Getting Some Play: E3 2012

 
 

Welcome to Getting Some Play — the spiritual successor to Sarah Warn’s excellent Good Game column — where we’ll take a look at the latest releases, news and developments in the world of video games.

E3 2012

You may have heard about this little show called E3 last week. You know, the biggest commercial game exhibition on the planet, where the "big three" console platform holders show off their wares, big publishers host massive booths full of games and gadgets, and thousands of industry insiders (and the journalists that write about them) flock to LA.

This was something of an "in between" year for Microsoft and Sony, since neither showed off new console hardware (the new "next generation"). Microsoft focused instead on SmartGlass, a way of integrating Xbox content onto a wide variety of devices.  They also showed off Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgment – it’s biggest exclusive guns, alongside Dance Central 3, the latest in the "best reason to own a Kinect" line.

Sony had a strong showing, focusing on games from its exclusive stable (as well as a few gorgeous-looking Ubisoft titles, such as Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3. Among the exclusives, Naughty Dog Developed The Last of Us looked incredible, as did the latest from Quantic Dreams (Heavy Rain), Beyond Two Souls, which features Ellen Page in the title role. PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale (a Super Smash Bros. style arcade-y fighting game) also demoed well, and God of War fans have a new ass-kicking console title to look forward to in God of War: Ascension. The only really weird moment in their show came from the too-long, too-tripped out demo of the Wonderbook and its first title, Book of Spells, an interactive JK Rowling tale.

Nintendo was perhaps the biggest question mark going in to this year’s conference, and it did not disappoint (unless you were expecting a hardcore-only performance). The Wii U made its true debut, with special attention paid to its innovative new controller (which is a traditional controller/tablet hybrid). The new system will be fully loaded for entertainment beyond games (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and Youtube were all mentioned), and a slew of new games were announced, chief among them a new Mario title and Pikmin 3 – the latest in the beloved Gamecube strategy series. The Intriguing Zombie U also got plenty of attention – mainly for showcasing what’s possible on the new system.

Other highlights of the conference (aside from the big dog-and-pony shows, that is), included Tomb Raider, Scribblenauts United, Sleeping Dogs, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Resident Evil 6, IndieCade’s Hokra, Project P-100, Dishonored, The Unfinished Swan and the soon-to-be-released Quantum Conundrum.

Incoming!

While E3 and its promise of shiny new games looms high, there are still plenty of June releases to get excited about.

Gamecube gem Pikmin 2 was released on Wii (with enhanced Wii-fied controls) on June 10. We have no idea why it took so long to get this puppy out (the original Pikmin came out in an enhanced Wii edition over 3 years ago), but we’re not complaining.

For racing fans, today is a big day – both Gravity Rush on the PlayStation Vita and DiRT Showdown for the 360, PS3 and PC.

We wrote a bit about Lollipop Chainsaw last time around, but it’s here officially (for 360 and PS3) today. It’s Suda 51’s latest, featuring bloody undead-bashing with a cheerleader protagonist (and her dead boyfriend’s disembodied head).

For Pokemaniacs, Pokemon Conquest launches on June 18 on the trusty old Nintendo DS. It supposedly mixes Pokemon with lore from Japanese history. From GamesRadar:

Still, Pokémon Conquest is something really surprising and unique, as it inserts the myriad monsters into the world of historical Japanese fiction, and considering the loads of mediocre series spin-offs in the past, it may well end up being the best non-core Pokémon to date.

Later in June, the epic Dreamcast Mech simulator Steel Battalion gets a Kinect (with controller combo) update, and the hotly anticipated indie puzzler Quantum Conundrum (from Portal co-designer Kim Swift) are due, so stay tuned!

 
 

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