E3 2012: My Big Picks
With all of the big names and companies finishing their announcements and big conferences, it’s time to look back and feed through all of the information to see what games I am most excited to play later this year or early next year. We’ll be going through each company in order of their conference shows and what big name video games got me most excited for what’s in store.
Starting out their conference with Halo 4 was pretty expected, but I can honestly say I’m not too excited about the game. Some of the new tweaks didn’t appeal to me while some new enemies had me wondering about the game, but nothing really beyond it. There were a couple games, some only teased, that got my attention though.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
While I am not happy that the voice of Sam Fisher has changed, the trailer did a great job of having people guessing what game was being shown. Up until Sam targeted the enemies, no one had any clue as to what they were seeing, but it looked very amazing. The disguise element was a welcomed addition to the Splinter Cell series. While it seemed a little more action oriented (As most games seem to be going these days) I hope that it’ll continue to have some amazing stealth elements that have made the series so beloved in the industry. I still have to finish up Conviction, but this title certain got me excited for what possibilities lie ahead for Sam, even if without the deep voice talent of Ironside.
Gears of War: Judgement
While it was teased as the next Gameinformer cover, I already knew Gears had a new title. The teaser was short and didn’t show any gameplay, but I am very interested in knowing the details of it. The GI covers will have 2 editions, one with Baird and one with Cole. With Cole being one of my favorite characters, I am really excited to see him more than anything else in this upcoming Epic title (See what I did there? I’m sure I’m not the first.)
While many have displayed an outcry about the physical abuse that Lara takes in this origin story, I do feel like it’s only going to make her that much stronger throughout the story of the game, turning into the rough, razor edged character that we expect her to become. The demo showed off some amazing visuals, some very cool combat and destruction physics as well as some heart pumping action sequences that will most certainly create a brand new path for the Tomb Raider series to go down.
Resident Evil 6
While people seem to have taken a distaste towards the recent installment of Resident Evil, with it’s much more action oriented gameplay, many people are worried that this new title will continue that trend. Capcom has promised something that will combine both the horror that classic Resident Evil fans desire while also maintaining the action pacing that the new series boasts.
From the trailer, it seemed extremely action packed and the new moves and abilities really seemed to improve the overall feel of the game. Being able to finally move and shoot will be a very welcomed addition, as most complained about it being a cheap gimmick to take it away for more fear in the previous titles, along with being able to dive and having some faster sprinting abilities definitely made this game fly by at an alarmingly fast rate. I personally loved RE5 and played through it numerous times, but I’ve also loved the old Tank-controlled Resident Evil games. If Capcom can combine the horror that games like Dead Space has been able to conjur along with the action they’ve maintained the last couple titles, then I think this one will be one hell of a ride through the zombie epidemic.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Say what you will about Call of Duty, as I will most likely agree with the hate towards yearly installments and “It’s always the same thing”. Modern Warfare was original when it came out years ago, MW2 dropped my interest exponentially and by MW3, I had given up on the franchise. The original Black Ops story wasn’t all that interesting to me, either. How it got rated the best video game ending of all time is mind boggling to me. Black Ops 2 plans on going further into the future than Modern Warfare ever did and I am actually intrigued, to a skeptical degree, about what’s in store.
The demo showed off some cool gadgets including a holographic wrist computer, an X-ray sniper rifle, flying machine gun turrets that will mow down whatever you point them at and what appeared to be a full fledged flight simulation section. It showed something that previous Call of Duty games seemed to have failed at doing, providing a big variety of gameplay elements. The graphics engine is not aging well, that is as clear as day, but I feel like the work that Treyarch is putting into making this experience different and unique definitely showed during this demo. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but hopefully we can expect a rather unique and variety filled Call of Duty later this year.
Getting out of the “Worst company in the world” stigma is going to be hard for EA. With people constantly complaining that they take over any IP and streamline it (Mass Effect being a big complaint from people) and try to do too much in regards to taking money from gamers, they had to really show off some killer games at their conference. They had a couple hits that might help them get out of the grave they’re currently in.
