Top Ten Games of E3 2012
By James Best
E3 2012 was a disappointment for most Nintendo fans. The Big N had very little in the way of exciting announcements to make and focused on things that we already knew of or cared little for. We expected big names like Zelda to be shown off alongside the Wii U to show us what the new console is capable of. We expected a treasure trove of 3DS games to be released within the year. While Nintendo may not have blown everyone away as they were expected to, it still had several games to be excited for in the coming year. Here's my top ten games shown off at this year's E3 convention.
Honorable Mention: Fire Emblem: Awakening
What's this? Fire Emblem: Awakening with only an honorable mention? Blasphemy! Well, as much as I may want to put it on this list, the latest Fire Emblem can barely be considered a game of E3 2012. It was not announced or shown at the convention; it was announced via Twitter. No gameplay footage or screenshots were shown. Thus, I cannot include it in this list, but, rest assured, I am as excited for this game as anyone else.
I'm not one to take interest in zombie apocalypse games, but ZombiU has earned my attention. It's a game that puts an emphasis on survival horror by limiting the player's access to valuable ammunition. In an industry where mindless shooters sell like hotcakes, a game where a player is forced to nickel and dime every bullet is a rare and welcome experience. ZombiU also puts the Wii U Game Pad to good use. The screen is used as a scanner, a map, and inventory. To keep up the sense of dread, the game will not be paused when sifting through the inventory or staring at a map. Players will have to make sure there aren't any zombies aren't around before managing their assets or planning their route. Even then, there's always the fear that a zombie will pop out of nowhere and bite your unsuspecting survivor while he's unprepared. And once your survivor is bitten, that's it. That survivor is now one of the infected and you have to start over as another survivor. You can only get your old gear back by going to where your last survivor was killed, and killing his reanimated corpse. This an interesting touch that makes ZombiU more than just another survival horror game.
9. Mass Effect 3
I was honestly hoping that a new Metroid Prime game would be revealed at E3 this year, whether it be a continuation of the Prime saga by Retro or a sequel to Hunters on the DS. Imagine my disappointment when neither was revealed. I guess I'll just have to get my sci-fi shooter fix with another space age game: Mass Effect 3. There wasn't much information divulged as to the Wii U port of this game, but I'm still reasonably excited to play the latest entry in an acclaimed series. The only thing I'm wondering is how BioWare plans on getting Nintendo fans, who may have missed out on the previous two games, up to speed with the series. Will they release Mass Effect 1 & 2 as a preorder bundle for the Wii U version or are they just going to have a brief video summary put up on the eShop? Whatever they plan on doing, Mass Effect 3 is a welcome addition to the Wii U's library, even if it's been awhile since its release on other platforms.
8. Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs was the sleeper hit at E3 this year. It came out of left field near the end of Ubisoft's fantastic press conference and caught nearly everyone off guard. It's a sandbox game like GTA but offers a unique hacking mechanic, allowing the player to disrupt communication signals, get information on nearby NPCs, control traffic signals, and listen in on telephone conversations. Better yet, the game may be coming to the Wii U as well as the other platforms. I don't see why it wouldn't.
7. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
Batman: Arkham City has been out for awhile now and people are wondering what the Wii U version could offer to make the game relevant nearly a year after its release. The answer for most people is "nothing". But for me, armor makes everything better, even Batman. The BAT meter sounds like a nice addition, but nothing that'll make those who have played the game before want to shell out another $50. Then there are all the usual Wii U bells and whistles like seamless inventory management and gyroscope controls for projectiles. Other than that, Armored Edition seems to be little more than a faithful port of what PS3, XBox 360, and PC owners have been playing for months now. But for Nintendo fans, that's all we're asking for.
6. Paper Mario: Sticker Star
The 3DS iteration of the Paper Mario series has seen its fair share of E3s. First announced at E3 2010 alongside the 3DS, it has now been shown at its third E3 and it's high time that players finally had a chance to play this puppy. Hopefully, 2012 will actually be the year we get our hands on it (there's still a chance it might be delayed again). It seems as though it will be released this year as it has a finalized name of Sticker Star.
