The press conferences were patchy, many of the biggest announcements were revealed in advance, and we didn't get a proper glimpse of the next gen – but based on the games alone, there's a lot to be excited for in the year ahead.

If you're an Xbox and/or PS3 owner in particular, the message was clear: there's a ton of top-drawer titles on the way to keep you gaming deep into 2013.

As for Nintendo owners, with 3DS now firmly in its stride, big hitters from the House of Mario itself and others are lining themselves up nicely. The future of Wii U, due to launch later this year, is less clear. Some of the games look fantastic, fresh and fun – but most people still don't get what the system is all about.

Check back here on Thursday for our full thoughts on the Wii successor. But for now, it's all about games. And these are the best we've seen emerge from E3 2012.

The Last Of Us (PS3)

We knew about this already, of course. Not only is it from the studio behind the brilliant Uncharted series, specifically it's from the creative leads of Uncharted 2, the greatest of them all. This post-apocalyptic survival adventure was treated to a lengthy demo in Sony's conference and looked utterly amazing. Coming in 2013.

Tomb Raider (PS3, 360)

How times change. Uncharted was inspired by the adventures of Lara Croft, but now Nathan Drake is gaming's leading action hero, even Tomb Raider is following the Naughty Dog template. Which is in no sense a bad thing. This series reboot shows a young, scared, uncertain Lara caught in her most harrowing quest yet. Also due next year.

Watch Dogs (PS3, 360, PC)

The biggest surprise of E3 and the best. No-one saw this Ubisoft Montreal open-world epic coming and that made its reveal all the more jaw-dropping. If the game lives up to the promise, we have something truly special in store. Yet another 2013 game.

Pikmin 3 (Wii U)

The highlight of Nintendo's press event – not that there was much competition. The return of Miyamoto's cute real-time strategy title looks gorgeous in HD and the GamePad's second screen adds a new dimension to the action. Likely to be a must-have at launch.

Halo 4 (360)

We were pretty happy with where the series was left after Halo Reach, to be honest. But the popularity of Master Chief proved too much for the money men at Microsoft to resist. And the good news is, even though original creator Bungie is no longer at the helm, he looks like he's in very good hands.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)

The original was the much underrated star of GameCube launch, so a second outing for The Other Brother is long overdue. Its quirky, ghost-hunting gameplay is perfectly suited to the handheld, beaming with Nintendo charm.

ZombiU (Wii U)

Another big E3 surprise from Ubisoft, and arguably the most compelling demonstration of the potential of Wii U's second screen. It's a first-person zombie-crushing survival shooter, with the GamePad employed variously as scanner, sniper scope, hacking device, and all sorts of other stuff. Very promising.

Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)

So this is what David Cage did next. After 2010's brave, divisive Heavy Rain, the ambitious French designer returns with a supernatural thriller promising a similar branching narrative and gripping drama. And this one stars Juno actress Ellen Page, so the voice acting should be up to par, too.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted (PS3, 360)

Is there a more inconsistent blockbuster series than Need For Speed? It's had its fair share of ups and downs, but this one promises to be the best yet. And that's because it's being put together in the garage of Criterion, the studio behind the brilliant Burnout series.

Black Ops 2 (PS3, 360, PC)

It wouldn't be E3 without a balls-out demo of this year's Call of Duty, and Treyarch didn't disappoint. Set in the near future this time, we all know what to expect by now – although the prospect of optional missions that change the outcome offers a new spin. It's still the biggest console game in the world for a reason.


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