E3 has come and gone and you’ve already read all about the worst moments of the show. Now is the time to look at the brighter side of the busiest week in the video game industry.
Despite many of the low points and the pandering going on at the press conferences there will always be one constant about E3, there are great games shown. This E3 was no different and here are the ones that really stood out.
Beyond: Two Souls
The debate surrounding video games being a form of art often relates back to certain games like Flower, Braid and, of course, Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. In that respect it shouldn’t be surprising that David Cage’s next game, Beyond: Two Souls, made quite a splash at E3. Heavy Rain was a game with unique controls and several great moments but was less regarded for the quality its story and the voice acting was often terrible. Beyond looks to change that fact with great acting and motion capture and a very good cinematic feel. The addition of Ellen Page as the talent behind the main character already looks to be a brilliant move as the Oscar-nominated actress has already added a considerable amount of depth just in the short sequences we’ve seen. Beyond is definitely one of the more interesting games on the horizon.
Far Cry 3
The announcement of Far Cry 3 at E3 last year was one of the show’s highlights. The “insanity” trailer from last E3 featuring main antagonist Vaas showed a level of acting rarely seen in video games. This year at E3, Far Cry 3 once again looked great with a live gameplay demo that showed off an even deeper look into the sanity of the main character Jason. Perhaps the best thing about the game is the dark material, which looks to not pull any punches at it dives into the psyche of Vaas and Jason. Ubisoft also revealed four player co-op which features four distinct characters in their own, separate campaign. The cooperative mode may not have showed the best at Sony’s press conference, the whole idea behind it could make it a compelling feature.
Outside of Black Ops 2, which always dominates game sales, no other game in 2012 is as big as Halo 4. There is no game, this year, that has more to prove than 343 Industries’ first entry in the franchise. Coming out of E3, it certainly seems that they are well on their way to releasing a great game. However, what is most impressive is that 343 isn’t afraid to mix up the formula to breathe some life into the series. Campaign is being spiced up by adding an entire new race of enemies . Multiplayer is going more towards the Call of Duty model by bringing customizable loadouts. The most intriguing aspect is the unique Spartan Ops, which is set to add weekly downloadable co-op content for free. Put all of that together and Halo 4 looks to be a must buy.
The Last of Us
No other game matches the level of pure adventure and cinematic quality found inside Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. Great set pieces combined with a good story and amazing acting. As great as those games are though, Naughty Dog has struggled with shooting mechanics and enemy confrontation. The Last of Us is looking to retain the best aspect of Uncharted while also providing dynamic, compelling combat. While the post-apocalyptic world may not be the freshest setting for a new game, the ideas of survival and desperation will likely be handled well by talented developer. The live demo looked brilliant but the most interesting concept is that everything we saw was being actively generated instead of being pre-scripted. If Naughty Dog can deliver on this idea than The Last of Us could be their masterpiece.
No matter who you ask, nothing was more surprising at E3 than the announcement of Watch Dogs. As fans of video games we’re always asking for new IPs and Ubisoft delivered strongly. Set in a near future where humanity’s dependence on technology is even stronger, we see an assassin who uses things like smart phones, cameras and hacking to infiltrate and track his targets. Putting this idea into an open world game just amps up the possibilities of what this game could achieve. Put into the tease that multiplayer will somehow be involved and Watch Dogs is perhaps the number one game to keep an eye on. The game also looks beautiful, an aspect that leads most people to point to it as a next generation title. Either way it feels like we won’t be seeing this game for quite a while, but hopefully it will be worth the wait.
For Kyle this is a surprisingly good list. I would drop Far Cry 3 and The Last of Us though for Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Conviction is grossly underrated; one of the best two player coop experiences ever) and Dishonored. How do you make a best of E3 2012 and not mention Dishonored? It would be like making a best of E3 2011 list and not mentioning Bioshock Infinite.
Thank you for this list. Its honest and well written, I agree with it completely. Although, I would have added Hawken. F2P is making a huge push this year, and it looks quite impressive. Also, this is a list that doesn't include Call of Duty.... and franchise that makes me churn at its sight.
I think the only game I agree with is Watch Dogs and I doubt even that would be in the top five most other years. I think Far Cry 3 looked like a generic shooter, Halo looked like generic Halo and Beyond told me absolutely nothing from the trailer shown. I can understand why everyone is hyped for The Last of Us but I don't see what everyone else seems to. It doesn't do anything for me.
I have to agree with all of these selections. Of course, I'm also excited for Dead Space 3 and Scribblenauts and ZombiU have my attention as well.