It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas. This is E3 2012, the biggest games convention of the lot, and while it's a time of temptation as much as anything else, at least you get a chance to see what it is that you'll need to be saving your pennies for later in the year.

As much as consoles have largely been the focus of E3 2012, what with the Nintendo Wii U, Xbox SmartGlass and the like, the games are always a huge draw. So which are the best games of E3 2012? Here's a list of the ones to look out for according to Pocket-lint.

Post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh is the backdrop to this stunning looking action/adventure following ruthless, anti-hero and survivor Joel and innocent 14-year-old girl, Ellie, who knows nothing of life before a fungus epidemic destroyed the minds of the people of the world. Sound far fetched? Perhaps, but the gameplay in the trailer should be enough to convince you that both the fun and the storyline will have you hooked.

Genre: Third-person survival adventure

Why we like it: Great looking gameplay

Developer: Naughty Dog

Platform: PS3

Release Date: Late 2012/Early 2013

From the people who brought you Heavy Rain comes another dark and graphically stylised adventure. The story centres around a young woman - played by Academy Award nominee Ellen Page, of Juno and Inception fame - with unique psychological powers that she accesses through connection with an invisible entity. The whole game is designed to pose the question: “What lies beyond death?”

Genre: RPG Thriller

Why we like it: Gripping, original plot

Developer: Quantic Dream

Platform: PS3

Release Date: Unknown

Ubisoft has taken a leap forward several hundred years to bring its hugely successful series closer to the modern day than it’s ever been. Step into the mind of Connor, a half-native American freedom fighter involved in the American War of Independence. With tomahawk in one hand and musket in the other you can creep through the snow, skin wild animals, leap between trees and buildings, blend into city crowds and, of course, get stuck into some killing. Lots of killing. Take a look at our full Assassin’s Creed III preview for more details and game trailers.

Genre: Third-person action/adventure/stealth

Why we like it: Fresh take on a tested classic

Developer: Ubisoft

Platform: Xbox 360/PS3/Wii U/PC/PS Vita

Release Date: 30 October 2012

One of the stand-out stunners because it simply wasn’t expected, Watch Dog is a rather different take on the single-player, open world stealth game from Assassin’s Creed maker Ubisoft. It’s an alternate reality-set surveillance-based game involving phone hacking and the use of cameras and technologies to zero in on your target. Not an awful lot to go on in extra details but there is a nine-minute trailer which we won’t even have to encourage you to watch from start to finish. Enjoy.

Genre: Third-person, action/stealth

Why we like it: Lovely setting and most intriguing

Developer: Ubisoft

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Release Date: Unknown

Lara’s back only this time with some really dark edges and a bow and arrow. Tomb Raider 2013 is an entire re-boot of the series and will make little sense alongside anything else Croft that has gone before. The story is all about the origins of the hardened explorer that we know and lust and just how she went from little lady to staunch survivor. Shipwrecked on a tropical island with her friends picked off and slaughtered in ritualistic manner, it’s the player’s job to help Lara escape and uncover the dark secrets of what’s been going on.

Genre: Third-person action/adventure

Why we like it: Because there’s life in the old girl still

Developer: Crystal Dynamics

Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date: 5 March 2013

If it’s raw blasting that you like, then you’ll be thrilled that Xbox has another installment of the Gears of War saga planned for 2013 in the shape of Gears of War: Judgement. The action shifts to a hero in the shape of Lt. Damon Baird a few years before the original game was set, but it still very much looks to be the chainsawing fun from previous encounters with the series. In fact, the promise has been fewer cutscenes and more action. Bring on the pain.

Genre: Third-person shooter

Why we like it: Well, we liked the others

Developer: People Can Fly

Platform: Xbox 360

Release Date: 2013

Looking to draw the same kinds of emotions as hit TV series Lost, Far Cry 3 puts you in control of young tourist Jason Brody who finds himself trapped on a set of tropical islands with a bunch of crazed natives. We can only assume that this is a separate set of islands with crazed natives from that which Lara Croft finds herself marooned upon. With one friend killed and his girlfriend lost, Jason has to escape before he turns just as insane as the huge host of NPCs that have already long gone troppo.

