E3 2012 starts next Monday (Tuesday morning local time), and we’ll be doing coverage of all the hottest titles and exciting announcements this whole week. In this post, we’ll be previewing the games to watch out for this year, starting with..
1. Assassin’s Creed 3
It’s actually the fifth game in the franchise, but Assassin’s Creed 3 is numbered so because it features a new protagonist and historical setting. Players will be introduced to Connor, a half-British, half-native American who is caught in the American Revolution. Despite his native heritage, Connor has no formal allegiance and will hunt down Templars and other targets on both sides of the war. The game is built on an entirely new Anvil engine and will feature a heavy emphasis on the wilderness as the game’s environment. Connor will climb trees in addition to free-running on rooftops, and his fluid movement can also be hindered by the thickness of snow on the ground. New weapons and attack moves have also been shown in earlier trailers, but what we are anticipating this time for the E3 showcase is a full mission demonstration to show how all these features come together.
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Yes, it’s another Call of Duty game, but Black Ops 2 is the first to feature a futuristic storyline and promises to deliver a new style of gameplay. Set primarily in the near-future of 2025 where a new cold war has broken out between the US and China, the game will also take players back to the first Cold War during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as other missions in Central America. The gameplay innovation comes in the form of a new game mode called ‘Strike Force Missions’, which puts players in control of both soldiers and vehicles in a RTS-like mission, but the outcome of these missions would affect how the campaign develops and even override saved checkpoints. The story is written by David Goyer, who also wrote the previous Black Ops game but is better known for his screenplay for The Dark Knight, and focuses on information and technological warfare where the US’s reliance on technology is crippled by hackers.
A melting pot of Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed and Deus Ex, Dishonored is a first-person Neo-Victorian stealth action game developed by Arkane Studios, who boasts a talented development team who have worked on other great titles like Deus Ex, Thief and Half Life 2. Players control Corvo Attano, a fine swordsman who seeks to clear his name after being framed for the assassination of the Empress. Besides being well armed, Attano also possesses supernatural powers and has the freedom to neutralise any enemy non-lethally. More details about the game will be revealed at E3, but in the meantime let the trailer blow you away.
4. Hitman: Absolution
Agent 47 returns with a bang, or if you prefer, a silenced one. Point is, the latest Hitman title is shaping up to be the best one in the franchise so far. While there has certainly been a heavier emphasis on action gameplay this time round, developer IO Interactive has made sure that the core stealth elements that made Agent 47 truly the original assassin (a not-so-discreet attack on Assassin’s Creed) have not been neglected either. The latest round of previews on the new map Chinatown have proven so, with a variety of assassination methods available to the player, including poisoning the target’s food with the deadly fugu toxin. Note: I have no idea why IO would release the above trailer prior to E3, but perhaps we would find out the significance of latex-clad female assassins next week?
5. Medal of Honor: Warfighter
EA takes the fight to Activision’s Call of Duty once again, this time with the sequel to 2010’s Medal of Honor reboot. That game was a decent shooter, though not without its flaws, but I truly appreciated how they respected the men who served in Afghanistan, in particular the Special Forces community, by not turning the game into a typical over-the-top explosive shooter but rather one which felt much more authentic. Unlike its predecessor, Warfighter is not based on a single conflict but the global war on terror, and while not an exact portrayal of the actual missions it is penned by the Special Forces operators who took part in these operations, so you can be sure about the level of realism. The game also features a new blue-on-blue multiplayer mode where players choose their own Special Forces team and fight against other friendly units in what is described as a FIFA-style tournament. Here’s looking forward to more details on the multiplayer mode at E3.
Other noteworthy games that I’ve become too lazy to research and write about at this hour, but you should still definitely check out:
6. Far Cry 3
7. Halo 4
8. Metro Last Night
9. Sleeping Dogs
10. Transformers: War for Cybertron