Today, we acknowledge the best of the best, from Best in Show to the best in each of the MMO categories of Real Life, Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Read on the the mega-list!
We got an initial look at Nexon's first foray into a Western-style fantasy MMO at GDC when we first saw Vindictus, formerly Mabinogi Heroes. With the name Mabinogi attached, and being in the same game world, we couldn’t help thinking about the cutesy original. But nothing we saw then prepared us for the splash they made at E3. The trailer was dark, brooding and intense, while the demo that we got behind closed doors showed some incredible action-oriented game play. It also had its share of blood, and deformable terrain that crumbled as creatures crashed against it. The ability to grapple enemies and throw them over cliffs was also a nice touch. Despite the preconceived notions we had going into E3, Vindictus blew us away, and was by far the biggest surprise of the show.
Runner Up: Battlestar Galactica
Any time you take an established license and turn it into a game, you come up against some high expectations. With the fanatical following of both TV shows, Bigpoint has taken on a huge project, but one they appear to be meeting head on, based on what we saw at E3. We were initially skeptical of the browser-based game play, but what we saw was unlike what we have become used to when we hear the term. The engine seems quite capable of delivering a gratifying experience, and even though Bigpoint is staying mum about many of the details of the game (it was only announced in March), they only enhanced the anticipation building for the game with their showing at E3.
Many games at E3 have someone showing you the game play without letting you get your hands on it; while others let you get your hands on, but don’t give you much context about what you are doing in the world after you create your character. TERA cured both of those ills by letting us get in and get our hands on a mission that was already in the game, while letting us play as a group, in an attempt to complete the mission. Add a color commentator to give us hints and tips on the fly, mixed with a healer who was already a pro at his class, and you get one great way to show off a game. Granted, we didn't defeat the end boss, but we got enough of a feel for the class we played while getting context at the same time. It proved to be a winning combination and one we hope other developers will adopt when showing off their games.
Runner Up: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Mix a presentation of never-before-revealed bullet points with some hands-on time with any class of our choosing and you get a demo that was light years ahead of anything we had been shown previously on The Old Republic. In previous glimpses of the game, we had usually come away disappointed that LucasArts chose to give us standard MMO fare, with little revealed about the promised story from BioWare or the fully voiced acting. After the E3 demo, most of those fears were allayed. We got to see more of the story (for the class of our choice) as well as the voice acting surrounding several different missions. We even got a hint of how the party-based instances will play out. Well done, LucasArts. It was a great way to start off our show.
Next: Best Family Game, Best Party, Best Booth