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The most exciting games at E3 2013...and everything that might be wrong with them

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) marked an exciting moment for the videogame industry. New consoles. New blockbuster titles. Long-awaited sequels. What follows is a list of the 15 most exciting games I saw this year. I got hands-on time with most of them, but it’s important to remember that playing videogames at E3 is not the same as actually playing the videogames. At E3, you’re staring at the most expensive TV screens corporate money can buy, while various company reps urge you on and assure you that you’re much better at the game than all of the other journalists they’ve seen that day. (One developer assured me I was doing great after I died for the fifth time in two minutes.) With that in mind, each of these games comes with an addendum: What could go wrong between now and when the game is actually released?

15. Killzone: Shadow Fall
The franchise about futuristic space dudes with futuristic space guns gets a next-gen makeover. I’ve never been a Killzone fan. In fact, I couldn’t pick out the first three games from a lineup of futuristic-space-gun shooters. But the level I played through offered a fascinating array of possible tactical decisions. Also, this was The Year of the Ziplines at E3, and Shadow Fall lets you fire a zipline anywhere you want. (Playstation 4, End of 2013)
What Could Go Wrong: The title Killzone: Shadow Fall sounds like a straightfaced parody of a contemporary futuristic-space-gun videogame, and what little I could glean of the plot sounded like boilerplate from the post-Gears of War era.

14. Mariokart 8
After many months of hype and rumors, Nintendo’s biggest franchises were mostly no-shows at this year’s E3 — unless you consider an HD remake of an old Zelda game a new development (it isn’t) or you think Super Mario 3D Land is even close to Super Mario Galaxy (it ain’t.) But the new Mariokart offers some intriguing twists on the two-decade-old formula, with the ability to drive on walls. Also, the levels are so pretty in HD. (Wii U, Spring 2014).
What Could Go Wrong: It’s the same old Mariokart, except this time it’s on a console you still don’t feel like buying.

E3: Which new console are you most excited about? -- POLL


While in years past, it’s been new games and high-drama cinematic effects we were most excited about in the videogame world, as this year’s E3 comes to a close, it’s the prospect of new consoles and new technology that we’re most looking forward to. How will the way we play games change in the coming months and years? What does the future look like for Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U, Sony’s Playstation, and Microsoft’s XBox – not to mention indie platforms and newcomers like the Ouya?

While the Wii U’s had a hard time catching on (in part, as EW’s Darren Franich reports, due to the lackluster games it was launched with), Nintendo returned to E3 this year with a new outlook on its offerings. Sony and Microsoft, however, stole the show with big upcoming releases. Sony’s PlayStation 4 will sell for $399 and offers advancements for hardcore games, including a streaming service that allows gamers to stream, rather than download, older games. Microsoft’s XBox One ($499), which was announced before E3, made its splash by showcasing new games. Both new consoles will be released around Holiday 2013. And then a little independent, $99 Kickstarter-funded box called the Ouya (on sale later this month), which streams independent games to its own console, staged a non-E3 event that got them in some trouble with the LAPD — but earned them plenty of buzz in the gaming world. Where will you put your money once the upcoming new iterations are released?

Take the poll below and discuss the new advances in videogame tech in the comments!


The E3 of open worlds: How big-huge-gigantic videogames could change gameplay forever


You hear one phrase every five minutes at E3 this year: “open world.” The sandbox-style of gameplay sets the player down in a large digital environment and lets them explore; essentially, the whole game is one gigantic level, usually with a linear narrative strewn with dozens/hundreds of mini-games and unique interactions. The genre has a long history: Popularized by Grand Theft Auto, perfected by The Elder Scrolls, deconstructed by Shadow of the Colossus, vulgarized by Saint’s Row. But at E3 2013, it’s almost surprising to find a game that doesn’t trumpet a gigantic in-game universe. No less a seer than Jonathan Blow — creator of indie-game masterpiece Braid and semi-controversial industry wiseman — called this “The E3 of Open Worlds.” (He told me that in the middle of a demo for his new game. Which has an open world.) READ FULL STORY

