The best games of E3 2012 (pictures)

E3 2012 didn't dazzle us like we had hoped, but there were a few diamonds in the rough. Here are the best games of the show.

Jeff Bakalar
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
Jeff Bakalar
1 of 18 Ubisoft

Watch Dogs

While Watch Dogs wasn't playable at E3, the game was arguably the show's biggest surprise, seemingly coming out of nowhere. The debut demo that ran during the Ubisoft press conference grabbed the attention of gamers everywhere with its inventive plot, slick graphics, and, most importantly, original concept. (TBA)
2 of 18 Quantic Dream

Beyond: Two Souls

Another candidate for best in show, Beyond: Two Souls is the follow-up to Heavy Rain, the video game experience that feels more like "playing a movie" rather than "watching a game." Actress Ellen Page portrays the title's main character, and from what was shown behind closed doors, Beyond will expand and improve upon Heavy Rain on almost every level. (TBA)
3 of 18 Santa Monica Studios

God of War: Ascension

While it may be more of the same stuff we've seen before, there isn't an action franchise out there that can touch the epic sense of scale, power, and atmosphere that God of War can. Kratos has a few new moves to show off in Ascension that he'll inevitably use to decapitate and impale hordes of enemies. (March 12, 2013)
4 of 18 Ubisoft

Far Cry 3

The hype meter on Far Cry 3 is officially in overdrive. This game not only looks gorgeous and is ultrasatisfying to play, but its characters and story are clearly some of the game's most compelling elements. It's amazing how diverse the Far Cry games have been; don't let the "3" fool you, this isn't your typical sequel. (September 4)
5 of 18 Ubisoft

Assassin's Creed III

Assassin's Creed III is showing that the series isn't just a one-trick pony. There's enough unique gameplay here to quiet those who may have gotten tired of the franchise's conventional sneaking and climbing mechanics. Plus a completely new setting that totally changes the entire look of the game doesn't hurt, either. (October 30)
6 of 18 NetherRealm Studios

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice isn't just Mortal Kombat with DC characters. No, it's a fighting game with a lot of depth, great character modeling, and an impressive amount of battlefield interaction the likes of which we've never seen in a fight game. (2013)
7 of 18 Arkane Studios


Watching and playing Dishonored really gets you thinking that this is a BioShock spinoff. Arkane Studios helped with BioShock 2, so it's not that much of a stretch. That said, Dishonored concentrates much more on stealth as you make your way through the steampunk town of Dunwall. You play a character with numerous supernatural abilities, allowing gamers to play the game any way they wish. (October 9)
8 of 18 343 Industries

Halo 4

Halo 4 led off Microsoft's press conference to the applause of thousands. We're still a bit skeptical about whether Halo 4 has enough to reinvigorate the franchise, but new enemies, weapons, and environments are a good place to start. (November 6)
9 of 18 Visceral Games

Dead Space 3

Another Dead Space game was obviously coming down the pike, but we're glad to see it doesn't look exactly like the two games before it. Sure, you'll be walking down plenty of dark corridors in Dead Space 3, but the game also takes place on a frozen planet that was shown off in detail at E3. Also making its debut in the game is full drop-in-and-out co-op mode. (February 2013)
10 of 18 Naughty Dog

The Last of Us

From the makers of the Uncharted franchise comes The Last of Us, an apocalyptic survival action game that happens to look a lot like Uncharted. That aside, it's by far bloodier and more brutal -- a major departure from the lighthearted adventures that Nathan Drake always finds himself in. (TBA)
11 of 18 Ubisoft

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Blacklist made a splash at Microsoft's press conference with its jaw-dropping stealth and assault action. Sam Fisher is at it again, this time after a sensitive piece of data. All his tricks return, but we'll get to play with a few new ones when Blacklist hits consoles and the PC. (2013)
12 of 18 Crystal Dynamics

Tomb Raider

This retelling of Lara Croft's origin story won over crowds last year and continued to make an impact in 2012 as well. Although it won't be out until next year, Tomb Raider looks amazing and is thrusting the Tomb Raider franchise into a much darker, emotional, and painfully realistic tone. (2013)
13 of 18 Ninja Theory


Perhaps one of E3's sleeper hits is DMC, the reboot of Devil May Cry. This time, developer Ninja Theory is behind the wheel (Enslaved, Heavenly Sword) and judging from some hands-on time, DMC will be the chaotic action game we all remember but with a smarter and more accessible combo system. (January 15, 2013)
14 of 18 LucasArts

Star Wars 1313

Another rare pleasant surprise from the show, Star Wars 1313 is a third-person action game set beneath Coruscant in which players take the role of a bounty hunter. It's in an early stage, so there's been some talk that it might not even see a release on current-generation consoles. (TBA)
15 of 18 Ubisoft


ZombiU is arguably the Wii U's best game of the show. While first-party titles didn't really impress, Ubisoft's approach to an M-rated zombie thriller captivated E3-goers. After some hands-on time, it's clear that learning to use the controls, as with most Wii U games, will take a bit of practice. But graphically speaking, ZombiU looks pretty good and makes unique use of the tablet controller. Let's just hope ZombiU doesn't turn into Ubisoft's Red Steel launch of the next generation. (TBA)
16 of 18 Gearbox Software

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 is shaping up to be an impressive sequel that makes co-op a major focus. Players will need to work together to take on crowds of relentless enemies, all while looting their hearts out. The scope and range of weapons is dizzying, and the game's cel-shaded art style looks gorgeous. (September 18)
17 of 18 Obsidian Entertainment

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Trey Stone and Matt Parker were on hand at Microsoft's press conference to show the world South Park: The Stick of Truth. In it, you'll play the new kid in South Park and must help the four friends battle evil. (2013)
18 of 18 TT Games

LEGO City Undercover

Think LEGO meets Grand Theft Auto and you'll get LEGO City Undercover. Coming to the Wii U and 3DS, Undercover looks like it'll be the first open-world action game that parents won't have nightmares about. (TBA)

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