E3 2012: Part 1 – The Games

Hey there internet. Are you excited because of E3? No? Well you should be. For the maybe 5 of you who don’t know, E3 is the biggest gaming conference of the year. We haven’t gotten the whirlwind announcements that make up the best E3 shows, but we are getting some good stuff, and we’re going to be looking at some of them today. The big three (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) have had their conferences, and we have a good idea what their game plan is going to be heading into next year. The downside is that there haven’t been any surprises. The upside is none of the companies fell flat on their face and embarrassed themselves. We have some new sequels, a couple of new IPs and no focus on Kinect. What more could anyone ask for? Well a whole lot actually, but today we are going to be looking at games alone. We’ll pass our judgement on the Big three soon. For now, games are the focus. Well, enough with the preamble, let’s get to the meat of the post.

That’s right, we get our own graphic

Firstly let’s look at the most important part of E3: the new IPs. There haven’t been too many new games announced at E3, with many games such as The Last of Us, having been announced months earlier. However, there are several standouts. The biggest new IP so far this E3 is definitely Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. The game is a freeroaming third person shooter with hacking elements. There isn’t much new in this game, as it borrows from games such as Grand Theft Auto and Deus Ex, but the execution is extremely well done, and the rain and fire effects are top notch. Not much has been shown so far, but Watch Dogs is definitely a game to watch. Another game worth looking at is Beyond: Two Souls. Created by the team that brought the world Heavy Rain and staring Ellen Paige, it looks like Beyond will be another one of those games that prove that video games are art. If the gameplay isn’t non-existant like in Heavy Rain, it will be a definite must buy.

The Wii U is getting its share of new IPs this year, and all of them look great for different reasons. Project P-100 was not shown at Nintendo’s conference, but it looks like it has the makings of a cult hit. Created by Platinum, the studio that brought you Bayonetta and Madworld, it looks like the game will have you commanding and recruiting a wide variety of superheroes with silly names such as Toiletbowlman. Very little is known about the game yet, but Platinum has rarely dropped the ball. Then there is Zombiu. This game, previously titled Killer Freaks for Outer Space, looks like it will be a very inventive, fantastic game, but it also serves an important purpose. Nintendo needs to shed their kiddie friendly image and a hardcore bloodbath title will do that quickly. On the other end of the spectrum, there is Nintendo Land. This play on Disney Land will consist of many different mini games with characters and settings from all over the Nintendo universe, from Zelda to Metroid. It is unclear if this will be included with all Wii U consoles at this time. If it is, Nintendo Land is a wonderful idea that should showcase the Wii U perfectly in a way that Wii Sports could only dream of. If it isn’t, it probably isn’t worth the money.

For all of the Star Wars fans, there is finally a game that has a chance of being good. Star Wars 1313 is a cover-based shooter set in the popular universe. It will star a bounty hunter, with all of the gadgets that entails, and will have Uncharted-style gameplay. It is all standard stuff really, but the real hook is that we’ve been promised a dark, morally ambiguous plot, and that is something to look forward to. Without that, all we’d be getting is another version of Star Wars Bounty Hunter, from the team that brought the world The Force Unleashed 2, which is to say, a load of garbage.

Playstation All Stars Battle Royal still has its terrible name, but a few new characters have joined the roster. This is mostly boring news, save for the addition of a Big Daddy from Bioshock. This means the game will allow third party characters, and not just ones that originated from a Playstation console either. This is very, very good news, and it should allow PASBR to be far more worthy a game, then it would be if it were limited to Sony’s first party.

You don’t need a video to know what I look like, right?

There was a whole host of games series strutting out there at E3 and it is difficult to be excited about most of them. God of War: Ascension, Halo 4, Splinter Cell Blacklist, and the New Super Mario Bros games, are all going to be great games, but they aren’t anything we haven’t seen before. Mario gets a pass as he usually does, but it is time for something new in these series. Sure, it is great that they are reeling in God of War as it had gotten out of control, but everything reeks of similarity; although, much smoother, faster-paced similarity. Then there are the sequels that don’t look so good. Dead Space 3 looks like a joke. I don’t think they could have ruined the atmosphere of the series more if they had just called it Army of Two. Co-op is not the answer for horror games, but Dead Space seems to be throwing out the horror aspect really quickly as the series evolves. Crysis 3 also looks terrible. The addition of a bow as the central focus is the definition of gimmicky. Then there is Far Cry 3, which looks about as boring as it possibly could.

It’s like we’re being trolled by this game.

Things look good on the handheld front. With a new Castlevania platformer on the 3DS, and dates for big games like Paper Mario and Luigi’s Mansion, Nintendo is in a really strong position. On the other hand, Sony continues to push the console experience on the Vita for better or for worse. The standout for the Vita was clearly the new Assassin’s Creed game. Staring a female protagonist is good, but fitting an entire Assassin’s Creed experience into a handheld is better. The repetitive nature of the series seems like it was designed for handhelds. The addition of a save feature to created levels in Little Big Planet Vita is another point worth paying attention to. With time, that could mean feature length content generated by users.

It isn’t like save files revolutionized anything

Along with Watch Dogs, the most impressive games at E3 so far, for me at least, were The Last of Us and the new Tomb Raider game. Both of these games have embraced a visceral quality many games shy away from or are too incompetent to execute properly. Lara Croft’s latest adventure looks to be what Uncharted needed to be after the first one. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune was a great game that spawned a series with gameplay that simply wouldn’t evolve. Well, Tomb Raider looks to be the evolution, and it is good. Speaking of Uncharted, its developer, Naughty Dog, seems to have hit it big with The Last of Us. With more survival horror elements then either Dead Space 3 or Resident Evil 6 combined, along with some seriously good acting and quick gameplay, The Last of Us is a lot more than simply a new Uncharted game.

So far so good. As boring as E3 may seem without some Final Fantasy XIII stealing announcement, it is important to remember that some really great games still get showcased. Have there been missteps? Sure, look at the Smart Glass or Sony’s idea that they would release only some PS1 Classics for the Vita. Despite this, E3 is looking good so far, with many big name games coming out, and many more still to be discussed. Everything is still very active right now, so there is no way to be as comprehensive as I would like, so I apologize in advance if I missed something.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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5 thoughts on “E3 2012: Part 1 – The Games

  1. I'm pretty sure Microsoft fell on its face bringing out Usher, but I digress. I was a bit disappointed that no one, Sony in particular, announced anything that we weren’t already expecting, with the exception of Wonderbook which is amazing for six year olds but about as thrilling as the Nike-Fit segment of Microsoft for everyone else. It was a good E3, but still a few steps away from being a great E3. Hopefully everyone is saving the knockout announcements for next gen and next year. I have to say I was probably the most surprised by Ubisoft's conference, which aside from the typically 'so edgy it's annoying' host and the happy dance party at the start, had the most eye catching lineup, and a very strong and surprising end with Watch Dogs. I'm hoping to be surprised with the mystery titles they are showcasing on the 7th, and am otherwise still excited, but a bit lukewarm, on this year's E3.

  2. I'll admit the Usher act was terrible, but at least, for Microsoft, it will be totally forgotten in a couple of days and not linger like Giant Enemy Crabs. There are still some games to come out, and hopefully we'll get a couple of surprises, but probably nothing huge. I always prefer TGS to E3 simply because I'm an RPG gamer at heart, and you get a lot more JRPGs out of TGS than at E3. Oh, and I'm glad you like the new look. We're modernizing (Read: looking like I'm putting effort into the site)

  3. Yeah, there was effort, but I thought that using the simplest template I could find was limiting. It is unfortunate about the Twitter feed, but at least the site looks cleaner now.

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