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E3 2013: Joining the Third-Party

The best games coming from the biggest names.


There’s no shortage of games to see at E3, but these guys are getting all the attention. From First Person Shooters to our favorite cartoon, if we see sunlight at all during the next 18 months, it would be a miracle. Check out the biggest titles coming from the biggest publishers in 2013 and beyond.

 

Ubisoft

 

Watch Dogs

Ubisoft’s surprise announcement from last year’s E3 is one of the biggest, most ambitious games of the show this year. Watch Dogs is built in a world where privacy no longer exists and interconnected digital systems allow hackers like you to manipulate the world as they strive to right the wrongs perpetrated by governments and corporations on an overly docile population. Honestly, we’re not sure why they didn’t just call this game “Anonymous,” as it’s hitting entirely too close to home in a world of Wikileaks and NSA spying.

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth

The mad geniuses who make South Park have licensed the boys to a few video games over the years, but we’ve never seen one as brilliant or fun as this. Stick of Truth is an RPG that borrows from fantasy tropes almost as much as it borrows from inside jokes throughout South Park’s 16-year history. Nods to fans are planted EVERYWHERE in the game, but it’s the simple fact that, at any given point, Stick of Truth looks identical to its one-way Comedy Central counterpart. What South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut did for movies, Stick of Truth is doing for games. And we couldn’t be happier.

 

The Division

Ubisoft’s ability to pull inspiration from reality and partner with Tom Clancy have people all over the show (and the world, presumably) talking about The Division. Set three weeks after a plague breaks out in NYC on Black Friday (because cash changing hands is dirtier than we all want to admit), the government activates Directive 51, which, scarily, is an actual thing the US created in 2007. The idea is that a small army of decentralized agents are embedded into society and can assemble on the fly to thwart the chaos that would result from bio-terrorism. It’s a brilliant backdrop for an action-RPG and will make the most of the persistent world that’s planned for the game. It’s also justification for that self-imposed quarantine that we’ve made up to justify our failing social lives.

 

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

If you didn’t guess we’d see the assassins overlap with pirates, well, you just weren’t paying attention. AC’s awesome hand-to-hand combat and long-running story are hitting the high seas this fall (on every platform imaginable, both last and next-gen), and we’re stoked for bigger naval battles and lots of hunting for booty. And if we find some treasure chests along the way, that’s cool, too.

 

Electronic Arts

 

Titanfall

Our first reaction to Titanfall was that we remembered when this game was called Halo, but, upon further inspection, we have to admit that our kneejerk was unjustified. Sure, Titanfall is a sci-fi First Person Shooter, but that’s pretty much where the Halo comparison ends. Offering only multiplayer matches (though it will weave a storyline and other single-player campaign elements throughout matches), Titanfall has you playing as a super-agile badass pilot of a gigantic mechanized suit of armor. The gameplay we saw was exhilarating, with mechs dropping from the sky and soldiers ejecting like a clown out of a cannon. A wide array of weapons helps keep the balance of the game and ensures that you’re just as deadly on foot as you are inside a mech. That means lots of ‘splosions and a steady delivery of action; what more can you want from one of the first Xbox One exclusives?

 

Need for Speed: Rivals

Few arcade-style racing games have the pedigree that you find in the Need for Speed series, and EA is innovating once again with Rivals. In many ways, this is your typical NFS game: the cars are lust-worthy, the terrain is hazardous and riddled with shortcuts, and the cops are relentless...but they’re relentless this time around because they’re actually controlled by other people who steal all your points if they bust you. Rivals shifts the Need for Speed paradigm by combining the solo campaign with the online multiplayer, automatically dropping you into the open world whenever you fire up the game. The end result is that you’ll be racing with real-life malcontents who want to win just as badly as you do. Rivals might actually be tougher in the competition department than finding a job after graduating college.

 

Battlefield 4

We didn’t have to wait long to see a new Battlefield game. BF4 makes the wise decision not to mess with the successful formula of its predecessor but it does add some real-time strategy into the mix with a commander mode to keep you and your hooligan friends organized and ready to take out any lone-wolf who decides to prey on your pack. Oh, and it’s also coming on the PS4 and Xbox One in addition to the current gen systems so expect early adopters to be gloating about how good it looks when they blow off the back of your head.

 

Madden NFL 25

Hey guys, it’s a new Madden. It’s on the next generation of consoles. It looks better. The physics are more real. You have to have it to compete online against friends or the world. Just pre-order it now and save yourself the trip to the store in August.

 

Activision

 

Destiny

Bungie’s first game since handing off the Halo series is shaping up to be an ambitious effort. Destiny, which melds together the first-person action of sci-fi warfare, RPG levels of customization, and an open matchmaking system, will put you into the game where dozens of people are joining together to experience live events with anyone and everyone. It’s a spectacular concept that we can’t wait to see first-hand in our living room. Until then, demos at E3 will just have to do.

 

Call of Duty: Ghosts

The yearly institution returns (shocking) for its 10th outing. Activision is keeping a tight lid on multiplayer at the moment but the solo campaign is all about....dogs. Yup. Ghosts is pushing hard on the canine companions and they’re making one hell of an argument for man’s best friend to be your foes’ worst enemy. We expect to see a lot more of Ghosts’ human gameplay as launch time approaches but, until then, you might wanna stock up on chew toys.

 

Warner Brothers

 

Batman Arkham Origins

It’s simple. We play as Batman. Really, is there anything else that matters? Pulling on the cape and cowl of the world’s favorite vigilante superhero is so much fun that we’re coming back for thirds. Origins is set five years before Arkham City at a point when the Gotham Police Department still isn’t sure whether they trust the caped crusader or not. This effectively doubles the amount of people trying to beat you down because you won’t just be taking on the myriad of baddies that inevitably show up in the Arkham games but now you get to worry about officers and SWAT teams too. Actually, worry might be too strong a word for Batman. Notice. Yeah. Now you’ll notice the cops.

 

Konami

 

Metal Gear Solid 5

If you have followed the long history of Metal Gear Solid games, you already know that they are some of the deepest in both complexity and story, with some of the cut scenes in MGS4 lasting over a half hour. We don’t expect MGS5 to be any less cinematic, especially with Keifer Sutherland joining up to do voice acting and motion capture for the game, but the new open-world sandbox is offering an unprecedented freedom to snake, making the game feel very much like a TV series that will, inevitably, be better than anything on TV this fall. Except 24.

 

Also on Maxim.com:

E3: The Exclusives

E3: The Day Zero Response