Though we get along well enough once Editor-in-Chief Dale North dopes us and puts us back in our cages, all of us at Destructoid have incredibly diversified taste in games.
Some of us love fighting games, some of us love tactical RPGs, and some of just really, really like Nintendo. While we can all agree with Destructoid's official E3 winners, these are the games that spoke to us on a personal level.
If we could take one game home, marry it, have 8 children with it, divorce it, claim custody over four of them, and spend the rest of our days eating alone in the dark corner of a Golden Corral thinking of that one game that got away, this would be our pick.
Oddly enough, even among all of the inevitable AAA favorites, I have to go with SimCity. Not only has it been years since I've been interested in a Sim title, but it's been just as long since I've actually bothered to notice a SimCity game. As Destructoid staffer Steven Hanson told me after our hands-off with the game, "I was smiling through that entire demo." I share his sentiment. An intriguing charm resonated within the colorful, well-presented world of SimCity. Not only that, but that game looked incredible, which only adds to the appeal of such a visually and contextually diverse game as a city-building simulation. Actually seeing houses being built, put up for sale, and observing people moving in with their truck full of possession was something we were only imagining back in the SimCity 2000 days. Now, the game is more deep and visually dynamic than ever, and I can't wait to spend hours building up "Dicktopia," only to destroy it via a natural disaster.
And to anyone already concerned (aka complaining) about the tilt-shift camera effect: don't be so daft as to assume EA won't give you the option to turn it off.
I have to give credit to the guys at Gearbox Software. They appear to be building a hell of a game in Borderlands 2. They produced a really strong co-op demo for the show. It was clearly the same game in terms of combat mechanics and general tone, but brighter, faster and more challenging. Pandora feels more alive than ever before, and a game which needed a fair bit of refinement seems to be getting the attention it well deserves.
Runners-up: Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Walking Dead
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
I have to give it up to Revengeance. I've been looking forward to this game for a few years now and the wait was certainly worth it. I love hack 'n slash games, and this is the first one to actually push the genre forward with its precise cutting mechanics. You can choose how you cut anything, and as many times as you want! Plus it's just so ridiculously over-the-top that I love it. I got to ninja run onto incoming missiles in order to leap towards a helicopter and then slice the helicopter up into dozens of pieces.
Runners-up: Dishonored, Hawken
Even looking past the fact that I am a huge Pikmin fan -- I even brought an actual stuffed Pikmin to the Nintendo press conference in hopes of bringing good luck to the inevitable Pikmin 3 announcement -- I loved what I got to play of Pikmin 3 at E3. Loved it!
The Wii U game looks incredibly good, plays even better, and felt exactly like a high-def Pikmin sequel should. In a word, it was glorious. The wait for this game is going to be excruciating.
Runners-up: Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Rayman Legends, The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav
Persona 4 Arena
I absolutely love the Persona series. I also enjoy nothing more than making an opponent salty after I beat their butt in a fighting game. Persona 4 Arena is the Reese's Peanut Butter cup of videogames that I've wanted to chomp down on ever since it was announced. I finally got my hands on the game at E3 and it was everything I could have wanted and more. Arc System Works did a phenomenal job with the BlazBlue series, so it is clear that Persona 4 Arena is in good hands.
The game looks gorgeous, should have a well-crafted story mode (if BlazBlue is any indication), and has some wonderful fighting game mechanics in place. I'm not sure how much traction this game will get in the fighting game community, but I do know that it won't be leaving my PS3 for a while after it is finally released. I only wish the official fightstick for Persona 4 Arena didn't only have 4 buttons so I could buy and use it for any game...
Runners-up: Hawken, Mark of the Ninja
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit
My favorite game of E3, if I'm honest with myself, is Hell Yeah! It's such a hidden gem. I actually spent an hour and a half with it and only stopped once my hand cramped up. Comedic violence just slays me.
Runners-up: Borderlands 2, whose existence I often try to forget so I don't have to be disappointed at its lack of availability on a daily basis. It's downright depressing. The visuals are so crisp and bright, the distinctive art style no longer just a means to cover up polygon seams. And the abundance of guns and loot is on steroids compared to the original. I cannot wait to play the shit out of this game.
Last is Tomb Raider which is, much like its heroine Lara, the whole package.
I had forgotten just how intense the game's formula is, and how different it is from every other RTS I can think of, including games with relatively similar mechanics like Little King's Story. The difference with Pikmin comes from how the series takes the heavy pill of mortality and wraps it up in an iniquitous-yet-adorable package. This is a game where you lead an army of benevolent aliens, grab them by their heads, and FLING THEM INTO THE MOUTHS OF GIANT BASTARD PREDATORS. People tend to overlook that in the Pikmin series. The only force in the game that could be potentially defined as evil is you. Everything else is an innocent, wild beast. That said, there are definitely ways to be less evil in the game if you choose.
