2012's show gave us an interesting look at where video gaming is headed in the very near future. The big three gaming companies - Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft - all took very different approaches for their their press conferences, each showing a different hand of cards for the year(s) to come.
Traditionally, the gaming community has looked for a "winner" at E3. Someone, some company, has to walk away from Los Angeles, California boasting that they were the "best in show" at E3. I don't necessarily agree with that notion but last week, there were some very clear "winners" and "losers". If you're looking for some depth in that area, check out my recaps of Day 1 and Day 2). When you get back, I will hand out some Hooked Gamers awards...
Best New Technology
The Wii U was announced at 2011's E3 and can't really be considered, so we had to look elsewhere to find cool new technology. Microsoft revealed a new means to interact with their Xbox platform called Smart Glass. Using smartphones and tablets, it allows you to pair up your Windows, Android or iOS phones/tablets with the Xbox 360 and control Xbox LIVE with it. So it's a... remote control. The concept of having your smartphone or tablet act as a remote control for your Xbox 360 isn't a "new" idea, but there is some novelty in Microsoft's concept. Imagine using your Samsung Galaxy S III to view your downloaded Xbox LIVE movies and television content while miles from your Xbox 360? Or how about using your iPad to interact with your 360 while you're watching a movie, using the dual screens without interrupting your movie watching experience. It's a technology that will no doubt be refined for Microsoft's next home video game console but it's a smart idea to introduce the concept now, ahead of the launch of Nintendo's Wii U later this year. The only technologies to compete were Sony's announcement of the PlayStation 3's Wonderbook which is cute but ultimately too limited in scope. Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 deserves mentioning here as well but also lacks the oomph of Microsoft's Smart Glass.
Best Wii U Exclusive - ZombiU
There weren't a whole lot of "hardcore" titles revealed for the Wii U during Nintendo's E3 press conference but one notable standout was shown by Ubisoft. ZombiU looks to be Nintendo's first true "hardcore" third-party launch title since the Gamecube's Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (I refuse to acknowledge the abomination that was Red Steel). This exciting first-person shooter uses the Game Pad (among other things) to view your inventory as you would peering into a backpack. ZombiU is set in London, England where you play as a "survivor" and your task is simply to... well, survive. You can't save and there are no checkpoints throughout the game. Once your "survivor" is killed you will assume the identity of another "survivor" tasked with hunting down your former-corpse-turned-zombie to kill it and retrieve your B.O.B. (Bug Out Bag). It's an awesome concept from a third party developer that has thrown its weight behind the new console with innovative gameplay.
Best Xbox 360 Exclusive - Halo 4
Was there any doubt? Halo 4 is 343 Industries first foray into the Halo world, picking up where Bungie left off. By all accounts the game looks to be the biggest Halo title to date with an expansive multiplayer that is said to be the most in-depth offering the franchise has ever seen. The gameplay demo that was shown during Microsoft's E3 press conference took place in a jungle setting with Master Chief battling a new sort of enemy. The visuals look great, the gameplay improved and the cinematic sequences look exquisite. Despite all that, the game still has that "warm bath" feeling of familiarity.
Best PlayStation 3 Exclusive - Beyond: Two Souls
Naughty Dog's The Last of Us looks fantastic and it's great to see the Uncharted developer branch out into "mature" territory. However, one game caused a jaw-drop during Sony's E3 press conference last week: Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls. Visually, nothing touched it during the entire week of E3. The game stars Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) as a supernatural-esque figure who possesses otherworldly abilities and can communicate with the 'beyond'. The demo was classic Quantic Dream and made everyone think "Heavy Rain meets Alan Wake". Beyond: Two Souls looks to bring more action than Heavy Rain while maintaining the narrative focus that made that game such a pivotal title. We could easily imagine Beyond: Two Souls being Sony's flagship title for the PlayStation 4, were it not for the fact that the game has a 2013 release date.