Friday, June 1, 2012

Things I am (and am not) excited about for E3

E3Maybe it’s because I haven’t been doing this as long as others, but I’ve yet to become jaded or cynical about E3. I still look forward to it each year, whether it’s the multitude announcements that come beforehand, or the surprises we still haven’t heard about. Going over the current list of confirmed games going to be at the show, it's clear the rest of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 looks to be amazing.

2K Games will be showing off Spec Ops: The Line, which will finally be releasing later this month. Former GameSpot Editor-in-Chief and current Creative Director at Supergiant Games, Greg Kasavin, served as a producer on the game, and I heard some pretty interesting things about its tone, especially what's being called its emotional brutality. I’m anxious to see exactly what that means. Borderslands 2 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown will both be there as well. Borderlands 2 touts to include a more robust singleplayer campaign compared to what one would find in other time-investing RPGs. I played the original Borderlands last year mostly as a singleplayer game, so it will be exciting to see what kind narrative and ridiculousness a bigger campaign will bring. I never played any of the original X-COM games, so I’m in the same boat as others wondering how XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be updated and revised for modern play.

Activision will have a huge booth again this year showing Call of Duty: Black Ops II. I don’t know if they’ll have a playable demo available, or just show a presentation, but I’m fairly sure anything they show will be singleplayer related, leaving multiplayer features for a reveal of its own at a later date. The recent announcement that Transformers: Fall of Cybertron will be coming to PC renewed my interest in it, as War for Cybertron was nearly the only good (read: not terrible) Transformers game I've played. I’ll also get a chance to see The Amazing Spider-Man, which currently is slated only for consoles, but hopefully they pull a Transformers and announce a PC version as well. I still can’t tell if that game is open-world like so many people want it to be, or if it follows a series of set pieces like recent Spider-Man games.

At Bethesda, I’ll take a look at The Elder Scrolls Online, but from what I read about the game, it’s going to be a hard push in what is, frankly, a saturated MMO market. Dishonored is a game but I’m still not sure what type. Is it a stealth game? Is it a first-person shooter with magic instead of guns? With it releasing in October, I’m hoping there will be something playable I can get my hands on and find out. There will be some mention of the Skyrim DLC Dawnguard, but I haven’t even started Skyrim yet (it’s last on my list of RPGs to play this summer).

Resident Evil 6 and DmC: Devil May Cry will be at Capcom, and my interest nearly matches that of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I never played a game in either franchise, but with the reboot of the Devil May Cry series and versions of both games coming to the PC, it’s as good a time as any to take the dive in.

The EA booth is probably where my excitement is most concentrated. Between playable demos for two of the upcoming expansions for Battlefield 3, Close Quarters and Armored Kill, a look at Crysis 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Dead Space 3, and probably a playable demo of Need for Speed Most Wanted, I’m going to take my time checking out each title. I’m spending a lot of time playing Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed recently, so it will be interesting to not only see the new Need for Speed that should be coming out later this year, but Most Wanted was one of the games I spent time methodically going through the entirety of. The new setting for Dead Space 3 looks like a great change and I’m curious to see how the rumor for drop-in drop-out co-op will handle. Dead Space is a franchise I loved since the first game, which I still describe to others as if someone made Event Horizon: The Game.

This will be the first time I'm actually interested in something Konami has. I was turned off from the Metal Gear series since the first game for NES, and not having a PlayStation, or console for that matter, made none of the Metal Gear Solid series even so much as a blip on my radar. So seeing Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance confirmed for the PC has piqued my interest, and from the videos I’ve seen, it looks more like an third-person action game rather than a slow-paced stealth game the Solid series was.

LucasArts announced Star Wars 1313. It’s a Star Wars game where you play as a Bounty Hunter. It’s being called a mature Star Wars title, and it takes place on Coruscant during the original trilogy, a setting that hasn’t been explored yet. Consider me interested. Tell me more.

Sega will show off Aliens: Colonial Marines, which has had constant delays since its first unveiling in 2008. Now slated for a 2013 release, I’m curious to see if Gearbox has nailed down the atmosphere, lighting, and vibe of the Aliens franchise, but I’m not hearing confident things.

At the Square-Enix booth, they will be showing Hitman: Absolution, which seems to keep dividing audiences. For me, it looks like they are taking it in a more linear focus with some impressive set pieces and scenarios, which looks great. For others, that linear focus takes away from the branching and divergent gameplay the Hitman series is all about. I tried to play previous Hitman games, including Hitman: Codename 47 where I failed the first mission abundantly before giving up, and the Hitman: Contracts demo where I couldn’t figure out how to complete the first objective. Maybe the Hitman series isn’t for me, but Absolution looks like a good place to try again. I will also groan and roll my eyes every time that Hitman trailer plays.

I’ll be curious to see if Tomb Raider has a playable demo. It was shown only behind closed doors last year, and despite many people calling it torture porn, I’m happy to see a different direction for the Tomb Raider series than where the previous games went. I haven’t seen much of Sleeping Dogs, not on purpose, but only because of its troubled past as True Crime: Hong Kong. I played the original True Crime: Streets of LA back in 2003, and it was ok, so I’m weary about what the game will be and what kind of market it will have. Kim Swift, former lead designer on Portal, will be showing off her new game Quantum Conundrum, a first-person puzzle game which there severely aren’t enough of.

Despite not having a booth, THQ will be demoing Darksiders II, the sequel to my most underrated game of 2010. Vigil looks to expand the game by adding a loot system, giving players a chance to equip Death with different pieces of armor that can change his fighting style. I haven’t seen the game since last year at Comic-Con, so I’m anxious to see how development has come along. Metro: Last Light will also be shown, and similar to Darksiders II, it hasn’t been shown since last E3 and won’t release until sometime early 2013, giving 4A Games lots of time to make changes. It will be interesting to see if they threw out or kept some of the things that made the Metro 2033 a standout game.

Ubisoft has a strong line-up this year. Far Cry 3 will be there, but that series confuses the hell out of me. The first game was so much style over substance that it may as well been a glorified tech demo. The second game was such a departure from the first and what other games were doing at the time that it still stands out to many as a cult classic. However, Far Cry 3 looks like it’s going in the opposite direction, with its linear gameplay, scripted events, and generic shotting. It doesn’t stand out to me, but maybe Ubisoft has something up their sleeves to show. Rayman Legends will be there, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Rayman Origins. Legends looks to up the graphical fidelity with an almost painted 3D background, and it will be interesting to see if they demo any of the previously shown Wii U features. Along with everyone else, I’m excited to see Assassin’s Creed III in action, but seeing is all I might do, even if there is a playable demo. I haven’t played any of the previous Assassin’s Creed games (it was the first game to require dual-core processor when I still had a single CPU) and I plan on marathoning through 1, 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations just as Assassin’s Creed III releases in October.

There are lots more games than the ones I listed here, and I’m sure I’ll see something interesting that wasn’t on my radar before, but that’s the fun of E3.

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