The blue placards have been pulled down, the special carpet's been ripped up and we're left to reflect on another fantastic Expo. How was your show? It certainly wasn't short of highlights, whether that was Hideo Kojima outlining his vision for the future of Metal Gear and reflecting on 25 years of its past or Peter Molyneux proving once again what a charismatic showman he is.
And let's not forget the games - after all, they're kind of the whole point of the exercise. This year boasted an unprecedented amount of variety, with everything from Just Dance 4 through to Vlambeer's delightful looking Luftrauser and so much more in-between.
We've already given a shout to our own personal game of the show, but what the hell do we know? We asked you by the thousands what your own highlights were of the weekend, and below is the rundown of the top 10.
10. Far Cry 3
- Release date: November 30
Ubisoft's typically an eccentric publisher, but its nuttiness is usually channeled straight into its Rabbids games or the annual horror show that is its E3 press conference. Thankfully, a little bit of that insanity has finally wiggled its way into one of its blockbuster games: Far Cry 3 is absolutely mad, but it looks to be all the better for it. Psychedelics, angry bears and a tropical open world really do sound like the ingredients for the perfect weekend, and as blockbuster first person shooters go, Far Cry 3 looks positively refreshing.
9. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- Release date: October 12
How do you go about re-booting one of the most loved PC games of the '90s? You get someone who loves that game more than anyone else to take the reins, would seem to be 2K's answer, and the results speak for themselves. XCOM: Enemy Unknown treats the original with a certain amount of reverence, but that doesn't stop it from feeling fresh today.
8. Hitman: Absolution
- IO Interactive/Square Enix
- Release date: November 20
We've all forgotten about the nuns, right? Square might be doing its level best to obscure the fact, but Hitman Absolution is actually shaping up to be what everyone's been screaming for from IO - a taut, sadistic murder simulator that plays smart with its stealth. Contracts Mode - neatly described at the Expo as a murder mystery played in reverse - helps give it a contemporary edge.
7. Aliens: Colonial Marines
- Release date: February 12, 2013
You know those guys who lingered round the Aliens booth, all decked out in Colonial Marines gear? That's more than a weekend job for those chaps - it's their own kit, and walking around in character like that is kind of their hobby. All of which makes me want to reconsider how I spend my own free-time - maybe they need a Burke to help redress the balance. Anyway, on to Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines - it looks great, and does everything you'd want of a game riffing on one of the '80s most beloved action flicks. Which should be more than enough to guarantee that this'll be a hit.
6. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance
- Release date: February 21, 2013
Metal Gear also attracted its fair share of cosplayers over the weekend, though it's a sign of where Raiden stands with the fans that no-one opted to come dressed as the emo cyber-samurai. That should soon change, though: Metal Gear Solid 4 already painted him in a more sympathetic light, and Revengeance could complete his transformation into a bona-fide icon. In the process we'll be getting what looks like another sterling action game from the masters of the ludicrous over at Platinum.
5. Assassin's Creed 3
- Release date: October 31
As dear as old Ezio is to everyone's hearts, it'll only take a couple of minutes in the sprawling open world of Assassin's Creed 3 to forget all about him. This is the step-up that the series has been threatening to make since Assassin's Creed 2 atoned so gracefully for its predecessor's sins, and this is promising to be the biggest, most engaging episode yet. It also promises to be the last we'll see of Desmond Miles, so there's always that to be thankful for too.
4. Tomb Raider
- Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix
- Release date: March 5, 2013
In a year when even an arcade racing game is pledging its debt to Christopher Nolan you know there's a bit of a creative epidemic going on, but to Crystal Dynamic's credit it seems to have nailed the ubiquitous idea of the gritty reboot well enough in its next Tomb Raider game. Lara's a survivor rather than the genocidal adventurer that burst fully-formed onto the scene in 1996, and that suggests we'll be getting a game that's a little smarter and potentially more emotive than its predecessors.
3. Halo 4
- Release date: November 6
How do you go about re-booting… Hang on, I've done this one before. Well, it turns out the answer's much the same: 343's first Halo game proper is being created by a team that's in love with the originals, to the point where it's not exactly a reboot. Instead, it's revisiting what made Bungie's games so popular, as well as injecting it with a handful of 343's own ideas. The fans are happy, so it looks like the first and perhaps hardest part of 343's battle has already been won.
2. Call of Duty Black Ops 2
- Release date: November 13
Black Ops 2 boasted the biggest queues of the Expo weekend. Don't you lot know what to expect by now? Actually, none of us really do - for the sequel to the game that finally banished some unfair notions about the studio, Treyarch's pushing the Call of Duty formula further than any game before it. Branching storylines promise to spice up the single-player, while the multiplayer's got a canny eye on the eSports scene. Another deceptively smart blockbuster looks to be on the cards.
- Release date: October 12
Dishonored's another smart offering, though it's perhaps not as shy about that part of its make-up as some of its compatriots. Here's a game that promises to reward the intelligent player, its brand of stealth being culled straight from a golden age of PC gaming. That a new IP from a pretty much unproven studio is generating so much excitement is testament to Dishonored's power.
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