Genre: FPS

Why we like it: Great characters and a dark tale

Developer: Ubisoft

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Release Date: 6 September 2012

In Forza Horizon you can forget about those early stages, driving a Fiat Punto around the track over and over again. Instead the game wants you to enjoy the best driving experiences in your dream car. It’s an open world game, taking the absolute cutting-edge handling and graphics engine from Forza 4 and then opening it up to a Grand Theft Auto sized environment. This is a game about pure driving, with world’s best supercars pitted against each other on dream roads. Forza Horizon Preview

Genre: Racing

Why we like it: It’s Forza but not as we know it

Developer: Playground Games

Platform: Xbox 360

Release Date: 26 October 2012

It would be weird if Nintendo's chubby, moustachioed plumber didn't get a look in at the games giant's E3 press conference and, thankfully, we weren't disappointed. New Super Mario Bros U - for the company's latest console, Wii U - may not be a deep and rich 3D platforming experience, but something tells us that this 2D sideways scrolling title may be one of the best yet. This new Mario game will introduce many new features, including Miiverse social gaming functionality. It will also be able to be played using the new Wii U GamePad and conventional Wii remotes, with up to five players able to play at once.

Genre: Platform

Why we like it: Because it's Mario! (And that soundtrack is ace)

Developer: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo Wii U

Release Date: Pre-Christmas with the Wii U

Survival horror is done no better at the moment than by the Dead Space series, so it's with much pleasure and anticipation that the third instalment of the saga has arrived at E3 2012. Dead Space 3 sees engineer Isaac Clark teamed up with soldier John Carver as they seek out the source of the Necromorph plague. The pair crash land on the ice planet where they think they can stop the threat for good and have to survive both the elements and the army of enemies there to meet them. Will they stop the plague for good? We seriously hope not.

Genre: Third person shooter/survivor horror

Why we like it: Because it'll terrify you

Developer: Visceral

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date: February 2013

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the latest iteration of the Splinter Cell series and sees Sam Fisher back once again in stealth mode. The new game will see you play the "blacker than black" special ops agent, Fisher, as he leads a unit that answers only to the President of the United States behind enemy lines in places like Iraq. The goal: to hunt down 12 terrorists by any means necessary, and stop the Blacklist countdown before it reaches zero.

Genre: Stealth

Why we like it: New move called "Killing in Motion" with multiple enemy deaths in one go

Developer: Ubisoft

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date: Spring 2013

We knew it was coming, but now we get to see Halo 4 in action, thanks to Microsoft and developers 343 Industries showing off the new game at the Microsoft press E3 conference in LA. Halo 4 marks the return of Master Chief and the beginning of a new saga in the blockbuster franchise that started 10 years ago. New additions include the Halo Infinity Multiplayer with an all-new story-driven experience known as Spartan Ops. You can read our earlier thoughts on the game when we had a play in March.

Genre: FPS

Why we like it: Because Master Chief is back

Developer: 343 Industries

Platform: Xbox 360

Release Date: 6 November 2012

Lucas Arts confirmed before gaming conference E3 that it was working on new Star Wars video game called Star Wars 1313 that would be for the mature video gamer rather than just another under 10s fest. The game’s protagonist is a bounty hunter who delves deep into the Coruscant underworld. Rather than using Jedi tricks or supernatural forces, “bounty” will have an array of gadgets at his disposal  - and as he's a bounty hunter, we can assume he will be quite handy with his fists too. The footage, shown to Spike TV at the show, demos three different areas of the game with stunning visuals that at times looks like CGI from the latest blockbuster movie.

Genre: Action/adventure

Why we like it: Star Wars but not for kids

Developer: LucasArts

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date: Unknown