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E3 2012: The best things about E3 this year


For those who are not familiar E3 is the entertainment expo; it showcases the best in upcoming games from all three main consoles as well as PC and Mac titles. This year many, including myself, felt it was a bit of a bust. A little too much hype and very few surprise announcements; not to mention the very poor showmanship. Well not that it was poorly produced, just that the entertainment was not really suited to the demographics in which were watching; but I digress.


This year’s E3 has confirmed that it really is a transition year for the videogame industry.

Despite Nintendo’s Wii U launch, there was a general feeling that Microsoft and Sony are treading water until their next console upgrades, which analysts expect in the next two years.

However, there are still many exciting games announced and some interesting tech and entertainment trends emerged from this year’s show. Here are 10 of the best things from the expo in Los Angeles.

Ubisoft’s killer lineup: One of the preoccupations with this conference is the idea of who “won” the show. It’s usually one of the big three console manufacturers, but this year the general consensus was that Ubisoft’s slate of upcoming titles — Splinter Cell Blacklist, Assassin’s Creed III, Watch Dogs, Far Cry 3 and ZombiU — were best in show.

New starts for franchises:Square Enix’s Tomb Raider reboots the Lara Croft franchise, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 introduces a new gameplay mode, Strikeforce, and Star Wars 1313, a bounty hunter-themed shooter, will be the first mature title set in that universe.

Brand new IP: Intellectual property is how the industry refers to entirely new games and there’s an impressive number of exciting new games, including The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic survival game, Dishonored, a steampunk themed-game from Bethesda, true crime game Sleeping Dogs, arty paintball exploration game Unfinished Swan and the aforementioned Watch Dogs.

Living room takeover: Both the Wii U and Microsoft announced SmartGlass, an app that allows you to connect your phone or tablet to your console and use it as a controller, remote, making it hub of your entertainment centre.

Toronto indie games: Perhaps its hometown pride, but anticipation has been high for Sound Shapes, Dyad and Guacamelee, all made in Toronto, and they will soon hit the PlayStation Network.

Female protagonists:Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, which features the first female heroine in the series, and Beyond, starring Canadian actress Ellen Page, all point to some exciting girl power on the gaming horizon.

Consumer friendly trends: Last year motion controls in hardcore games and 3D felt like new tech foisted on us. This year’s unveiling of augmented reality, such as Sony’s new kid friendly Wonderbook, and more free-to-play games and downloadable content, like Halo 4’s free episodic content game Spartan’s Ops, feel like better fits for the consumer.

Mobile gaming:Asian social gaming giant Gree had a big presence at the show this year, and the top companies showed they aren’t looking down on phone games anymore.

Funny TV games: The free-to-play Family Guy Online looks surprisingly good and the forthcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth looks like it’s pulled off the hardest thing in gaming — being funny.

Nintendo: Despite the company’s press conference going over with a thud, and many people still scratching their heads about the Wii U, it would be a mistake to count Nintendo out. When the Wii was announced more than six years ago, there was a similar reaction, but that console went on to sell like gangbusters. There is still a lot we don’t know about the Wii U, but even with a small bit of time with some of the company’s games, there are definitely some fun and unique experiences, and at the very least, all gamers should be happy that after almost a few years of quiet time, the gaming giant is at least the gaming giant is seriously back in the game.

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