Best games of E3 2012
12th Jun 2012 | 15:55
Blacklist appeared out of relatively nowhere, and really caused a stir at E3 2012. Although we don't know a great deal about the game, Sam Fisher still stars as the main protagonist and head of the newly formed 'Fourth Echelon', and he's still taking out bad guys in a stylish but efficient manner.
The 'Mark & Execute' feature that was so prominent in Splinter Cell: Conviction returns, but looks much more fluid than previously. In addition, Microsoft Kinect compatibility allows players to distract guards with voice commands.
Trailer: Splinter Cell: Blacklist E3 trailer
Pre-E3 rumours suggested that LucasArts were working on a darker, grittier Star Wars game, but no-one really expected we would see much at E3. As it was, they released a short piece of gameplay footage themselves, and whilst we still know very little about the game, what we were shown graphically was nothing short of mind-blowing.
Star Wars 1313 looks on the surface to be a 3rd person shooter/adventure game, with the player embodying a bounty hunter. The gameplay looks to revolve primarily around shooting and close-combat, but we wait with baited breath to see what other details emerge in the coming months. Don't expect this one to arrive anytime soon.
Trailer: Star Wars 1313 E3 trailer
Arguably one of the stand out games at E3 2012, Watch Dogs was a well-kept secret that appeared at the end of Ubisoft's press conference. It features hacker-cum-vigilante assassin Aiden Pearce using his phone to hack phone calls and screw around with various electronics from traffic lights to TV screens.
The blazing firefights, attention to detail and enormity of the setting blew away the LA crowd, not to mention that the game looked absolutely stunning. This was the first any of us had heard or seen of Watch Dogs, which now looks set to be a huge release, potentially sometime next year.
Trailer: Watch Dogs E3 trailer
On this evidence, Assassin's Creed continues to go from strength to strength and any worries we may have had about Ubisoft saturating the series are well and truly squashed. The franchise needed a change of scenery, and Assassin's Creed 3 looks to be refreshing everything, without losing the mechanics that make the game so satisfying.
The new E3 revelations showed some incredibly fluid gameplay, with new protagonist Connor free-running through the tree canopy, and taking on both wolves and men in hand-to-hand combat. Expectation levels for Assassin's Creed 3 are reaching fever pitch, and October 30th can't come soon enough.
Trailer: Assassin's Creed 3 E3 trailer
Preview: Assassin's Creed 3
Quantic Dream, the guys behind 2010's super-realistic interactive drama Heavy Rain, are back with a new game and frankly, we're just as intrigued as were were when Heavy Rain first appeared at E3 in 2006.
Jodie Holmes, portrayed by Juno actress Ellen Page, is a young girl with seemingly supernatural powers. Her backstory isn't known at this point, but it becomes clear that she is on the run from the law, along with a supernatural being she calls 'Ivan'. With the same 'Kara' full facial motion technology as Heavy Rain, and similar gameplay mechanics (not unlike Resident Evil's dynamic cut scenes), Beyond has raised more than a few eyebrows.
Trailer: Beyond: Two Souls E3 trailer
Hotly anticipated as ever, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 landed at E3 with brand new gameplay footage. The quest to keep the series fresh continues, and the latest attempt delves into the the future of warfare, complete with armed flying drones and robots.
There's been little mention of Blops 2's online multiplayer, now generally accepted as the core of the franchise's appeal. But the single player campaign was on show for all to see, and if you enjoyed all the previous Black Ops/Modern Warfare spinoffs, and you like looking down iron sights and shooting things, you'll be similarly entertained come November 13th.
Trailer: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 E3 trailer
Plot-wise, Dead Space 3 carries on directly from the end of Dead Space 2. A new Marker has been discovered on the ice planet Uxor, and Isaac touches down in order to deal with it.
It looks this time as though Isaac might have a little more help than usual, with Sergeant John Carver also on Uxor to deal with the Marker. As a result, co-op play looks like a major feature for this title, so now you can scream and poop yourself with a buddy next to you.
Trailer: Dead Space 3 E3 trailer
We already knew plenty about the soon-to-arrive Far Cry 3, but Ubisoft came up with the goods at E3 this year and unveiled four player co-op, as well as the sprawling world and crazy psychedelic story that we'd already been shown.
The player controls Jason Brody, a tourist whose girlfriend has gone missing, but after being captured and left to die by local crazy bad guy Vaas, Brody begins his revenge mission. The relationship and interaction between protagonist and antagonist is particularly intriguing, and players can approach situations in any way they see fit, whether that means blazing in with fully automatic rifles, or sneaking in with a blade.
