This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo had many sequels on the show floor, but not as many surprises as we would have liked to see.  They were definitely there if you knew where to look, and we at Prima Games decided to take it upon ourselves to talk about the biggest surprises that shook the show floor – the ones that came out of left field and hit us when we weren’t looking.

Without further ado, the surprises…

Halo 4

For months, many of us were wondering if 343 Industries would have what it takes to relaunch Bungie’s Halo franchise the right way - new story and all.  To our surprise, they delivered, and then some!  The footage that was showcased at the Microsoft Press Conference blew us away, and the multiplayer we got to experience days later, presented through great Team Slayer events and the upcoming Spartan Ops missions (which will be free of charge to game buyers), seemed just as addictive as previous games.  If the entire product can keep up this kind of tempo, we’re in for a real treat come November 6th.

Beyond: Two Souls

We knew that the latest project from Quantic Dream, the creators of Heavy Rain, would be something special, but upon watching the 20-something minutes of gameplay footage from Beyond: Two Souls, they have taken their formula and improved upon it.  The introduction of a new spiritual character that can free flow throughout a given range and possess certain items is an ideal touch, and Jodie, the main character, is a great one, thanks to the return of the terrific Heavy Rain gameplay style and a performance by Ellen Page. 2013 can’t come soon enough for Beyond: Two Souls.


We knew Ubisoft was going to have a killer show, from the moment they officially unveiled the next Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (Blacklist) to the bits and pieces of new gameplay that came from Assassin’s Creed III.  Near the end of its press conference, a shimmer of light emerged in the form of an innovative new gameplay experience known as Watch_Dogs.  

In this unusual third-person action/adventure, you’re actually fighting against the system, using your power over electronics to your advantage as you plan accidents, hunt down targets and essentially flip things around, so that you can turn out the lights and change things for the better.  Though the game is still in the works (and not even slated until sometime in 2013), it could pave the way for a bold new franchise for the publisher.  Here’s hoping it lives up to the potential of its brilliant footage.

When Vikings Attack

Sony had its fair amount of great games at its booth, both downloadable and retail, with something for everyone.  But something came out of left field with Clever Beans’ multiplayer romp When Vikings Attack.  The game is built on the simplest of principles – mobs of people fight back against marauding Vikings – but the gameplay is pure bliss, as you pick up objects and hurl them at enemies, achieving bonuses for combos and trick throws.  What’s more, you can fight against friends both locally and online – using both Vita and PlayStation 3 – in full-blown group battles.  We can’t remember the last time we had fun with a joyous little multiplayer romp like this.  Fortunately it’s slated for a 2012 release, so we won’t be waiting long.

Xbox Smart Glass

We could joke about how technical Microsoft’s explanation was about the use of Smart Glass during its press conference (even Trey Parker and Matt Stone couldn’t help but joke about it), but honestly, it’s a neat idea.  Using a device you already own, you can use Smart Glass as a coordinating secondary piece with your Xbox 360 with specific games and apps, including HBO Go and Halo 4.  Though we’ve only seen bits and pieces of it in action, it’s really well done, and the fact we won’t have to pay out the wazoo for it is quite helpful.  It may not be as innovative as Wii U, but it’s cheaper and probably coming a lot sooner!

EA Sports Signs With UFC

We thought the THQ/UFC partnership would last for years to come, especially with UFC Undisputed 3 turning out to be as good as it did.  But in a shocking twist at EA’s press conference, Dana White came out and announced that he has in fact partnered with EA Sports on the next wave of UFC titles.  

This is big news, as at one point White swore he’d never do business with the company after the release of EA Sports MMA.  Guess he had a change of heart.  This partnership promises better distribution of UFC goods through EA Sports, as well as possible integration with the UFC on Xbox Live service.  Still, we can’t help but say our fond goodbyes to the Undisputed franchise.  It was fun while it lasted…

The Last of Us

Finally, we have another killer app from Sony, one that did more than its fair share of head-turning when we saw not one but two different playthroughs through a stage, with the game’s two surviving heroes battling a room full of psychos.  The fact you can take different paths is extraordinary, and the realistic cinema-style of the game can’t be beat, especially when you’re struggling to stay in one piece during a melee.  What’s more, the finale at the end of the first path was outstanding, with some poor schlep taking a full blown shotgun blast to the face.  C’mon, Naughty Dog, give us a release date already!