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E3 2012: A Retrospect on the Biggest Gaming Convention of the Year

E3 2012 is officially a wrap. After 3 long days of seeing new games and reading in-depth previews on many different websites, the dust has settled and we can look back on some of the games and devices that left a mark on the gaming industry. It was a very fulfilling E3, but how does it stack up to previous conventions? Let's take a look at some of the games and new technology that came out swinging at this year's E3.

The first game I think I should address which has been the buzz of the gaming industry for the past few days is none other than Watch Dogs. While the Ubisoft press conference was already shaping up to be a success with games like Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Farcry 3, and Assassin's Creed 3 demonstrated, it wasn't until Watch Dogs was unveiled that the conference blew our minds with the amount of games shown and how each one looked like it brought something new to the table, especially Watch Dogs. The high level graphics, intriguing gameplay, and futuristic story make this one of my most anticipated games for the foreseeable future. Assassin's Creed 3 also looked amazing, and is probably going to be one of this year's biggest hits. Without a doubt, Ubisoft definitely won for most entertaining press conference. 

Right behind Ubisoft though was Sony, as they surprised us with another game that looks like none other. I'm talking about Beyond: Two Souls, which is from developer Quantic Dream, and showcases some of the best graphics that this current generation of consoles has seen. While we didn't get a clear idea of what the game will be like or any other details except for Ellen Page being the main character, it still amounted to a great reveal. Sony also showcased the first gameplay for The Last of Us, which also pushes the envelope of the Playstation 3 and has choices which look like they will directly impact the story, as well as different gameplay elements for each situation in the game. God of War: Ascension and Playstion All Stars were also showed, but they didn't have the same flair that The Last of Us and Beyond had. One major flaw of this press conference was the Playstation Wonderbook, which looks like a novel idea, but this demo took way too long and didn't exactly showcase the strengths of this new technology. 

EA, Microsoft, and Nintendo also had their yearly press conferences, but they didn't dazzle like the Sony or Ubisoft. EA for one had only one big surprise in the form of Dead Space 3, which fan reaction has been mixed on since it seems like most of the horror elements of the game have been stripped completely. Other games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Crysis 3 also looked good, but the announcement of these titles wasn't the most enthusiastic since Crysis 3 looks very similar to Crysis 2, and many fans are fed up with the oversaturation of yearly Need for Speed titles. Microsoft demonstrated it's lineup in the same vein as last year's E3, with an emphasis on Kinect games and third party titles like Resident Evil 6, Tomb Raider, and of course Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which Microsoft surprisingly closed out with this year, when they usually end it with a first party game like Halo or Gears of War. There was also talk of the new Xbox Smartglass, which sounds interesting but needs to be explained more in detail to get me excited, as well as some new Xbox Live applications which will most likely to the already great experience offered for Live users. And then there is Nintendo, which unveiled the launch lineup for the Wii U, which for me at least looks very underwhelming, along with the system itself. I haven't owned a Nintendo system since the Gamecube, and I don't really follow most of their coverage, so I'm probably not the best person to be asked about their overall strength's and weaknesses for the Wii U, but from what I saw the press conference looked like a collection of family-focused games and the expected Mario title, which should be to no one's surprise. 

The real meat of E3 2012, however, was from third party publishers that revealed their games on the show floor, instead of making huge debut's on the big stage. A game which went from a blip on my radar to a game which I am extremely excited for is Dishonored. It seems as if the gameplay options available in that game are unrivaled, in terms of how you want to tackle the mission at hand and how you want to kill your enemies. I mean, what other game lets you take control of a fish! The design of the game also looks reminiscent of many steam-punk cites that we usually don't see in games, which should invigorate players tired of military first-person shooters to check out Dishonored. Another game which looks downright fun is Borderlands 2, the sequel to the massively successful original game by Gearbox, and Borderlands 2 looks to be ramping up the intensity of the first game significantly, and not to mention adding another bazillion guns to the mix. Another game which looks surprisingly fantastic is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. After the up and down development that has occurred with this game, not to mention the strange trailers leading up to E3, I was skeptical about how this game was going to turn out. However, after seeing the new trailer and witnessing gameplay, I can safely saw that Revengeance looks awesome. The fast paced gameplay and unique cutting mechanic make this a spectacle to look at, and most likely a joy to play. 

Other than those jaw dropping games, there were plenty of other titles that look great. Transformers Fall of Cybertron looks very promising, the new Devil May Cry from Ninja Theory looks absurdly fun, as well as games out of the norm like XCOM: Enemy Unknown. There were a few disappointments, however, in the form of Gears of War: Judgement and Halo 4, both Microsoft titles that I adored. Unfortunately, the demos at E3 left me underwhelmed, with Halo 4 going in a completely different direction, which I can respect, but it isn't the right fit for me. And Gears of War: Judgement seems to be attempting more of the same Gears of War, which I am personally tired of after completing Gears of War 3. There were also a few absent games from the show, most notably Grand Theft Auto 5, which was nowhere in sight at the show, Overstrike, which was announced at last year's E3 as the new IP from Insomniac but was missing this year, and Brothers in Arms: Furious Four which seemed to have a promising concept but has disappeared off the radar since last year. 

So that brings us back to the main question: how does this year's convention fall in line with past E3's? Well, it depends on how you look at it. In terms of game announcements, this year's E3 definitely was in the top tier with the reveal of several Triple-A projects in the works. In terms of amount of games shown off, this year was somewhat lackluster compared to the avalanche of games that were demonstrated at E3 2011. However, it still remains the biggest gaming convention of the year, with the entire industry focused on this worldwide event for 4 days. It is also a time to see amazing new projects in action and decide what your hard earned money will be spent on when the time comes to buy some of these astounding games. One thing is for sure, no matter what system you play on or what genre is your favorite, E3 has something exciting in store for anyone who loves video games. Feel free to share your favorite game or piece of new technology shown off at E3 2012 below. 

 

 

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