In this age of austerity, we only have so much money to spend on frivolities and luxuries, and as is often the case, E3 has come along and made our wish list of purchases ridiculously unmanageable. There’s just so much to choose from, so in the interest of providing a little helping hand, and to prevent the need to get a second, or even third job to supplement your gaming habit, we’re going to look at our top picks for both the Xbox One and PS4, as well as the pick of the third party crop. We’ll start today with a look at the top 20 Xbox One exclusives heading your way.
Remember Asterix? Well, image the heroic Gaul, only Scottish, and less Bill Oddie. Wulverblade is a side-scrolling, Golden Axe-style cartoon fighter that looks quite slick, and features full 1080p visuals, tons of unlockables and an ‘EPIC twist that you will never see coming’.
Although it doesn’t look as involved as Castle Crashers, this should be a decent beat ’em up for the Xbox One, and it’s all based on real people and places, with some historic content thrown in, so you can learn as you eviscerate. Nice.
19. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
With a title as interesting as the game itself, this is a striking-looking indie release that sees you control the titular lovers piloting a spherical spaceship through dangerous space. To fight the various foes you encounter, you have to scrabble around the innards of your ship to man the various gun turrets. It’s kind of like FTL, albeit ramped up, and it looks very tasty indeed.
This is a truly strange title, and is a open-world survival horror with a novel twist. Exploring a strange desert, you find that nasties come out at night, and have to fight them off with any light source you can find, be it a torch, flash bang, or matches. When you sleep, the world around you changes, with new structures and all sorts of environmental details appearing. You’ll always be on edge as you’ll never know quite what to expect, and you’ll need to use the daylight to prepare for the evening’s assault.
It’s going to be a surreal title, with an aesthetic deliberately designed to court the strange and otherworldly feel, and it certainly look like it’s going to be an interesting one well worth keeping an eye on.
Looking very similar in gameplay style to the excellent Limbo (it’s the same studio), Inside was one of the most striking and emotional titles we saw at E3. It’s a side scrolling platformer of sorts that places you in control of a small boy making his way through a dangerous world filled with traps and terrors.
It’s much more detailed and colourful than Limbo, but it still looks every bit the artistically-themed and darkness-draped title we loved back in 2010. Few details were released about the game at the show, but it will arrive in the first half of 2015.
16. Knight Squad
Titles like Towerfall Ascension have proven that simple gameplay can make for a great game, and that’s just what Knight Squad looks to embrace. With a distinctly retro feel to it, Knight Squad is a multiplayer combat title where players pick a coloured knight and have at it in a selection of game types.
There’s all out battle, capture the flag, football and more to fight it out in, and these are all complimented by various power-ups. It’s frantic stuff, and looks like it has the potential to be a great multiplayer experience.
15. Project Spark
We thought Project Spark was one of the most promising titles announced during the Xbox One’s reveal, and although it’s hardly made huge waves so far, it’s a title that growing as it goes, and the cross-platform support is still intriguing.
The E3 trailer featured the promise of new content, including multiplayer and co-op campaigns, as well as the new galaxies content, offering space combat. And, if you’re wondering what happened to Conker the squirrel, wonder no more, as he’s coming to Project Spark, presumably with a new, special Conker recourse set. It’s a shame Conker has been relegated to this level and not a real game. But hey, at least you can now you can make your own sequel to Bad Fur Day.
14. Lifeless Planet
This is already out for the PC, but it’ll be welcome on the Xbox One too. It’s an atmospheric adventure that puts the emphasis on exploration and platforming, as well as some rudimentary puzzles. It sees you exploring a strange, alien planet that has somehow been occupied by the Russians, despite being 15 years away from Earth by space travel. As you explore the world, you soon find out that the Russian involvement is the least of your troubles, and more dangers introduce themselves.
On PC the game delivers a deeply atmospheric romp, with a selection of beautiful environments to explore, and an intriguing story to uncover, so this should be one to watch out for on Xbox if you’ve not managed to play it on PC.
Coming from Platinum Games, Scalebound features a protagonist who not only commands and rides a dragon ally, but can cover his body in scale armour, which appears to boost his combat skill too. He’s going to have to make use of these skills, as there are plenty of larger, more dangerous creatures to content with in his world. Well, and least has has some Beats to listen to his tunes on.
The trailer we’ve seen thus far is all CG, but Platinum has a strong pedigree in delivering amazing-looking titles that posses fast, frantic and cinematic action, so there’s no reason not to believe that the final game could deliver what the trailer promises.
Cuphead is a platform shooter rendered in the style of old 30s cartoons, such as Max Fleischer, Mickey Mouse, and Betty Boop. It looks gorgeous, and has the 30’s vibe nailed, complete with genuinely unsettling enemies (just look at that sunflower).
Hopefully, there’ll be much more to the game that its impressive visual style, and with the promise of branching paths, various weapons, and a focus on challenging gameplay, it looks like it could deliver.
11. Ori And The Blind Forest
Revealed by Microsoft during its press conference, Ori And The Blind Forest is an undeniably attractive title, but underneath this eye candy supposedly lies a deep Metroidvania-style title.
The game will have a wide selection of skills and abilities that players can unlock to help them explore and survive the world. These abilities can be combined in numerous ways, making for a flexible skill system and a character that the developer claims will push the controls, adding a good deal of challenge.
