Every year game journalists from around the world descend on the Los Angeles Convention Center hoping to see the next big thing in video games at E3, and every year they get it. This year saw Halo 4, Watch Dogs, Gears of War, New Super Mario Bros. U, Assassin’s Creed 3, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, and the list goes on and on. However, due to the overwhelming number of games that are showcased in the press conferences and on the floor great games are inevitably overlooked. Some titles don’t have the marketing or studio power behind them to make it to the stage of the press conferences, or in some cases even on to the show floor, but that shouldn’t undercut their quality. Below are five of the best games that you aren’t hearing about from E3 2012.
The Unfinished Swan
Flying so far off the radar that it wasn’t even on the floor at Sony’s booth (or at least I didn’t see it) is the incredible indie PSN game, The Unfinished Swan. Perhaps it’s both a blessing a curse that it wasn’t widely available because the less that is known about the game the better. Driven by a touching story of an orphaned boy looking to reconnect with his mother, The Unfinished Swan is a game about creative exploration in a world unlike any other that you’ve played before. Both beautiful and imaginative, The Unfinished Swan will be a game that’s a must own for anyone that can appreciate an artsy experience.
Game & Wario
Seeing Game & Wario set up at only a few kiosks at Nintendo booths was the true video game equivalent of life imitating art. While Mario’s games were placed center stage during every opportunity that Nintendo could, Wario’s new game was relegated to being discovered by word of mouth. Designed by the creative geniuses at Intelligent Systems (who know a thing or two about making a WarioWare game) in cooperation with Nintendo, Game & Wario demonstrates a variety of different Wii U play styles while being set within Diamond City. If you’re looking to explain to someone what the Wii U is all about, there’s Nintendo Land, and there’s this – both should accomplish the same goal.
When Vikings Attack
Sometimes you just don’t want to think about what you’re playing too much, and you just want to have some fun – and that’s exactly what When Vikings Attack is all about. The upcoming PS3/PS Vita Cross Play-compatible rumble game pits battalions of Viking invaders against modern day citizens in an all out rumble. The goal is to use anything and everything you can find and pick up in the environment to throw at your opponents and wipe them out. It’s a pretty mindless game, but sometime mindless is exactly what you’re looking for.
Retro City Rampage
Imagine what games would be like on the Nintendo Entertainment System if development teams were still creating games for it today, and that’s basically what Retro City Rampage is. Part action game, part platformer the game is an homage to the greatest titles of yesteryear, combining all the best features of classic games, blended with a bit of nostalgia. To really sum things up: Meat Boy has his own Virtual Boy inspired mini-game. I think that just about says it all.
Persona 4 Arena
Persona 4 Arena may not have gotten as much E3 love as it deserved mostly because the franchise and the publisher are known to appeal to a very specific niche audience. However, Arena is stepping away from the traditional JRPG format and pitting the Persona characters against one another in a fighting game. Why should you care about high school kids beating each other up in a 2D fighter? Because it’s being developed by the fighting game aficionados at Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue), and they know a thing or two about making a worthwhile fighting game.