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Plugged In

Yahoo! Games: Best of E3 2013 Awards

Plugged In

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The most exciting E3 in years is in the books, and man, was it a doozie. Sony wowed gamers with its smart PS4 pricing and policies, Microsoft undid some pre-show Xbox One damage by unveiling a billion games, and Nintendo tried to keep up with some big franchises for the Wii U and 3DS.

But the show isn’t just about these three companies – it’s about games. Though there were fewer of those than usual (the absence of traditionally big hitters like THQ, LucasArts and 2K didn’t help), we were still treated to a wealth of fun, innovative experiences. Here are a dozen of our favorites:

(Note: Only games that were actually on display at E3 were considered. Grand Theft Auto V, Super Smash Bros. Wii U, Metal Gear Solid V and other cool upcoming games that were only shown in trailer form were not included.)

Titanfall
Publisher: EA | Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360
Release date: Q1 2014

Talk about lofty expectations: Titanfall is the debut game from Respawn Entertainment, the studio created by Vince Zampella and Jason West, the former Infinity Ward founders who in a previous life were responsible for the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise. Basically, anything short of ‘flat-out awesome’ would be a letdown.

This is not a letdown.

Titanfall blew us away with its slick combination of action game styles. You’ll run around as a nimble soldier, double jumping and scurrying about on walls while trying to take down player-controller giant mechs. Think equal parts Tribes, Mechwarrior and Call of Duty, if you can, then make it butter smooth, blazingly fast, and ridiculously fun. That’s Titanfall in a nutshell, and that’s why it’s at the top of our video game wish list.


Watch Dogs
Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
Release date: Current-gen, November 2013 | Next-gen, Q4 2013

A world in which our every move is being monitored? Couldn’t happen! Alas, the enigmatic star of E3 2012 had its coming out party in 2013, and boy, were we right to be freaking out. Watch Dogs turns scary-but-real concepts of privacy intrusion, information hacking, and spy shenanigans into a thrilling open-world action romp. Grand Theft Data? Sign us up! Er, using an alias, of course.


Destiny
Publisher: Activision | Developer: Bungie
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Release date: TBA 2014

For over a decade, the name "Bungie" was synonymous with "Halo."So how do you move on after creating one of the most memorable franchises in video game history? You go big. Real big.

Destiny is a massive endeavor, a sprawling, online sci-fi shooter teeming with planets to explore, loot to find, and characters to customize. The result feels a bit like the great Borderlands, but with bleeding-edge tech and a scale few games could even dream of. Few upcoming games are as alluring.


Transistor
Publisher: Sony| Developer: Supergiant Games
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release date: TBA 2014

The creators of one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games ever, Bastion, jumped ship. Luckily, Sony picked them up, and that looks to be a brilliant move. Transistor is a looker, that’s for sure, but beneath its stylish graphics you’ll find sharp, intuitive design that should appeal to fans of both action and tactical strategy alike.


Tearaway
Publisher: Sony | Developer: Media Molecule
Platforms: PlayStation Vita
Release date: October 2013

The whimsical minds behind LittleBigPlanet are at it again, and we’re happy to repot that Tearaway is just as crafty. You’re not building games, however – you’re guiding a paper-thin character through an adorable world yanked right out of your fourth grade arts and crafts class. Utilizing just about every widget on the PlayStation Vita, it’s as technically savvy as it is charming.


Mario Kart 8
Publisher: Nintendo| Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Wii U
Release date: Spring 2014

It’s-a him! And his friends! And they’re racing again! Okay, so the existence of a new Mario Kart wasn’t exactly shocking, but seeing this one in action turned our hearts into mush. It’s the first Mario Kart game in HD, and it looks and plays like a dream. The big new twist? How about anti-gravity? If you thought your powerslide skills were awesome, try pulling ‘em off upside down.


Tom Clancy's The Division

Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Release date: 2014

Forget the post-apocalyptic wasteland -- what’s really scary are the days immediately following some sort of pandemic. That’s the setting for Tom Clancy’s The Division, and it’s incredibly effective. You play an operative tasked with restoring order to a world quickly spiraling out of control, which means loads of third-person online action in city environments unraveling before your very eyes. RPG depth and a cutting-edge engine give it even more promise. It’s still got a ways to go, but here’s hoping Ubisoft keeps this one well-funded.


Bayonetta 2

Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Platinum Games
Platforms: Wii U
Release date: TBA 2014

Gamers were stunned when news broke that the sequel to hack 'n slash masterpiece Bayonetta was coming exclusively to the Wii U, but we weren't sunned to discover that it's coming along brilliantly. It's looking just as vicious, sexy and ridiculous as you'd expect, upping the ante with enough crazy moves and preposterous situations to thrill action game fanatics. Will this be the game that gets gamers to buy a Wii U?


Infamous: Second Son

Publisher: Sony | Developer: Sucker Punch
Platforms: PS4
Release date: Q1 2014

Trading electricity for smoke, the next game in the terrific Infamous series stars a new hero (Delsin Rowe) a new city (Seattle), and a new system altogether (that would be the PS4). It looks like another winner, too, with gorgeous graphics and outrageously powerful moves. While the developers only showed off Delsin’s smoke powers at E3, he’s apparently able to copy the abilities of other conduits, too, opening up a wealth of gameplay possibilities. Our only beef? That it’s not technically a PS4 launch game, instead releasing during the system’s vague ‘launch window.’


Disney Infinity

Publisher: Disney Interactive | Developer: Avalanche Software
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, PC
Release date: August 18, 2013

Yes, it’s a cash grab, and yes, it will probably drive you bankrupt as you try to track down toys for the kids. But Disney’s take on the Skylanders toy/game hybrid is also brilliantly designed. The figures are gorgeous, the games are fun, and the innovative Toybox mode that lets you bring every toy together under one creative roof is a scream. Now if they’d just leverage that Lucas license and crank out some throwback Star Wars figures, we’d pretty much sign over our checking account.


Dead Rising 3

Publisher: Microsoft | Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Platforms: Xbox One
Release date: November 2013

The dead have a nasty habit of refusing to stay dead in Capcom’s awesome Dead Rising games, so it’s little surprise they’re back for more. What is surprising, however, is just how big the third game is going. It’s one giant open-world this time, bereft of the time constraints of past Dead Rising games but crammed to the gills with insane weapons to craft and undead to deal with.


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(Credit: CCP Games)

EVR for Oculus Rift
Publisher: CCP | Developer: CCP
Platforms: Oculus Rift
Release date: TBA

We’re not sure if the EVR tech demo tucked away in CCP’s E3 meeting room qualifies as being a full game, but we have little doubt that it’s a mind-blowing experience. Marrying a basic space dogfighting game with the fascinating power of the Oculus Rift VR headset, it delivers a pretty spot-on sense of what it must have been like for Starbuck to target those elusive Cylons in Battlestar Galactica or for Luke to blast away at Tie-Fighters. In other words, it’s discombobulating, freeing, and totally entrancing. Forget what you think you know about VR -- this is the real deal.

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