We pay tribute to the demos that impressed us over the years.
With E3 kicking off in only a few days, we look back for the ten best gameplay demos ever shown at the big conference. Maybe 2012 will give us a new number one?
E3 is a big deal. Taking place in Los Angeles once a year, the presence (en-masse) of the world's best gaming media forces the various publishers, developers, and platform holders to bring their A-game.
As a result, it's no surprise that E3 is also where some of the biggest announcements in the history of our industry have been made. The buzz generated from showing a game at E3 can have a major impact on its success, and that leads to everyone trying to make sure that their game will be the talk of the show.
With E3 2012 just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to look back over the years and pick out the ten game demonstrations from E3 that I found the most impressive. The rules here are that the demonstration had to be gameplay focused, at least five minutes long, and behind closed door demos are allowed.
Keep in mind that the way these games actually turned out is not relevant here; this is purely judging what was shown at E3.
Without further ado, let's hit the list...
10: Halo 2/God of War 3
I know, I know. It’s a copout starting the list with a tie, but honestly, both of these demos deserved to make the list and a “Top 11” feature is just way too edgy.
Halo 2 was an impressive E3 demo; the graphical leap from Halo was truly impressive. Bungie also showed off dual-wielding SMGs and hijacking vehicles, which looked awesome! Using the Plasma Sword was hinted at, the brutes were introduced, and everyone was pumped for their next trip to the ring.
Onto the second game of the number 10 slot. The first time God of War 3 was demonstrated actually running on a PS3, it showed impressive scope. It had the most enemies on screen at once for a God of War game, an enormous Titan creature causing chaos in the background, and its level of detail was amazing. Kratos wouldn’t just kill a Centaur, he’d cut out its intestines, leaving the entrails falling out of the beast.
There was a lot of great stuff shown; incredible monsters, gruesome finishing moves, new weapons, and it all ended with Kratos flying blades-first towards a Titan. You could almost hear the sound of people running out to buy their PS3s in anticipation.
9: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
The demo that started it all for the CoD sensation, that has since become an annual event. While the E3 demo had no sign of the highly addictive multiplayer that would be the main cause for the series' success, the singleplayer demo on a sinking ship was pretty freaking amazing.
This was the first Call of Duty game not based on World War 2, and the first to use the extremely pretty new engine. Its high octane action scenes, firefights, running hell for leather out of a sinking ship, and water dripping off its first-person camera was an amazing first showing of a game series that would go on to break sales records and never stop doing so to this very day.
LittleBigPlanet absolutely blew me away the first time I saw it. Not only did it have some very impressive ideas and mechanics - particularly around community-built levels and sharing - but for me, Sackboy / girl immediately became the best possible mascot for the PlayStation. For a character that appeared so simple, he / she had so much personality and was completely adorable.
Beyond that, the graphics were stunning and showed the PS3 off to be the powerhouse Sony had claimed it was. I also loved the music and occasionally still listen to the song from that E3 demo on my iPhone. The gameplay looked fun, especially with the promise of interactive four player co-op. It looked like the perfect game to play with your kids or significant other, whether they were gamers or not.
This game came out of nowhere and really impressed a lot of people with what appeared to be an almost unlimited level of creativity. A simple demo, it was all about solving puzzles by typing the name of whatever you wanted to be in the game. Almost anything that people could think of was in there and it all functioned in a way that was amazing and unexpectedly awesome.
The first demo I saw of this game (via a video on the internet) ended with Cthulhu fighting God on a skateboard with a shotgun. It was random, but very funny, and it was crazy the way player chosen items functioned in the game, interacting in a way that made sense.