Worst of E3 2012; Black Ops 2 & Wonderbook
E3 has come and gone, leaving us with nothing but time to reflect on everything we heard, saw and played. Looking back at it all, it’s hard not to think about what stole the show and what failed to impress. Fellow E3 attendee and JPS’s very own Reviews Editor, Richard Subia, and I took the time to weigh in on which title stood far above the rest and which game failed to meet expectations for us personally.
Let’s get the negativity out of the way first. Here’s each of our picks for the worst game of E3 2012.
Josh Garibay: Wonderbook
During Sony’s Press Conference, a new game was shown using an augmented reality book and the PlayStation Move. The entire concept of giving younger minds a new way to learn and play with both educational and standard games was intriguing. Who wouldn’t want to see their child learn history by watching iconic battles play out on their digital pop-up book? Or how about gaining more knowledge about our solar system by interacting with a 3D model? The idea itself could very well revolutionize the way our tech-savvy kids, and their kids, learn about our world and more. However, the on-stage demo did very little to elaborate on those possibilities and, instead, focused on showing off Book of Spells, a game that “teaches” proper magic wand techniques, by J.K. Rowling. Sure, Wonderbook was obviously going to include games that served no other purpose than to entertain, but making this the first and only announcement for the upcoming peripheral was baffling given all that talk about how education was about to become much more entertaining. Furthermore, Book of Spells’ tech demo was full of mistakes and did nothing more than leave an awkward silence between the crowd and the people on-stage.
We sat there as a woman attempted to show off how easy it was to cast spells. The game prompted her to draw a simple “Z” on the screen with the PlayStation Move, but she was unable to so for what seemed like an eternity. After finally getting it right, we all took part in a pity applause. It was excruciating. Not only did Sony fail to expand upon their innovative education ideas via live demos, but the one game they did show off, they botched. For these reasons, Wonderbook was the worst of this year’s E3, although I still have faith in the product itself and what it is capable of accomplishing down the road.
Richard Subia: Black Ops 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was by far the worst game that I viewed at E3 2012. All that was shown off was more of the same mindless shooting that we have come to expect from a series that releases a new game on a yearly basis. While the Strike Force missions were something new to the series (the only real notable difference from past entries), they looked like nothing more than filler for the story. The RTS and direct control features may have been new, but these control point sections seemed gimmicky and felt like a cheap addition to lengthen the campaign.
After several years of the same old stuff, it’s going to take much more than what I saw to breathe life back into the series. At this point, Call of Duty has taken the crown in the beaten dead horse category and only makes it worse every year. Hopefully, Activision learns something from focusing on a few franchises and cutting others loose (do you regret letting True Crime: Hong Kong go, yet?). They have narrowed it down to so few game that they have lost all sense of creativity and know nothing more, in terms of Call of Duty at least, than: Head from Point A to Point B while murdering everything in between.
Activision definitely blew it by not showing off their new and improved zombie mode. Their zombie mode has been the one thing in the series that was different and gave it a second wind. Hopefully, when they do finally decide to show it off, they will have something new to offer. If they don’t, then the zombies will be in the same boat as the rest of this overdone series.
Now that you’ve seen us tear these games a new one, take a look at the ones we couldn’t stop praising here.