E3 2012: Action

Zombies, gods, assassins, and... Mickey Mouse. This year's E3 marks the return and reboot of several major action franchises, including the long-standing Devil May Cry and Tomb Raider series. New kids like The Last of Us and Dishonored pack their own klout while Assassin's Creed and Resident Evil sequels bring their own bang to the table. Platformers also get a generous turn to shine, with new Rayman, LittleBigPlanet, the whiff of a handful Mario games, and a return to the world of Epic Mickey holding firm presences on the show floor. This year at E3, we'll be sorting all of our news and previews from the event into easily consumable genre streams. This round-up of expected games kicks off our action stream. Of course, you'll still be able to follow our coverage of the big press conferences, show floor spectacles and everything in between - but if you're only interested in the action scene, you'll be able to find news on the games you care about under a single category. For now, check out some of the biggest action titles we're expecting to see at E3 2012 and make sure to mention in comments the ones we didn't include.

'Deadlight's' XBLA flashback

Developer Tequilaworks' Deadlight is awash in its influences. For modern audiences, those will likely mean one particular avenue of connection — to the hopelessness of George Romero's Day of the Dead and other similar genre fiction. It's not just that there are zombies and the fall of civilization but also the aesthetic and particulars of the setting, a dingy 1980s Pacific Northwestern U.S. full of anachronisms like loading screens that feature cassette tape spindles winding in reverse.

But to other, older players, players that grew up at the dawn of rotoscoping with Prince of Persia and...

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Hitman Absolution's sharper knife

Hitman Absolution was showcased at this year's E3 after a week of controversy, but we had other things to talk about in our interview with Roberto Marchesi, Art Director at Io Interactive. Hitman Absolution marks the series return after six years and nearly an entire console generation with a new engine, but with an old-fashioned aim to make Absolution the definitive Hitman title.

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Guardians of Middle-Earth shows traditional MOBAs can be fun on console

Developers Monolith could have been content with bringing the highly complex, nearly exclusively computer-based MOBA genre to the console. But with Guardians of Middle-Earth, the developers didn't just transport the gametype to a new platform, they also tweaked and improved it.

Commanding well known, and some lesser known, heroes and villains of the Middle-Earth saga, players find themselves leading a constantly spawning army of underlings against a like-sized force out to take down the enemy base. The maps upon which you do battle are all symmetrical, littered with the same number of...

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DmC: Devil May Cry is a pithy, filthy and rad reinvention

It's unfair to write off obstinant Devil May Cry fans' fears that Ninja Theory's upcoming reboot is going to ruin the franchise, singlehandedly, with a dye job.

There's a lot more to this reinvention than an adjustment to the brightness slider on DanteHair.sys. Though New Dante possess more or less the same suite of melee attacks and juggling maneuvers as Old Dante, the moves themselves feel different — a bit snappier, and more animated. I actually found it a little easier to keep combos going this time around thanks to those subtle adjustments.

In addition to his trusty dual pistols...

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Raven's Cry aims for realism, maturity in the pirate genre

When most people think "pirates," no doubt men wearing eyeliner and prancing around on ships come to mind. TopWare Interactive and Octane Games' Raven's Cry seeks to blow this gentle stereotype out of the water with a game that presents a more grounded and realistic take on pirates, something closer to its historical roots.

Raven's Cry tells the story of Christopher Raven, a hook-handed pirate seeking revenge for the murder of his family when he was a child. Christopher's story deviates from the more playful ones popular culture has woven, and players are presented with a gruesome, bloody...

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'Way of the Samurai 4': when east meets west

E3 is full of bombastic, triple-A sequels, but sometimes the games that stick with me the most are off-beat titles from smaller publishers. Such is the case with Way of the Samurai 4, the upcoming open-world feudal Japan simulator from Xseed and developer Acquire.

Way of the Samurai 4 is set during a fascinating part of Japan's history when the island nation first opened its ports to the West. At the game's outset, a group of British immigrants has moved in and set up a Little Britain in the center of town. A group called the Disciples of Prajna wants to get rid of the new neighbors. And...

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Lost Planet 3 will make you care about a space trucker

"He's got a wife and a kid, and he's had to take this dangerous job, because times are tough," my Lost Planet 3 demo handler told me while giving background on the game's protagonist.

