10 Games I Can't Wait to See @ E3 2014

E3 is so close I can practically taste the grease of convention center pizza, and I've never been more excited for the future of gaming. Last year, we all watched with bated breath as Sony and Microsoft fought tooth and nail for the lead, with Nintendo caught in the crossfire. As we approach the one-year anniversary of Sony's shocking victory, we find Microsoft scrambling to catch up while Nintendo attempts to navigate out of the corner it's backed itself into with the Wii U. Sony, currently leading the pack in console sales, has a surprising dearth of exclusives announced for the show.

The conditions are ripe for an upset.

Last year's E3 was all about console prices, online policies, and DRM. Those distractions are in the rearview this year, making the convention once again all about the games. While I don't know everything that will be shown over the next week, there's already a formidable list of titles that could appear. The following ten games are the ones I'm most excited to hear about at E3 2014.

Project Beast

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Is From Software's Project Beast another Dark Souls sequel, or is it something altogether more sinister? That's the question that has been on the mind of every role-playing fan in the weeks since the project leaked online. Reports of Sony exclusivity indicate that Project Beast could in fact be the long-awaited sequel to Demon's Souls, but given that the Dark Souls franchise is already considered by most to be the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, how would From Software attempt to differentiate the two games?

The firearms and massive beasts featured in the leaked gameplay footage promise more challenge than ever before. Imagine taking on enemies armed with rifles instead of slow-firing arrows. I'm ready to crush a controller just thinking about it.

Alien: Isolation

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I've seen Alien: Isolation several times now, but I've never quite been able to process my feelings for the trailers and demos. A horror game set in the infamously hard-to-adapt Alien universe, developed by a real-time strategy house and published by the folks who brought us last year's wretched Aliens: Colonial Marines, has no business looking this darn excellent. Each time I see the game, I feel like I'm waiting for Creative Assembly to slip up and reveal that the whole thing has been one giant farce. But alas, in all my vigilance I have yet to see anything to indicate that Isolation will be anything but a top-tier scream-a-thon when it hits current and last-gen consoles this October.

This E3, I will inevitably find myself again drawn to the game, searching for any sign that it won't be the horror masterpiece I've been waiting for and hoping all the while to find none.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has already managed to produce one of the most memorable E3 trailers of the year, and the show hasn't even begun yet. With a world and mechanics built specifically for next-gen and PC, The Witcher 3 could be this generation's Oblivion, a game so large, so beautiful, so ambitious that it catapults its developer into AAA stardom. With the addition of sea travel, horseback riding, and a living, breathing NPC ecosystem, it's tough to imagine any other outcome for this hugely ambitious RPG.

I simply can't wait to see what CD Projekt has to show of this stunner in the following week, especially now that we have a firm release date to look forward to.

Forza Horizon 2

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The first Forza Horizon was arguably last generation's best racing game, and now its sequel promises to take us abroad for an even bigger open world filled with the same racing challenges we've come to know an love. The Forza standard of accuracy and beauty look to be in full effect in Horizon 2 - just take a look at that screenshot if you doubt the game's looks - and if the game plays anything like the original, we're all in for a treat.

Forza 5's controversial Drivatar system has been confirmed to return in Horizon 2, and it is this piece of the game that I'm most curious to see at E3. It's no secret that many online players don't exactly take the precision racing side of Forza seriously, but I'm optimistic that Turn 10 and Playground Games will find a way to strike a suitable balance. Either way, I'll surely be pulling donuts across the game's beautiful-looking open world later this year.

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem

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When it comes to Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, the above image and a short trailer are all we've had to go on for the last year. Nintendo first announced the game long ago in a Nintendo Direct stream, and we've heard nothing of the project since then. With the radio silence and Atlus' recent purchase by SEGA, it's not hard to wonder if this intriguing crossover is still happening. If the game does still exist, I expect we'll at least hear mention of it at E3.

A combination of two of my favorite gaming franchises of all time, it's hard not to imagine that Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem will deliver a critical hit to my heart if and when it is finally released. If I see Chie kickboxing Lyndis for a steak, I might just die.

Persona 5

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Hey, remember that part where I said Shin Megami Tensei is one of my favorite gaming series of all time? Well I wasn't messing around, and the Persona branch of SMT in particular has captured my heart for some time now. Again, all we have to go on is the menacing image above and a short teaser trailer, but if there's one series that could get me to break out my PS3 a year and a half after the PS4 launched, it's Persona.

I'm excited to return to the unique blend of dungeon crawling and social simulation that characterizes Persona, and I'm even more hyped to see it all rendered with the power of the PS3 (that sentence feels really strange to type in 2014). It's been six years since the last proper Persona sequel, but the lovely guys and gals at Atlas have proven time and again that they know what fans want from the series, and I have complete faith in them to make a worthy sequel to two of the best role-playing games of all time.

Star Wars Battlefront

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EA and DICE's Battlefront reboot is still shrouded in mystery. Will the game stick to its multiplayer guns, or will there be a campaign? How many players will be able to jump into a single online game? Will the series bring back its beloved splitscreen and bot matches? Will the action stick to a third-person perspective, or will it be moved into the first-person viewpoint that DICE is so comfortable with?

We're poised to have at least a few of those questions answered, as EA has confirmed that they will be showing Battlefront at their press conference on Monday. Battlefront has some really passionate fans, myself among them, and while DICE is hypothetically the perfect studio to handle a reboot, there are plenty of things that could go wrong along the way. I for one am rooting for a positive showing, though; we've all waited too long to come away disappointed.

X

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X is another Nintendo property that was announced ages ago, only to fade into obscurity in the months since. A massive RPG that sees players battling giant beasts from the cushy interior of a mech suit, X holds a lot of promise for kaiju fans like myself. I haven't been able to discern much from the game's scant few trailers, which have all been in Japanese, but it's easy to see how the power of the Wii U and the pedigree of Monolith Software could combine to form something amazing. After all, we're talking about the studio that created Baten Kaitos and Xenoblade Chronicles, two of the most beautiful games on their respective platforms.

If the role-playing mechanics manage to stack up to the awesome concept, X could be the Wii U's biggest killer app yet.

Fantasia: Music Evolved

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As someone who loves purchasing dumb things, I've been waiting for Harmonix to give me an excuse to buy into the Xbox One's Kinect ever since the console was revealed last year. The recent announcement of the Kinect-less Xbox One probably has Harmonix reeling, but it doesn't show in the colorful and eclectic Fantasia: Music Evolved. Harmonix has always been one of the best studios when it comes to working within the limitations of the Kinect, and Fantasia looks to continue that trend with its unique gesture-based gameplay.

When I saw the game at last year's E3, I expected to be bombarded with saccharine tunes culled from Disney musicals. Instead, I found myself waving along to current pop tracks and classic tunes alike - the game even has Depeche Mode in it. It's kind of a weird soundtrack for a Disney game, but it's one that ensures that even fans such as myself will get a kick out of the lineup.

Deep Down

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It's hard to believe that Deep Down was announced 16 months ago, and I still don't really know what it is. I mean yeah, it's definitely an action role-playing game, and it looks to be taking its cues equally from Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma. It's been confirmed as both a PlayStation 4 exclusive and a free-to-play game, and the setting will have players travelling in time from an apocalyptic future to a past which looks frankly even more dangerous.

But how any of those elements will blend together remains largely obfuscated. How will the free-to-play hooks impact the gameplay? What variety of character classes and weapon types can we expect to wield? What is the primary gameplay loop? Those are the questions I'm looking to have answered at this year's E3, and hopefully Capcom will return with a satisfactory response.

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