E3: The Highlights

So now it’s time to take a look at the good that came out of E3. Sure the conferences were bland and dry, sure I got sick of hearing about what new ways I’d be shouting at my tv and how Harry Potter would revolutionize my playstation 3 and how I could have amazing new party game experiences when I mostly play on my own or online… but that doesn’t mean E3 was as dry as the conferences made it out to be. E3 contained a plethora of fantastic moments to be appreciated. Here are the best of the best in my eyes:

Let’s start with games:

Tomb Raider – We knew it was out there, we knew it looked good… we didn’t know it was that good. It is looking fantastic, and SquareEnix is a developer who has frequently made the full use of hardware, so we can hopefully look forward to a game that will be incredible whatever console you play it on.

The Last of Us – Of all the games shown at E3 that we’d previously heard about, I think the Last of Us shows the most impressive showing. The Last of Us was just beautiful, it was intriguing, it had everything Uncharted had and more… and it just looks incredible.

Soul Sacrifice – A PS Vita exclusive that features the concept of sacrifice in a much more brutal way than a lot of games by forcing you to sacrifice things that actually have value to you – possessions, wealth, bodyparts, even your own life.

Guardians of Middle Earth – I’m a huge fan of what has grown to be called the MOBA genre(although I hate the name ‘MOBA’), and as everyone who knows me well knows, I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. While the two don’t feel like they mesh in terms of logic… I can absolutely see the characters of Lord of the Rings making fantastic MOBA heroes/champions/units or as they like to call them here: Guardians. I’m also highly interested in seeing how this genre plays out on a console setting.

Hybrid – Part of the Summer of Arcade, this is an interesting third person shooter with some rather unusual controls and interesting gameplay. And who doesn’t love summoning robots?

Watchdogs – A fantastic looking third person game featuring a setting straight out of a science fiction novel. A world taken over by a supercomputer, your player as a hacker who can manipulate anything he chooses. Just fantastic. I can’t wait to hear and see more of this.

Star Wars: 1313 – A mature take on the concept of a Star Wars game, this game takes you to the gritty underworld of Coruscant as a Bounty Hunter. The graphics, audio, and gritty nature of the game looks absolutely unbelievable and I am excited to see where this goes. The lack of access to the Force, which is widely considered to be one of the core dynamics of Star Wars, is a little bit daunting but also intriguing as it does make the character feel a bit more relatable.

Beyond – Probably the most impressive game demo I saw at E3 was Beyond. Featuring a character that is more interesting while silent than most game protagonists are while speaking, Beyond’s promise is apparent to anyone who looks at it. And we haven’t even seen all that much of it. Between the fascinating character dynamic, and the unbelievable presentation

The other side of the E3 story is the tech, the services, the hardware, the features, and the future. So let’s move on to the highlights of E3 from a tech perspective:

Crossplay – Sony showed off another element of their PS3/PSVita integration. Last year they showcased Ruin with the ability to save on the PSVita and continue when you get home on your PS3… but now, even more impressive, is the ability for the PS Vita to play games online with or against people who are using their PS3 at home. Nintendo needs to take heed of this. Having games like Mario Kart, Mario Party, Smash Brothers or even a coop Mario game be playable on both the 3DS and the Wii-U together online could be a fantastic selling point – and would fit nicely with their E3 tagline.

Smartglass/Vita/Wii-U – What do all these have in common? They’re all ways to implement a touch screen controller for the various consoles. Yep, every single console now has a touch screen controller. Microsoft has ‘Smartglass’ which turns tablets and smartphones into supplemental controllers; the PS3 can use a Vita as a controller, and the Wii-U started it all with it’s somewhat controversial gamepad. While I am dubious as to the game appeal of these aspects, for media usages I think these are a fantastic idea. The ability to have volume controls on a lit panel in your hands, to have additional media information at your disposal, to be able to have director commentaries without overriding your existing feed, and even possibly to have movie and tv experiences designed specifically for this concept featuring additional scenes, etc on this extra panel of viewing area… the possibilities are truly endless.

Luminous Engine – SquareEnix showed off one of the most unbelievable tech demos I have ever seen, rivalling Quantic Dream’s Kara in overall presentation and far surpassing it in sheer beauty. If you have not seen the Luminous Engine demo piece that Squenix showcased, you’re missing out but don’t you worry – I’m here to save you. Here it is, embedded from the SquareEnix youtube channel:

 

Well, there’s a list of some of the highlights of E3. Hope you enjoyed!

 

Happy Gaming,

-Sean

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