Wednesday, 6 June 2012

E3 2012 | Who Wins When Everyone Loses?

At this very second, at the LA Convention Centre in Los Angeles, America, E3 is occurring.

Or is it?

Well, yes. Yes it is. But I think it's safe to say the best bits are behind us. There are sure to be a couple of other announcements in the days to come, but - these days, at least - the Electronic Entertainment Expo is all about the press conferences, so for me and the myriad millions whose only involvement in this annual extravaganza is which site we stream 'em from, the show's as good as over.

And what a show it was! :)

Actually, no. I'm pulling your leg again. It was rubbish. Last night I stayed up till an ungodly hour to polish off the press conferences I'd missed live, but if I'd known then what I know now... let's just say I kinda wish I'd went to bed instead.

But the show must go on! Indeed, it even had highlights.

I suppose I should know better by now, after decades of disappointment, but I had high hopes for Nintendo's presser this year. I mean, they were - and they are - the only one of the three hardware manufactures with a forthcoming console to show.

But the Wii U didn't demo very well, and the 3DS was hardly involved in Nintendo's conference at all. Speaking of: I still don't own one, but before E3 I was on the brink of buying in. Not so much now, unless they're saving a secret Legend of Zelda for some later date.

Moving onwards, if not necessarily upwards: Microsoft.

First, an admission of guilt. Most of the video games I play, I play on the Xbox 360. What can I say? I'm a sucker for achievements; Xbox Live is my go-to for online gaming; and occasionally, Xbox Live Arcade spits out something simply magnificent. If I could own only one console, it'd be my 360.

So when I sat down to watch Microsoft's conference, I was primed for awesomesauce. I got... well, a bunch of games that I'll certainly play, come the day. But that was never a question. What I wanted was a surprise, and there wasn't one.

That said, Halo 4 looks pretty impressive. I hadn't imagined that 343 Studios could possibly trump Bungie, but the Forerunner weapons alone got me all kinds of excited - more than I have been for a Halo game since I supposedly finished the fight - and I can't wait to try my hands at the neat new combat scenarios the demo delivered.

So there was that.

But if anyone won E3 this year, it was Sony, surely. I don't remember much about what happened between their first and final demo, but those two showcases alone absolutely blew me away. Further to the words we had about Kara not a week or so ago, Beyond is Quantic Dream's new project, and it looks awesome, as expected. Furthermore, it looks like it might just be more of a game than Heavy Rain, and that's got to be good.

Plus, they shaved Ellen Page.

But it was the last game Sony showed that made the ordeal of E3 this year worthwhile for me. We'd seen a little of The Last of Us in advance, but the gameplay demo was absolutely amazing.

The Last of Us is the next game to come from Naughty Dog, developers of the Uncharted series, and it shows. The encounter mechanics appear to be heavily scripted, but the sheer desperation of the scuffle between our main man - and the little lady that's tagging along with him - and a floor-full of guys with guns left me breathless. The climactic brutality, too. Sure, we only saw an isolated vertical slice of the experience entire, but if The Last of Us has a few more of those in store, it could out-innovate even Bioshock: Infinite.

Which didn't feature in any of the pressers at all, alas.

Nor did Grand Theft Auto V.

And of course nobody said anything about Half-Life 3, or Half-Life 2 Episode 3, or whatever that game is called in its current incarnation.

So never mind.

That is, unless I'm missing something major. Any suggestions?


  1. You're missing watch_dogs, my game of the show along with Last of Us :)

    Also glad to see Valve announcing Linux Steam supports (makes sense, Gaben apparently things Win8 is the worst thing since the universe began) and maybe the fact that I no longer have to hope Resident Evil, Splinter Cell and Dead Space will ever be good again. Visceral cinematic shooting action!

  2. Halo 4! Hells yeah! And Gears of War prequel... good or bad... or more of the same? Just when I thought a series was finished GoW gets the Halo Reach treatment

  3. @Severian - Right you are. I left the Ubisoft conference till last, but what a great reveal Watch Dogs was. Potentially a game-changer. That is, it seemed like it could be... until the player character pulled out a pistol and suddenly Watch Dogs turned into a shooter, much the same as any other.

    Still, very, very cool, but how I wish that gunplay didn't have to be the impetus behind EVERY GAME EVER.

    Also, I'm with Gabe. Windows 8 does look dire.

    1. Yeah, the shooting ruined it a bit, but I'm hoping against hope they just put that to show some of the action and that it's not that prevalent in the game. And even if this game turns out to be just another generic action title, I'll just have one more reason to ditch console gaming completely next gen. Steam, GOG and Indie bundles are more than enough for me. And DOTA 2 now has hats and stuff, collecting those could probably keep me occupied for years!

  4. @Marduk - Hello stranger! :)

    Yeah, here's to Halo 4, eh? What a fantastic surprise, and everything I've seen since the big reveal only underscores that impression. It's been so long, but I can't hardly wait to get my multiplayer on.

    I'm not so sure about the Gears of War prequel, however. I suppose Microsoft didn't show much: maybe it'll surprise us both. I gather it's a People Can Fly game, and Bulletstorm was great fun, so there's good reason to be optimistic. I'm just not sure I need it.

    Then again, I would wager the only reason it exists to begin with is to give Epic Games proper time to develop a new Gears of War for launch with the next-gen Xbox. So... sure.

    1. Hey mate! I've been around and lurking but only just realised it was Chrome that was stopping me commenting on your blog and a few others. No idea why - but Firefox works, so there you go.

      I agree, Halo 4 looks the goods from what we've seen so far. It will be very interesting to see if it lives up to expectations.

      The GoW game, I am pretty much on the same page as you. I did really enjoy GoW 3 so I will probably be giving this a whirl as well.

      In regards to consoles, I too have both an XBOX and PS3 and I much prefer the XBOX over the PS3. I generally only play PS3 exclusive titles on that machine and everything else on the XBOX. I like the XBOX controller a lot more and I also suspect it has something to do with those achievements and wanting to increase my score... lol. (although I will never ever be able to catch up to you... bloody hell)