E3 2014: Our Favorite Moments

Marshall Honorof, Sherri L. Smith and Mike Andronico. Credit: Jill Scharr/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Marshall Honorof, Sherri L. Smith and Mike Andronico. Credit: Jill Scharr/Tom's Guide)

Another exciting Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has wrapped up in Los Angeles, and amid all of the media-day buzzwords and behind-closed-doors demos, it's the little moments that we truly remember. We're all still gamers at heart, and E3 2014 was full of instances that surprised us, scared us and even made us a little emotional.

Now that we've managed to crawl out of the bright lights and stale air of the Los Angeles Convention Center, it's time to look back on the week with a clear head. From meeting famous developers to getting a taste of gaming's future, here are our favorite moments from E3 2014.

Name: Sherri L. Smith
Position: Senior Staff Writer
Gaming Since: 1986
Favorite Game: "Final Fantasy VII"

Sherri's 5 Favorite E3 Moments

It Came from the Oculus Rift

I actually agreed to play "Alien: Isolation" on the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset. The game is already scary enough with the relentless Xenomorph skulking around the halls, waiting to eat you. But the tension is ramped up even more when you're immersed in the world and the alien is bearing down on you. We took video, but due to the amount of F-bombs I dropped while playing, you won't be seeing it.

MORE: 8 Amazing Oculus Rift Uses

"Mortal Kombat" returns

When I saw the pre-E3 teaser trailer for "Mortal Kombat X" I was psyched, and when I got to play the game, I was not disappointed. I loved every bone-breaking, disemboweling, impaling second of my time with "MKX." But my favorite movement was Scorpion's fatality, where he blew a hole in Sub-Zero's chest, revealing Sub-Zero's still-beating heart, and sliced his face off, leaving half of the brain to slide out and half of a wiggling tongue. Flawless victory indeed.

Return to the "Borderlands"

Someone cue up the Futurama "Shut up and take my money" gif. Thanks to 2K and Telltale Games, I will be spending many happy hours on Pandora and its nearby moon. During my "Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel" hands-on, I got the chance to spray some moon bandits in copious amounts of caustic goo, scoring myself some epic loot. (Contrary to popular belief, they can totally hear you scream in space.) I also saw the first 40 minutes of "Tales from the Borderlands," which combines Telltale's choose-your-own-adventure sensibilities with "Borderlands"' trademark dark humor and loot to riotous effect. It's a fresh take on one of my favorite game franchises.

Multiplayer Monster Mash

After watching the "Evolve" trailer, I was totally hyped to play as the new Hunter Maggie, so I was more than a little bummed when I ended up as Lazarus, the Medic. But I soon discovered that the Medic's sniping tactics and cloaking abilities were more my speed. Only fools rush in to get eaten by a Cthulhu/praying mantis hybrid. It's up to the few, the proud, the medics, to revive them so the can do it all again. Medic for life!

MORE: E3 2014 Awards — The Games to Watch

Running the "Gauntlet" with Alienware

I headed over to Alienware to check out the new Alpha gaming console. After going through the specs and pricing, we got to the good stuff and starting playing some games. We started out with the macho-tastic love letter to 'Murican action heroes, "Broforce," kicking serious ass with the legendary Chuck Norris. But the pièce de résistance was going old school with a rebooted "Gauntlet" with three Alienware reps. I lost track of time as we gleefully made our way through the dungeon, ending up in the tomb of a gigantic mummy. Loot and fun were had by everyone.

Name: Mike Andronico
Position: Staff Writer
Gaming Since: 1993
Favorite Game: "Street Fighter Alpha 3"

Mike's 5 Favorite E3 Moments

Meeting "Mortal Kombat"'s maker

After walking out of Sony's exciting E3 2014 news conference and being particularly wowed by "Mortal Kombat X," I couldn't help but notice that I was right next to the man who's making the game. NetherRealm Studios' Ed Boon helped craft the bloody fighting franchise that I've been playing since I was way too young to see severed heads, and I had the pleasure of shaking his hand and congratulating him on his new brawler. Here's to hoping I'll have the chance to school him at "Mortal Kombat X" come the next big event.

The return of "Rainbow Six"

"Wait, is it?" I asked myself as I watched two special-ops teams fight for control of a hostage in the debut trailer for a never-before-seen Ubisoft game. "It is." My beloved "Rainbow Six" franchise was officially back, as demonstrated by the debut trailer for the tactical "Rainbow Six: Siege." I can't think of any other multiplayer shooter that has occupied my free time more than "Rainbow Six 3" on the original Xbox, and seeing the series make a beautiful transition into the next generation was nothing short of chill-inducing. Actress and Ubisoft news conference host Aisha Tyler was brought to joyful tears after the trailer played at the event, and I almost was, too.