"He's just a blue-collared everyman," he explained. In response, I rolled my eyes hard enough to emit an audible sound.

And yet, within just a few minutes of playing, I was actually kind of invested in the plight of Lost Planet 3's plain-looking protagonist, Jim, who must face equal portions of deadly, ice-encrusted monsters and the drama of a tension-fueled workplace. He misses his wife and son, and neither...

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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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'New Super Mario Bros. U' producer talks flying squirrel controls, Miyamoto

Takashi Tezuka is a classic example of the guy behind the guy. He started at Nintendo in 1984, shortly after Nintendo superman Shigeru Miyamoto. He worked on the original Super Mario Bros., almost every mainline Mario release, all early Zelda games, the Pikmin series, Animal Crossing, etc. In recent years, he's overseen the New Super Mario Bros. franchise, currently producing both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Mario Bros. 2.

His fingerprints cover Nintendo's legacy. In a quick chat at this year's E3, he tells me that he came up with the name "Paper Mario" and he thought up the...

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'The Last Guardian' was not ready for E3

Sony's The Last Guardian was not present at E3 this week because, simply put, it wasn't ready.

SCEA Senior Vice President of Product Development and Worldwide Studios Scott Rohde told Polygon, "Fundamentally what we're about is making great games and great experiences and we're not going to ship a game until its ready to be shipped - especially when it's from a team like that."

Sony Worldwide President Shuhei Yoshida also told Eurogamer that developers were experiencing "technical difficulties" and that there was not enough time to get a demo ready for E3 this year.

The Last Guardian was...

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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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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate: a step sideways

As a big fan of Konami's 2010 Castlevania reboot, Lords of Shadow, I went into my first look at the new 3DS spin-off, Mirror of Fate, full of hope. Developed by MercurySteam, the same team behind the console Lords of Shadow, Mirror of Fate embraces more traditional 2D Castlevania gameplay and will lead in to the in-development Lords of Shadow 2.

I left my brief demo of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate more concerned than excited. Although Mirror of Fate is played on a sidescrolling, 2D plane, it retains the cinematic camera work and God of War-esque fighting system. Those...

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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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'Sleeping Dogs' explores the very real, very brutal world of the Triads

The cleaver is a nasty piece of kitchen cutlery. Everything about the rectangular hatchet is brutal. The tough blade is designed to be hammered into thick meat, using the sheer force of the blow to cut through flesh, tendon, cartilage and bone.

Its efficiency at parting limb from body and finger from hand is also why triad members use the blade to deliver warnings to people who have displeased them.

The first time Dan Sochan heard of the Triad Chop was the night before he and two others were set to meet with members of major triad Sun Yee On in the back room of a Hong Kong social club.

S...

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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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'Dungeon Fighter Live' launching on Xbox Live Arcade in July

Dungeon Fighter Online may be the biggest game that the average North American gamer hasn't heard of, with over 300 million players spread across South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, and (most recently) North America. Now we've got a new chance to get familiar with the game on this side of the world. South Korean developer and publisher Nexon announced at E3 that Dungeon Fighter Live: Fall of Hendon Myre will arrive as an Xbox Live Arcade downloadable game in July 2012.

Both Dungeon Fighter Online and its new Xbox 360 spin-off focus on arcade-inspired action reminiscent of classic Capcom and...

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Video: Dead Space 3 and scaring the pee out of players

At the outset, it likely seems an odd choice to move Dead Space 3 from the claustrophobic corridors of the Ishimura and The Sprawl to the vast expanse of ice planet Tau Volantis. EA took a few moments out of E3 to explain how it's keeping the series' trademark scares in the harsh light of day.

"We've allowed our artists and designers at Visceral to turn, literally this barren, frozen tundra and use nature to help add those scares," said brand manager Ellana Fortuna. "So yeah, it's bright and it's white but all of a sudden there's a whiteout and there's snow flying everywhere and you don't...

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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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Quantum Conundrum interview: a question of scope

Now that Quantum Conundrum has a firm release date (June 22nd for Steam), developer Airtight Games is taking some time at this year's E3 to sit back and watch people get their hands on the final version. But producer Greg Poulos took some time to talk with us about finishing Quantum Conundrum, the importance of scope, and what he's hoping fan reaction will be.

