The 15 Best Games of Gamescom 2014

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Aug 5, 2013
Here are the games we'll be playing through 2014 and beyond.
By IGN Staff Gamescom 2014 proved to be an amazing show filled with some truly incredible games. And while we got to play some of our favorite E3 demos again, such as Super Smash Bros. Wii U and The Division, we decided to focus on the 15 new demos that really left us wanting more. Also, as much as we loved stuff like PT, Rime, and Wild, we decided to only include games that had presences outside of the press conferences/demos released during the conferences. So without further interruption, here are the games that we'll all want to be playing throughout this year and next.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Any game in which you can order a horse to poop on demand is a winner in my book, especially when that freshly-laid dirt burger is capable of taking out a jeep full of enemy troops. But it’s the attention to detail and freedom to experiment that really impresses me about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This is showcased perfectly in the E3 and Gamescom demos, which showed the same mission tackled in two completely different ways, highlighting evolving enemy AI, truly dynamic stealth action and Snake’s ultimate weapon, a next-gen cardboard box. Throw in a multiplayer mode that promises to enhance the Metal Gear experience rather than detract from it and the wait for The Phantom Pain – which has already already been way too long and we still don’t know when it’s coming out – is *definitely looking like it’ll be worth it. -- Alex Simmons
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection feels like Halo, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s so common to go back to childhood favorites only to realize that the magic isn’t there. Your memories of good times are just that – memories. I went hands on with the Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer, specifically the remakes of “Ascension” and “Sanctuary” from Halo 2. Not including the slick new coat of paint and the Xbox One controller in my hands, it felt like I was playing Halo 2 again. The jumping, the weapons, the vehicles, all the tiny shortcuts I used to know, they all came back to me after ten minutes of playing. First-person shooters have changed a ton over the past decade, but the refined simplicity of old-school Halo multiplayer is always welcome. -- Brian Albert
The Tomorrow Children
“A surreal Marxism simulator” is how director Dylan Cuthbert describes his latest game, The Tomorrow Children. It’s definitely one of those games that’s tricky to summarise or distill into a 60-second trailer for a press conference. A PS4 exclusive, The Tomorrow Children is a sandbox experience like no other. Set in the aftermath of a experiment that went horribly wrong, combining all of human consciousness and matter, you play as a clone sent forth by the last remaining scientists to reclaim the earth. But you’re really free to do whatever you want: protect the town from nightmare monsters or head to the islands and spend you time building elaborate tunnel systems. It’s the game you want it to be, and it’s already one of Sony’s most curious first-party exclusives. -- Daniel Krupa
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
The opening 30 minutes of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter unfolds with an expert sense of pace, storytelling, and horror mystery. The first game from The Astronauts, a Polish team comprised of many former-People Can Fly folks who worked on Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment, Ethan Carter is a visually-stunning first-person adventure game. With its stripped down, but effective mechanics, impeccable atmosphere, and great writing, its opening sets the stage for what could be video games’ next great murder mystery. I can’t say for sure how far down the gothic rabbit hole Ethan Carter will eventually go when it's released on PC in September, and PS4 at some point in 2015. -- Marty Sliva
Bloodborne may have been unveiled at E3 but we learned so much more about From Software’s spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls at Gamescom. Shields have been dispensed with to encourage players to be more aggressive. We saw more of its intricately-constructed gothic world and its exquisite monsters. The combat broken down in great detail, and we were introduced to an entirely new mechanic – the ‘regain system’ – allows players to retrieve lost health by fighting back. In fact, game director Hidetaka Miyazaki says he doesn’t even see at health bar when he plays Bloodborne; for him, it’s an abstract measure of the player’s will to go on, to persevere, and reclaim hope. Classy guy, that Miyazaki. -- Daniel Krupa
While there were no new monsters or hunters to play around with at Gamescom, we did try out a new map for Evolve at the show. Distillery is a tight, compact zone that made for high-tension play sessions as it usually didn’t take long for the hunters to find the monster. Even with the tight quarters and nearly instant action, matches went back and forth between the hunters and the monster; it still amazes us how balanced the game is, especially with so many variables to take into account. Evolve continues to be the game we want to play more of since every match we learn more about the maps, abilities and best strategies. -- Tal Blevins
Assassin’s Creed Unity
2013’s Black Flag may have featured some excellent naval combat and exploration, but there’s no doubt that the core Assassin’s Creed formula had otherwise stagnated somewhat since the stab-happy series peaked with just its second release. Unity, the first game in the series to be developed solely for next-gen systems, isn’t hanging its hood on any one gameplay hook. Instead the team behind it – comprised of some nine development studios – has set about redefining all facets of the Assassin’s Creed experience. Unity’s overhauled traversal and more flexible mission design were front and centre at Gamescom this year, along with more intelligent enemy behaviour and a smart, Splinter Cell-inspired ‘last known position’ system. Could this be a return to greatness for Ubisoft’s flagship franchise? The signs are good so far. -- Tristan Ogilvie
Tearaway Unfolded
At Gamescom, Sony announced the adorable puzzle-platformer Tearway is heading to PlayStation 4. To be clear, this isn’t a remake or reboot, with the development team at Media Molecule thinking of it more as a remix, a chance to expand on their original vision. Environments are much bigger and feel more alive; it’s as if the edges of the world have been pushed back to reveal hidden content. It’s clear that a lot of love and thought lies behind the decisions being made. Nowhere is this more obvious than in how Tearaway’s distinctive controls and mechanics are being overhauled to suit DualShock 4. Players will have to swipe and shake the controller in a variety of unusual ways to solve the redesigned puzzles. Sony is bringing the story of the Messenger to a much wider audience in what could prove to be the definitive version of an already wonderful game. -- Daniel Krupa
Life is Strange
I went into my Life is Strange demo knowing almost nothing about it. After leaving, it was one of my most anticipated games.
