That’s a wrap for Gamescom 2013. Europe’s E3 was surprisingly lacking in surprise announcements and excitement this year, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t learn plenty of new stuff about upcoming next-generation games that are going to be on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
These 10 games in particular caught my interest. Both Sony and Microsoft brought the big guns to Gamescom, but which next-gen system has the most exciting upcoming games?
10. The Sims 4 (PC)
Electronic Arts was also at Gamescom, having more of a presence there than any other third party publisher or even Nintendo. At the show, they showed off The Sims 4, the fourth core game in The Sims franchise, which is set to release in 2014.
The Sims 4 will feature a wide range of improvements over the earlier games in the series. One of the main new gameplay mechanics, however, is the emotions of the Sims. Sims can get angry, feel sad, be happy, etc. This will add a new wrinkle to the management systems already in place in the franchise.
09. Knack (PlayStation 4)
The cutesy brawler/platformer Knack was the very first PlayStation 4 game shown off way back in February. The game was fully playable at Gamescom, and we got to see a lot more of it. Much of the combat looks like a button mashing brawler, which honestly wasn’t very impressive, but Knack ranks on this list still because it has one major positive going for it:Â charm.
There are just too many games nowadays that lack any strong personality. There are too many Call of Duty clones, too many games that are preoccupied with blood and gore over substance. Knack is a callback to the platforming classics that helped solidify the gaming industry as it is today. Developed by the PS4 architect himself Mark Cerny, a man that has worked on platforming classics such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Ratchet & Clank.
Platformers have always been an important part of Sony’s equation with ever new console release. Does Knack have what it takes to join the iconic ranks of the franchises I’ve mentioned? We’ll have to wait until launch to be completely sure, but the game certainly has an impressive pedigree behind it.
08. The Order: 1886 (PlayStation 4)
Ready at Dawn has proved themselves to Sony by handling spinoffs of their popular franchises and being responsible for some of the most successfully and highly rated PSP games such as Daxter and God of War: Chains of Olympus. Now Ready at Dawn gets to make their own console game in the form of a brand new IP called The Order: 1886.
Mixing elements of Victorian settings and steampunk, The Order: 1886 is about a group of knights that kill monsters in London. The main character is named Galahad, and as we saw at E3, there is quite the impressive steampunk inspired weaponry that Galahad will have at his disposal during the game.
At Gamescom, we learned that The Order is releasing in 2014, and they hope it will be out by the summer of that year. This came as a surprise to many people, as the CGI trailer shown at E3 made it seem like the game would still be a long ways off. No new actual in-game footage was shown to the public at Gamescom, but we did learn of new features that are going to go in the game through various behind closed doors tech demos.
The game will feature a dynamic destructibility system, with each individual piece of an object being taken into account. For example, when a grenade is thrown, the shrapnel is sprayed in a realistic fashion with the pieces of the shrapnel behaving independently from one another. They also showed how flags in the game and other fabric will behave based on in the in-game wind physics as opposed to just following orders from coding like in previous generations.
The Order: 1886 becomes more exciting the more we hear about it. PS4 has quite the 2014 ahead of itself, what with this and Infamous: Second Son. I can’t wait to hear more about this game in the coming months and post-system launch.
07. Borderlands 2 (PlayStation Vita)
Borderlands 2 released almost a year ago, and it has since seen countless DLC releases and expansion packs. The series is on fire, but now Gearbox is taking the next step by bringing Borderlands 2 to PlayStation Vita.
Usually I wouldn’t include a port on a list like this, but the prospects of Borderlands 2 on Vita is just amazing. Never before have we had a truly “console quality” experience on a handheld, but Borderlands 2 on Vita is looking to change that. I can’t wait to see how the game plays myself, but the port is expected to release in 2014. It’s no secret that Vita is struggling and it probably needs original games more than ports, but Borderlands 2, if pulled off correctly, is just so damn impressive to think about that I just had to include it.
06. Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)
Sony has dominated the list so far, but now it’s Xbox One’s turn. Ryse at E3 was met with mixed receptions. There were people like me that thought the game looked like a fantastic hack-and-slash brawler with true next-gen visuals. And then there were people that just kept dismissing it as a “QTE fest” that had no substance.
At Gamescom, we learned that the QTEs people were referring to are actually optional finishing moves. This was obvious to me, but I guess others were not quick to catch on. Instead of having the buttons float above the heads of enemies, though, the enemies will simply be outlined in the color of the button that needs to be pressed in order to perform the execution kill.
Ryse’s co-op functionality was expanded upon at Gamescom. There will be a Horde-like co-op mode in Ryse, though we didn’t learn if it would allow for split-screen or be online only. The game will also support microtransactions for the multiplayer content, so expect cosmetic upgrades and goodies of that nature, if you’re into that kind of stuff. We don’t know when Xbox One is launching, but Ryse: Son of Rome is shaping up to be one of my most anticipated launch titles for the system.