Quantum Conundrum is just about here, obviously. Do you have any thoughts as you approach the game's final stretch?

We're just really excited to get it out there, since we are just a week or so away, so there's not much we can do...

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'Star Wars 1313': the game that will bring LucasFilm together

It's been a while since we've seen something exciting from LucasArts in the game space, but the newly-revealed Star Wars 1313 has an opportunity to provide the revitalization the Star Wars franchise needs. LucasArts' secret to making a new must-have game is combining the talent from across the vast LucasFilm company and approaching the Star Wars universe from a new, darker angle.

Rather than working on its own as it has on many previous products, LucasArts is now working hand-in-hand with LucasFilm, Industrial Light and Magic, and Skywalker Sound, companies that help create some of the most...

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'Dead Island Riptide' announced

Deep Silver today announced the development of a new entry to their Dead Island franchise.

Dead Island Riptide is currently in full development by Techland for consoles and PCs. An extensive reveal of the game is planned for later this summer.

The first Dead Island game was released last fall to mediocre reviews, but built up a strong following of fans. The game first garnered attention with its eye-popping CGI trailer that depicted a vacationing couple and their young daughter being attacked and killed by zombies.

The trailer lead to a movie deal with Lionsgate.

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'Trine 2: Director's Cut' adds new modes and expansion content for Wii U

Trine 2: Director's Cut was hidden in a big group of surprise Wii U games at Nintendo's E3 press conference, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. This well-received action platformer from developer Frozenbyte was released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC late last year, but the upcoming Wii U version has some major additions.

In addition to tons of minor fixes and tweaks, Trine 2: Director's Cut will have an all-new unlockable level and revised controls taking advantage of the Wii U GamePad. A Wii-exclusive mode called "Magic Mayhem" will allow up to four players to join in for...

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'TANK! TANK! TANK!' Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

Following Nintendo's E3 press conference this morning, the company released a trailer for TANK! TANK! TANK!, a battle action party game developed by Namco Bandai.

TANK! TANK! TANK! set players in a story-driven mission, battling their way through levels in tanks. New tanks can be unlocked and levelled up in battles against giant monsters. Players can choose from both co-op and competitive modes, teaming up for boss battles or engage in four-on-four battle royales.

The player using the GamePad can become the enemy, sticking their photo on the face of Kong and challenging their friends in...

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'Resident Evil 6' seems to be going more towards action than horror

In recent years, the Resident Evil franchise has evolved into something very different from where it originated. What was once a series about conserving ammo, low body counts and horrible voice acting has become a series about blasting away with machine guns, high action and, well, the voice acting is still pretty iffy. But it's the shift from survival horror to action that seems to have turned off some fans. Capcom seems focused on continuing the franchise's transformation, though, at least if the Resident Evil 6 is any indication.

At a recent press event, Capcom let members of the press...

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'ZombiU' uses the Wii U GamePad to fight and become zombies

At Nintendo's E3 press conference today, Ubisoft showed off how upcoming title ZombiU will use the Wii U's tablet controller.

Players can hack locked doors using a pinpad on the controller to punch in numbered codes. The tablet can also be used as a radar, scanner, and shooter scope.

You can also use the tablet controller to "zombify" yourself. Players hold the tablet controller up to their face and the game will transform the image into that of a decaying zombie face.


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'LEGO City: Undercover' coming to Nintendo Wii U

LEGO City: Undercover is coming to Wii U with a number of special control features only possible on the Wii U's controller. The news came during today's Nintendo E3 press conference.

In the demo, we saw no-nonsense policeman Chase McCain solve crimes using the Wii U controller: a dispatcher appeared on the screen giving a mission; the player scanned the television screen with the controller as a sort of X-Ray device; McCain hopped around a city, flying helicopters, falling down giant pits and dismantling everything in sight.

In place of the silent film style of previous LEGO games was...

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Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition announced for Wii U

Warner Bros took the stage at this year's E3 Nintendo Press Conference to announce Batman: Arkham City for the Wii U this fall. This updated version of the Game of the Year edition released May 29th of this year will include additional content specifically tailored to the Wii U GamePad's screen, including the ability to select equipment on the GamePad screen, and each character has new armor with a built-in screen in their wrist gauntlet to match.

