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. 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...

Star Wars 1313

Star Wars 1313

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 Star Wars 1313 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

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

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.

The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online
(Zenimax Studios)

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 Elder Scrolls Online E3 Coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

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We play a lot of games each year at an event like E3, many which dazzle our senses in 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…

PlanetSide 2

PlanetSide 2
(Sony Online Entertainment)

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 PlanetSide 2 E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

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Every once in a while a new game comes out with an original Intellectual 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.

DUST 514

DUST 514
(CCP Games)

One of EVE Online's greatest successes came from its shared universe. Players all over the world inhabit the same online space, making 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 DUST 514 E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:
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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.

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....

Riders of Rohan

The Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan

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 Riders of Rohan E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:
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No trip to E3 is complete without checking out some of the titles that don'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...

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 Tomb Raider E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

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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.

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…



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 Neverwinter E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:

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