Thursday, June 7, 2012

Best of E3 2012

E3, the greatest video game convention in the world, just wrapped up in California. The 4-day event was littered with video game debuts, live demos, teasers and some of the best games to hit the industry in years. I've never been to E3 (though it is on my bucket list) but I keep up with everything that goes on during the show as best as I can. There were some incredible games that were unveiled this year so I decided to pick my Best of E3 to show off what I think should be the most talked about games in the coming months.

Star Wars 1313

Star Wars 1313 is the newest game to hit the Star Wars franchise and man, does it look amazing! The title is derived from Level 1313, a subsection of the planet Coruscant where only the most ruthless of thugs, criminals and villains dare go. The game puts you in control of a deadly bounty hunter, allowing you to command an array of high tech weapons and gadgets to take down your foes. 

The game plays like a mix between Gears of War and the Uncharted series. You have stop-and-pop cover-based shooting mechanics (ala Gears) and movement and platforming puzzles (ala Uncharted). Players should really take to this game, even though the main character doesn't wield a lightsaber or utilize the Force, just like the highly popular game Star Wars Bounty Hunter that put you in control of the infamous bounty hunter Jango Fett. 

One of the biggest things that this game has going for it is the fact that the developers stress that you will not notice a graphical change when transitioning from a cut scene to the real game. And they're right. When the game was demoed, the only reason you knew the cut scene was over was because the HUD popped up on screen. It truly was beautiful. The game doesn't have a specified release date though it will be coming out for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC (most likely). 

The Last of Us

So, this game will be the sole reason I invest in a PlayStation 3. The game is exclusive to Sony's console and is a sort of post-apocalyptic survival-action game. The game puts you in control of Joel, a ruthless survivor traversing the Boston quarantine zone with Ellie, a 14-year-old girl who is tough as nails but too young to remember the world before it was destroyed. 

The game emphasizes stealth and critical decision making. Ammo is scarce and the AI will react accordingly. Brandish a gun at an enemy and watch them cower or panic, pull the trigger and hear the click of an empty clip and the AI will charge, knowing that you were bluffing. The best thing from the floor demo, however, is how Ellie plays. Instead of making the game one big escort mission, Ellie actually helps out, getting your back and distracting enemies while you move in for the kill. 

In the demo Joel and Ellie are making their way through an abandoned hotel that has some looters in it making camp. A fight ensues, though Joel is able to shoot most of the enemies. When the last one figures out Joel is out of ammo, he charges only to be hit in the head with a brick by Ellie. As he staggers, Joel moves in and takes the guy down. The best part is that none of it was scripted. Ellie reacted based on your decisions in the game which means that the next time you go through the level, things could turn out differently. 

The game is set for a 2013 release date exclusively on the PlayStation 3 and will definitely be a contender for Game of the Year. 

Beyond: Two Souls

If you liked Heavy Rain then you are going to love this one. Beyond: Two Souls is the next game to come from the Heavy Rain development team and promises to be very similar to Heavy Rain with a bigger emphasis on action. The story follows Jodie Holmes, a young woman who has been haunted by an invisible, powerful entity her entire life. Known only as "Aiden", the entity is able to interact with the physical world, follow Jodie's orders and communicate with the character. Oh, and it also plays as a second playable character.  

The biggest selling point here is definitely the graphics and the A-list talent behind the game. The graphics use the facial mapping that can be seen in L.A. Noire while A-list actress Ellen Paige will be voicing and modeling the character of Jodie. Basically, you play as Ellen Paige, which is definitely pretty sweet. This is another game that is influencing me to purchase a PS3 as it is also an exclusive. Expect this one out in 2013 as well. 

Watch Dogs

This game came completely out of nowhere and surprised everybody. Ubisoft really lit up the show floor when they not only officially announced the game but also showed actual gameplay footage, which looked amazing, by the way. The game is an open-world action game set to release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2013. 

The gameplay focuses on hacking and surveillance as the game's protagonist, Aiden Pierce, can use any device tied to the game city's central operating system as a weapon against itself. This will definitely make for some interesting puzzle solving moments, but don't think that this game will be boring. The action was fluid and fast-paced and reminded me of a John Woo film with gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and jumping over car hoods (while simultaneously shooting a guy in the face, of course). Other than that not much is known about the game, though it is definitely on my Must Buy list. 

E3 was definitely a great show this year and these four games are only the tip of the iceberg. All of them were exclusive debuts for the show, aside from The Last of Us, though the gameplay demo was definitely a welcome addition. 2013 is shaping up to be an incredible year for the gaming industry and should see a revitalized interest in games and where they are headed in the near future. I just hope my wallet is ready for the next year because there are almost too many games coming to count. 
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  1. I can't believe how good the graphics are these days on console systems.

    But, sadly, I can't believe how bad the language has become...

  2. Andy, considering what we see in movies and television these days, you can only assume that it will show up in video games also.

  3. Video game developers treat their games like a creative outlet and medium the same way directors and authors treat their movies and books. It's just another form of artistic expression