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The best of gamescom 2014: What were the 10 best games?

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Superhot

© SUPERHOT

The eye-catching Superhot


This year's gamescom was a similar story to E3 - a show with its fair share of surprise announcements and packed press conferences, but one not dominated by a single game.

Whereas Titanfall was the main talking point by journalists and fans alike last year, this time we couldn't settle on a single release, instead opting to discuss 10 of the most impressive showcases for games coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC in the coming 18 months.

1. Bloodborne

At gamescom, From Software showcased why its PS4-only adventure won't be like its acclaimed Souls series. Slow, defensive shield combat is swapped out for more fast-paced aggressive attacks thanks to a new regenerating health system that draws players into combat, taking down foes with a long-ranged blunderbuss or a series of powerful melee weapons that transform into different deadly states.

It does, however, share the movement and feel of the Souls games, as well as their flare for imposing settings and nightmarish adversaries, suggesting it is taking all the right cues from one of the last generation's best franchises. This makes it one of the PS4's most anticipated exclusives.


2. Ori and the Blind Forest

Even among the long list of impressive indie games and explosion-filled blockbuster trailers that littered Microsoft's press conference, Ori and the Blind Forest was easily the most beautiful game on Xbox One, standing out with a dazzling escape sequence against a torrent of water nipping at the heels of our spirit hero.

A behind-closed-doors showing revealed the getaway was a lot trickier than it looked; each leap requires careful planning and timing, and with the sprawling game making use of a Metroid-styled exploration and an upgrade system, this will be a welcome journey for fans of old-school side-scrolling adventures.


3. Assassin's Creed Unity

It was at gamescom that Assassin's Creed Unity – the first in the series designed specifically for powerful new console hardware – showcased its titular co-operative gameplay. A heist mission saw us work together with another player to pick off patrolling guards and throw smoke bombs when things got a little heated, giving off welcome vibes similar to the Splinter Cell series.

Better still, these particular missions are designed to be re-playable, with guard, loot and entrance placements relocating themselves with every playthrough. Whether it's with friends or alongside randoms, we can see us getting plenty of mileage out of assassinating with others.


4. Until Dawn

First revealed as a cheesy horror game with a B-movie vibe on PS3 two years ago, it re-emerged at gamescom as a more mature adventure backed by Hollywood talent on PS4, while retaining its pulpy, jump-scare roots and simple but excellently-implemented motion controls.

Best of all, it looks to take hints from adventures such as Heavy Rain when it comes to its wide-ranging outcomes, offering thousands of story paths and hundreds of ending variations. Any character can die based on your decisions, with new conversations and choices emerging from even the most seemingly benign actions, such as flicking through a light-bulb catalogue or looking at clues in just the right way.


5. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

After last year's entertaining but overly familiar Call of Duty instalment with Ghosts, the blockbuster franchise seems to have got back on track with Advanced Warfare. This year's gamescom played host to an extensive multiplayer reveal, showcasing powerful new forms of movement – including double jumps, ground pounds and rapid dashes – alongside an assortment of futuristic new weapons, perks and abilities.

While on paper and in motion it looks a bit like Titanfall, in practice it isn't – this is definitely a Call of Duty game in feel, pace and shooting – but with a very welcome set of fresh additions.


6. Superhot

Announcing its timed console-exclusive presence for Xbox One at Microsoft's press conference with a booming trailer, Superhot's central premise is just attention-grabbing. Time will only move forwards as you do, allowing you to see the path of incoming bullets, and dodge out of the way before planning your own attacks.

It also supports virtual reality headset Oculus Rift on PC, where you can lean and poke your head through the formation of projectiles, Matrix-style, before using motion-tracking to accurately aim and fire your own back. One of the coolest games at the show.


7. Titan Souls

As an adventurer with just one hit point, a single arrow and countless boss monsters in your way, this challenging Devolver Digital-published adventure is perhaps best described as Shadow of the Colossus meets Dark Souls - and it's shaping up to be as good as it sounds.

Gamescom presented a snow-covered environment with hints of open exploration akin to the original Legend of Zelda, alongside a new rock-hard baboon boss. Like your hero, each boss also has a single point, meaning with the right strategy an encounter could be over in seconds - something a developer on hand swiftly demonstrated after a group of journalists struggled to get anywhere close. It's out on PC, PS4 and Vita sometime in 2015, and if you can't wait until then, you can play its game jam prototype right now.


8. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

Arguably the most celebrated downloadable console game of all time finally has a sequel, with Activision's brand new Sierra Games label picking up where the now-defunct Bizarre Creations left off.

Top down arenas are now mapped onto three dimensional objects, with the franchise's signature twin-stick shooting and fast-paced projectiles now bending round corners and rolling up curves. Gone are a handful of stages to be replaced with a sizable adventure-style campaign that offers surprise new shapes and boss battles at regular intervals.


9. Life is Strange

Dontnod's Remember Me didn't quite hit the mark for a number of reasons, but the ideas it had for interactive storytelling was not one of them.

Teaming up with Square Enix, Life is Strange is what happens when the team drops the need for action and combat, and instead focuses on an adventure centered around choice and exploration, with teenagers solving a fellow student's disappearance. It also fuels experimentation with a novel time travel mechanic that allows our female lead to rewind time and try new choices to change the future.


10. Quantum Break

Anyone slightly underwhelmed by Quantum Break's reveal during Microsoft's press conference, which showcased a series of safe shooting sequences with time-control powers, will be relieved to know it's looking as nightmarish as Alan Wake thanks to a platforming section that sees our hero trapped in time as a tanker smashes through a bridge, forcing him to leap and duck under a shower of colliding debris.

Developer Remedy is also continuing to experiment with episodic delivery and movie-like presentation, this time by interrupting the game with interactive live-action sequences that will change the course of the story based on the player's decisions.


What were your favourite games shown at gamescom? Add a comment below!

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