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Eye candy: the best of E3 2012

Monday, June 11th, 2012 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Engine demos like Square Enix’s Agni’s Philosophy may have garnered the headlines, but E3 is all about new games – and trailer for new games. Below, we run through our pick of the show’s most spellbinding teasers.

E3 happened last week. If you were in LA, you got to queue up with 45,000 other people to see Nintendo talk about the Wii U, Sony and Microsoft not talk about PS4 or Xbox 720… oh yes, and an awful lot of trailers.

As ever, the ones that created the biggest buzz weren’t necessarily for games, but for the engines that power them. We’ve already posted stories on Square Enix’s new Luminous Studio and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.

(And while they didn’t get as much media attention, the new E3 demos of Crytek’s CryEngine 3 are also worth watching: particularly this one on water simulation.)

But what about the games?
But at its heart, E3 is about games. And so, for those of you who couldn’t attend the show in person, we’ve waded through the hours of footage currently being posted online to bring you our pick of the E3 trailers.

Before we begin: a few rules. We’ve made our choices based on the graphical interest of the trailers, not how good (or how popular) we expect the games to be. By and large, that means near-photorealistic animation, so if you’re looking for mobile titles, or Super Mario Bros U, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

It was also a completely unscientific process. This is personal preference, pure and simple. And some of these titles feature adult content, so you’ll need to be logged in to YouTube to view all of the videos.

All clear? Good. Then on with the eye candy…

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Honorable mention: Gears of War – Judgment
Epic Games delivered one of last year’s most unexpectedly poignant trailers in the shape of Gears of War 3: Dust to Dust. The teaser for its prequel isn’t quite as stylish, but it does feature those old staples: guns, explosions, smoke, moody lighting – and a glimpse of some very big monsters indeed.

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5. The Last of Us
Okay, we broke our own rules here. The E3 trailer for post-apocalyptic survival thriller The Last of Us isn’t a carefully edited cinematic experience. (For that, you have to turn to the last official teaser.) But the thought of being able to play a Naughty Dog title without Nathan Drake’s endless wisecracks was just too much to resist.

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4. Halo 4
You don’t see a lot of live-action trailers for games these days. Microsoft’s teaser for Halo 4 may have been created without the involvement of original developer Bungie, but it breaks the rules with aplomb, creating a pleasingly Star Trek-esque vibe. The seven-minute cut shows actual gameplay, but in this case, less is more.

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3. Beyond: Two Souls
Quantic Dream‘s games unsettle as much as they thrill, as much for the nearly-but-not-quite-photorealistic animation as for their adult themes. Its follow-up to Heavy Rain also lurks in the Uncanny Valley, but the central premise of supernatural forces intruding into a young girl’s life means that it’s at least appropriately creepy.

2. ZombiU
There was a lot about Ubisoft Montpellier’s ZombiU we weren’t expecting. For starters, we weren’t expecting such a downbeat title to come out on Nintendo’s family-friendly Wii U. Or that you could tell such a dynamic story entirely in bullet time. Or that the visuals would be created by Paris’s Unit Image, previously better known for its attractively cartoony commercials work. But whatever they’re putting in the water in France, it’s certainly working.

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1. Assassin’s Creed III
The new Assassin’s Creed III was the first thing from E3 we posted, and hours of viewing later, it’s still the best. We still refuse to believe that the British army couldn’t aim better, but for its scope, widescreen composition and peerless cinematic savvy, Digic Pictures‘ homage to the joys of slow-motion violence just can’t be beaten.

Do you have your own favourites from E3? Post them in the comments below.

Visit the official E3 website

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