The beast that is E3 2012 came and went, a storm of violence, shiny graphics, controversy and hype. Being Dealspwn's man on the ground, I was able to play, dissect and critique the best that the show had to offer, bringing my impressions and interviews directly to you on a daily basis.
But hey, why don't we give out some arbitrary awards too? Everyone else is doing it.
So here we go: our tribute to the most promising games of E3 2012, complete with links to our previews and a couple of less-than-serious accolades that celebrate some of the expo's weirder moments.
Best Game Of E3 2012 | Beyond: Two Souls
Honourable Mentions: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Project P-100, SimCity
Quantic Dream were always going to impress, but Beyond: Two Souls shattered even our highest expectations. David Cage is working on a game - an actual, fully-playable game - that resembles a big-budget movie, exploring deep themes of death, loss, acceptance and the afterlife while actually giving players direct control over the proceedings. Using Aidan to possess SWAT agents, turning a hopeless stand-off into a circus of carnage, was one of the highlights of the entire show and we're convinced that Beyond is going to deliver a truly new and thoroughly worthwhile experience.
Best Action Game | Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Honourable Mentions: Dishonored, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, Assassin's Creed III, Borderlands 2
E3 2012 was all about action games. Indeed, we were spoiled for choice. However, one game in particular managed to stand above the rest, as a tech demo as well as a superbly enjoyable romp. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is shaping up to be a phenomenal brawler featuring the ability to cut absolutely anything and run up a helicopter's missile barrage to slice it into tiny little pieces in slow motion. Despite being in pre-alpha, Revengeance was also running at a solid 60FPS - it's smooth and slick as you like.
Some hardcore fans may still be smarting over Platinum Games ripping the reins away from Kojima, but quit your whining. From what we've seen so far, they're turning Revengeance into something entirely brilliant and brutal as all hell.
Most Exciting New IP | Project P-100
Honourable Mentions: Watch Dogs, ZombiU, Matter
Ubisoft's double helping of ZombiU and Watch Dogs got us rather hot under the collar, but our choice for most exciting new announcement was actually one of the most under-exposed games of the show. Platinum Games (they had a sensational E3) are working on a sensational Wii U exclusive that channels Pikmin, Bayonetta, Viewtiful Joe and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance while retaining its own identity. In a sea of grungy shooters, P-100 stood out like a shining beacon of fun, colour and imagination.
Plus, prospective Wii U buyers now have a launch title to look forward to without reservation, and to show off their new Gamepad controller to their mates with.
Most Promising Sequel | Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Honourable Mentions: Crysis 3, Hitman: Absolution, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Assassin's Creed III
Following up Conviction has to be a daunting challenge, especially with the loss of Michael Ironside's voice talents. But by supporting stealth, infiltration and action gameplay at all times, Splinter Cell: Blacklist may actually be on course to become the most versatile and visceral entry in the franchise to date. Ubisoft Toronto promise that Blacklist will be "the single biggest Splinter Cell ever," and we can't wait to see whether the wide and vertical level design - not to mention a massive range of gadgets and skills - manages to fulfil their potential.
Best Boutique Title | Quantum Conundrum
Honourable Mentions: Joust!, Sound Shapes, Hawken
Good news, folks! It turns out that there were more than just shooters at E3 2012, and Quantum Conundrum won us over with its adorable presentation and perfectly-designed puzzles.
Better yet, it's actually out this week on Steam.
Best Developer Quote | Mike Skupa (United Front Games)
Honourable Mentions: Kim Swift (Airtight Games), Harada (Namco Bandai)
United Front Games' Mike Skupa on the influence of Hong Kong cinema in Sleeping Dogs:
"Hard Boiled! Well, if you look back at a lot of the John Woo stuff, we have a hospital shootout. You know. So we had to have that in there, it's just so classic! You know, I don't want to spoil too much about the game, but there's a mission where you're wearing a white suit and, erm, stuff happens, so we want to get all those cinematic moments in there."
And then I jizzed... in my pants.
Best Press Conference | Ubisoft
Honourable Mentions: Sony. And no-one else. No-one!
We've already wailed and moaned about this year's terrible press conferences, so let's make it official before we move on.
Ubisoft won E3 2012. Everybody else sucked, and did so both thoroughly and expertly.
At least Sony managed to open with a major reveal and a trailer that shied away from overt violence until that bloodthirsty The Last Of Us demo. Making them the second best of a bad bunch, we suppose.
