E3 2012 has been over for a few days now, and I have to admit that it was a bit underwhelming. Everyone was speculating that this was going to be the biggest show yet, and it fell short, in my opinion. However, there were some genuinely great announcements and I don’t want to devalue them. I’m going to do a little informal “awards list” here, explaining what I liked and what I didn’t like. Here we go:
Most Satisfying Press Conference: PlayStation
First of all, I missed Ubisoft’s conference. Had I seen it, they would most likely be claiming this spot. Unfortunately, I was only able to watch the “big three” conferences and they all left something to be desired. PlayStation’s showing got me the most excited with the announcement of Beyond and the tech demos of God of War: Ascension, Assassin’s Creed III, and The Last of Us. Hell, after their cross-feature announcement regarding AC3 and it’s Vita counterpart, Liberation, I actually canceled my AC3 pre-order for Xbox 360 and switched it over to PS3, effectively “breaking the chain” in my collection(which I absolutely hate doing). I also really dug the demo for Book of Spells on Wonderbook, even though a lot of people criticized it as stupid because of it’s educational lean, but I think it’s needed. Another ignorant gripe was the “hiccup” during the Wonderbook demo, which to me was acceptable as it was a user error—unlike Xbox’s constant Kinect hardware failures over the last few years. I enjoyed how Sony let the tech demos run a little long, and again some people have expressed hatred for that. I want to see the game damn it, not glance at it—so thanks for that Sony! I also thought PlayStation had the best way to view their booth virtually, through PlayStation Home with unlockable rewards.
Most Disappointing Press Conference: Nintendo
I had high hopes for Nintendo, especially with the Wii U mere months from release. Instead, we got a breakdown of the gamepad and an I.O.U., which probably won’t be fulfilled until the Tokyo Game Show. The games they announced were pretty cut and dry, with the most interesting being Nintendo Land and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. That’s pretty sad, especially since the latter has been out on the other consoles for almost a year now. Ubisoft’s Zombi U looked pretty boss too, but like Arkham City, it’s a third party title. At least it’s an exclusive.
Best PlayStation Exclusive: The Last of Us
While Quantic Dream’s Beyond was extremely exciting, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us continues to intrigue the shit out of me. This year we finally got a tech demo of the post-apocalyptic zombie(or infected?) third-person adventure, and it was amazing.
Best Nintendo Exclusive: Zombi U
This looked really cool, and had some really neat features involving the gamepad. Plus, who doesn’t love zombies? Nintendo Land would’ve been a strong contender had we been given some more info.
Best Xbox Exclusive: Xbox SmartGlass
This was the pinnacle of Xbox’s presentation; the shining light amidst all the non-gaming related entertainment apps and sports jargon. SmartGlass could be Xbox’s killer app and—considering it’s accessible on nearly every device—it looks like it may give even the Wii U’s gamepad a run for it’s money. While I criticized the presentation’s lack of focus on gaming at the the biggest gaming expo in the US, this was very impressive.
Best Game of Show: Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
This teased the fuck out of everyone in attendance! An open-world, third-person game where you hack technology to aid you in your assassinations—why is this just now coming out?! As tech-reliant as we are in this day and age, this premise is long overdue. There were a lot of great games this year, but in my opinion, this one took the proverbial cake.
Worst Moment of Show: Xbox’s Impromptu Usher Concert
Oh Dance Central 3 is coming out? That’s cool, it’s the only truly successful Kinect franchise; let’s see some gameplay and/or new features. No? Oh, you’re right, I’d much rather watch Usher dance and not be shown even a goddamn screenshot of your game. I bet maybe 10% of people in attendance actually listen to and/or like Usher, and that includes Usher himself and whichever employees that made the decision to book him. And I’m high-balling with 10%.
Other Games to Watch: Assassin’s Creed III, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, Beyond, Book of Spells for Wonderbook, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, Gears of War: Judgment, Metal Gear: Revengeance, Nintendo Land, Resident Evil 6, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Tomb Raider.