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5 games to watch from E3 2014

More than 48,000 video game industry professionals have gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center this week to showcase what’s next in the $74 billion video game industry at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). While mobile, free-to-play and online PC games have helped grow the global video game audience in recent years, dedicated game consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo still rule the show. Here’s a preview of five console games to watch out for in the coming months.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Developer: Ubisoft
Consoles: PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
Release date: October 28, 2014

Ubisoft has been making history fun and raking in the dough over the years–more than 76 million copies of Assassin’s Creed games have been sold since 2007. The newest game, Assassin’s Creed Unity, explores the French Revolution with all its chaos and bloodshed. The game’s campaign adds four-player cooperative support, allowing friends to traverse a fully realized Paris circa 1789. Also new is the ability to enter buildings like the Notre Dame de Paris and Sainte Chapelle, which have been replicated complete with breathtaking architecture and exquisite details. Designed from the ground up for next-gen consoles, this game pushes the open world gameplay in new directions with huge interactive crowds and an entire city to explore. Even with the story-driven missions and tons of side quests, it’s just fun to navigate the virtual city and take in history first-hand.    

Battlefield Hardline

Developer: Electronic Arts/Visceral Games  
Consoles: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3,
Xbox 360
Release date: October 28, 2014

EA (EA) is taking the battlefield to the streets of Los Angeles and Miami with this virtual cops-vs.-robbers game. With an original storyline that’s under wraps at the moment, E3 showcased the multiplayer mayhem between heavily armed police and well-funded criminals on the streets of L.A. Players on both sides of the law will be able to play as they like with an arsenal of weapons, gadgets and vehicles (ranging from boats to motorcycles to helicopters). Interactive environments will allow players to literally topple cranes and shake the earth as they fight through various game modes like Heist and Blood Money. Both of these multiplayer experiences offer money that’s up for grabs and locations for players to deliver it to, creating a changing landscape to fight through. This game has that patented Battlefield sandbox feel, but offers a different dynamic. It could be just what EA needs to do some damage against Activision’s stalwart, Call of Duty.    

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Developer: Activision/Sledgehammer Games
Consoles: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release date: November 4, 2014

Activision’s annual billion-dollar franchise gets a new developer, an original near-future storyline set in 2054 involving private military corporations (PMC), and a sinister villain in Jonathan Irons (played by Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey), who runs the world’s largest PMC, Atlas Corporation. With three years of development (another first for the franchise), Sledgehammer Games is empowering gamers with technology like exoskeleton suits that enhance soldiers strength and offer boosts for jumps. There are also futuristic vehicles like the heavily armored Pitbull, as well as hover bikes and drones. From augmented reality to weaponized energy, all of the sci-fi technology in the game is based on real-world gear that’s either in the field today or being designed for warfare tomorrow. While Activision is keeping a lid on the multiplayer gameplay at E3, Sledgehammer’s founders created Electronic Arts’ critically acclaimed Dead Space game, which bodes well for the new COD campaign storyline that spans 10 years in the life of Private Mitchell as he becomes an advanced war fighter in a world where PMCs are as powerful as countries. This fresh approach to combat is just what Activision needs to keep gamers coming back for more.  

Sunset Overdrive

Developer: Microsoft/Insomniac Games   
Consoles: Xbox One
Release date: October 28, 2014

The developer behind the Sony PlayStation-exclusive Ratchet & Clank franchise has partnered with Microsoft (MSFT) for a very different gameplay experience. With its cel-shaded look and irreverent humor, Sunset Overdrive puts players in the starring role of a third-person perspective, open-world shooter. After an energy drink turns citizens into mutants, it’s up to you to save Sunset City. Actually, it’s up to you and seven of your friends in the eight-player co-op Chaos gameplay mode. With its vibrant colors and wacky locales, which includes an amusement park overrun by mutants, this game serves up frenetically-paced action with plenty of laughs. Players can rail grind on roller coasters and zip line down cables using a crowbar – all while aiming your arsenal at never-ending enemies. This game is just fun to play, or look at. And it’s sure to make you smile.

Super Smash Bros.

Developer: Nintendo
Consoles: Wii U and Nintendo 3DS 
Release date: Fall 2014

It seems the recently released hit arcade racing game Mario Kart 8 has finally given some life to the struggling Wii U console. Nintendo is focusing on what it has always done best, deliver quality new games for its popular franchises. Nintendo’s biggest game at the show (literally, judging from the movie-theater-sized digital screen it was being played on) was Super Smash Bros. This latest fighting game sequel offers all of Nintendo’s favorite characters like Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus and Kirby, along with gaming icons like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and Pac-Man. The multiplayer action will be customizable, allowing gamers to assign 12 unique attacks and three kinds of equipment to each character. The game will be available on the Nintendo 3DS as well, with players being able to fight across platforms. The new Super Smash Bros. will also support Nintendo’s interactive toy initiative, amiibo. When placed on a Wii U Gamepad, these collectible interactive figures will transport their character into games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8 and Mario Party 10. That’s another reason to take a fresh look at the Wii U console.

Related video:  The 5 biggest promises from E3