The games everyone is talking about

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This year’s E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) will be taking place from 10 to 12 June in Los Angeles, California. This expo is an annual trade fair for the computer and video games industry that is hosted by the Entertainment Software Association. It is an exclusive, industry-only event. Each year there is a lot of buzz surrounding the launch of new, highly-anticipated games on various platforms like Playstation, Xbox and PC at this expo.

Let’s look at 5 new games have been hotly debated ahead of this year’s expo.

WATCH DOGS

Watch Dogs was released on May 27, 2014 but it is worthy of a mention since it will still feature heavily at this year’s E3.

It is described as an open-world action-adventure stealth game set in the city of Chicago, Illinois (various famous landmarks were replicated to make it authentic). It has been released on PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It is also available for Windows PC users and a Wii U version is set for release in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The world of Watch Dogs is a must to explore for tech fundis as it centers around a prolific grey hat hacker that goes by the name of Aiden Pierce using his skills to take revenge on the death of his niece. Some have described it as similar to Grand Theft Auto with players roaming free across the whole of Chicago, having the ability to steal (and hack) cars to get transport. But others, who are already fanatical about this game, have not taken kindly to this comparison.

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In the game, Chicago is a hyper-connected city with a centralized system, the CTOS, that controls everything that is wired up. This, of course, creates the perfect scene for hackers to crack open any variety of electronic devices that are a part of this connectivity. Aiden only has a smartphone with which he can use over 60 different hacks to access bank accounts, personal information about citizens, confidential data and more. With the hacking abilities one can also cause electrical blackouts, disrupt communications and cause chaos with traffic.

Each and every action your character takes will influence your reputation in a good or a bad way. You also have a string of supporting characters that help or hinder you along the way by using their unique talents. There is an online multiplayer mode where other players can hack into your game without your knowledge, a companion app for playing from your phone and the availability of a multitude of cars for you to hack. You can even “order” a car of your choice.

There are also multiple additional features you can play around with via your smartphone in the game. This includes taking part in real city events, playing poker or chess with other citizens and augmented reality mini-games within the Watch Dogs game (similar to playing Asteroid on the streets of your town).

It has received positive reviews so far with praise given based on the wide variety of missions available, its multiplayer mode and all of the hacking abilities. It has even broken Ubisoft’s (the game publisher) first-day sales records.

UNCHARTED 4

This third-person shooter game has garnered many fans (including myself) since the release of the first installment Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune at the end of 2007. The protagonist is Nathan Drake, a supposed descendant of Sir Francis Drake (a great explorer and sea captain that circumnavigated the world in the 1500s). Nathan Drake’s adventures have included looking for the lost treasure of El Dorado, a trek across Nepal and the Himalayas searching for the city of Shambhala, and traversing the Arabian Peninsula.

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A teaser trailer was released on Playstation’s YouTube channel in November 2013. There is speculation that it takes place in the past and one will be able to play with Sir Francis Drake himself. The teaser trailer pans over a map of Africa and eventually stops over a place called Île Sainte-Marie, an island off the coast of Madagascar, giving a hint as to where it will take place.

There are also rumours that a film adaptation of this popular video game series is in production with Nathan Fillion (actor from series such as Firefly, Castle and Lost) gunning for the main character role of Nathan Drake.

TITANFALL

Titanfall was already revealed at the 2013 E3 and has won numerous awards since then. Officially released on Xbox One in March of 2014 and later on Xbox 360, this game was highly anticipated because it is the debut title from the former developers of the Call of Duty franchise.

This first-person shooter game is set in war-torn outer space colonies where players get to pilot their very own mech-style (robots and machines controlled by humans) Titans in six-on-six matches. It is fast-paced, has continual action sequences and involves parkour-style abilities (where one can run up walls). There are about 50 characters that can be involved in one online game and everything is focused on completing team-based objectives. There are however no offline, single-player or splitscreen modes but the game support a system link over a local area network (or LAN). There are about 15 multiplayer maps and 5 multiplayer modes in Titanfall.

