In the past we have done two separate posts for CG and gameplay trailers, but as the lines have blurred between what is pre-rendered and what is in-engine so two have those categories. Instead, we're making things simple and taking a look at what were the best overall trailers shown at E3 2014.
But, it's important to note that our choices reflect trailers that either impressed us from a creative perspective or from a technical one, not necessarily because of the game involved. Similarly, we tried to avoid those trailers, like the ones for Uncharted 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, that were little more than brief teases meant to say "Hey, this game is coming." These 10 choices are trailers that impressed us in one way or another.
So, without further ado, here are our choices for the 10 Best E3 2014 Trailers:
Dead Island 2
Trying to live up to the legacy of that incredible first Dead Island trailer would have been near impossible. So rather than go for a similarly somber tone with Dead Island 2, Deep Silver chose the complete opposite direction and went with a goofy, upbeat trailer. At the time we didn't know what exactly Sony was showing at their press conference, but it all came into focus little by little. Say what you will about the games, but the Dead Island franchise sure knows how to deliver evocative trailers. Oh, and a little bit of Jack Black doesn't hurt.
In a little over 2-minutes, developer Insomniac Games seemed to poke fun at all the overused tropes of the shooter genre. At the same time, they highlighted how their new game, Sunset Overdrive, combines fast-paced action with an overly self-referential tone. This was the type of trailer that we hope to see from all games — it looked super slick, made us laugh, and set the stage for the following gameplay demo. And with tons of crazy weapons, cool visual effects, and detailed enemies and environments, that demo lived up to the initial zany promise of this trailer.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Ashes turn to blood. Big Boss screaming into the camera. Was that Metal Gear Rex?
To say that the Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain trailer was obtuse would be to put it mildly. Kojima Productions has a long history of peculiar trailers, and they continued that tradition with this MGS 5 footage. But, while many might have been left scratching their heads, the trailer actually seemed to explain how the events of Ground Zeroes will factor into Phantom Pain. It also happened to be filled with plenty of classic MGS iconography, which is all one can really expect. As fans know there's usually always a method to Kojima's madness, but even then this trailer was a sight to behold.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
Finally, after years of waiting, Nintendo finally gave fans their first look at The Legend of Zelda on the Wii U and, from a visual standpoint, the footage was mighty impressive. Sure, it wasn't the same Wii U tech demo we saw a few years back, but this was still Zelda in HD. Over the last year, Nintendo has shown they can leverage the power of the Wii U to deliver a game that has its own unique visual style, and that appears most true here. To put it simply, Zelda Wii U looks to be a very pretty game.
And while we didn't expect there to be any controversy surrounding this trailer, the gender-ambiguous main character brought forth a lot of questions. Is it Link? Is it Zelda? Is it someone completely new? As it turns out, the character is most likely Link, but fans were sent into a panic for a bit.
No Man's Sky
At their initial Spike VGA reveal, developer Hello Games teased an ambitious title called No Man's Sky. The developer claimed that players would be able to chart a vast, procedural universe in the game, exploring the local flora and fauna before eventually taking to the stars to find the next planet. For an initial taste, we were very impressed by what the developer had to show of No Man's Sky, but it wasn't until this E3 2014 trailer that the full picture came together.
Now, gamers could see what exactly Hello Games is going for with No Man's Sky. The trailer shows the transition from planet to space, and back, almost exactly as we imagined it. Granted, there are a still a lot of questions surrounding the game, but for now No Man's Sky still ranks very high on our list.
Assassin's Creed Unity
For years now, Assassin's Creed fans have been requesting a co-op experience, and with AC Unity they will finally get it. Highlighted first as part of Microsoft's press conference, and then given the CG trailer treatment at Ubisoft's, Unity's 4-player co-op looks to be everything we hoped. Watching four different assassins swoop in and take out guards, with a handy set of new weapons, and then escape back to the rooftops was an easy highlight of the entire event. Ubisoft is finally delivering on the promises of AC: Brotherhood and we couldn't be more excited.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
While a CG trailer for a collection of 4 previously-released games might not seem worth mentioning, 343 Industries' teaser for Halo: The Master Chief Collection not only teased the upcoming compilation but also the story of Halo 5: Guardians. In it, we hear the Arbiter talking to the mysterious Spartan of Halo 5, explaining how the events of past Halo games, specifically Halo 2, will inform the series' future. It also sounds like this soldier, who the Arbiter refers to as Agent Clark (sp?), will be searching for Master Chief in Halo 5. 343 was right when they said the journey begins this year, and we can't wait to see how the franchise all ties together.
Perhaps the most inventive trailer out of the bunch, Ubisoft's teaser for The Division told a complete story through an evocative stylistic choice and moody music. We learn about the viral outbreak, the subsequent impact it had on the city of New York, and how it tore a family apart, all without actually seeing any real action. Then when it came time for the big payoff, The Division's trailer didn't disappoint there either, teasing a greater conflict between the member's of the eponymous organization and the lawless thugs of New York City - a conflict highlighted by Ubisoft's gameplay demo earlier in the day.
Ori and the Blind Forest
With a lot of the focus of E3 2014 on the bombast, it's oftentimes hard for the smaller, artistically minded games to make a splash. But amidst it all, Ori and the Blind Forest stood out. While our later time with the game further informed how Ori will actually work — it's a 'Metroidvania' style platformer — this initial trailer caught our attention with its beautiful art style and emotional tone. The indie scene is alive and strong on all platforms, and the Xbox One looks to have a killer title on the way.
Batman: Arkham Knight
What can we say about Batman: Akrham Knight that hasn't already been said a thousand times over? The game looks incredible, and what Rocksteady Studios had to show at Sony's Press Conference was exactly what fans wanted. Improved Batman gameplay, a closer look at the batmobile in action (both as a car and as a tank), and a villainous tease from the Scarecrow, this trailer hit all the right notes. And now that wait until 2015 just got a lot harder.
What were your favorite trailers from E3 2014? Which trailer most changed your mind about a game? Let us know in the comments below.
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