The State of Nintendo: 22 important points about the Wii U E3 presentation

1.  Nintendo is in a great position at E3 for one simple reason: Everyone loves Nintendo. Or rather: Everyone wants to love Nintendo. Anyone who cares about videogames almost certainly spent a considerable part of their childhood living in universes created by Nintendo. Super Mario Brothers, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby’s Dreamland, Donkey Kong, Starfox: These were experiences inscribed in a couple generations of young people. Growing up playing videogames isn’t like growing up watching movies or reading books, for one simple reason: You are playing along. You are there. It’s like having an amusement park in your living room. Anyone who ever loved Nintendo will always love Nintendo a little bit, like a lapsed Catholic who still feels guilty about skipping church on Sunday. READ FULL STORY

The State of Playstation: 23 ways of looking at Sony's E3 presentation


1. There is a general perception that the Playstation 3 was not the winner in the dying videogame generation. This is not to say that it lost. The Playstation 3 produced some of the most beautiful games ever created. It is a high-powered machine. The freaking Air Force used it to create a freaking supercomputer. But it didn’t have the mass appeal of the Wii or the swagger of the Xbox 360. It was merely excellent. The Playstation 2 was excellent, also, but it utterly defined its generation. In a weird way, even if the sales tell a different story, Sony is coming into this E3 as an underdog. READ FULL STORY

The State of Xbox: 24 remarks on Microsoft's E3 presentation


1. The videogame industry trends brash and macho. This is partially because the industry spent most of the last decade making hilarious billions of dollars, and partially because the industry mostly constitutes a gigantic dude-frat of workaholic nerds. Of the three major videogame companies right now, none is brasher or more macho than Microsoft. Their Xbox became a powerhouse off the back of games like Halo and Gears of War and Left 4 Dead and infinite Calls of Duty played on the robust Xbox live system. It’s difficult to generalize about consoles — or at least, the consoles not designed by Nintendo in the last decade — and it’s worth pointing out that Braid, the artiest of indie games in our arty-indie game golden era, debuted on the Xbox Live Arcade. But put it this way: I don’t think anyone has ever considered the Xbox beautiful. Unless you think tanks are beautiful. More on tanks later. READ FULL STORY

First 5 minutes of 'BioShock Infinite' -- VIDEO

“Booker, are you afraid of God?

“No, I’m afraid of you.”

So begins BioShock Infinite.

The third installment in the revolutionary BioShock series is set – at last – for a March 26 release — until then, gamers will have to satiate themselves with footage of the first five minutes of gameplay.


E3 Snap Judgment: 'NBA Baller Beats' is a chance to relive the dribbling drills you hated growing up

I’ve never had to wish I was a little bit taller, or a baller. I am those things. I’m no gaming expert, but I do have a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a ’64 Impala. So when I visited my esteemed gaming colleagues Darren and Adam yesterday at E3 and happened upon a steel cage containing a peaceful, lonely-looking man in generic workout gear who was earnestly practicing some basic dribbling skills with a real basketball in front of a colorful screen featuring confetti, I knew I had found “my people.” That guy would probably be good at recapping reality TV, I thought. We were practically the same person. I walked in.  READ FULL STORY

E3 Snap Judgment: Ellen Page stars in the fascinating 'Beyond: Two Souls'


The Game: Videogame designer David Cage is either a visionary artist or a huckster philosopher. Either way, his follow-up to 2010′s Heavy Rain promises to be a unique cinematic adventure. Beyond follows a young girl named Jodie Holmes and a mysterious supernatural being named Aiden (pronounced like the first two syllable of “identity”) who follows her everywhere. According to Cage, the game will cover 15 years of Jodie’s life, from her adolescence through her 20s. Oh, and here’s a twist: Jodie is played by Juno star Ellen Page in what promises to be a showcase for performance-capture technology. (Available for the PS3, no release date pending) READ FULL STORY

E3 Snap Judgment: 'The Last of Us'

The Game: A survival adventure tale that follows two survivors — a man named Joel and a teenage girl named Ellie — through a post-apocalyptic America populated by dangerous plant people and even-more-dangerous regular people. The Last of Us is a darker evolutionary step for Uncharted, and it instantly became one of the most anticipated trailers at E3 after a thrilling trailer played at the Video Game Awards. (Available for the PS3, Release Date TBD) READ FULL STORY

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