E3 has come and gone and you’ve already read all about the worst moments of the show. Now is the time to look at the brighter side of the busiest week in the video game industry.
Despite many of the low points and the pandering going on at the press conferences there will always be one constant about E3, there are great games shown. This E3 was no different and here are the ones that really stood out.
Beyond: Two Souls
The debate surrounding video games being a form of art often relates back to certain games like Flower, Braid and, of course, Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. In that respect it shouldn’t be surprising that David Cage’s next game, Beyond: Two Souls, made quite a splash at E3. Heavy Rain was a game with unique controls and several great moments but was less regarded for the quality its story and the voice acting was often terrible. Beyond looks to change that fact with great acting and motion capture and a very good cinematic feel. The addition of Ellen Page as the talent behind the main character already looks to be a brilliant move as the Oscar-nominated actress has already added a considerable amount of depth just in the short sequences we’ve seen. Beyond is definitely one of the more interesting games on the horizon.
Far Cry 3
The announcement of Far Cry 3 at E3 last year was one of the show’s highlights. The “insanity” trailer from last E3 featuring main antagonist Vaas showed a level of acting rarely seen in video games. This year at E3, Far Cry 3 once again looked great with a live gameplay demo that showed off an even deeper look into the sanity of the main character Jason. Perhaps the best thing about the game is the dark material, which looks to not pull any punches at it dives into the psyche of Vaas and Jason. Ubisoft also revealed four player co-op which features four distinct characters in their own, separate campaign. The cooperative mode may not have showed the best at Sony’s press conference, the whole idea behind it could make it a compelling feature.
Outside of Black Ops 2, which always dominates game sales, no other game in 2012 is as big as Halo 4. There is no game, this year, that has more to prove than 343 Industries’ first entry in the franchise. Coming out of E3, it certainly seems that they are well on their way to releasing a great game. However, what is most impressive is that 343 isn’t afraid to mix up the formula to breathe some life into the series. Campaign is being spiced up by adding an entire new race of enemies . Multiplayer is going more towards the Call of Duty model by bringing customizable loadouts. The most intriguing aspect is the unique Spartan Ops, which is set to add weekly downloadable co-op content for free. Put all of that together and Halo 4 looks to be a must buy.
The Last of Us
No other game matches the level of pure adventure and cinematic quality found inside Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. Great set pieces combined with a good story and amazing acting. As great as those games are though, Naughty Dog has struggled with shooting mechanics and enemy confrontation. The Last of Us is looking to retain the best aspect of Uncharted while also providing dynamic, compelling combat. While the post-apocalyptic world may not be the freshest setting for a new game, the ideas of survival and desperation will likely be handled well by talented developer. The live demo looked brilliant but the most interesting concept is that everything we saw was being actively generated instead of being pre-scripted. If Naughty Dog can deliver on this idea than The Last of Us could be their masterpiece.
No matter who you ask, nothing was more surprising at E3 than the announcement of Watch Dogs. As fans of video games we’re always asking for new IPs and Ubisoft delivered strongly. Set in a near future where humanity’s dependence on technology is even stronger, we see an assassin who uses things like smart phones, cameras and hacking to infiltrate and track his targets. Putting this idea into an open world game just amps up the possibilities of what this game could achieve. Put into the tease that multiplayer will somehow be involved and Watch Dogs is perhaps the number one game to keep an eye on. The game also looks beautiful, an aspect that leads most people to point to it as a next generation title. Either way it feels like we won’t be seeing this game for quite a while, but hopefully it will be worth the wait.
Okay everyone take a breath. The busiest week in video games is over now and that means it’s time for reflection on everything we just watched. Join Robbie, Kyle, Jason, Samantha and Addam as we go over the press conferences from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo from this year’s E3.
Despite what most people may say about the press conferences, there were definitely a lot of games shown to get excited about and we do our best to cover as many as we can this week. Microsoft brought out the expected heavy hitters of Halo 4 and Black Ops 2 but also snuck in some surprises with Splinter Cell: Blacklist and South Park: The Stick of Truth. Sony showed off two of the best games at E3 with Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us but also managed to become the talk of E3 with a terrible on stage demonstration. Nintendo easily had the most to gain from E3 and we all agree that they squandered the big reveal of the Wii U with few titles and no firm details about pricing and a release date.
This is is just part one of our E3 coverage as we plan to spend more time next week talking about plenty of other games that got us incredibly excited from E3 like Watch Dogs, Far Cry 3, SimCity and more. Thank you for listening and please enjoy Episode 137 of Talking About Gamers.
The Talking About Gamers podcast can be found in iTunes and the Zune Marketplace. Please leave a review there or to provide direct feedback feel free to send an email to email@example.com. You can hit us up on Twitter at @talkaboutgamers and find us on Facebook as well.
Not every game at E3 came from a major publisher or received a lot of attention from the gaming press. One such smaller title is Lifeless Planet. I became aware of Lifeless Planet late last year through its Kickstarter campaign. The game is a space mystery about an astronaut who is on a one way trip to another world. But something goes wrong and after crashing he cannot find his crew. Instead, he sees a woman, Aelita, and follows her in an attempt to catch her and get answers. The game involves puzzles and platforming on this distant world.
For E3 a new trailer has been released that shows a bit of the gameplay. Additional screenshots have also been released. Lifeless Planet is currently planned to launch on PC sometime in the fourth quarter of 2012 with release on other platforms in 2013.
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