Saturday, June 9, 2012
E3 2012 : The Short Version.
Do you want the really short version? Well... if there's one thing you need to know from E3 2012. If there's one thing you have to see, it's this gameplay from The Last of Us.
What else happened at E3 2012? Well, to be fair, not much.
If you don't want to count behind-closed-doors stuff that's under embargo, this year was... a downer. Compared to years past, at least. The WiiU is pretty much exactly what we thought it was last year, except that now, instead of being pretty sure it'll launch for the 2012 holiday season, we know it'll launch this holiday season - and instead of having a killer proof-of-concept app like Wii Sports, it'll have Nintendoland - which journalists haven't exactly been drooling over.
Ninty didn't show off many new games for it, either - though I'm sure we're all a bit excited by Project P-100, Rayman: Legends is gorgeous and real gameplay from ZombieU looks... interesting.
Nintendo did not win E3 2012.
Microsoft once again leaned heavily on their third-party support, and bored us all to tears with SmartGlass technology - except for Trey Parker, who was awesome enough to make fun of it on Microsoft's own stage.
Smartglass essentially turns any smart phone or tablet into a peripheral for the 360 - perhaps attempting to match Nintendo's game with the tablet/controller WiiU Gamepad.
Microsoft didn't show gameplay for any exclusive title aside from Halo 4, which appears to be both familiar and foreign enough to be an interesting new entry in the canon.
No, I'm afraid the coolest thing to come out of Microsoft's presser was - once again - due to Trey Parker and Matt Stone; the first trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth.
Microsoft did not win E3 2012.
Sony veered off on a similarly horrifying trajectory with the idiotic Wonderbook, and similarly leaned on big third-party titles like Assassin's Creed III and Far Cry 3. (Far Cry 3's showing, by the way, solidified it as necessary reading for the 2012 release year - it looks fabulous.) On the bright side, they really came out swinging with third-party platform exclusives like Assassin's Creed III: Liberation for the Vita - along with news that the Vita will get a patch which - you guessed it - basically allows you to use the thing like a WiiU Gamepad for the PS3.
Except this screen has dual touch. And it doesn't have L2/R2 buttons.
They showed off some God of War: Ascension gameplay and revealed the next thing from (Heavy Rain) developer Quantic Dream, Beyond: Two Souls, starring everybody-loves-her Ellen Page - but, again, the best thing from Sony this year was the Last of Us gameplay at the top of this post. Oh, and you currently get 12 downloadable games (worth a combined few hundred dollars) if you're a PlayStation Plus member - 7 of which are pretty excellent.
So, no, Sony did not win E3 2012.
Strangely, the most exciting new announcement this E3 came from... Ubisoft?
Watch Dogs all but stole the show this year, by virtue of being one of only two big, triple-A titles announced along with proof-of-concept, real-time gameplay and a unique premise.
Speaking of proof-of-concept, Epic Games and Square Enix duked it out over who has the best engine for consoles that don't exist yet - and as many particles as Unreal Engine 4 can push, I have to give the nod to Squenix's gorgeous Luminous Engine demo.
And, while there are an absolute crapload of trailers and gameplay - most of which you can find in the sidebar of this blog - the one CG trailer I insist you watch is this one for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. The combination of art direction, scale and (omg!) music is just delectable.
And that - in a very condensed nutshell - was E3 2012! Oh! There's also a new trailer for Dead Space 2 - and it is co-op, but it doesn't have to be co-op. Terribly unexciting, compared to years past. No shockers, no studio betrayals, no one wholly embarrassing themselves - even Ubisoft's conference wasn't terrible!
So, who won E3? Well, I'm going to go with folks who can watch the video for The Last of Us and enjoy the warming knowledge that one day, we will get to play that game.