire showcase of more than a dozen hot new titles including Super Smash Bros. and a first look at an open-world Zelda and their new amiibo smart-toys.

Best Trailer

WINNER: Dead Island 2

RUNNER UP: Magicka 2

One of the reasons Sony crushed their media event was that they were showing off some incredible new trailers; not just for their games but for games that could have easily been showcased at other events during the day.  Both our winning trailers debuted during the Sony event and ironically enough show little to no gameplay.  Instead, they wowed our voters with catchy music, great visuals, and lots of humor.

Best PC Game

WINNER: Far Cry 4

RUNNER UP: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

This is always an unusual category since E3 is all about the consoles (despite over half the demos being secretly run on PC’s).  Even though the PC offers the best solution in scalable graphics and gameplay almost nothing is ever being specifically hyped for the PC and PC-exclusives are a rarity.  Our nominees for this category ended up being console games that we knew were coming to PC and would certainly be as good as if not better than their console counterparts.

Best Xbox One Game

WINNER: Sunset Overdrive

RUNNER UP: Forza Horizon 2

There weren’t nearly as many Xbox One exclusive titles being shown this year, which ultimately made the voting easier but also less relevant.  Halo fan boys pitched their case on why the Halo Master Chief Collection would change the world and Mass Effect fans thought the “promise” of a new game deserved a nomination, but ultimately the two best games actually being shown won out.

Best PlayStation 4 Game

WINNER: LittleBigPlanet 3

RUNNER UP: Far Cry 4

PlayStation 4 was overflowing with games, many of which are either exclusive to the system or at least offering some sort of exclusive feature that will make you want to buy the PS4 version of a multi-platform release.  Uncharted 4 may seem like the obvious pick, but we’re trying to filter out games that will likely be reappearing at next year’s E3.  The biggest reaction during the Sony press event was when LittleBigPlanet 3 debuted, and it was equally as popular at the booth and with our voters.  Far Cry 4, while being a multi-platform release offers a unique PS4-exclusive feature in that you can play an online co-op version of the campaign and the second player doesn’t even have to own a copy.  If this is a new PS4 trend we approve!

Best Wii U Game

WINNER:  Super Smash Bros.

RUNNER UP: Mario Maker

It was certainly no surprise that Super Smash Bros. swept this category – at least after we eliminated Zelda since it likely won’t be releasing before next year’s show.  Nintendo was showing off nearly as many new titles as Sony and all of them looked great, but Mario Maker managed to claim second place with its intuitive level design tool kit and ability to swap between its architect mode and next-gen engine graphics while play testing your designs.

Best Action/Adventure Game

WINNER:  Far Cry 4

RUNNER UP: Batman: Arkham Knight

New high-tech armor and a Batmobile that looks and fights like a Transformer are only two reasons to love the new Rocksteady installment in the Batman franchise, but it wasn’t enough to beat out the epic potential of Far Cry 4 that delivers a new villain and extreme adventure set in the Himalayas along with drop-in co-op for the main story.  Both games are going to be awesome but thanks to a narrow margin of four votes, Far Cry 4 defeated the Dark Knight.

Best FPS Game

WINNER:  Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

RUNNER UP: Rainbow Six: Siege

Call of Duty may finally be coming out of its slump or maybe there just wasn’t any competition in the genre this year.  Sure, you can slog through all the Halo games again when the Master Chief Collection arrives or play cops and robbers with Battlefield Hardline.  Considering the Hardline beta is actually playable I was surprised how few votes this game actually got.  Either people are still holding a grudge for the Battlefield 4 debacle or they don’t like what they are playing in the beta.   Rainbow Six: Siege resurrects the classic Tom Clancy franchise and brings back all the fun pre and in-mission planning, tactics, and perma-death from the original.

Best Third-Person Shooter

WINNER:  Tom Clancy’s The Division

RUNNER UP: Sunset Overdrive

The Division has gotten so much polish since last year it’s almost like a completely new game.  The graphics have never looked better and the gameplay is astounding.  Sunset Overdrive has been hyped and hinted at since the Xbox One launched and this system-exclusive action-shooter managed to nail down a second place finish with an awesome trailer and some live gameplay on the show floor.

Best Multiplayer Game

WINNER:  Evolve

RUNNER UP: Destiny

Destiny got pushed out in the last moments of last year’s voting but it managed to secure a runner-up position this year being bested only by Evolve, the new multiplayer shooter where four players get to go up against a fifth who is playing a giant monster.

Best Platformer Game

WINNER:  LittleBigPlanet 3

RUNNER UP: Mario Maker

Sony’s LittleBigPlanet 3 created a huge buzz with their next-gen platformer featuring four-player co-op, new characters, new abilities, and new ways to play.  Mario Maker and its infinite potential for endless gameplay narrowly nudged out Yoshi’s Woolly World for second place.

Best Role-playing Game (RPG)

WINNER:  The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

RUNNER UP: Dragon Age: Inquisition

Ironically, both of these games were dancing with the top two spots in last year’s awards.  The Witcher III came in second and Dragon Age third, and now with South Park out of the running both games move up a notch.  Let’s hope they both get released before next year’s voting.

Best Fighting Game

WINNER:  Mortal Kombat X

RUNNER UP: Super Smash Bros.

There weren’t a lot of fighting games on display at E3 this year so these results are nothing shocking.   Personally, I’m a huge Mortal Kombat fan and this latest game looks insane.  Thankfully, the game is releasing on multiples systems which is likely the only reason it managed to beat out the hordes of Wii U Smash Bros. fans.