Biggest Disappointment | Dead Space 3
Honourable Mentions: Enemy Front, The Elder Scrolls Online, Smartglass
We've got plenty of games that offer balls-out action, but very few to turn to for proper survival horror. The original Dead Space and even its lightgun spin-off Extraction delivered tight and effective horror in spades, but Dead Space 3 seems to be dwelling on frat-tastic one-liners, ranged combat in well-lit environments and action-heavy set pieces that leave nothing to the imagination. Event Horizon this ain't.
Worse, it looks exactly like Lost Planet 3. Seriously, I can't tell them apart.
Most Noteworthy Absence | Overstrike
Honourable Mentions: PS3 cloud gaming, Infamous 3, Wii U Zelda, Retro Studios
A few announcements were noteworthy because of their complete absence from E3 2012. Alongside the massive rumours about Sony clambering into bed with a cloud gaming service, the heavily-tipped Infamous 3 and mysterious Retro Studios project failed to make an appearance.
But the most bizarre omission was Overstrike, Insomniac's multiplatform shooter that was announced last year. Apparently it hasn't been polished enough to warrant a public viewing yet, but we're keeping our fingers crossed for Gamescom.
Worst Kept Secret | Battlefield Premium
Honourable Mentions: Dead Space 3, Rayman Legends
Dead Space 3 and Rayman Legends both vied for the dubious honour of the most-leaked announcements at E3 this year, but you can't beat the comedy of errors surrounding Battlefield's new subscription service. First it was leaked. Then detailed. Then accidentally confirmed by Sony, who withdrew their incriminating update too late to stem the tide. Being as we knew the features, functionality and price days before the announcement, EA were embarrassingly forced to brusquely confirm it themselves.
When the announcement did arrive, most of us grabbed the opportunity to power-nap.
Sickest Burn | Trey Parker On Smartglass
Microsoft were probably feeling pretty good about Smartglass until South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone took the stage... and wasted no time in ripping the newly-announced feature to shreds.
"How many times have you been watching an episode of South Park, and thinking I want to be playing a game, on my tablet, while connected to my oven, while sitting in a refrigerator? We're not doing that."
We probably won't be doing that either. Call the fire department, because you just got... well, you know.
Most Guns | Borderlands 2
Honourable Mentions: Dead Space 3, MoH: Warfighter, Shootmania Storm
I happened to be milling around the 2K VIP area when the Guinness Book of World Records bowled up to present Gearbox with an award.
"The videogame that features the most usable firearms" award, more specifically. 17,750,000 is a big number, and a hell of a lot of guns.
Most Embarrassing Moment | Oh, Reggie
Honourable Mentions: Assassin's Creed 3's British question, Smartglass
When it came to identifying the most embarassing moment of E3 2012, we knew that Reggie Fils-Aime was going to feature pretty highly. Like, the week before E3. The chunky NoA boss always makes his fair share of gaffes, and the question was simply which to choose.
He started strong with a "purple Pikmin" joke that tanked instantly, but once he'd gotten his hands on ZombiU, we just couldn't help but burst out laughing for all the wrong reasons. The tech didn't work properly, the "I like French food," one liner was incredibly confusing, any semblance of a well-constructed joke disappeared and the opportunity to actually show us direct-feed gameplay was completely lost, all in the space of a few seconds.
Oh, Reggie. Whatever will he do next?
The DealsPWNY Award For Excellence | SimCity
Honourable Mentions: Borderlands 2, Rocksmith, Pikmin 3
Our poorly-defined award for unbridled kickassery may be a named after an in-joke (that's going to be slowly taking over the site, watch this space), but our pick is deadly serious. Sometimes, we have to herald a game that just doesn't fit into any of the other categories, and acknowledge that it's a seriously impressive work in progress.
I want to be furious about SimCity's 'always online' philosphy. I really do. But the more I see it, the more I realise that collaborating with friends in a persistent online world is actually the highlight of the game. The E3 demo explained how players will cooperate on grand works, helping each other out with power, infrastructure and even crime fighting as they strive to create their own little utopia. Powerful yet accessible, intuitive yet deep, SimCity is fast becoming one of our most anticipated games of 2013, and we can't wait to turn Dealspwnopolis into a shining example of peerless city planning. After giving it a better name, perhaps.