The Ten Ton Hammer Best of E3 2012 Awards

The time has come once again to celebrate the best games of E3. This year has some familiar names but also a few surprises. Join us as we reveal the Ten Ton Hammer's Best of E3 2012 Awards.
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Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again!



We have returned home from E3 and have seen this year's best of the
best. We have battled the crowds and tried our hands at some of the
newest MMOs out there. Many of these games are still in development
while others have already launched but continue to grow each year with
more content and expansions.



We tip our hat to the developers and studios who were able to attend E3
this year, and thank them for taking the time to see us. These events
are very forward-looking and keep us craving the next big thing.



There were several big things at E3 this year but we would be remiss if
we didn't take note of the changing landscape of the MMO industry. Of
all of the games we saw most of them were quite different from E3s
past. There were many more MMO shooters this year, for one. And many
studios are developing their games from the ground up as free-to-play.
We've always suspected the cash shop model would eventually overtake
the old subscription model and this year was the first time ever that
only one or two of the games we saw being developed were aiming for
anything but the item mall format.



In that vein, the developers we saw were well aware of the changing
climate of MMOs. Not only are many of these folks keeping up with a
changing revenue model but they're keeping up with growing demand from
a whole new generation of gamers. We saw casual-style and accessibility
as huge highlights this year and that trend continues to widen every
month.



But MMOs aren't the only games worth mentioning. We saw some amazing
new concepts in the single player arena as well and knew these games
deserved a bit of a kudos too.



So join us today as we unveil la creme de la creme, and celebrate the
best the industry had to offer at this year's expo with the Ten Ton
Hammer Best of E3 2012 Awards.


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Going into E3 we pretty much knew the MMOs we were going to see. style="width: 285px; height: 300px; float: right;" alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232480/preview">But
there were a couple of "mystery appointments" from several developers
who would be making their game announcement right there from the show
floor.



After seeing a couple of these upcoming titles we knew right then and
there that at least one of them was worthy of the Best Reveal award.



But how does one fit into that category? Apart from the obvious
requirement of it being an actual reveal at E3 it had to be a game that
had us leaving the demo in wide-eyed wonder. It also had to bring
something new to the table that could potentially leave the industry
talking about the game years after its launch. That's a mighty tall
order but we found a game that we believe fits the bill...




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title="Star Wars 1313" style="width: 500px; height: 90px;"
alt="Star Wars 1313"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232484/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Star Wars 1313

(LucasArts)



This was the kind of demo
that had us walking out of the room bewildered. If LucasArts can
really pull off what they're aiming to do with the special effects from
ILM and an adult-targeted game world the Star Wars IP may very well
have at least another decade left in it.



The visuals were stunning. The brief bit of the story we saw was equally
enrapturing. And though we were unable to play the game ourselves and
were only able to see a small bit of it, we were so impressed by this
demo that we're still talking about it in the office. That's memorable.
That's a good reveal. Be sure to check out Sardu's preview below to see
what we're on about.



More style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars 1313
coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

  • href="http://halfshell.tentonhammer.com/star-wars-1313-preview-e3-2012">Star
    Wars 1313 Preview from E3 2012


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The Best New Concept award may be of the more noteworthy among
the awards.



src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232479/preview">This
award isn't just for a game that we're excited about (though we are at
that) but more importantly it's a recognition that a developer is
attempting something out of the ordinary to break away from main
stream.



Every game has its hook but for this award we wanted to find a studio
who will potentially be able to evolve the industry in a positive
direction. This doesn't necessarily mean coming up with a completely
new genre, but rather in this case, it could be simply revisiting some
old or abandoned concepts that still have viability in today's market.
Hey, if no one tries, no one will ever know.



So we're proud to offer this award this year to a company with a
beloved and celebrated IP who seem to be striving to bring back the
social aspects to our MMOs. They're not reinventing the wheel, but they
are doing their best to make that wheel reach entirely new speeds.




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title="The Elder Scrolss Online"
style="width: 501px; height: 99px;"
alt="The Elder Scrolls Online"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232485/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">The Elder Scrolls Online

(Zenimax Studios) style="font-weight: bold;">


Who can't be excited about
the very thought of playing The
Elder Scrolls
with some friends? The existing world of
Nirn is already perfectly conducive to a wonderfully enthralling RPG
space. Moving that space into the online district is not only an
exciting move but a logical one.



