From fighting games to cooperative action-adventures, mature titles to family-friendly outings, the best new video games of 2012 and 2012 were clearly on display at annual industry trade event Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which wrapped last week in Los Angeles. While chiefly a showcase for retail outings on popular systems like the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii/Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, it bears remembering, however: Many of the most exciting developments today are taking place in the mobile, free to play, social and digital spaces.
Still, the good news is as follows: Video game fans needn’t worry that their beloved set-top consoles will be going to waste. Given that dozens of upcoming titles from Beyond: Two Souls (a supernatural thriller starring Ellen Page) to God of War: Ascension (a gory Greek tragedy) caught out eye, there’s much to look forward to in the gaming world soon. Hoping to get a head start on your summer, holiday and even 2013 wish list? Here are 20 intriguing options which we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on going forward.
(in alphabetical order)
Dead or Alive 5 – Tecmo Koei – Speed and graphics are key in fighting games, and Dead or Alive 5 delivers both. As part of the game’s detailed backgrounds, there are certain “Danger Zones” that can be triggered to cause the environments to crumble down or explode while the fight continues.
Madden NFL 13 – Electronic Arts – Along with other EA Sports games like FIFA Soccer 13, Madden NFL 13 for Xbox 360 is set to take advantage of Kinect voice commands, allowing gamers to bark out tactical and game-changing commands during the flow of the game.
Deadlight – Microsoft – This cinematic survival tale cum platform-hoppers requires players to dodge bullets, zombies and more while working their way through 1980s-era Seattle.
Dishonored – Bethesda Softworks – Created by the art director from Half-Life 2, Dishonored combines stealth and action gameplay that will have players using gadgets and upgradeable skills to take on both supernatural and technological forces.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes – Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment – With classic Lego co-op gameplay and exploration, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes brings the series charm to a broad cadre of super heroes, including Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and more.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Konami – Set several years after the events of Metal Gear 4, Metal Gear Rising stars the familiar character Raiden, and asks players to use their destructive cutting ability to destroy enemies and environments.
NBA Baller Beats – Majesco – Use a real-life basketball to keep beat with the rhythm, performing crossovers or between the legs moves at appropriate times. If you can allow balls in the house, you’ll love this unique and active way to control a music game.
New Super Mario Bros Wii-U – Nintendo – With more classic side-scrolling action in the vein of New Super Mario Bros Wii, the Wii-U version has the ability for an extra player to take the Wii-U GamePad tablet and build platforms or distract enemies while everyone else is playing.
PlanetSide 2 – Sony Online Entertainment – This is the largest first-person-shooter game ever, with three factions constantly battling to take control of the key points of this massively-multiplayer online world. Free apps help players keep tabs on the battle even when they’re not hooked up to the computer.
Quantum Conundrum – Square Enix – This quirky 3D puzzle game gives players the ability to change their “dimensions” to settings like heavy, slow-motion, reverse-gravity and fuzzy in order to manipulate objects into allowing them to progress through a crazy mansion.
Rayman Legends – Ubisoft – The beautiful Rayman art-style returns in this side-scrolling platformer for Wii-U in which the second-player utilizing the GamePad tablet controller helps clear the way for the others roaming through the colorful world.
Resident Evil 6 – Capcom – Although some may say that zombies are finally waning in popularity, the franchise that started it all is still going strong, with the latest installment featuring co-op play and an intricate storyline starring familiar fan favorites.
Rise of the Guardians – D3 Publisher – Up to four players can play cooperatively as characters based on the four seasons in this battling adventure game based on the upcoming movie.
SimCity – EA – City-building is back and more realistic than ever, and will now incorporate social features as well as the ability to build your cities in the same regions as others online.
Tekken Tag Tournament – Namco Bandai – Arguably the most visible game of E3 with characters adorning massive banners and the sides of buses, Tekken Tag Tournament features classic two-player tag battles as well as one-on-one fights and even a mixed mode.
The Last of Us – SCEA – It’s a man and a girl against the world in the Last of Us, a game in which no one can be trusted and everyone is an enemy. Mature language and over-the-top violence are a key part of this game, along with the compelling storyline and stellar graphics.
Tomb Raider – Square Enix – This more-mature version of Lara Croft (and we don’t mean more buxom) is grittier and more gorily graphic than previous Tomb Raider games, and explores the origins of Lara Croft’s as a young adventurer.
Unfinished Swan – SCEA – Less is more when it comes to telling you what this one is all about as players must work for themselves to discover the how, what, where and why of this imaginative storybook-style game.
Walking Dead – Telltale Entertainment – Based on the popular graphic novel series which has already spawned a hit TV show, Walking Dead provides episodic updates every two months.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Take Two Interactive – This turn-based strategy game is based on the classic XCOM series, and requires players to take control of multiple characters in order to succeed.