MORE: Ubisoft E3 2014 Highlights

Reliving "Halo 2"

If "Rainbow Six 3" is my most played Xbox shooter of all time, "Halo 2" is an incredibly close second. After being overwhelmed with nostalgia when seeing the game in action as part of "The Master Chief Collection," I was downright blown away by how much care developer 343 Industries put into recrafting the beloved game's rich sci-fi worlds for the Xbox One. The addictive multiplayer in "Halo 2" kept me and my buddies up way too late in our teen years, and I can't wait for the game to consume my adult life for the first time this November.  

The magic of Nintendo

There was something in the air at E3 2014 when it came to Nintendo. Smiling showgoers crowded around games like "Super Smash Bros." and "Hyrule Warriors," and more friends of mine than I can count vowed to finally buy a Wii U this fall. Despite constantly being considered the third wheel to Sony and Microsoft, the Big N turned heads with a lineup full of charming and inventive titles such as "Splatoon," "Mario Maker" and the latest evolution of "Kirby." There's this intangible magic about the type of game experiences Nintendo creates, and E3 2014 felt like the start of the company's return to glory.

MORE: Nintendo E3 2014 — All the New Games

Discovering infinite possibilities

Nintendo wasn't the only company that made me feel like my wildest childhood dreams were coming true. After seeing the sprawling sci-fi worlds made possible by Bungie's "Destiny" and Hello Games' "No Man's Sky," I had a realization that the industry is entering an exciting new era. Games are less defined than ever by point A and point B, and these unpredictable digital worlds are becoming more and more like ones I'd like to inhabit in real life. Hopefully E3 2015 will happen not in California, but in my next favorite video game.

Name: Marshall Honorof
Position: Staff Writer
Gaming Since: 1990
Favorite Game: "Age of Mythology"

Marshall's 5 Favorite E3 Moments

The developer Gotham needs

I'll be totally honest: I haven't really liked a Batman game since "Arkham Asylum," and "Arkham Knight" has not wowed me so far. Even so, I couldn't help from grinning, clapping and cheering like a madman for Rocksteady's "Arkham Knight" presentation at E3. This was thanks to Gaz Deaves, the company's marketing manager, who could not possibly have been more excited about the game, leaping around the stage and shouting puns about Batman's new takedowns. Hearing this kind of enthusiasm reminded me that most developers create games out of love, and that love is often infectious.

MORE: Best Superhero Games of All Time

Do you hear the Assassins sing?

You know that guy with his nose always stuck in a history book? That's me, and as such, "Assassin's Creed" has been one of my favorite series since its first installment. The series loves exploring history's moral ambiguities, which makes the French Revolution a perfect fit for its next title. "Assassin's Creed: Unity" is a technically impressive game, with improved combat, better parkour and an 18th-century Paris that feels alive. More than that, though, it could be the closest thing to experiencing the Reign of Terror without a time machine.

A tale of two "Tales"

Even though it was my favorite genre in high school, my tolerance for Japanese role-playing games has diminished over the years. The one exception has been the quirky, offbeat, incredibly Japanese "Tales" series, which features delightful characters, real-time battle systems and a healthy dose of humor in each installment. For a long time, it was rare to see a "Tales" game in the United States, but it's become so popular that 2014 will see the release of two "Tales" games in the West: "Tales of Hearts R" for the PlayStation Vita and "Tales of Xillia 2" for the PS3. Few things are as satisfying as seeing other people come around to something you love!

Prepare to die (but with a gun)

When I saw the trailer for "Bloodborne" at Sony's E3 press conference, I shrugged. "It's 'Dark Souls' with a gun," I said. When I saw a private demo of it, it clicked. "Oh!" I exclaimed. "It's 'Dark Souls' with a gun!" Seeing the game in action convinced me that translating the brutal difficulty, spooky atmosphere and refined gameplay of the "Souls" series into a Victorian Gothic horror setting was a phenomenal idea. In an era when cashing in with "Dark Souls III" would have been the easiest thing in the world, I respect From Software for taking a creative risk, and feel excited that it looks like it's going to pay off.

Nintendo legend scopes out Sony

I was waiting on line at the Sony pavilion when I looked over to see a short, middle-aged Japanese man standing next to me. "He looks familiar," I thought as I read his nametag: Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto is the mastermind behind almost every beloved Nintendo franchise, from "Donkey Kong" to "Super Mario" to "The Legend of Zelda," and here he was, surveying one of his biggest competitors with a big smile on his face. It's important to remember that while game companies compete, they also admire each others' work and learn from one another. If Miyamoto can find something to like about a rival company, so too can gamers stop trolling each other on forums and learn to embrace the good in each system.

Tom's Guide Staff

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