5. New Super Mario Bros. U
The Wii U doesn't have a lot of must-have games going for it. Nintendo seems to think New Super Mario Bros. U is one of those must-haves as they mentioned that all Nintendo fans seem to ask for whenever a new Nintendo console is announced is a new Mario game. What they fail to realize is that fans are asking for a more awe-inspiring Mario game than a simple 2D platformer, something along the lines of Super Mario 64 or Galaxy. While NSMBU is no Galaxy, it is still peppered with that Mario charm that'll make it fly off store shelves. It's also one of the games that will push the concept of asymmetrical gameplay. One player with the U Pad will be able to place platforms via the touchscreen, which will either aid the other players or hamper them. So, we can expect a fun game to play with our friends, though it's not the platforming epic we were hoping for.
4. Assassin's Creed 3
Remember when I said Ubisoft had a fantastic press conference? Well, they did, and one of the games that made it so exciting was Assassin's Creed 3. Not only is this game a reenactment of the American Revolution, a crucial event in world history, it's also the first game in the series to release on a Nintendo console. This means many Nintendo fans, like myself, will be experiencing the Assassin's Creed series for the first time. In fact, the Wii U version may be the best of the bunch, aside from the PC version, as it is rumored to run at 1080p at 60 fps. Granted, those specs are unconfirmed rumors, but they do give the Wii U version an advantage over the other consoles. Even if the Wii U version is only on par with the other versions, the Wii U Game Pad will still offer unique gameplay mechanics, which are just as good as increased resolution and frame rate.
3. Rayman Legends
Another Ubisoft game on the Wii U? At the moment, Ubisoft is the Wii U's #1 third party supporter. Not content with just porting last year's games over to the new console, Ubisoft is developing current titles and even making a few of them exclusive. Foremost among those exclusives is the sequel to Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends. I haven't played Rayman Origins, to my shame. But, I have played a demo on the eShop, and I can safely say the new Rayman games are something to consider. The wacky, distinctive art style, the beautiful environments, vivacious music, and expertly designed platforming all combine to make one fantastic game. Ubisoft is continuing the goodness on the Wii U, even using the new opportunities for asymmetric gameplay to make the multiplayer even better.
2. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi never gets much time in the spotlight. Given his timid nature, he probably prefers it that way. But no matter how he feels about it, we'll play a game starring the second half of the Mario Bros. any day. In a few months, we'll be able to play as Luigi as we explore ghost-infested mansions. Though retaining the whimsicality of the Mario universe, the game has a sort of eeriness about it that's hard to describe with words. Just watch the trailer on the eShop and you'll see what I mean.
1. Pikmin 3
I'll be the first to admit that Nintendo's press conference this year was one epic face palm after another. But, there's no denying that they opened it with a bang with the long awaited Pikmin 3 and, good heavens, was this game worth the wait! The game looks absolutely gorgeous with all the trimmings afforded by today's technologies. It was one of the only Wii U games confirmed to be running at 60 fps. The gameplay also looks awesome. New Pikmin are introduced, like the pink flying Pikmin and rock Pikmin. This means Captain Olimar will have even more expendable critters to do his dirty work. Wait, what's this? Captain Olimar isn't in the game, you say? Four other captains take his place, you say? Hmm. Kind of brings up thoughts of a multiplayer element, doesn't it? Still, Pikmin 3 is the closest thing the Wii U has to a must-have title and it will only get better as launch day approaches.
So, these are my Top Ten Games of E3 2012. What games are you looking forward to from E3? Tell me in the comments. No matter how you look at it, there are a lot of great coming out on all platforms this year. Speaking from a Nintendo fan's perspective, Wii U will certainly have a diverse line-up at launch, even if it doesn't have that one must-have game that everyone is clamoring for. I wish you all a great year of gaming and here's to next year's E3!