The 10 Best Original Games of E3 2012

By Kyle LeClair in Daily Lists, Video Games
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 8:02 am
Well, yet another E3 has come to a close. Gaming's finest showcased their best for all to see in the hopes of getting every gamer as excited as possible... well, that's how it's supposed to work. Alas, like in recent years, we minions of the Internet have criticized this year's show as being a bit of a letdown, a sequel-filled snoozefest. None of this year's conferences from the Big Three were particularly interesting, although there were still a lot of great sequels worthy of our attention.

However, there was actually quite a damn good crop of original and eye-catching IPs at this year's event; it's all just a matter of looking and caring hard enough to find them. As such, TR has compiled a list of the 10 best original games seen at this year's E3. Consider this a wrap-up of sorts, if you want. Hopefully, there's something in here that excites the lot of you, and if any notable titles have been missed, feel free to comment.

Quick disclaimer, though: Not all of these games are new, but thet're all new to E3. Games that already appeared at previous E3 events aren't included out of fairness (which includes Sleeping Dogs, for the record). Also, a shout out to LocoCycle, the Twisted Pixel game about an advanced sentient motorcycle that's also an assassin, which didn't make the cut. And the fact that a game with a concept like that didn't make this list hopefully says a lot about how awesome everything else is...

10) Mark of the Ninja

For starters, here's a game that took everyone completely by surprise. This delightful little Tenchu-meets-2D platforming stealth action Xbox Live title casts you as a lone ninja taking on a mysterious military force that's trying to wipe out your clan. Not exactly the deepest of concepts, but the gameplay is where the money lies, as the developers have given you a good amount of variety when it comes to getting past (or getting through) your enemy, thanks to a nice range of stealth kills and distraction techniques. Throw in some appropriately fluid animation and some impressive visuals, and the lovely fact that this game apparently measures your score in "Honor," and you've got a slice of classic ninja awesomeness right there come later this year.

9) Guacamelee!

Aside from having one of the best titles in the history of everything, this PS3/Vita game due in early 2013 also boasts an impressive fusion of Metroidvania gameplay, Mexican imagery, and a nice little sense of humor. But just in case the concept alone of having a luchadore beat the crap out of an undead skeleton army in a labyrinth doesn't appeal to you (you sad, sad person), please also note the simple yet action-packed combat, the gloriously vivid graphics and unique art style, and the ability to swap between the parallel worlds of the living and the dead at any time, adding some potential for a lot of fun platforming and puzzle-solving segments. Oh, and did we forget the part where you can turn into a cock whenever you want? Gotta love any game where that can happen.

8) The Cave

No, this isn't Tim Schafer's now-famous Kickstarter-funded adventure game, but it is the next best thing: A Double Fine game for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 that features legendary Secret of Monkey Island veterans Schafer and Ron Gilbert returning to collaborate on a brand new adventure game. Basically, you control three out of seven character types, including a monk, a scientist, and a hillbilly (they fight crime!), amongst several other combinations, all traversing a magical talking cave (oh, of course it talks) and solving various puzzles in the hopes of searching for their true desires. If any of this rings a bell, there's a noticeable influence of Gilbert's Maniac Mansion in the gameplay, with every character combining their unique skills in order to overcome various obstacles. And thanks to what looks to be a large amount of replayability and another healthy dose of charming humor from this duo, when this comes out in early 2013, we can add yet another notch to Schafer's +2 Trophy Belt of Nerdy Gaming Awesomess.

7) Deadlight

Hey there, pal! Have you ever thought "Boy oh boy, I sure wish there was a videogame that was The Walking Dead combined with LIMBO in an alternate 1980s Seattle!" Well then, my friend, you are weird. But you're also secretly genius, as evidenced by this little slice of cinematic platforming awesomeness. Some might say it seems tempting to dismiss this as just another zombie game, but thanks to a larger emphasis on story, atmosphere, and Flashback-style action and platforming, Deadlight aims to deliver a tension-packed and extremely enjoyable horror experience that should help allow it to stand out from the rest of the pack. We'll find out if it can deliver when it comes out in July as part of Xbox Live's annual "Summer of Arcade" event.

6) Quantum Conundrum

Lead designer of Portal Kim Swift returns to help make mad science even more awesome once again a new puzzle-platformer, except this time instead of a Handheld Portal Device, you now have a Power Glove that can dick around with reality. Needless to say, QC aims to capture the same kind of charm oozed by Swift's previous success, and thanks to an eye-pleasing and cartoonish art style, a great variety of dimension-swapping based puzzles to solve, a nice sense of humor, the golden pipes of Cave Johnson John de Lancie, and the ridiculously adorable and hopefully merchandisable Ike - all of which you can get a taste of in the above demo - it definitely seems like it has an easy shot at succeeding. PC owners can give it the acid test when it comes out soon on June 21st, but 360 and PSN owners will sadly have to wait until later this summer.

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