Two teenage girls, reunited after a messy split five years earlier, search for their missing friend. The twist? One girl can reverse time. It’s an episodic adventure game with great writing and a neat art style, and it doesn’t treat its characters like props. In only fifteen minutes with them, I cared about the two protagonists, and I wanted to see where they’d go. Dontnod’s first game, Remember Me, had some neat concepts but, according to our review, didn’t fully execute. I’m hoping that with a different genre, we’ll see what the studio is capable of. -- Brian Albert
Ori and the Blind Forest
We knew that Ori and the Blind Forest was a gorgeous, emotional game the moment it made its debut during Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference back in June. We got to wander through its lush, hand-drawn world at E3 and again at San Diego Comic-Con, but it wasn’t until Gamescom that we got to experience just how deep, challenging, and ultimately rewarding the mechanics of Ori actually are. The big introduction here was the burst technique, which ostensibly allows Ori to momentarily gain orbit around objects in the environment before shooting off in a new trajectory. This doesn’t only apply to bright, bespoke nodes in the environment, but also enemy projectiles as well. We left Germany not only in awe of how Ori looked, but also in how it played. -- Marty Sliva
Quantum Break
Remedy’s video game/television series hybrid had previously posed more questions than it answered, but at Gamescom 2014 we were finally treated to our first look at gameplay from the much anticipated Xbox One exclusive. The combat-heavy sequence shown to the public revealed slick use of the protagonist’s time-stopping powers to flank enemies during a firefight, but it was the extended ‘time stutter’ sequence shown behind closed doors that really reinforced the unique gameplay possibilities. Imagine being to walk around during The Last of Us’ photo mode and you’d be on the right track, the difference being that objects frozen in the environment around you can become volatile and reanimate without warning. It looked like a fresh experience we can’t wait to have, even if we’re still not entirely sold on all that TV show stuff. -- Tristan Ogilvie
Dead Island 2
Sometimes the little things add up, and that’s very much the case with Dead Island 2. This blood-soaked sequel doesn’t really boast a single headline improvement, but rather a number of small enhancements that build on the foundation of the original to make a much more cohesive experience. Weapon modding is slicker and more intuitive, combat has been streamlined but is just as brutal, and the addition of drop-in, drop-out co-op almost makes it feel like a party game, albeit one you probably wouldn’t play with your family. But it’s the overall tone that really pulls it together – it’s learned to not take itself too seriously, and as such feels at times more like Dead Rising than its predecessor. And that, in my eyes, is definitely a good thing. -- Alex Simmons
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a heck of a lot of fun to play. That’s really the simplest way to say it. The exoskeleton offers mobility we haven’t seen in a Call of Duty game before, and it expanded the way I thought about fighting and positioning in multiplayer. It’s a faster pace than I’m used to, but it doesn’t totally replace the pitch-perfect movement and shooting the series is known for. It also feels like Advanced Warfare is having a ton of fun with its game modes. One I tried, which I lovingly called “Quidditch with Murder,” is a ridiculous fantasy game with a ball, two goals, and a lot of dirty tricks. I can’t wait to get more time with it. -- Brian Albert
Far Cry 4
Ubisoft Montreal’s open-world shooter sequel was hardly an unknown quantity coming into Gamescom, but it still managed to surprise us with the sheer gameplay diversity on offer in its playable demo. One half was dedicated to a James Bond-style assault on an elevated enemy base in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, complete with spectacular wingsuit sequences and shootouts amidst snow-covered installations. The other half flipped the script completely, shunting the player thousands of years in the past into the role of a mythical warrior in Shangri-La, endowing them with a time-slowing bow and arrow and command over a snarling spirit tiger. Each setting was an absolute blast to play, and if Ubisoft Montreal can keep changing up the gameplay throughout then Kyrat should be a great place to visit this November. *-- Tristan Ogilvie
Until Dawn
I’m completely honest when I say that I did not have huge expectations for Until Dawn. Hell, since we hadn’t heard a lot about it since its reveal at Gamescom 2012, I figured that the project might’ve been canceled. But when Sony and Supermassive re-revealed the horror game as a gorgeous PS4 horror experience filled with famous actors, great genre writing, and some truly deadly choices. The motto of "Anyone can live, anyone can die. Everyone can live, everyone can die," is used to its fullest extent -- if your decisions lead to the death of one of the eight main characters, Until Dawn's story will adapt, resulting in a unique experience for each player. The survival horror fan in me can't wait to get my hands on it again. -- Marty Sliva

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