E3 2012: Editor's Choice Awards

Polygon scoured the floor of E3 last week, drinking in all the show had to offer before regurgitating it into your waiting mouths like beloved baby birds. Then we delivered our Editor's Choice Awards to the best of the bunch. Check out all of the articles about our favorite games of E3 here.

'Need for Speed: Most Wanted' may be the 'Burnout Paradise' sequel we've been waiting for

The reps from Criterion Games were the happiest people I met at E3, passing around beers to friends, joshing with the racers getting demolished in their new game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted. They made off-the-cuff comments about the freedom they have as a developer to do whatever they want with the series following the success of their last Need for Speed, Hot Pursuit. They're grown-ups, but they were giggling like kids given the keys to one of EA's finest rides.

The latest iteration of the annual racing franchise, like their beloved Burnout Paradise, takes place in an open-world filled...

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E3 2012: Editor's Choice Awards

Polygon scoured the floor of E3 last week, drinking in all the show had to offer before regurgitating it into your waiting mouths like beloved baby birds. Then we delivered our Editor's Choice Awards to the best of the bunch. Check out all of the articles about our favorite games of E3 here:

Project P-100

Dishonored

Watch Dogs

Halo 4

The Last of Us

Beyond: Two Souls

LittleBigPlanet Vita

Tomb Raider

Assassin's Creed 3

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Metal Gear Rising: Revengance

Hawken

ZombiU

Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Planetside 2

Neverwinter

Defiance

The Amazing Spider-Man

S...

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Neverwinter makes the Dungeons and Dragons brand proud

Neverwinter might end up being the most faithful digital Dungeons & Dragons game ever made.

I'm not talking about the lore, or the art, or even the die-casting mechanics of the latest rendition of the tabletop game. (That latter honor, funnily enough, would probably go to Heroes of Neverwinter, the similarly-named Facebook title.) No, I'm talking about the spirit of teamwork that defines D&D's most dangerous encounters - the "Don't Split the Party," fellow-man-helping, oftentimes self-sacrificing, dirty job-fulfilling heart of the franchise.

Neverwinter certainly isn't the first D&D video...

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The Last of Us isn't about monsters but humanity

There was an Uncharted 2 commercial that featured a couple sitting down to watch the game, the conceit being that the player's significant other didn't realize it was a video game. While the ad was intended to play up the cinematic nature of the game, it also spoke to the maturity of the subject matter. It said, "Uncharted 2 is a game that you don't have to be embarrassed to play when your non-gaming husband and/or wife enters the room."

Naughty Dog's latest game, The Last of Us, makes the Uncharted series look like Saturday morning cartoons.

"We took great efforts in making Ellie...

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Beyond: Two Souls impresses with its blend of narrative and technology

It's not until Jodie Holmes, Beyond: Two Souls' protagonist, climbs atop a train that the complexity of her world becomes clear. The rain pours, and the fidelity of each individual drops causes mini-explosions in the environment. The whipping wind blows loose clothing and unkempt hair and knocks characters off balance. The music builds to a crescendo as Jodie fights for her freedom, leaping from the train as she's enveloped in an energy shield.

When the demo began a few minutes earlier, Jodie was curled into the fetal position, asleep on the same train. She's on the run, chased by "every...

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Watch Dogs creative director doesn't rule out the possibility of next-gen

There's been a lot of speculation about whether Ubisoft Montreal's recently revealed Watch Dogs is actually a next-gen game, due to the near-impossible prettiness of its E3 reveal demo.

We talked with creative director Jonathan Morin about the game's platform destination, and he emphatically insisted that it's built on current-gen hardware. The demo seen during Ubisoft's press conference was apparently running on a high-end PC, and the game's official product page says it's also for Xbox 360 and PS3 — though Morin intimated that he's not discounting the possibility of pushing the game to...

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PlanetSide 2 proves love is a hex-shaped battlefield

I cannot remember the last time I was so hesitant to get up from an E3 appointment than I was when my hands-on PlanetSide 2 demo came to an end.

It's partially because I had just gotten my loadouts the way I wanted them — much like a beaten-down piece of college-era furniture, I had worked myself into a "groove" of sorts, and I was reluctant to abandon it. Mostly, though, it's because my PlanetSide 2 demo was instantly and incredibly fun. The learning curve for controlling each of the free-to-play FPS's classes took only a few deaths, but even more surprising: The curve for actually...

