Friday, June 1, 2012

Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of E3 2012

Christmas for gamers, E3 2012, is but a handful of days away. In an industry ecosystem where military shooters are all the rage, my tastes have evolved, grown up, and matured. Be that as snobby-sounding as that may. I feel that these shooters are the real games that are the immature ones (ironic that they are given an ESRB rating of "M for Mature") and not the ones that have color and are meant for everyone (though not to paint all of those with a broad brush). That said, I have ten items that I am most interested in that have been announced already. Of course, E3 is known for the surprises that first and third parties love to unveil either at the show, prior to the show, or shortly after the show. Which of these ten are you also anticipating?

10) The Last of Us (PS3)

I try to block all memories of the award show abortion that was Geoff Keighly's and Spike TV's Video Game Awards. They were absolutely dreadful and a great reminder of why this industry, its figures, and its gamers are constantly the butts of jokes. That said, one fun revelation from the "award show" was The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic third-person action game developed by the fine folks behind the Uncharted series. Naughty Dog knows how to craft exemplary experiences, and from the small batches of footage and screens I've seen, The Last of Us already looks incredibly promising.

9) Luigi's Mansion 2 (3DS)

Possibly a tentative title, Luigi's Mansion 2 was revealed a couple years or so ago. It is being developed by Next Level Games, who by their lonesome haven't created many compelling games, but with Nintendo they have done well for themselves. No doubt with the big N watching over their collective shoulder, Luigi's Mansion 2 will be a must-have 3DS game. The title is sort of a misnomer as there isn't just one mansion of Luigi to explore. Instead, there are several of varying tropes. Will Luigi's Mansion 2 utilize gyro controls or even the Circle Pad Pro? I guess we will find out at E3!

8) Rayman Legends (Wii U and other platforms)

Leaked out while those anticipating the Wii U were temporarily satiated by some real Wii U news, Rayman Legends passes on the beautiful 2D sprites of Rayman Origins for full 3D models. The trailer that seeped out was one meant for in-house employees and gave a general idea of the possibilities of the Wii U and its controller. One could put figurines on the controller's screen and have that character turn up inside the game, or a player could move platforms by placing their finger on the controller screen and sliding it up or down. No doubt there will be more information, possibly at Nintendo's E3 presser on Tuesday.

7) PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3)

Not exactly the most elegant name for a game, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is without any hesitation modeled after Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. franchise. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so no need to be annoyed by Sony's desire to consistently borrow ideas from the competition. Characters already announced include Kratos, Sly Cooper, Sweet Tooth, and Parappa the Rapper. The stages consist of mash-ups between two or more Sony-themed properties. The Jak and Daxter stage has a cameo by the Hot Shots Golf crew, for instance. While I don't think Battle Royale will sell PS3s or set the world on fire as much as Smash Bros. has, it will be a great title for fighting fans and Sony fans alike.

6) Resident Evil 6 (PS3, 360)

The crew at Capcom have stated in interviews that they plan on returning the Resident Evil series back towards its horror roots. The game is apparently set in the neon-lit streets of a Chinese city where heroes like Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield are back. The zombies that infest the many corridors and areas of the game aren't the typical slowly lunging, empty-headed foes of the past. These baddies can use strategy and are fast on their feet. It is currently up in the air whether or not Resident Evil 6 will be reminiscent of pre-RE4 titles, but regardless of that, one's pulse is bound to be pounding as they play.

5) New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)

Most gripes from critics of the New Super Mario Bros. series come from the boring art style. While I wouldn't mind a game that looked and animated as well as Wario Land: Shake It! or Yoshi's Island, aren't fun and level design more important? Those latter two qualities is where the New Super Mario Bros. series truly shines. Only four screens have been shown thus far, but they do reveal the return of Raccoon Mario as well as a new gold-coated Mario power-up. Satoru Iwata recently stated at an investors' meeting that New Super Mario Bros. 2 would be available in both retail and digital formats. What is this-- Nintendo actually being in the current millennium? Astronomical!

4) LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3)

Take everything you love about the world of LittleBigPlanet and place it within the racing genre and you get LittleBigPlanet Karting. Sure, there are your typical grand prix races against a competitive field of adversaries, but there are also boss fights and kart battles to partake in. You can even create your own tracks and objects which definitely resonates the "Play, Create, and Share" mantra the franchise is well known for. I can't wait to take my SuperPhillip Sackboy onto the race track and speed along cardboard roads, swing across gaps, and discover secret shortcuts in intense and thrilling races.

3) Animal Crossing (3DS) [tentative title]

The Animal Crossing characters that you play as have grown a bit taller, now being able to wear pants and more detailed clothing. That isn't really the biggest draw of the game, however. A new and relatively substantial change to the 3DS version of Animal Crossing is the ability to act and serve as your village's mayor. Old Tortimer must have gone into retirement. The choices you make as mayor will no doubt affect the prosperity of your town. How far can your decision-making go? Well, that is currently undetermined, but here's hoping that the curtain on this game rises to reveal some much needed info come this Tuesday.

2) Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (PS3, 360, 3DS, PSV)

I said in a previous post that Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is my favorite kart racer of this generation, beating out Mario Kart Wii and ModNation Racers, so it makes sense that I am highly anticipating the game's sequel. Transformed shares the idea of Mario Kart 7 of shape-shifting vehicles for when the necessity comes up. Soaring through the air, drifting through corners, and jetting across blue waves are all means of transportation in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. We've already seen locales from Panzer Dragoon and Super Monkey Ball and have gawked at characters like Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Eggman, Shadow, and Aiai, and the lineup of tracks and characters is only going to get bigger the closer we get to release.

1) The Wii U Lineup

Seems like an obvious choice for number one. The Wii U is Nintendo's newest console, and it is already getting the patented "doomed" arguments. I personally love it when so-called "gamers" are afraid of a toy like it really affects their livelihoods. Regardless, non-disclosure agreements have put a lid on most leaks except for that poor deluded Traveler's Tales employee who posted that new and improved Wii U controller to his Twitter account. He was fired, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was taken to court over it. Nintendo has a lot to prove this E3. I really couldn't care less if they cater to the whiny, selfish core as long as the company reveals some exciting content, which I'm sure they will. Their future in the console business sort of depends on it.


There is my list of ten most anticipated titles for E3 2012. Which ten are you most interested in? And if you can't come up with a full ten, come up with as many as you can.

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