Dead Space 3
While more of a co-op demonstration, Dead Space 3 looked like the same game we’ve been playing for the last two installments. With the new ability to have a second player with you throughout the campaign, it remains to be seen if it’ll be as scary or not, but it certainly was on the disgusting, action packed and suspenseful route during this demo. The out of the control drill while fighting off necromorphs was intense and the new cover system looks interesting. Let’s just hope that it isn’t put to an incredible amount of use like in Gears. The final scene with the giant necromorph eating Isaac alive and him inside the digestive system of this creature was creepy and just gross and it’s everything I expect from the upcoming game. Now let’s just hope that they maintain the horror aspect that they’re well known for with the first two games.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
I was very skeptical about this game being any good since it just seemed like EA would be going back to what made them originally a good company and try to feed off of that like a dead cow that’s been dead for years and you’re still trying to milk for no apparent reason other than a memory of how good it tasted. When I saw that Criterion games would be making it, I actually was met with hope that this game could be a good one. For the record, the original Most Wanted is my favorite Need for Speed game of all time, so I naturally was very worried about them calling this one by the same name.
Criterion did a rather impressive job with Hot Pursuit and I enjoyed it more than any recent Need For Speed title since Most Wanted, so I am excited to see what they will do with an open world racing game. There will be the traditional races while also the hot pursuit chances, both during races and while roaming (Which was one of my favorite things to do in Most Wanted. Find a cop and have a 30 minute chase just for fun) and even some sandbox fun. I look forward to seeing if Criterion can pull off yet another good Need for Speed title.
Perhaps one of the top 3 best looking games during the main conferences, Crysis 3 looks to be the future of first person shooters. From it’s high paced action to it’s super powered abilities, the game looks like a load of fun and blockbuster goodness. The half destroyed city/forest setting looks absolutely flawless in the demo and it’ll be interesting to see if we’ll need to upgrade our PC’s yet again for this once system benchmark title.
With perhaps the most bizarre hosts in the industry, Ubisoft has a tendency to be rather off the wall with their conference, and this year was no different. With two new hosts that were constantly at eachother’s throats, talking sexual innuendos to just blatant sex jokes about girl wood, Ubisoft had the most entertaining and, in my opinion, best show of E3. Here’s why.
Far Cry 3
I have never played a Far Cry game. I have never had any interest in them in any way. The demo for Far Cry 3 completely changed that for me. Was it the opening shot of a girl on top of a guy, topless? No. Was it the pretty atmosphere? Partly. Was it the crazy action sequences like pulling a grenade pin from a guys belt, kicking him into a car and watching the entire thing blow up like a Die Hard Christmas tree? Yes. The game looks undoubtedly crazy and sometimes really bizarre, but it really caught my eye for insanity from the get go and I was intrigued throughout the entire demo. I look forward to seeing this game further down the line.
Rayman Origins is perhaps one of my favorite video game platformers of all time at this point. The controls were incredibly tight, the art style blew my mind and the challenge was absolutely perfect. Seeing the new Rayman Legends gameplay not only sold me on the game, but it may have sold me on getting the WiiU inadvertently. The same gameplay from before is back and looks as polished as ever. Seeing the WiiU tablet being able to control certain objects in the game was cool. How you could grab enemies and hold them in place for Rayman to hit was entertaining, but what really sold me was the final level they showed.
If you’ve played some of the more intense levels of Origins, you’ll understand this better than most. There’s a certain trance you hit when you really get a level down pat. When you can surf through a level without making a single mistake and you just hit that perfect sensibility where you know where and when to jump in a precise moment, you know you’ve hit some form of heaven. Seeing the final level with the inclusion of an incredible song being played by the sheer timing of the players hitting certain pads and objects in a particular sequence along with the WiiU tablet hitting certain notes in the same succession gave me a feeling of euphoria that no other game gave me at any other E3 conference. Every year I try to only make one day one purchase (Financial issues keep me from doing more, though I did break this rule last year) and I have pretty much decided that Rayman Legends might be my day one pick. I cannot be any more excited for this title.
