Predicting the Critics – E3 Edition

It’s that time of year again, and the Game Critics Awards nominations are out.  Therefore, we all are compelled to make predictions as to who will win. These are mine and that discussion is as follows.

Best of Show
– Destiny (Bungie/Activision) – Dark Horse
– Oculus Rift HD (Oculus VR)
– PlayStation 4(Sony Computer Entertainment)  – Should Win
– Titanfall (Respawn Games/Electronic Arts) – Will Win
– Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)

This is a pretty easy one to call. Titanfall enthralled all who saw it this year, and is shaping up to be the game to beat in most of these categories.  Yet, despite the love for a new take on shooters, you really can’t compete with a crowd chanting Sony’s name during their conference.  If that is not a “best in show” moment, I’m not too sure what is.  Nonetheless, I feel that the Critics may still lean towards a game rather than a piece of hardware.  Bungie may have a small chance with Destiny, but only on the merits of the world they are trying to build within the game universe.

Best Original Game
– Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
– Fantasia: Music Evolved (Harmonix/Disney Interactive) – Dark Horse
– Rain (Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Titanfall (Respawn Games/Electronic Arts) – Will Win/ Should Win
– Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)

Once again, this is pretty open and shut.  Titanfall’s aptly named titans are a unique and the parkour traversal makes the game incredibly fast paced.  At E3, they were demoing the actual multiplayer for the game, and it went over like a charm. The art direction isn’t that bad either.  The only thing that might have a chance of snagging this one away is Fantasia.  No one saw this game’s announcement coming, and one should never overlook anything made by Harmonix.  It is such an interesting concept, and with well designed gameplay and visual style, this might steal away the award from Respawn.

Best Console Game
– Batman: Arkham Origins (WBIE Montreal/WBIE)
– Beyond: Two Souls (Quantic Dream/Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
– Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch/Sony Computer Entertainment) – Dark Horse
– Titanfall (Respawn Games/Electronic Arts) – Will Win/ Should Win
– Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)

So, yeah…Titanfall is awesome.  Nonetheless, keep an eye on Infamous.  It is just as technically awe inducing as Respawn’s effort; but it is hindered in this case by being part of an established franchise.  The particle effects are stunning and it looks to be taking on a much stronger narrative than its previous installments, which would give it an edge on the story-light Titanfall.  Despite all that, I still think that Titanfall is going to get this one.

Best Handheld Game
– Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (Armature Studio/WBIE) – Dark Horse
– Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies (Capcom/Capcom)
– Plants vs. Zombies 2 (Popcap/EA)
– Tearaway (Media Molecule/Sony Computer Entertainment) – Should Win
– The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Two Worlds (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo) – Will Win

This decision was tough; but my bitter cynicism won out on this one.  Tearaway, much like Media Molecule’s other game series, Little Big Planet,  is a joy-maker. You just feel wonderful playing the game, and there is so much creativity and love put into every single moment of the game.  Yet, I feel that nostalgia is going to take the win away from them and give it to Nintendo.  The new Zelda game looks really good, and quite fun to boot; but it is ANOTHER Zelda game.  Running behind is Batman; but as we all know…never count out Batman [especially a Metroid-vania styled Batman]

Best PC Game
– Battlefield 4 (DICE/Electronic Arts) – Dark Horse
– Company of Heroes 2 (Relic/Sega) – Will Win/ Should Win
– The Elder Scrolls Online (Zenimax Online/Bethesda)
– Titanfall (Respawn/Electronic Arts)
– Total War: Rome 2 (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Company of Heroes 2 is going to be fantastic and an experience you can only have on a PC. It has beta’d well, and showed well this year at E3, and so this shouldn’t be a surprise.  The one to watch out for is Battlefield 4.  The Frostbite engine is intense, and a graphics showpiece is never a bad call.

Best Hardware
– Oculus Rift (Oculus VR) – Dark Horse
– PlayStation 4 (Sony Computer Entertainment) Will Win/ Should Win
– Blade (Razr)
– Shield (Nvidia)
– Xbox One (Microsoft)

So, this should be pretty self explanatory.  Sony had a show that frankly was incredible.  People in the industry are still talking about it weeks later, and it is still reverberating across the hardware space. [See Microsoft’s 180 Policy Change]  It reminded all of us that E3 can be fun and interesting again.  Yet, laying in wait is the Oculus.  By the end of the show, the line to check it out was rivaling some of the big games.  The guys who developed Eve Online created a demo that let the player fly a space fighter…in 3D…in first person.  Needless to say, people freaked out.

Best Action Game
– Battlefield 4 (DICE/Electronic Arts)
– Call of Duty Ghosts (Infinity Ward/Activision)
– Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
– Killzone: Shadow Fall (Guerilla Games/Sony Computer Entertainment) – Dark Horse
– Titanfall (Respawn/Electronic Arts) – Will Win/ Should Win

Titanfall will probably garner another well deserved win here; but Killzone may give it a run as an underdog vote.  It is easily one of the most gorgeous games that are coming out on the new hardware, and the usage of the Dualshock 4’s touch pad might give it an edge.  Still, as much as I like the Sony product, Respawn will take this one too.