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The Amazing Spider-Man may just earn the name

After Spider-Man 3 was panned by film critics and crucified by fans, Sony went back to the start, retelling Spidey's origin story with a completely new director (500 Days of Summer's Marc Webb) and a new lead (Andrew Garfield of The Social Network).

The last Spider-Man game wasn't bad enough to require a reboot of that scale, but with scores averaging in the mid-50s for Spider-Man: Edge of Time it wasn't far off.

It makes sense that studio head Dee Brown was perhaps a little over-enthusiastic as he presented his team's new project. Beenox has something to prove.

One of the clearest signs...

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Star Trek brings Kirk and Spock together in seamless, playful co-op

A distress call from New Vulcan. A base littered with dead bodies. Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Spock must team up against a violent breed of aliens in Namco Bandai's new action game based on J.J. Abrams' Star Trek films.

The full cast of the 2009 movie lent their voices to the game, which chronologically takes places between the movie and its planned 2013 sequel. This is the first Star Trek game to feature Kirk and Spock as playable characters, and players must utilize the unique skills of both in co-op mode to successfully combat the alien threat.

Our demo began on the starship...

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance hands-on had plenty of slicing

Solid Snake's story may have ended in Metal Gear Solid 4, but his robot buddy, Raiden, remains. And, for the first time since Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden wil take on the starring role in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Konami had a playable build at a recent press event, so we were able to put the game through its paces.

The moment the demo started, it was clear that Revengeance controls nothing like previous Metal Gear titles. Raiden moves fast, able to zip around the world like Ryu from Ninja Gaiden. Cover? Bah! Who needs cover when you have a giant samurai sword.

The combat is almost...

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Assassin's Creed 3 introducing new stealth options, auto-blending

In addition to a pretty intense ship-to-ship battle that Ubisoft premiered during their E3 press conference, the company showed a brand new Assassin's Creed 3 demo on the E3 show floor. Set in Boston during the summer of 1773, the level demonstrates some of the new stealth mechanics being introduced in this entry.

Connor, AC3's hero, is able to discover randomly-generated quests scattered throughout the world. They're optional and usually involve saving locals from ne'redowells. In this case, a woman wanted someone to save her friend from being tortured in the stocks. The friend was...

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Songlines creation-myth sandbox for Kinect invokes the sublimity in humanity

Songlines, a Kinect game featured at this year's E3 IndieCade, weaves a colorful story of world creation. Players take on the role of a rainbow-riding deity from indigenous Australian creation myth to sculpt a habitable world using body gestures.

The game is based on Australian aboriginal mythology and is a retooling of the culture's creation story. The artwork and music are influenced by the aborigine traditions, with its frequently-present pattern of swirling circles and concentric dotted lines modeled after ancient cave paintings discovered on the continent.

Designer Samantha Vick and...

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LittleBigPlanet Vita turns doodling into level design

LittleBigPlanet has often been pitched as a game that allows you to build the kind of Vita titles that the system currently lacks — but it wasn't until today that I realized it could actually pull that off.

As fans of the franchise know, the embedded levels inside LittleBigPlanet represent the hyper-refined tip of an infinite iceberg; the real meat is in Create mode. In LittleBigPlanet Vita, that mode has been bolstered with touch-based options that, thankfully, do away with the near-constant menu navigation of the console games' level creators. Instead of opening the Pop-It, moving your...

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Project P-100 for Wii U saves E3 with a pint-sized team of avengers

Easily the most pleasant surprise for the Wii U at E3 2012 was Project P-100, the newest action game from some of the developers behind Bayonetta, Okami and Viewtiful Joe.

Project P-100 is the latest from Platinum Games, which is also hard at work on Anarchy Reigns and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It's directed by Hideki Kamiya, whose credits include Resident Evil 2 and the Viewtiful Joe series, and published by Nintendo.

From a distance, the action game looks vaguely like Nintendo's Pikmin series, giving the player control of more than a dozen heroes at once, sending them into battle...