Assassins Creed III
I had to push myself through Assassins Creed I and I still haven’t beaten II as of the time of this article, but the 2 different demos shown for III have actually convinced me to play through II, Brotherhood and Revelations before it comes out. From the winter scene which had Conner hunting deer, fighting wolves and chasing scouts down to the Carribean ship battling, everything that was shown was completely jaw dropping to me. The details in the destruction of the boats during the sea battle, the subtle sounds like the crunching of snow underneath Conner’s shows as he walked all resonated with me as I sat there, my eyes glued to the footage like a kid on Christmas, unable to fathom what he’s been given. This title is another one that I’m considering for a day one purchase (If I can beat the others beforehand).
The first new IP to stir up everybody at E3 for sure was this title. Having an emphasis on the current world of technology we live in, this game which seems to have similar ideas to the movie “Enemy of the State” really showed off some amazing tech. The entire world we were shown didn’t show any signs of load times between outside and inside, characters carried on conversations that made them really feel like they were all individuals with agenda’s and lives they carried out and gadgets had a great deal of variety in the small bit we were shown. We saw information, we saw hostility rates, we hacked phone calls and even short circuited a street light to cause an accident. Everything about this game looks amazing and what’s even bigger is that there could be simultaneous people in the same world, tackling different objectives at the same time that will carry forward an over-arching single player story. This may be the first time I’ve ever been excited for multiplayer online play ever since Halo 2 on Xbox Live.
A rather decent conference landed Sony on good terms with most fans. Integrating the Vita with the PS3 seemed to be a good move for getting more people on board with the portable device and Sony also had some pretty solid titles to release as well.
Beyond: Two Souls
From the minds of Heavy Rain, we were introduced to the world of Beyond, with an emphasis on the insecurities we have about what happens after life and death. Being one of the other impressive graphic titles of the show, the cut scenes of Beyond show more depth and emotion than the Kara tech demo we were shown not too long ago. While the game itself seems to be a mystery, it does appear to have some serious action, suspense and perhaps even some horror in store for us. Hopefully we’ll get to see some actual gameplay soon.
The Last of Us
Greeted by nothing but the sounds of the characters escaping danger in complete darkness, Naughty Dog really sold the deal that The Last of Us has a huge emphasis on sound design. Alongside it, the gameplay was incredible looking and the graphics were impressive. I felt that nothing looked better to me with the game than the actual human feeling of the characters. From the fumbling mannerisms of the character as he reloaded a gun, slamming into cover and causing it to shake or the jaw dropper when he ran out of bullets and the enemy AI knew he was out. While we’ve seen some instances of these things in the past, every single aspect of it was performed to perfection in this latest gameplay demo. As someone who doesn’t even currently own a PS3, The Last of Us is looking to be a game I am definitely keeping my eye on.
Coming off a high that most companies can only dream of, Nintendo had a lot to prove at their conference with WiiU and try to really sell the fact that it’s a new system entirely. I felt they failed with that objective, but that had a couple cool video game announcements.
I’ve never played Pikmin, but after seeng Miyamoto’s entrance and the gameplay, I want to give it a try. It looks like a really relaxing and fun experience that you can pick up and enjoy for short sessions. The worker ant style gaming looked interesting and the fact that you can have 100 allies on screen at once was pretty amazing to see in HD. With some new additions to the game, it’s looking to be a very fully packed title and hopefully it’ll give the WiiU some relevance.
New Super Mario Bros. U
Intended for WiiU only, we’ll be seeing yet another 2D side scrolling Mario game and it’s looking just as good as it always has, but in HD. With some new suits, some new abilities and new, miniature, fat Yoshi’s in your arsenal, Mario looks to be leading the pack again with video game mascots. We’ll have to see if he can do enough to get WiiU units off the shelves and into homes for some HD platforming action.
So those are my picks for things I’m rather excited for that were at the big name conferences. Some titles worth recognizing that weren’t shown in particular shows that I am excited for will follow.
Metal Gear Solid: Rising: Revengeance
Devil May Cry
So what games are you most excited for after this expo? Leave a comment and let us know what got you excited and jumping for joy this 2012 E3!