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The team that created the Titanfall game took their inspiration from Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell and Star Wars. Each player-controlled Titan has abilities such as x-ray vision, invisibility cloaking and forcefields. When a player’s Titan is destroyed they need to wait for a new one while in the meantime running around without a mech. One of the good things about losing a mech is that the pilot without a mech is much more nimble and quick than a Titan is.

Reviews have been mixed with many saying it is simply a Call of Duty copy but with mechs. However, the added parkour ability releases it from just being another copy. Others have been thrilled with the action of controlling mechs and the satisfaction it provides to have one drop from the sky for you to control. It has been said that the hype surrounding this game faded way too quickly and sales figures have not been released as of yet (something very suspicious to those who are familiar with industry practices). Perhaps with E3 coming up Titanfall can capture some of that lost hype and make everyone excited to play it again.

HALO 5: GUARDIANS

The Halo franchise is hailed as one of the best first-person shooters on a video game console. It was originally created by Bungie games but is now owned and published by Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries. It is exclusive to the Xbox platform even though it was initially slated to also be released on Mac OS and Microsoft Windows platforms.

The first Halo game (otherwise known as Halo: Combat Evolved) was released in 2001. The storyline is quite complicated and has evolved quite a bit over the years. Basically the series focuses on an interstellar war between the humans and an alliance of aliens known as The Covenant. The Covenant worships an extinct civilization called The Forerunners, who perished while combatting the parasitic Flood. The name Halo comes from the Halo Rings that were created by The Forerunners as large, habitable structures designed to destroy sentient (emotional or feeling) life.

Halo (for the most part) focuses on the adventures of Master Chief John-117, a man who is part of a group of supersoldiers called Spartans, and his artificial intelligence companion Cortana (also the name of Microsoft’s intelligent voice personal assistant for the Windows 8.1 OS). Halo: Reach (from 2010) was the only time in the series where the spotlight fell on another Spartan called Noble Six.

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Not much is known about Halo 5. A teaser trailer has been released but few clues were given as to what will be happening in the next installment. Halo 5 is the continuation of Halo 4 (there have been many other spin-offs – like Halo Wars – since its release) and it is also part of what is called the Reclaimer Saga or Reclaimer Trilogy. The game will run on 60 frames per second, something that was not as easily reached when it was released on Xbox 360. The game will now make use of the console’s dedicated servers.

DESTINY

While we’re on the subject of Halo, its original creators have released their first independent game not exclusive to Microsoft consoles. It is called Destiny and is being described by Bungie as a shared-world shooter which also incorporates elements from MMOs and RPGs. The entire game is designed to be multiplayer but there is room for people to play solo (something that might be difficult when hoards of aliens attack you).

The story begins with The Traveller which, upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere and solar system, gave human beings supernatural abilities and the power to colonize the galaxy (this was called the Golden Age). However, The Traveller had an arch-enemy called The Darkness, which aimed to destroy all humanity. It almost happened but a few lucky humans survived who now owe their lives to The Traveller, which sacrificed itself to save them. It now lies dormant above the last remaining human city.

Players take on the role of Guardians, people who venture out into dangerous places to take back lost territories, fight enemies and reveal the secrets to getting rid of The Darkness for good. Just like any other MMO, players can get loot with which to customize their weapons and armour. There is a marketplace in the game and there are even rumours of gambling. Not to worry though, this game won’t have any subscription fees attached to it nor will there be any pay-to-play system.

There will be three species to choose from as characters including original Humans, the Awoken (human beings themselves but ones who garnered special powers after the fall of the Golden Age) and the Exo, self-aware machines restored from the Golden Age to help the Guardians fight evil forces. Just to let you know, each species does not have specific perks so you can go for any one of these depending on the look you want.

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There are also three classes to choose from once you’ve chosen your species. Hunters who specialize in stealth and sniper tactics, Titans who are heavily armoured and always ready for battle with weapons, and Warlocks who have special powers from The Traveller and combine it with forceful weapons.

Destiny will be available on Playstation 3 and 4, as well as Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Its release date has been announced for September 9, 2014.