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Dishonored is a story built on morality, chaos and whales

Dishonored is the story of morality's greyer shades, of freedom of choice - and of whales, according to the game's lead designer Ricardo Bare. Arkane Studios, the development team behind the upcoming steampunk-like saga of protagonist Corvo Atano, built a city from the ground up featuring its own lore, history, plagues, religion, and spin on the industrial revolution. Their Dunwall has gone through a revolution in technology. It's a coastal town whose entire technological infrastructure and economy is based on a whaling industry in which huge ships go out to sea to capture the animals, kill...

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Hawken hands-on delivers perfectly balanced mech warfare

Mech shooter Hawken ambles along a fine line, trying to strike a precarious balance between the fast-paced, shooter action that appeals to some fans of the genre and the trudging simulation realism that appeals to others.

The end result is a game that can be played with stripped down controls and offers a satisfying, almost first-person shooter-like experience blended with a surprising amount of depth. While blasting at enemies with twin mounted weapons and using gadgets to disable opponent mechs, players also have to keep an eye on damage, energy use, fuel, and heat.

The pre-alpha...

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Tomb Raider blends genres like crazy in its E3 demo

At E3 today, I saw demos for Tomb Raider and 007 Legends. The two differ in many ways, but in one they're polar opposites: In 007, James Bond rarely speaks except in cut-scenes, to the point that it seems weird when his friend speaks to him and he doesn't respond; in Tomb Raider, Lara Croft is more or less an action game Tamagotchi, describing everything she's doing, talking to herself like a crazy person, and breathing loudly when she doesn't have anything to say.

It's a bit silly when you go out of your way to notice it and start scribbling down her quotes in your notebook at a trade...

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'ZombiU' is proof Wii U's controls can be more than a gimmick

ZombiU is the exclusive zombie-killing simulator for Wii U shown briefly at the Ubisoft and Nintendo press conferences. It is also one of the show's best surprises and one of the most promising games announced for the upcoming console.

Polygon had a chance to go hands-on with the first-person shooter at the Nintendo booth, and found it took full advantage of the Wii U GamePad without falling into the trap of novel, but cumbersome controls.

The GamePad is represented in-game by a tablet your character uses to scan the world, a dilapidated London. Scan bodies to see if they're infected or...

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted is open-world, encourages carnage

EA's annual installment of Need for Speed is returning to its roots. Shown for the first time during the company's E3 2012 press conference, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is being developed by Criterion Games (Burnout Paradise, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit) with a release date planned on October 30, 2012.

During the demonstration, Matt Webster, the executive producer of Criterion, described Most Wanted as "an open world driving game where players race, chase and explore." Criterion's last NFS game, Hot Pursuit, was a more directed racing game, with specific tracks and shortcuts. Most Wanted...

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Splinter Cell: Blacklist revealed at Xbox media briefing

First details of the next Splinter Cell game have been released just prior to Ubisoft's E3 2012 press conference.

Media for Ubisoft's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, posted earlier today by Gamekyo, show Sam Fisher fighting in a Middle Eastern setting with handguns, rifles and hand-to-hand with knives. Fisher fights in broad daylight, but still bears his trademark night vision goggles.

A gameplay demo for the game was shown at Microsoft's E3 briefing, showing quick, violent third-person action segments of Fisher infiltrating a militant camp and killing a team of heavily armed soldiers. B...

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Trion's Defiance ambitiously attempts to merge an MMO and TV show

In the highly competitive world of massively multiplayer online games, how can a new contender distinguish itself? Trion Worlds' Defiance attempts to stand out by merging a massive third-person shooter with an original television series set to air on SyFy, weaving the narrative of the action game and the sci-fi drama to form a shared universe.

Launching a new MMO into a crowded market, across three platforms and running a TV show is either impressively brave or totally crazy. And definitely a fascinating experiment to see play out.

Set 35 years in the future on a recently terraformed...

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XCOM Enemy Unknown: Can this really work on a console?

Tactical strategy games have not exactly flooded the modern console market. Two possible reasons could be related to their slow-paced nature and dull appearance. To compensate, developers have added more action elements to these games (Valkyria Chronicles, for example). But it still begs the question: Can a traditional, turn-based tactical strategy game still work on consoles, even without real-time elements? XCOM: Enemy Unknown, due out this October, is hoping to prove the genre still has couch appeal.

We've seen XCOM: Enemy Unknown a few times so far. It's not to be confused with XCOM,...

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