05. Fable Legends (Xbox One)
Fable III was not up to the standards of the first couple of Fable games, and since then we’ve had poorly received Kinect and XBLA spinoffs. With Peter Molyneux gone, fans have been waiting eagerly to see what Lionhead will do with the Fable franchise without their head honcho at the helm. Enter Fable Legends.
Fable Legends is a multiplayer game that is always online to take advantage of the beefed up servers and Xbox Live power that the Xbox One brings to the table. The game will have four players teaming up together as their own created hero. Fans of the series may be confused as to how “heroes” can exist, but Fable Legends is actually a prequel set hundreds of years before the other games in the series.
Where it gets interesting is that a fifth player can join the game as the villain, using SmartGlass as an option for RTS-style control input. The fifth player is also in charge of creating a “quest” for the four heroes, essentially operating as a dungeon master. Fable Legends still has a lot to prove, but with a 2014 release, it is one of the most unique and intriguing games in the Xbox One lineup.
04. Killer Instinct (Xbox One)
Probably one of the most requested franchise revivals by fans is the revival of Killer Instinct. In association with Rare and the creator of Killer Instinct, Double Helix is bringing the franchise back to life on Xbox One and the eighth generation. But what’s most interesting is the pricing model of the game and how it can potentially change the landscape of the fighting game genre.
While it’s likely that Microsoft rushing the game out for launch has resulted in the unique pricing options, it is nonetheless innovative. Basically, there are three models of Killer Instinct. The cheapest way to play the game is for free. Everyone can play as series favorite Jago without paying a dime. All the other characters can be purchased for $5.00 a pop.
For $20, players will have six characters at launch and then later get two more characters in an update. This $20 price point will also give players access to the story mode of the game, which I guess isn’t going to be available in the free-to-play version.
If players want to pay $40, they will get all of the content in the $20 version, PLUS accessories, alternate skins (including ones that make characters look like they did in the original game), and, here’s the kicker, a port of the original version of Killer Instinct that was released in arcades and Super Nintendo way back in the 90s.
There are plans for a “season 2″ of the game as well, which will add more content and more characters. There was even talk of adding online functionality to the original version of Killer Instinct. The passion is clearly there, and this is the game that Double Helix can use to make a name for themselves. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be really interesting this fall when all of these games finally drop into the laps of gamers so we can get a general consensus on them.
03. Kinect Sports: Rivals (Xbox One)
Speaking of Rare, it’s no secret that lately they’ve been regulated to Kinect patrol, but that’s not so bad when you consider that the Kinect Sports games are actually really good. Rare has given Nintendo’s Wii Sports line its only serious competition, and the Kinect Sports games are consistently the best titles to purchase for the Kinect peripheral. And hey, at least it’s better than them working on freaking Avatars.
Kinect is a very impressive device, but we have yet to see the full potential behind the concept. We’re going to start seeing that with Kinect 2.0 on Xbox One, which is basically what Kinect should’ve been to begin with. It’s going to be truly amazing technology, and it will make the Kinect Sports franchise even better. Since every Xbox One system comes with a Kinect, we’re hopefully going to see developers actually take advantage of the tech. The first real test of it will come in 2014 with Kinect Sports: Rivals.
02. Killzone: Shadow Fall (PlayStation 4)
Sony has been heavily pushing Killzone: Shadow Fall as their flagship launch title. While Killzone has been a series full of hits and misses, Shadow Fall is the first time that I am highly anticipating a game in the series. So far we’ve seen a lot of single player stuff, but Gamescom put the focus on Shadow Fall’s multiplayer.
With all the single player talk, I didn’t even realize that Shadow Fall had a multiplayer component at all. However, after seeing it, it looks fantastic. It seems much more fast-paced than the multiplayer we’ve been used to in the series so far, which is nice, especially if it is anything like the multiplayer in Killzone: Mercenary on PS Vita.
01. Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One)
First of all, watch this:
Oh yes. Dead Rising is better than ever with Dead Rising 3. The highly impressive Xbox One launch title, with incredible eighth generation graphics, thousands of zombies appearing on screen at once, and a combination of a more serious tone with the over-the-top, insane Dead Rising charm all add up to make this one of the most exciting next-gen games.
Dead Rising 3 is changing up the core Dead Rising experience by focusing much more on vehicles. The other games had vehicles, but Dead Rising 3 is the first time they’ve really been given a big focus, what with the main character being a mechanic and all. Players are going to be able to customize their cars, as seen in that CGI conceptual trailer posted above.
The original Dead Rising sold me on Xbox 360. Dead Rising 3 sold me on Xbox One. I can’t wait to play it.
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What games at Gamescom impressed you? Sound off in the comments below!