The 2012 E3 Awards

Is another E3 already almost behind us?

Yes, yes it is. With as much that’s changed in the world of video games over the years, its somehow comforting to know that E3 is still around to exhibit the best of the industry in a big atmosphere way. Unfortunatley the age is starting to show on the old gal, and the show hasn’t been as captivating the last couple of years as it probably should have been. While this years was more of the same, there was still enough on exhibit to be worth talking about. It’s not quite done yet, but I’ve seen enough to start naming the best, worst, and most memorable of E3 2012.

Best Presentation – Sony

This is more of a choice made out of necessity than something I absolutely fell in love with. While there was very little mind blowing here, Sony managed to put together a tight presentation that was loaded with games that people actually came to see. While the storybook segment was a complete bomb, in the end Sony managed to show better than any other company that they have plenty of sure fire greatness ready for their fans. If only “The Last Guardian” had made a surprise appearance, this one might have been more memorable.

Worst Presentation – Microsoft

Poor Microsoft. Sure their market share an income is absurdly large, but they cannot seem to put together an E3 presentation that doesn’t make their fans feel awkward. While this years showing wasn’t as bad as last years Kinect centric, child actor filled disaster, it’s scarily close. Bad celebrity appearances, uninspiring game footage, and boring presentations more at home at lame board meetings than the world’s most extravagant trade show for your industry were the unfortunate highlights of this years Xbox showing.

Biggest Surefire Hit – “Assasins Creed 3”

“Assassins Creed” has been a money in the bank franchise since the series second installment. So far it looks like there is absolutely no reason to suspect any less out of the “Assassin’s Creed III”. What I love most about it is that Ubisoft has found a perfect way to make the franchise feel fresh again, by changing the time period and location to the rarely explored American Revolution, they also seem intent on really making everything that was great about the series perform at its absolute best. The jaw dropping E3 footage only confirms that this will most likely be the smoothest and most exciting “Assassin’s Creed” yet. Unlike the British troops in the game, this one isn’t likely to miss.

Biggest Surprise – “Watch Dogs”

Ubisoft strikes again. Garnering no real press prior to the event, the demo for Ubisoft’s “Watch Dogs” showcased something truly intriguing. You play as a man who has an incredible array of technological abilities that essentially give him super powers over the modern gadget obsessed world. The idea is cool enough, but the way that it seems to be implemented creates so much potential for amazing moments. The world of the game is also absolutely gorgeous, and begs you to re-watch the demo several times to gather all the little details. There is nothing like a fresh idea from an established developer, and Ubisoft seems to have exactly that.

Biggest MIA Title – “Grand Theft Auto V”

“The Last Guardian” almost made this spot, but since the trail went cold on that one sometime ago, it was the lack of GTA that left the biggest void. It wasn’t that long ago that the games teaser trailer made waves, but I’m still shocked that there wasn’t a scrap of info on the game at the show. No unannounced features, no new trailer, no gameplay, and no release date. GTA is a series that doesn’t need the mass hype that E3 can generate, but it’s presence could have really made the show much more memorable than it was.

Worst Game of Show – “Resident Evil 6”

It was only back in 2005 that “Resident Evil 4” had people editing their greatest games of all time list. Then “Resident Evil 5” came out and failed to make any sort of impact on gamers. “Resident Evil 6” looks to do far worse than that. The trailer showed a reliance on outdated game mechanics (it was essentially all quick time events) and a complete lack of the horror the series once helped define. It’s not enough that the medium has to be loaded with uninspiring zombie titles and dry action games, but “Resident Evil 6” looks content to be the shining example of both. There may have been other games at the show that were just plain bad, but none of them drag a once proud franchise through the mud like this one.

Most Underwhelming Game – “Halo 4”

It was the big announcement of last years Microsoft conference, and headlined this one as well. Yet all we really got out of it was an extended stylish commercial that led to a short exhibition of completely uninspiring gameplay. No one can deny the impact of the Halo series, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the series is an old dog struggling for new tricks. Even a decent game would be a blight on the series, and that looks like the highest aspiration of this one.

Best Game No One is Talking About – “Metro: Last Light”

“Last Light’s” predecessor, “Metro 2033”, was basically your average shooter with a fair amount of frights in it. Nothing in the game really stood out in any sort of meaningful way, and no one really expected a sequel to emerge from it. That’s why the effort put into “Last Light” is so shocking. One of the games developers put it best when he said that they wanted to create a feeling in the game that you are just not prepared for what’s around the corner. The games foreboding and desolate world does just that, and makes the game stand out from its predecessor and just about every other FPS out there. The shooter genre made be played out, but a good scary game is hard to come by and that’s why “Last Light” should be on everyone’s radar.

Game of the Show – “The Last of Us”

I almost wanted to give this to “Watch Dogs”, but I’m really impressed with how “The Last of Us” had arrived in a wave of hype and has only earned more with everything that it showcases since. Naughty Dog is looking to really make a significant improvement in the field of video game storytelling, and the dynamic between “The Last of Us’s” two characters looks like it may just do that. Their banter sets the environment, moves along the story, and enhances the situation without ever once coming across as annoying or poorly done. Combine that with the games “Uncharted” like game mechanics, as well as some of the most responsive and intelligent A.I. I’ve ever seen, and you have the most complete looking title at E3 and possibly on the horizon.

Overall Message – We Need the Next Generation

The overall message of the show seemed to be that if gamers are really looking for excitement, they’ll have to wait until next generation. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t exciting or fun looking titles on the way, but the shows dire lack of “Wow!” was really noticeable this year. Sony and Microsoft seem to be,mostly, treading water with their current systems, and it will certainly be nice to see them have to shake things up with entirely new consoles. Nintendo’s Wii U may have been underwhelming, but hearing about it specs, features, and titles at least provided the breath of fresh air the other big two were missing. Let’s hope for more of that next year.


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