The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 commanded most of the attention at this year’s E3—and why not? Microsoft and Sony spilled all the beans on their two new consoles, which are expected to battle it out this holiday season. The $499 One is an all-in-one entertainment center that integrates live TV, while the PS4 is targeting hard-core gamers with its sick specs and $100 lower price. Overall, there was plenty to see on the show floor, with several big-budget console titles unveiled along with innovative indie games. Meanwhile, mobile games continue to gain popularity, with big-name publishers taking notice.
After spending three days covering several major news conferences and visiting dozens of booths, these are our Best of E3 2013 Award Winners.
Best Mobile Game: Fightback
Sometimes the first time is the charm. The '80’s-inspired beat ‘em up “Fightback” is developer Ninja Theory’s first entry into the mobile arena. Coming to iOS and Android, the game uses a series of swipes and taps, allowing gamers to put together 20-hit combos and deliver a beatdown to wave after wave of thugs. If you get tired of hand-to-hand combat, pull out one of the game’s oversize guns to clear the room. The free-to-play title allows gamers to purchase upgrades, including bigger, better guns or tattoos for stat boosts. Or you can work your way up the old-fashioned way—with a couple of hours of kicking butt and taking names.
Best Multiplatform Game - Tom Clancy’s: The Division
“The Division” isn’t just another Tom Clancy title. Ubisoft’s latest game tasks players with rebuilding a near-future New York City in the aftermath of a viral outbreak. Instead of the usual first-person shooter, “The Division” takes place in an open-world massively multiplayer RPG that can be played alone or with a group of friends. Even better, the game features a companion app for iOS and Android that lets players control an aerial drone, which can buff its squad’s defenses, heal team members and call up a missile strike with enough XP. "The Division" will be landing on next-gen consoles, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A PC version has yet to be announced.
Best PC Exclusive - Total War: Rome II
The highly anticipated follow-up to “Total War Rome,” “Total War Rome II” lets players take part in turn-based and real-time 3D battles in their quest to conquer the ancient world. In an interesting twist, developer The Creative Assembly requires players to not only do battle with spears and swords, but also by using political clout to sway allies, win over enemies and even assassinate potential usurpers. As with previous entries in the “Total War” series, you’ll be able to build up cities, invade countries and more.
Best PlayStation 4 Exclusive: Infamous: Second Son
In “Infamous: Second Son,” players take on the role of Deslin Rowe, a superpowered teen living in Seattle with a knack for the dramatic. Where Cole McGarth, the lead character from the previous “Infamous” games, used electricity, fire and ice, Deslin can control smoke. The new smoke power lets gamers travel through any space no matter how small, which means you can enter a vent at street level and quickly travel to a rooftop chimney. Developer Sucker Punch hasn’t disclosed the other powers Rowe is sure to attain, but rest assured they’ll be a blast.
Best Xbox One Exclusive: Dead Rising 3
Zombie butt-kicking goes open-world in the latest entry in Capcom’s “Dead Rising” series “Dead Rising 3.” You take on the role of mechanic Nick Ramos as he tries to survive a zombie apocalypse. Players can pick up nearly anything in the world and use it as a weapon or combine multiple items using blueprints found throughout the game. Capcom is also making use of the Kinect, giving users the ability to call out to zombies to distract them. Smartglass integration allows you to call in a drone strike from your tablet or smartphone to take out hordes of the undead in a single shot.
Best Peripheral: Turtle Beach Z SEVEN
Sponsored by Major League Gaming, the Turtle Beach Z SEVEN headset has 50mm speakers and offers uncompressed surround sound on PCs and Macs via USB. There’s also a fully programmable digital-signal processor to personalize the audio experience, including chat and mic channels. The Z SEVEN features an Audio Control Unit with single-touch controls and audio preset switching, so your games will sound as good as they look.
Best Wii U Game: Mario Kart 8
Mario and his pals have been tooling around the Mushroom Kingdom in go-karts for years, and yet the fun never gets old. But for “Mario Kart 8,” Nintendo is turning the whole thing upside down —literally. Within the game, driving over blue pads scattered across the track tells gravity to kiss off, allowing your character to drive up walls and ceilings. These same pads open up new shortcuts and drivable terrains. Plus, “Mario Kart 8” features a new hover kart feature that activates at specific points during races.