E3 2012: Better, and Worse Than Expected

by Reads (8,455)

E3 2012 has come and gone, and while we’ve still got a few stories to bring you over the coming days, it’s not difficult to say that the show, overall, was both better and worse than we expected. The press conferences may have let people down, but the rest of the industry was there to pick up the slack. Here are a few of our thoughts.

This year the biggest news by far was the update on Nintendo’s next-generation system, the Wii U. Despite getting a firmer grasp of the system’s capabilities, and what the new controller might do, Nintendo remained mum on discrete specifications. That’s not really a surprise to any fan of the Big N, but it does leave some with a sour taste in their mouths. Many gamers are worried that the Wii U is going to be a moderately interesting system based around a gimmick, much like the Wii, and not attract the kinds of titles that they like to play.

Fortunately, Nintendo seems to have realized that in advance, and taken steps to overcome such an impression. The Wii U is the return of Nintendo to the raw and bloody furor that many gamers seem to like – a subject on which RockPaperShotgun has a tremendous column – Zombi U was actually a lot of fun to play, and porting titles such as Batman: Arkham City and Mass Effect 3 show that the Wii U won’t be just a collection of good Nintendo games and crappy 3rd parties.

Having said all of that, Nintendo’s presentation was decidedly lackluster, and Microsoft and Sony weren’t much better.

E3 had a lot of truly impressive games to fill that void, however, such as Watch_Dogs. Most of you have probably seen something on this game by now, and it’s clear that Ubisoft is putting a lot of effort into the title. Although much remains a mystery, this game sees the player filled with knowledge about the world about him. Who she is, where he works, what they’re doing, etc. And the propensity of all of them toward violence. I will be disappointed if at some point during this game, the phrase, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” isn’t uttered.

Tomb Raider was another title that caught our eye, thanks in part to Square-Enix’s generous half hour demonstration. This time around, the game reboots the popular franchise – Lara Croft is still a daddy’s girl and not yet the hardened, commercially-motivated archaeologist we’ve all come to know and love. At one point in the demo, she actually utters, “Ugh, I hate tombs.” Clearly, she has a long way to go.

There’s more. The magic-stealth-steampunk-ninja central to Dishonored was a hit among attendees. The brand new Neverwinter was there,  trying to show that a favorite franchise can go free-to-play and still be fun. Resident Evil 6 proved that what’s old is new again, and Epson came by to show off their Android-powered hackery.

We have more content to come – so much more than the pair of us could intelligently write up this week, so be sure to check out sister site DesktopReview in the coming days. What did you think of the show? Too much social? Not enough gore? Let us know in the comments, and if you’ve got questions for the developers, we’ll find out the answers!

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