Best of all is Zenimax' apparent understanding that once upon a time
what made MMOs special was the social community that they built. The
developer is making a bold move by reintroducing shared public dungeons
with a spin to keep griefing at a minimum. They're employing old ideas
with updated systems that can potentially bring this era of MMO gaming
into the next generation by marrying the good concepts of old and new.



And did we mention it's the freakin' Elder Scrolls? That's just awesome.



More style="font-style: italic;">Elder Scrolls Online
E3
Coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/elder-scrolls-online/previews/e3-2012">The
    Elder Scrolls Online E3 2012 Preview: The Best of Old and New?


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We play a lot of games each year at an event like E3, many which dazzle
our senses in style="width: 285px; height: 300px; float: right;" alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232478/preview">different
ways. And while graphics, audio, or even interface each constitute
individual building blocks of the completed puzzle each new MMO
represents, core gameplay is still the thing that ultimately matters
most.



We know that the gameplay for a given title is compelling when our
hands-on appointment leaves us eager to continue the experience long
after we’ve left the booth. This year’s winner was one of the select
few titles that fit the bill, and saw us eagerly scampering back to
play again as soon as time allowed.



The raw energy of the game, combined with a seemingly endless list of
options for how you choose to play it made this year’s pick a clear
standout from the crowd.



Ten Ton Hammer’s Best Gameplay of E3 2012 Award goes to…




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title="PlanetSide 2" style="width: 500px; height: 110px;"
alt="PlanetSide 2"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232486/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">PlanetSide 2

(Sony Online Entertainment)



style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(204, 153, 51);">

Even as the industry
continues to shift its focus towards more action or shooter-based
gameplay, PlanetSide 2 rises above its peers in plenty of unique and
compelling ways. Objectives are numerous and provide plenty of tactical
decision making, but you can still choose to engage the game on a
number of different levels. PlanetSide 2 is bursting with energy, and
provides a unique gameplay experience like no other game out there.
It’s the answer to your fantasy gaming, auto-attack blues, and was the
clear victor when it comes to raw gameplay goodness this year at E3
2012.



More style="font-style: italic;">PlanetSide 2
E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/planetside2/e3-2012/hands-on-preview">Hands-On
    with Planetside 2 at E3 2012


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Every once in a while a new game comes out with an original
Intellectual alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232482/preview">Property
that blows everyone away. Rarer still are the times when that IP
becomes a household name and the universe expands to thousands or
hundreds of thousands of fans.



Once a virtual universe reaches a certain stage it becomes increasingly
challenging to create new content that will keep the game fresh and
exhiliariating. For this year's award we took a look at a game that not
only expands the existing celebrated universe but also adds entirely
new gameplay and even reaches out to a completely new audience that may
have never before experienced the online universe.



That, in itself, is a feat, but in addition to all that this game is a
heck of a lot of fun to play.




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style="width: 500px; height: 120px;" alt="DUST 514"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232487/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">DUST 514

(CCP Games)


One of style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online's
greatest successes came from its shared universe. Players all over the
world inhabit the same online space, making style="font-style: italic;">EVE one of the most
politically and socially vibrant and adaptive games in existence. But
let's face it, spaceship combat isn't for everyone.



In a brilliant move CCP Games aims to include more gamers in the
universe with DUST 514.
Here's a shooter that is not only fun to play, but will also eventually
join the two games to each other. EVE
players will be able to hire DUST
514
players for mercenary missions in the ongoing battle
for galactic control and the results will be carried over between the
games in near real time.



We don't care what planet you're from, that's just cool stuff.



More style="font-style: italic;">DUST 514
E3
coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/dust-514/e3-2012/hands-on-preview">The
    411 on DUST 514 from E3 2012
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One of the joys of playing MMOGs is that if you're playing a game that
is popular enough to keep a solid revenue inevitably you'll see an
expansion. Sometimes several.



src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232477/preview">Not
all expansions are worthy of praise but this year's winner is among
those that has earned its award. Roughly twice the size of its first
expansion this game offers an incredibly large new portion of the world
to explore end experience.