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition will release for Wii U this fall when the Wii U launches.


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'Epic Mickey 2: Power of Two' release date announced

This morning Disney Interactive announced that Epic Mickey 2: Power of Two will be released on November 18 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

Epic Mickey 2: Power of Two, like the first Epic Mickey, was designed by industry luminary Warren Spector and features game levels inspired by classic 1930s Disney cartoons. Mickey Mouse and his paint brush are joined by Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and his magic electricity-controlling remote. The two will venture back into Wasteland, a world filled with 80 years of forgotten Disney characters and attractions, to once again stop the Mad Doctor from...

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Gears of War: Judgment multiplayer is a wicked blend of Horde and Beast

Gears of War: Judgment may focus on a different protagonist (Baird) and a new time period (just after Emergence Day), but the core tenets of multiplayer remain, but it's still a cover-centric shooter that encourages teamwork over insane reflexes. And the new multiplayer mode, Overrun, is the best example of this.

Overrun is best described as a mash-up of two modes from Gears of War 3: Horde 2.0 and Beast mode. The concept: two teams of players face off with one side playing as COGs and the other playing as different species of Locust. The COGs have a simple objective: Protect a generator...

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'The Last of Us' E3 gameplay trailer blows our minds

At Sony's E3 press conference this evening, Naughty Dog unveiled a new gameplay trailer for The Last of Us.

The trailer follows protagonists Joel and Ellie through an abandoned hotel buried in overgrown weeds and a flooded first floor. Joel leads the way with Ellie on his heels, chattering idly to fill the silence. As they climb to the next floor and round a corner, Joel spies someone rifling through the doors of battered dresser. Within seconds Joel has choked the stranger and pockets the goods for himself.

Gunfire heralds the presence of other people, and as Joel returns their fire and...

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God of War: Ascension single-player, release date appear

At Sony's E3 2012 press briefing, Sony Santa Monica director Todd Papy walked on stage to show <i>God of War: Ascension</i>'s single-player footage for the first time.

While the game takes place early in the God of War timeline, and Papy has said in the past that Kratos won't be quite as angry in this game as he has been in many other God of War titles, the footage on display looks in-line with what we've come to expect, with an angry Kratos, brutal battles, quicktime events, etc.

New this time around: Kratos earns the ability to rebuild broken structures and slow down time, which may...

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'Assassin's Creed 3' available with new PS3 hardware bundle

Assassin's Creed 3 will be available on day one with a new PlayStation 3 hardware bundle, Sony announced today during its E3 press conference.

The new PS3 bundle includes the system, the game and exclusive DLC.

This isn't the first time an Assassin's title released with the PS3. Sony brought out a PS3 hardware bundle with the release of Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

Assassin's Creed 3 is scheduled to release October 30 in North America and features a new colonial setting.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified coming to Vita

As part of Sony's E3 2012 press briefing today, PlayStation U.S. head Jack Tretton announced an official title for the first Call of Duty game on Vita — Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified.

We don't have any details on the game at this point, though the title suggests a spin-off of this year's mainline release.

Tretton confirmed that Black Ops Declassified will ship "this holiday season."

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Beyond Two Souls is Quantic Dream's 'emotional, mature, unique' new game

Beyond Two Souls, the next game from the people behind Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain, explores the life of a young woman with special abilities running from a government organization.

Developer Quantic Dreams CEO David Cage introduced the Playstation 3 exclusive game during the Sony press conference today with a bit of in-game cinematics and gameplay that appeared to show a woman with psychic abilities hunted by a paramilitary government agency.

The cinematic lead into a montage of gameplay showing lead character Jodie Holmes apparently possessing a soldier, perhaps using a bit of telekinesis...

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'Assassin's Creed III' trailer and gameplay follow Connor across the Frontier

Ubisoft unveiled a new trailer and gameplay video for Assassin's Creed III at their E3 press conference this afternoon.

The trailer follows Connor as he stalks Redcoats across the American Frontier, seeking revenge for the British oppression of his people. Connor moves stealthily through a heated battle on an open field, wielding his signature tomahawk and a bow and arrows in total slaughter of his opposition.

