E3, FeaturesJoel Szerlip

Biggest Surprise of E3 2012

E3, FeaturesJoel Szerlip
Biggest Surprise of E3 2012

Now that E3 2012 is over we here at Darkstation.com are taking a few days to look back at the biggest week in gaming to go over our biggest disappointments, biggest surprises, and of course our Game of Show for E3 2012. Our editors continue the series by looking back at some of the bigger things that surprised us during E3 2012. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

The Force Is With Star Wars 1313, by Ashley Chittock I have the ultimate weakness that I will play every Star Wars game that comes out whether it’s good or bad. I love the franchise and every year I just cross my fingers for a Battlefront 3 game but this year we were treated to Star Wars 1313 instead and I must say this did not upset me one bit. From what I have seen of this game it looks fantastic.

From almost every source I’ve heard it sounds like Uncharted meets Star Wars with a bounty hunter character and that is a really interesting approach to take that sits perfectly well with me. It’s always risky when a Star Wars game comes out and you can’t use a lightsaber because most people who play Star Wars games just want to swing that laser sword but taking a less traveled road with the franchise could prove to be their best move yet.

How Smart is the Glass? by Hiram Mojica

So there I was, sitting down, watching the Microsoft conference, and they were on the boring usability and multimedia stuff. Then, suddenly, someone comes out and starts talking about tablet integration with games and shows a sizzle reel of obviously CGI target footage and my coffee mug slipped from my hand as I stared in shock at what I was seeing. Only not really, because I would never waste coffee like that.

My initial indignation (THAT’S JUST THE WII U COME ON) eventually gave way to something else, though- you see, with 2 systems out that can use a “second screen” playstyle to add to the game in some way, it gives the potential uses for the idea a chance to thrive. The companies aren’t just making a weird gimmick that can only be used in one place anymore- 2 of the 3 consoles can do it now, giving them a chance to expand on the idea and make multi-screen gaming a more acceptable thing. These may be competing platforms, but they’re complimentary ideas that will hopefully grow each other and give greater credence to the idea down the line. Plus, if I can get awesome, interactive information on my tablet as I’m watching Zoolander or something, that’s pretty cool, and it was a huge surprise to see it pop up at the show. And then not get mentioned during any of the demos on the floor.

I Could Watch Those Dogs All Day by Alexander Cattell

After nearly falling asleep through Microsofts Press Conference and mildly enjoying EA’s slightly rickety line up, Ubisoft's started poorly. Dancers on stage and Flo Rida rapping it up, I felt like I was in store for another boring press conference, which is a shame seeing as how I usually love E3 press conferences. To my surprise Ubisoft’s press conference was extremely impressive, with a great showings from almost all of their upcoming games. What really surprised me however was their last game on show, Watch Dogs.

The demo started poorly, unfortunately, but this was before we even knew what the game was. A predominately text based, rather dull, video played, then we got to the gameplay. The first thing that struck me was the visual quality. The environment, lighting and characters looked great and this proceeded all the way through the demo. Beyond that the gameplay was interesting, it possessed the social stealth elements of the Assassin’s Creed and the Hitman games, mixed with what looked to be an open world, like Grand Theft Auto. This was punctuated with interaction of Non Playable Characters which may have been scripted specifically for the demo, however it looked believable, similar to GTA4.

I am personally hoping we will not see it on this generation of consoles allowing for the same level of quality that was shown at the conference. I just do not feel that the current generation of consoles will do the game justice, however the next obviously will.

The Xbox 360 Got Smarter by  Scott Kieffer

The biggest surprise of the show came near the middle of Microsoft’s show, and wasn’t what we expected (details on their new console). If it had been what we expected, Microsoft would have been trying to get the edge on Sony by showing off the Project Durango before the PS4.

Instead, they stunned us by stealing Nintendo’s thunder with its Wii U. Microsoft didn’t do that with a new console, a new piece of hardware, or even a full software disc. With a single software update (and app download), Microsoft is threatening to duplicate all of the innovation Nintendo touts for its upcoming console release. Talk about taking the wind out of someone’s sails...

Smart-Glass won’t cost us anything, and will work not only with Windows phones, but all smart phones and tablets. We can use multiple phones/tablets at once with it, instead of having to buy multiple Wii U tablet controllers (which promise to be a bit pricey, based on the tech). Smart-Glass features are already being worked on and prepared, and will likely launch before the Wii U comes out. This isn’t like Move and Kinect, which played catch-up to Nintendo’s motion craze. Microsoft is heading off Nintendo’s new hopeful craze before it even begins.

Time will tell if Smart-Glass or Wii U really matter for our core games, but even if they don’t this is still a wise business move.

Not Just Another Lord of the Rings Game by Adam Condra

I had to choose between The Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle Earth and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, so I figured I would give it to the (relatively) new IP. Anyway, here’s what we know: Monolith is developing a MOBA (think League of Legends) set in the Lord of the Rings universe, using its familiar heroes and villains as the champions. It will be out this fall, appearing on XBLA and PSN. I think this is a perfect marriage of license and genre, paired with a reliable developer no less, and aside from a few gameplay trailers, there really isn’t much more you need to do to sell me on this. I can’t wait.

Still Feeling the Honor by Jonathan Miley

Since everyone else is talking about Watch Dogs...

I don’t think it’s any surprise that Watch Dogs is going to be THE biggest surprise from most people. The game came out of left field and looked awesome. But because it will be well-trotted, I’m not going to talk about my second biggest surprise, Dishonored.

Now, Dishonored was not announced this year. And from an interview and trailer I think I had a pretty good grasp of what the game would be like. And I did. It’s Bioshock meets Deus Ex meets Assassin’s Creed. That on the one hand sounds awesome. On the other, when you realize that it’s being made by the studio that brought us the 2006 “gem” Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, it also seems like a recipe for a well-meaning but horrible game.

So my surprise here is not that the game exists, that it has some crazy setting or anything like that. No, my surprise is that the game does not look like garbage. It indeed looks pretty awesome and exactly how the first description makes it sound. With cool powers, a great art style and fluid movement and animation, the game has almost sold me. I’m still a little wary but I’m also optimistic that this game will be something truly unique, an aspect we won’t see much else of this year.

The First LEGO Game to be Excited About by Jake Stroth

I was really pleasantly surprised by LEGO City: Undercover.  While I’ve enjoyed LEGO games in the past, I never played them for more than an hour or two before moving on to bigger and better things.  Undercover looks like the first LEGO game that could actually capture my interest based upon its strength as a video game and a story rather than as a LEGO product.  The story and world almost seemed inspired by a PG version of Saint’s Row:  The Third and the gameplay looks fun and easy.  I was hoping for more significant and creative Wii U integration, but the core game was good enough to really make me consider picking up a Wii U.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.