The lights are on
While the 2012 edition of E3 may have lacked transformative ideas and trailblazing innovation, the polish of the games on the showfloor was as high as it has ever been. With most publishers playing it safe with sequels, a sense of steady iteration dominated most booths. However, that didn’t stop a few games from getting our adrenaline racing. Here are our 2012 E3 Best in Show Awards:
ASSASSIN’S CREED III
Assassin’s Creed III showcased plenty of new locations, but the tight combat and world traversal impressed us the most. The new offensive-focused combat system looks thrilling, the ability to leap and clamber through tree tops and cliffs offers something new to platforming lovers, and the newly announced naval battles add an unexpected wrinkle into the excitement. We’re eager to find out more about the new protagonist Connor, but E3 made us equally interested in the moment-to-moment action of Assassin’s Creed III.
Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer practically created the adventure genre, so it only makes sense that The Cave, a game being created by Gilbert at Schafer’s Double Fine studio, takes home this award. The Cave incorporates many adventure game tropes, such as collecting odds objects like buckets of waters and hot dogs to solve unique environmental puzzles like apprehending a dragon, but it also evolves the genre by incorporating multiple characters, light platforming, and local co-op.
Seeing massively multiplayer games before they're released is often a matter of sifting nuggets of potential through the grimy dross of unpolished, buggy gameplay. Not so with Planetside 2. The gameplay that show-goers got their hands on is the kind of pixel-perfect, fast-paced sci-fi shooting that action fans demand. The concept – three player-controlled factions battling across entire continents in endless war over precious resources – was already great. Now that Sony Online has shown off the reality of Planetside 2 and not just the dream, it's an easy pick for this award.
We got our hands on both the competitive and cooperative game modes in Halo 4, and our brief time with each magnified our enthusiasm for the project. It may sound strange to call it out so specifically, but Halo 4’s sound design was amazing, filled with terrifying explosions, unique gun effects, and just the right mix of atmospheric music. Of course, the sound is the cherry on top of a fantastic gameplay experience that feels like a great mix of the classic Halo action with new weapons and enemies. We can’t wait to fight each other in the competitive War Games mode, and we’re already planning our teams for the ongoing episodic Spartan Ops cooperative adventure.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.