Best Sports Game

WINNER:  PGA Tour

RUNNER UP: FIFA 15

EA has the sports genre locked down and their press conference featured lots of flashy videos for the same games we’ve been playing year after year for over a decade.  Microscopic improvements aside, I think everyone is finally getting burned out with these annual releases, which may be why PGA Tour actually won the votes after taking a year off – that and removing Tiger Wood’s name from their franchise while adding in crazy new fantasy courses and taking a less-than-serious approach to the sport.  NHL and Madden boast huge improvements but look no different.  The FIFA franchise seems to be the only sport making any real progress, and with its worldwide legion of loyal fans it managed to earn enough votes for second place.

Best Music/Fitness Game

WINNER:  Just Dance 2015

RUNNER UP: Shape Up

Ubisoft appears to be the only developer concerned for our physical wellbeing and their Just Dance franchise wowed the crowd with exciting new gameplay options and extensive track list of highly danceable hits.  They also introduced a Just Dance Now mobile app that lets you dance anywhere and with anybody as long as you have a gyroscopic-enabled smartphone and a shared big screen.   Shape Up looks to destroy Wii Fit and all those franchise fitness games on Kinect by turning your workout into a series of competitive and addicting mini-games such as dancing on a giant keyboard like Tom Hanks did in Big.

Best Racing Game

WINNER:  The Crew

RUNNER UP: Forza Horizon 2

Both of our top finishers in this category are essentially the same game; massive open-world driving games designed around car clubs and competitive driving challenges.  The Crew takes place in an impressively detailed version of the USA with coast-to-coast missions that can take upwards of two-hours assuming you don’t take a wrong turn at Albuquerque.  Forza Horizon 2 may feel like a desperate copy-cat attempt to steal some thunder from The Crew, but their last open-world game was crazy-awesome, so I have high hopes for both titles as do our voters.

Biggest Surprise of the Show

WINNER:  LittleBigPlanet 3

RUNNER UP: Rainbow Six: Siege

It’s so hard to keep a secret, especially in an industry where fans are aggressively seeking out and sharing information…even misinformation.   LittleBigPlanet 3 was certainly responsible for the most audible crowd reaction during Monday’s press events.  It’s one of those games that we all should have known was coming but simply forgot about.   The same can be said for Rainbow Six: Siege.   After an absence of six years, Tom Clancy’s tactical shooter managed to inspire voters even more than teasers for a new Tomb Raider, the rebirth of Grim Fandango, an open-world Zelda or a legacy of Halo games packed onto a single disc.

Best New Title/Franchise

WINNER:  Bloodborne

RUNNER UP: The Order: 1886

There were a surprising number of new non-sequel titles being announces this year.  Evolve and Sunset Overdrive were being tossed around during the initial tallies, but Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 rose to the top in the final day of voting.

Best Indie Game

WINNER:  Valiant Hearts: The Great War

RUNNER UP: Inside

There were so many indie games being shown and they were justly being given the same respect as the AAA releases this year, both in press events and on the show floor.  The two that seemed to resonate most with our voters was Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts, a touching tale inspired by actually letters from soldiers written during World War I narrated by a service dog.  Inside also stirred up some interest with a great trailer and developer pedigree that includes the classic game, Limbo.   Other inspired indie games like ABZU and Entwined nearly made the cut.

Best Innovative New Tech

WINNER:  No Man’s Sky

RUNNER UP: amiibo

I was sure VR was going to sweep this category this year but apparently our voters don’t have hundreds of dollars to toss around on gimmicky headsets so they voted for more affordable concepts.  Viewers were stunned at the potential of the “infinite universe” being created for No Man’s Sky; a game where everyone starts off on their own custom planet and can travel to potentially millions of others.  While you wrap your mind around that try wrapping your wallet around the money pit of “amiibo”, Nintendo’s own take at Skylanders-style smart-toys that are going to change the way you play Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and other games.

Most Anticipated Game for 2015

WINNER:  Uncharted 4

RUNNER UP: Halo 5

Over half the games shown at E3 this year won’t be out until next.  The trick is trying to decide which games will be shown again at next year’s show and which ones will be released and playable. With shifting release dates that is impossible, so we can only hope that Uncharted 4 and Halo 5 can manage to make their way to their respective systems before E3 2015 since they both took the majority of the votes.

Best Game of Show – E3 2014

WINNER:  Assassin’s Creed: Unity

RUNNER UP: Far Cry 4

The voting for best game of the entire show was brutal.  I firmly believe the only reason Assassin’s Creed: Unity actually managed to win is that this is the first game in the franchise to cut its ties with last-gen and move forward into the next.   Hopefully this will set the game apart and breathe fresh life into the series – even if there aren’t any pirates.  Exploring the dark and oppressive times of the French Revolution should be exciting and perhaps even a bit enlightening.  Far Cry 4 easily secured a second place slot proving that fans may prefer established franchises over lesser-known but potentially better and more original titles.

End of Show Summary

Well, that sums up our picks for the best games of the 2014 E3 show.  This year is was ALL ABOUT THE GAMES – so many games that many great titles didn’t even get mentioned; thus bringing us to an important part of our follow-up coverage – the “Honorable Mentions”.  These games didn’t make the final cut but you definitely need to keep your eye on them:

  • Fable Legends
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Scalebound
  • Mirrors Edge
  • Battlefield Hardline
  • Let It Die
  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Zelda
  • Splatoon
  • Mario Party 10
  • DOOM
  • Battlecry

That’s it for E3 2014.   Be sure to check out our continued coverage for most all of the titles on this list and more over the next two years and we’ll see you next year for an all-new E3 show.