Trailer: Far Cry 3 E3 trailer
For the first time ever, Forza is leaving the tracks for the open roads. Centred around the Horizon festival, Forza Horizon is an open world driving game, with full, real world day, night and weather simulation. No more racing seasons, no more of doing more and more laps of the same tracks over and over - think Burnout Paradise, but with the Forza 4 engine and realistic racing simulation.
All the hardcore tuning aspects from the previous games seem to have been taken out, at least for the moment, in an attempt to open the game to more casual driving fans. Similarly, damage is cosmetic now, as crashes will be more regular with civilian traffic involved. Whether Forza retains it's popularity with the racing simulation fans remains to be seen, but this looks like a step in the right direction to us.
Trailer: Forza Horizon E3 trailer
Set ultimately as a prequel to the whole God of War series, God of War: Ascension is the fourth major release in the long-running Playstation franchise, and follows the story of Kratos as a man, before he condemns his soul to Ares for Spartan victory at the beginning of the original game.
The recognisable combat mechanics that made God of War such a success are back in the main, along with dynamic powers, and the ability for Kratos to use any weapon dropped by an enemy (all of which have their own combo chains and powers). On the whole though, we're talking more of the same blood, guts and gore. If it ain't broke...
Trailer: God of War: Ascension E3 trailer
343 Industries' first foray into the Halo universe has finally been revealed to the world, and from what we can see, the results are glorious. Despite a more colourful (and very pretty, may we say), art style, the game, weapons and characters are immediately recognisable.
The story picks up where Halo 3 finishes, with Master Chief stranded on a planet which the player quickly finds to be inhabited by a new lifeform - potentially Forerunner-based - as well as crawling with Covenant forces. Expect new weapons, new enemies, new gameplay mechanic and all new multiplayer. So, quite a lot of new stuff.
Provisionally, the release date is set to November 6th, 2012, but don't be surprised if we're kept waiting until next year before getting back into that MJOLNIR armour.
Trailer: Halo 4 E3 trailer
Other than Watch Dogs, if there was a game that really impressed at E3 it was Naughty Dog's The Last of Us. There's a healthy dose of Uncharted style gameplay and looks, but the latest gameplay at E3 has revealed a particularly nasty streak, and combat that has a brutal touch of Condemned about it.
Joel and Ellie are fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world, where a fungus is infecting people's minds and turning them into monsters. A great deal of this fight seems to involve gritty, melee combat, where the player as Joel will have to use cover, and objects around him to his advantage, as well as the element of surprise. We'll have to wait until 2013 for this PS3 exclusive, but we'd bet everything we own (admittedly very little) that this will be a smash hit when it finally arrives in our disc trays.
Trailer: Last of Us E3 trailer
Potentially one of the most under-valued and under-appreciated games of the last decade, it's a joy to see Pikmin back as a frontline title for Nintendo Wii U. As both a game and a concept, Pikmin has always, somewhat famously been one of Shigeru Miyamoto's favourite games, so it's not surprising to see it back in Nintendo's next-generation plans.
Gameplay looks much the same as in the previous two games, though Captain Olimar has been replaced by four new captains, each of whom can be controlled via your Wii U tablet controller. We're sure more details and additions will emerge in the coming months, but for the moment, Pikmin 3 is firmly at the top of our Wii U wishlist.
Trailer: Pikmin 3 E3 trailer
Square Enix's reinvention of cult classic Tomb Raider is shaping up to be an absolute stonker of a game. Due for release next year, the reimagined Tomb Raider explores Lara Croft's early life, and the events that made her into the cult heroine that launched a franchise.
Square's approach to the experience has been realistic, and brutal. Every fall, cut and bump that Lara takes looks and sounds painful and often she traverses the environment with with uncertainty. The central pillar of the game is Lara's own journey from an inexperience young woman to the hardened 90s adventurer that we all know and love, and Square is building a game that really sees you empathise with Lara as she battles to survive the island.
Trailer: Tomb Raider E3 trailer
SimCity is almost 23 years old, and in those 23 years innumerable glorious metropolises have been built up, only to eventually crumble like sand-castles under toddlers. A new version is expected in 2013, and will provide a much-needed makeover to the aged series, including much improved 3D graphics and the use of the new GlassBox engine.
Whether you’re a budding architect, or just like to play God by making the road network spell your name, SimCity has been providing entertainment for, well, 23 years. Here’s hoping the upcoming release reaches the same heights.