Death is still waiting around every corner in the Pikmin world: be it the death of a Pikmin, a Pikmin predator, or of passing minutes that you will never gain back. As in real life, the clock is always ticking in Pikmin. Management of time, resources, and planning battle strategies are all a constant part of the experience. God, just talking about it makes me want to play it again, right now!
Runners-up: Project P-100 because it taught me that Platinum Games (and the game industry in general) still has plenty of surprises left in it, and New Super Mario Bros. U because the Flying Squirrel transformation, baby Yoshi, and Boost mode were all totally awesome.
Johann Sebastian Joust
It might be a little unorthodox, but I going to have to say that Johann Sebastian Joust was my game of the show. There's no screen or monitor of any kind, so it's not technically a videogame, and it most likely will never be available commercially. It's more of a social experiment that invites players to engage game hardware in a way they never thought possible, and on that note, it fucking succeeds.
In one of my matches, it was down to me and another dude; we were eyeballing each other's Move controllers, wondering who would strike first. I casually slipped my business card holder out of my shirt pocket and tossed it at his face, hoping to distract him long enough to knock the controller out of his hand. Unfortunately, my abrupt movements went beyond my accelerometer's threshold and I knocked myself out. Even though I lost, the fact that there was no rule stating I couldn't be a dick and throw shit at my opponent's head means that Joust is a much better game than most of the software on the show floor that played it safe with players' expectations. And it was just damn fun.
Runners-up: Project P-100, Rayman Legends, and Retro City Rampage.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted / SimCity
Both games look freaking amazing and the hands-on time I got with NFS really gave me a lot of confidence that the Criterion guys were doing what they do best.
SimCity is a more personal thing. I grew up with the series and seeing where it went with SimCity 4 was a bummer. The GlassBox engine is really powerful though and will model everything from resource depletion to real-time crime. I can't wait for either.
The Last of Us
My favorite game of E3 2012 was The Last Guardian. OH SHIT WAIT!
Naughty Dog is one of those developers that never stops evolving. If you're like me and have played through all their games over the years, it's clear to see that. You begin to find yourself becoming excited to see what they've learned in whatever game they're working on next. From the Uncharted series, we know that they're now quite capable of creating a blockbuster, but when I finished Uncharted 3 I knew deep inside that we were in for something even better later on. Seeing The Last of Us at E3 confirmed that. Hats off to these guys, as they're always pushing forward.
Runners-up:Tomb Raider - I've always been a fan of the series, but I've never been this excited to play the next game.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - Cutting NEVER gets old.
I've had a serious case of 'girl wood' for Dishonored ever since I saw a video presentation of the game at QuakeCon last year. Now, I finally got my hands on it and all concerns I had over playability and presentation have been laid to rest. Arkane Studios has always made unique, challenging, and immersive games that embrace the qualities that studios like Irrational Games, Looking Glass, and Ion Storm once did. With a bigger budget and more experience, the developer is finally pulling off a stunning, original world and concept without the technical hiccups that held back its previous game, Dark Messiah. It's rare that you find a developer confident enough to present an open-ended demo at E3. I died a lot, I learned a lot, and I discovered new ways to complete the demo (I was told there were eight possible). That's a rarity not only on the show floor but in modern games in general.
Runners-up: PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, Quantum Conundrum
Papo & Yo
Papo & Yo was the the videogame-related highlight of my E3; both finally getting to play it, after following it for the past year, and talking with the game's creator, Vander Caballero, while sitting on the floor on the outskirts of the booths and hullabaloo.
I've been sold on the premise for a while. The game is an allegory for Caballero's childhood, during which he dealt with an alcoholic father he loved but also feared. The surrogate players in the allegory are Quico, a young boy living in the favelas of Brazil, and his fearsome pal Monster, a giant, reddish mix between a gorilla and a rhinoceros. Actually getting to play it, I was treated to some whimsical, surreal environments and mind-bending puzzle solving. Papo & Yo is something decidedly different, with some lofty goals. Caballero channeled his profound personal experience into this deceptively delightful allegory with the sincere intent to help people cope with life; to give back to the industry that provided him an escape channel when his life was trying. Beyond that, my hands-on time suggests it will be a perfectly accessible, smartly designed puzzle-platformer with a gorgeous aesthetic. It's times like these I wish the PSN had a gifting feature akin to Steam's so I could easily buy five copies of the game when it comes out.
Runners-up: SimCity, Rayman Legends, Johann Sebastian Joust
Persona 4 Arena
I'm a huge fighting game fan and hadn't seen anything at all from this one up to that point. When I went to go play it, I was extremely surprised at just how fun it was to play the huge cast of intriguing characters, the animations were absolutely gorgeous, and, of course, the music is phenomenal. The colossal AAA games are an obvious choice for favorites, but at the end of the week I was most excited for Persona 4 Arena simply because of how much fun I had during my time with it.
Runners-up: Halo 4, Star Wars 1313