Best Action/Adventure Game
– Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
– Batman: Arkham Origins (WBIE Montreal/WBIE)
– Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)
 Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch/Sony Computer Entertainment) Will Win/ Should Win
– Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft) – Dark Horse

This should be another one that is in the bag.  Infamous impressed all who saw it at the show, and the incredible amounts of detail in their motion capture will make this one to watch in the coming year.  The ease of traversal in the game, and how damn good it looks when you do it all lead to a win for Sucker Punch.  Now, Watch Dogs won awards last year, and it wouldn’t be that far of a stretch to see it take some home again; but it seems unlikely in the light of Second Son’s showing.

Best RPG
– Dark Souls 2 (FromSoftware/Namco-Bandai) – Will Win
– The Elder Scrolls Online (Zenimax Online/Bethesda) – Dark Horse
– Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (AlphaDream/Nintendo)
– Shin Megami Tensei IV (Atlus/Atlus)
– South Park: The Stick of Truth (Obsidian/Ubisoft) – Should Win

People are excited about Dark Souls 2.  I’ll be honest, it’s not my type of game, but I can see the beauty in the madness.  Frankly, South Park should take this one again.  It is bringing back old-school RPG mechanics and melding them perfectly with the show’s sensibilities and humor.  Alas, that seems unlikely.  Keep an eye out for Elder Scrolls though, fans have been clamoring for this for years.

Best Racing Game
– Forza 5 (Turn 10 Studio/Microsoft Studios)
– Gran Turismo 6 (Polyphony Digital/Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo) – Dark Horse
– Need for Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games/Electronic Arts) – Will Win/ Should Win
– The Crew ( Ivory Tower/Ubisoft)

Now, I’ll be honest. I haven’t done too much research on some of these yet; but from everything I’ve read, Rivals showed the best.  It’s running on Frostbite, like most of EA’s games, and looks gorgeous.  It also looks to be leaning more towards Hot Pursuit than Most Wanted and that cannot be a bad thing.  Never count out Nintendo though; Mario Kart in HD looks amazing, and now there are hovercraft! It’s Mario F-Zero…What?

Best Sports Game
– FIFA 14 (EA Canada/EA Sports) – Will Win/ Should Win
– NHL 14 (EA Canada/EA Sports) – Dark Horse
– Madden NFL 25 (Tiburon/EA Sports)
– Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 (PES Productions/Konami)

Look! EA Sports Games!

Best Strategy Game
– Command and Conquer (Victory Games/Electronic Arts)
– Company of Heroes 2 (Relic/Sega) – Will Win/ Should Win
– Pikmin 3 (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo) – Dark Horse
– Total War: Rome 2 (Creative Assembly/Sega)

This will most likely be a second win for Company of Heroes.  A solid strategy game, where you have to think through your every move.  Yet again, there is a deep level of strategy to a game of Pikmin, and a love for the creepy multi-colored little dudes.  I doubt Olimar will beat out WWII, but you never know; I wouldn’t cross Reggie.

Best Social/Casual
– Disney Infinity (Avalanche/Disney Interactive) – Dark Horse
– Fantasia: Music Evolved (Harmonix/Disney Interactive)
 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games/WBIE)
– Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time (Popcap/EA)
– Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions/Activision)
– Project Spark (Team Daokta/Microsoft Studios) – Will Win/ Should Win

Project Spark looks damn cool.  The game is creation, and creation is the game.  This is definitely one for the Minecraft and Little Big Planet crowd.  Graphically, it is stunning, and there is a lot of potential there to look forward to.  Disney is the dark horse in this race, with their take on the Skylanders style of game.  With the portfolio they  have, this could topple Spyro.

Best Online Multiplayer
– Battlefield 4 (DICE/Electronic Arts)
– Destiny (Bungie/Activision) – Dark Horse
– Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts) – Will Win/ Should Win
– The Elder Scrolls Online (Zenimax Online/Bethesda)
– Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Titanfall is looking to reinvigorate the multiplayer shooter with its fast pace and giant robots.  Yet, Destiny is giving its players interesting PvE moments in its sprawling world.  Yet, the only thing holding it back is the fact that people are already comparing it to Halo and Borderlands. Respawn will most likely take this one home, but Bungie is putting up a good fight here as well.

Best Downloadable
– Contrast (Compulsion Games)
– Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Young Horses Inc) – Dark Horse
– Outlast (Red Barrels)
– Rain (Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)
– Transistor (Supergiant Games) – Will Win/ Should Win

It’s Supergiant vs. Octodad…Everyone wins.

So what do you think? Discuss in the comments below, or message us on Twitter, or yell at your screen; your call.

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