10. Get Even
We already knew about Get Even, thanks to the impressive trailer released earlier this year, and this Xbox One exclusive is potentially one to watch if the promises of the developer come to fruition.
It’s a first person shooter that, along with great visual polish, will introduce a solo and multiplayer-blurring game mechanic which is being compared to the likes of Dark Souls. This will see other players invading your world in such a way that’ll you’ll not know which of your foes is AI, or which is an invading human.
The game’s story revolves around exploring and changing the memories of the main characters, and will fuse thriller and horror together.
Below is a title we’ve been looking forward to ever since the Xbox One arrived. This indie title is a top-down adventure that uses randomly generated worlds. The gameplay will be that of a roguelike, as in it’ll feature permanent death. If you die, you’ll have to start all over again. It’ll feature deliberately difficult combat, and from what we’ve seen of the title so far, it could be a true indie gem.
It should be noted that Below will be exclusive to Xbox One for a limited time. So other platforms should also get the game at some point.
8. Forza Horizon 2
The open-world incarnation of Forza is set to return on September 30. It’ll feature a seamless multiplayer mode and support for the Drivatar system, along with a ‘dramatic weather’ system, There’ll be 1000 driver clubs and over 200 cars.
For many, Forza is now the driving simulation to beat, and with Horizon it takes a more arcade approach, with the lush open world presenting a very different feel, much more akin to the likes of Need for Speed. This should be good.
7. Quantum Break
We didn’t see much of this at E3 this year as it’s being saved for later at Gamescom, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the most interesting titles for the Xbox One, and we’re still eager to see more.
It’s something of an enigma as to how the whole thing will flow, with the TV-influence and the time travelling mechanic, but if there’s one thing we like to see in games it’s creative innovation, and Quantum Break promises that.
6. Fable Legends
Although Fable III left a sour taste in the mouths of some, Fable Legends could well rinse it out, that is if you’re tired of the usual formula and want something totally different. It’ll have a focus on co-operative multiplayer, as well as the chance to play as the villain to take the heroes out.
The four versus one setup pits four players against a villain player. The latter takes the role of a dungeon master, and set traps and controls the level enemies. The heroes have to conquer the dungeon and defeat the villain. Simple.
It’ll drop the open world RPG style of Fable in favour of this more limited action theme, which has caused concern with some fans, but this could be a welcome change until Fable 4 comes along.
5. Halo The Master Chief Collection
Gathering all four major Halo titles onto a single disc, this is potentially one of the best value packages we’ve seen. The single player alone will be a big draw, and being able to follow the Master Chief’s adventure throughout all four games back to back, including remastered Anniversary editions of both Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, will be a big draw. It’ll even feature added story content, leading players into Halo 5‘s story, evident in the new character from Guardians seen in the trailer.
However, it’s the multiplayer that’ll represent the most value here. A truly epic collection, the multiplayer component will feature over 100 maps, and it’ll run on dedicated servers. The maps will even include those from the original Halo: Combat Evolved and Spartan Ops missions. Oh, and the game will include access to Halo 5‘s multiplayer beta, which will no doubt sell copies all on its own.
4. Sunset Overdrive
We’ve seen much more of the gameplay and features of Incomniac’s Sunset Overdrive, and it’s looking like it could be a big hit. It’s an open-world shooter with an emphasis on over the top weapons and free running, and there’s plenty of customisation.
You’re rewarded in the game for stylish kills, and the gameplay will include a robust multiplayer component too, with a drop-in co-op for up to eight players. There’ll also be popular modes like wave-based attacks and tower defence.
3. Halo 5: Guardians
The next major Halo instalment doesn’t really need any explanation of its inclusion in the list, does it? It’s a new Halo, what more do you need?
Seriously, though, Halo 5: Guardians is hopefully going to be something quite special. As the first Halo game on the Xbox One, the added power and new direction courtesy of 343 could make this great, and with a mysterious new character, possibly one hunting Master chief down, it’s no doubt gong to be a killer app, whichever way you look at it.
The new multiplayer also looks tasty, with 343 promising next generation arena combat as well as a set of new Spartan abilities. Halo has always been known for strong multiplayer, but with Call of Duty encroaching on the scene, and dominating it, can Halo 5 reclaim its crown? Well see.
2. Phantom Dust
The revival of the Xbox classic, Phantom Dust, is a hugely welcome surprise. The action card-battler was missed by most when it first arrived, with whole regions never actually getting the game. It’s a cult hit, and Microsoft is finally bringing it back to life, and this time it’s coming to everyone, along with the improved visuals and other features made possible by the leap in tech.
1. Crackdown 3
Admit it, even though you’re a hardcore Crackdown fan, Crackdown 2 was pants, wasn’t it? Yes, it was. Despite that fact, we’ve not stopped wishing for another chance to throw cars, jump over buildings and spend countless hours trying to find every last orb, and Microsoft is going to make that wish come true.
Crackdown 3 (or possibly just Crackdown, for some reason) is certainly a game that could make use of the Xbox One’s added power, and if some of the skills and abilities seen in CG the trailer make it into playable form, and it’s better than the second entry of the series, we’ll be very happy bunnies indeed. We can’t wait.
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