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Rayman Legends for Wii U features GamePad controlled lightning bug

At it's E3 press conference this afternoon, Ubisoft showed off a live demo of Rayman Legends for the Wii U. The game will feature five-player co-op and support the Wii U tablet controller, newly-announced Wii U Pro controller, and classic Wii motes.

Rayman, Globox and the Teensies are back in the new game that has them traveling through a series of legendary worlds with new environments, characters and enemies. The game will include a mix of themed levels, including several musical maps and a medieval themed map. You can also play the game online with friends, working your way through a...

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Ubisoft announces ZombiU exclusively for Wii U

At its E3 2012 press conference, Ubisoft has revealed a new Wii U exclusive game titled ZombiU.

An all-CG trailer for the game didn't give us a good idea of what the actual gameplay will be, but it provided some hints. As you might expect from a zombie game, ZombiU seems to be dark and gory. In one freeze-framed scene, a man surrounded by zombies had just shot himself rather than be consumed.

If the settings and music from the trailer are any indication, ZombiU takes place takes place in Britain, one region that arguably hasn't been overexposed to this style of game.

Ubisoft didn't mention...

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'Dead Space 3' has an ingenious take on co-op

Making a game scary is really tough. All sorts of factors, from sound design to ammo availability to lighting, come into play, affecting just how scary a game can be. But there's one thing that makes a game instantly not scary: company. Sure, there were intense, witch-driven moments in co-op matches of Left 4 Dead, but the second one of your friends started tea-bagging a zombie or telling you about his day at work, the illusion died and you were back to playing a game. Even worse, think about Resident Evil 5. It's simply impossible to be scared when you have an AI companion with you at all...

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EA confirms co-op play for 'Dead Space 3'

At the company's E3 press conference this afternoon, EA confirmed Dead Space 3 for release in February 2013 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The game will feature fully-integrated drop-in/drop-out cooperative play.

Gameplay will range from tight, in-door quarters to sprawling landscapes. All environments are explorable and present new challenges, including all new Necromorphs, enormous boss battle creatures, and misguided fellow humans.

Series hero Issac Clarke is stranded on Tau Volantis, an icy planet riddled with Necormorphs that may hold the key to quelling the Necromorph...

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Ascend: New Gods revealed as Xbox 360 exclusive from Signal Studios

Microsoft unveiled the next game from Signal Studios, developer of the Toy Soldiers series, at its E3 media briefing today. It's a bloody medieval action combat game infused with magic called Ascend: New Gods.

The gameplay demo showed a heavily armored warrior battling rank and file beasts and what appeared to be a giant minotaur, climbing up the monster's arm to fight the creature a la Shadow of the Colossus.

The Xbox 360 exclusive game is due to hit Xbox Live Arcade in 2013.


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Tomb Raider's first DLC available early on Xbox 360

During a presentation at Microsoft's E3 press conference, representatives from Crystal Dynamics announced the first piece of Tomb Raider downloadable contact will be available first for Xbox 360.

The news came after an extended gameplay demonstration that showed the new, younger Lara Croft blasting mercenaries with flaming arrows, shooting debris in a roaring river, and hurtling through the forest on a flimsy parachute.

Tomb Raider will be available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on March 5, 2013.


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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive coming Aug. 21 to PS3, 360 and Steam Aug. 21

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will arrive on 360, PS3, PC and Mac on August 21st according to a release just dispatched by Valve.

Apparently none too worried about their thunder being stolen by the ongoing Microsoft E3 press conference, Valve announced the launch date alongside an approximate $15 price tag across all platforms.

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E3 2012: The Action

Zombies, gods, assassins, and... Mickey Mouse.

This year's E3 marks the return and reboot of several major action franchises, including the long-standing Devil May Cry and Tomb Raider series. New kids like The Last of Us and Dishonored pack their own klout while Assassin's Creed and Resident Evil sequels bring their own bang to the table. Platformers also get a generous turn to shine, with new Rayman, LittleBigPlanet, the whiff of a handful Mario games, and a return to the world of Epic Mickey holding firm presences on the show floor.

This year at E3, we'll be sorting all of our news and...

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