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E3 2014: Highlights of Day 2

Super Smash Bros makes a triumphant return, the Batman drives a tank, and a Lord of the Rings game that may actually be good. And does the next generation of gaming actually start in 2015?


One of the talking points heading into this year's E3 was that while 2014 was shaping up to be a good year for games, 2015 was looking even better. Thanks to some delays to high-profile games like Batman: Arkham Knight, The Order, and The Division, 2014 was starting to look a little less exciting. And E3 2014 hasn't really done much to shake the feeling that 2015 will be the year where consoles like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 really start showing off their capabilities, with some of the most exciting announcements made this week all about games releasing next year. So will next-gen truly begin in 2015?

One of those key titles being moved to a 2015 release is Batman: Arkham Knight. Arkham Knight is being billed as the conclusion of the acclaimed Arkham series of games, and is the first to jump onto next-gen consoles (which are, of course, current-gen now). And it looks good, with an impressive amount of detail on Batman himself and a much, much bigger Gotham City to fly and drive around in. And yes, if you haven't seen any previous coverage of Arkham Knight, the Batmobile does make its first (playable) appearance in the series. Read about our hands-on with Batman: Arkham Knight here.

But don't let all of the above depress you -- 2014 still has plenty of great games up its sleeve, and one of the most exciting titles is the upcoming 2K shooter, Evolve. Evolve comes from the team that brought the world Left 4 Dead, and is a team-based first person shooter with a twist: four players play as hunters, while one player plays as a huge monster. Teamwork is essential when you're one of the hunters -- after all, the monster you're hunting is huge, and can evolve into far more dangerous forms as the game progresses. As a monster, however, coming up against a well-organised team is no easy feat. It's frantic, exciting, and unique, making Evolve one of the key titles to look forward to later this year.

Warner Bros.

Lord of the Rings tie-in games may not have had the best reputation in recent years, but that's certainly not the case with the upcoming Middle-earth: Shadows of Mordor. If you can imagine a game that mixes Assassin's Creed's movement with the Batman Arkham series' combat and the environmental hazards of Far Cry 3, then you've got Shadows of Mordor. It's an enthralling mix of action and strategy as you infiltrate Mordor itself and try to pit communities of orcs against each other.

And if you're not the type to enjoy all of this dark misery, then Nintendo, as always, has a blast of sunshine just for you. Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U looks to fix some of the missteps found in the previous game (literally), and looks to bring that same level of colorful accessibility to the world of fighting games. But don't be fooled by its cheery exterior -- this game still has some real competitive depth, which was showcased at an event Nintendo held in conjunction with E3 to find the nation's best Smash Bros. player

And the above is just a small slice of all of the big games on show at E3 2014. Other day two highlights include:

For more on E3, check out CNET sister site's full coverage.