Newsarama's Official Best of E3 2012 Awards

This year, we did something a little different, and made official awards for E3 2012. The biggest event for video games each year descended upon Los Angeles Convention Center this week, and publishers and developers big and small brought news and previews about the next year's worth of video games for press, retailers, and the rest of the gaming industry.


Most Kick-Ass Hero or Heroine

Nominees: Aveline, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation; Young Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Corvo Atano, Dishonored

WINNER: Aveline

For the first time in an Assassin's Creed game or story, the main protagonist is a female assassin. Aveline, of French and African descent, will be slaughtering spaniards in colonial New Orleans during the time of the revolutionary war. The star of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation exclusively on the PS Vita is not just cool for being different, she's cool for how she's handled. This black female assassin is high society in New Orleans. She's as ruthless and efficient as her male contemporary Connor, star of Assassin's Creed III on consoles, and maybe even a little quicker with the blade. Oh, and she's fully clothed, dressed appropriately for both her station and her timeframe, a welcome shift from certain other female video game characters (see: nearly all of them). Connor's tale may be the "main" one during this timeframe, but we can't wait to suit up and see Aveline's exciting tale, either. 


Best Jaw-Dropping Moment

Nominees: Tumble-Down-a-Mountain, Tomb Raider; Shotgun Blast to the Face, The Last of Us;  Cortana Screams, Halo IV

WINNER: The Last of Us

With new footage and big trailers, games like Tomb Raider, Halo IV, and others like Dead Space 3 and Watchdogs all had some holy cow, oh wow, jaw-dropping moments. But then there was the live gameplay demo of Last of Us, Naughty Dog's new PS3 exclusive. After an infiltration of a building, the most realistic gunfight we've ever seen in a video game, extremely reactive and intelligent AI, the final fight was one for the ages. Joel enters a room and gets into a hand-to-hand brawl with an enemy, who drops his weapon but overpowers Joel, making him lose the shotgun he took off the last guy he killed. The enemy has Joel tightly around the neck with both hands – things don't look good for our hero. Just then, his teenage companion Ellie jumps on the bad guy's back… knife first. Okay, our jaws are on the floor, but there's more. With his foe writhing on the ground, Joel picks up the shotgun, bats him across the face, and just as he screams "Don't!" Joel shoots him right in the face, point blank. As a nice coda, at the PlayStation press conference, the demonstrator dropped the controller, turned on his heel and walked away. Yeah, nothing was topping that moment from what's now cemented itself as one of our most anticipated games of the year. 


Best Comic Book Related Game

Nominees: LEGO Batman 2: DC Heroes, Avengers: Battle for Earth, Injustice: Gods Among Us

WINNER: Injustice: Gods Among Us

There are a lot of comic book games on the docket. Besides our three nominees, we have Amazing Spider-Man, more The Walking Dead, Fables (we're told we may be hearing more on that at SDCC, btw), Young Justice: Legacy… comic books are big business, as long as you're talking about the IP. Injustice: Gods Among Us, the new DC Comics fighting game from Netherrealm, creators of Mortal Kombat, stepped up in a big way with a cinematic stylishness, characters that deliver dialog that sounds ripped from the pages of the comics, and crazy multi-tier levels. Then we saw The Flash run all the way around the world for a mega-punch, Superman uppercut someone out of the Earth's atmosphere and slam them back into the ground, and Solomon Grundy pull his own tombstone out of his rotting corpse to smash Batman over the head with it. With a promised roster of 20-30 characters, all the knowledge they've taken from Mortal Kombat, and most of the brutality, this game just looks fun. We can't wait for more, and that's what E3 does best. 


Most Addictive Game

Nominees: LEGO Batman 2: DC Heroes, Luigi's Ghost Mansion (NintendoLand), Medal of Honor: Warfighter

WINNER: Luigi's Ghost Mansion (NintendoLand)

The most disparate category, it's hard to tell what will become your next big addiction. For one, that's an almost entirely personal thing; yes, there are games that just inherently have more easy-to-play-for-hours properties, but how do you know if your pick will meet your friend's? Luckily, this one was unanimous. Luigi's Ghost Mansion, one of the mini-games included in NintendoLand for the WiiU was so insanely addictive, we didn't want to play any of the other WiiU offerings… even though they were a lot of fun, too. It's a simple concept that expertly shows off the "asymmetric gameplay" buzzword thrown around at E3 this year, with one player as a ghost on the Gamepad controller and up to four as flashlight wielding ghost hunters using Wiimotes. It was the easiest game for WiiU to pick up and play, the one that showed just how cool the new Gamepad was, and will certainly dominate players' time when they pick up NintendoLand at the WiiU's launch this fall. 


Best of Show E3 2012

Nominees: The Last of Us, Beyond, Assassin's Creed III

WINNER: Assassin's Creed III

After determining Last of Us won the Jaw-Dropping Moment for us, we were pretty set to pass this award its way as well. Then we got to see Boston in Assassin's Creed III, plus new kills, new weapons –  did we mention that during this single 15 minute demo we laughed nearly to tears, shouted and clapped, and finally said "okay, how did you do that?" Look, this game, when you see it in action live for the first time, will make you forget just about every 3rd person action game you've ever played. At one point, Connor shot an arrow through one red coat's head, two others ran to check on him. He then grabbed a Musket with a large bayonet attached, ran up a ramp to a boat, stabbed one red coat through, shot the one behind him, and for good measure pushed the last one right over the edge and into the water.

We'll have more in our full write-up of our behind-closed-doors demo with the game, but whether it's hunting in the forest, navigating the full size colonial Boston, or blowing up ships with your cannons in naval warfare, Assassin's Creed III looks just plain fun. It wowed at Ubisoft's press conference, it wowed at Sony's press conference, and it wowed at the show floor. It's the Best of Show E3 2012, and a game to keep your eye on leading to its release this October.

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