But wait, there's more! An entirely new combat mechanic is being added
that promises to be a lot of fun. Integrating gratuitous content may be
the theme for some, but this new expansion is shaping to be all that
it's made out to be: a true expansion not only to the online world in
which it resides, but an expansion to the MMO industry itself.



The Best Expansion of E3 2012 Award goes to....




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title="Riders of Rohan" style="width: 500px; height: 261px;"
alt="Riders of Rohan"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232488/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">The Lord of the Rings
Online: Riders of Rohan

(Turbine)



style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(204, 153, 51);">

What better way to continue
the story of the Lord of the Rings by venturing into Rohan and getting
your own combat mount? Mounts are one thing but with these new bad boys
you'll actually be able to play out strategic combat maneuvers from
horseback. The encounters are designed very specifically though, so
don't expect to just be swinging a sword from your saddle. This is true
strategic gameplay at its finest.



And if mounted combat isn't your thing, there's a ton more quests and
areas to explore and fight through.



More style="font-style: italic;">Riders of Rohan E3
coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro/riders-of-rohan/E3-preview">LOTRO:
    Riders of Rohan Preview at E3 2012: Mount Up!
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No trip to E3 is complete without checking out some of the titles that
don alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232481/preview">'t
fall into the MMO category.



On the final day of our expedition we went in search for any cool
things we may not have seen during the rest of our week. As it turns
out, that day proved to be some of the most fun we've had all year!



We saw several noteworthy titles but at risk of using an old cliché,
one game truly did stand out from the rest. This game captured not only
our visual attention but it actually struck a chord with us on an
emotional level.



Now we're not about to start watching Glee every week, but having a bit
of an emotional attachment to your character in a video game takes a
deft touch and a little bit of genious.



This year's winner nailed it on all fronts...


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style="width: 500px; height: 57px;" alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232489/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Tomb Raider

(Crystal Dynamics)




For the first time in the
game's long history we finally get a glimpse back at Lara's roots--
where she came from and the series of events that transformed her into
the badass she is today. The game looks to be thrilling on the action
and puzzle front but we were particularly taken aback by Lara's
vulnerability. She was a heroine that we could relate to as we saw her
human weaknesses throughout the demo.



The new Tomb Raider will have all the action and brain tickling you've
come to expect from the IP but it brings something new that you may not
expect: a deeply involving story and the ability to finally be able to
relate to Lara herself.



More style="font-style: italic;">Tomb Raider E3
coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/previews/tomb-raider/e3-2012">Tomb
    Raider Preview - Lara Gets Real



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In previous years, selecting the game that deserves our Best of Show
award has been a surprisingly easy task, and this year was no different.



src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232483/preview">While
there were plenty of amazing titles this year – many of which won
awards of their own – one game was a clear standout in numerous ways.
Everything from the visuals to the compelling combat system is spot on,
but our winner this year also has the one secret ingredient that any
great title needs to have in hefty doses: pure fun factor.



At the end of the day, any game worthy of our MMO gaming time needs to
be fun, and this year’s winner was so fun that we even made room in our
busy schedule to go back and play through a full demo session a second
time. Not surprisingly, it only continued to endear us the more we
played, and is the kind of game you find yourself longing to play again
long after the E3 party has come to a close.



This year’s Ten Ton Hammer Best of Show for E3 2012 Award goes to…




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style="width: 500px; height: 122px;" alt="Neverwinter"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/232503/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Neverwinter

(Cryptic)

Since first being shown
last summer, Neverwinter
has continued to evolve into something special. At risk of sounding
hokey, this is the game that Cryptic Studios was always meant to make,
and the developer has gone to great lengths to insure Neverwinter is
the most compelling game it possibly can be.



The approach to more action oriented gameplay is spot on, and offers
the most intuitive combat system our industry has seen in a very long
time, if not ever. Combined with Cryptic’s excellent handling of the
beloved Forgotten Realms setting and the promise of what the Foundry
toolset will bring to the table, Neverwinter is packed full of awesome
and we can’t wait until gamers can get their hands on it.



More style="font-style: italic;">Neverwinter
E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/neverwinter/e3-2012/hands-on-preview">Neverwinter
    Hands-On at E3 2012



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