warcrow's E3 2009 Thread - What games should I play and see?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by warcrow, May 30, 2009.

  1. warcrow

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    Follow me on my Twitter page to updated from the showroom floor: http://www.twitter.com/heymarkd

    *UPDATED: 06-08-09


    Here are my thoughts and impressions on the most talked about and memorable games I saw at E3 this year. Please keep in mind that all the games I played were unfinished and it’s very possible and likely things could change (including my opinion!) very dramatically once they’re released. And it’s probably trite for me to even mention this but these gathering of words you’re about to read are just trying to convey to you my thoughts while spending time with these games and are not intended to be a review of any kind. These are my thoughts and impressions of 10-30 minutes of game time on an unfinished game ya’ know? Ok, lets get to it...



    Mass Effect 2
    My game of the show! Bioware has done a tremendous job at advancing this game in every direction even including the conversation system.

    The demonstration was done on an X360 and the first thing I noticed was (of course) the improvements on the graphics. Gone are the annoying texture pop-ins, the crosshatching shadows crawling all over people’s faces, and dips in frame rate. It was rock solid to the point where I asked the project lead if what we were seeing was prerendered CGI or really in-game graphics. It sounds silly because I knew the answer, but I had to ask and be sure.

    The conversations in ME1 usually take place in static, character standing poses and Bioware feels this was a little too unnatural and boring for the series, so in ME2 conversations will be more dynamic and will take place in more interesting environments. For instance in the demonstration I saw Shepard have a conversation with someone in a moving vehicle and the angles used were more unique to that situation and visually more appealing than the overused over-the-shoulder perspective in ME1. It might sound uninteresting, but when you see it you’ll definitely appreciate the variations it provides. This doesn’t mean every conversation will have extreme Dutch angles or anything for there were plenty of standard camera perspectives used during conversations. I got the impression the Bioware just wants to switch it up a little more.

    A new option has been added to the conversation system that appears to allow physical interaction with someone. It was basically a prompt in the lower left-hand side of the screen to press the left trigger. When used in the demo, Shepard threw a guy out a window so I don’t know if this is always going to be an aggressive act of violence or not. In ME1 there were several instances where a physical action was performed through the conversation wheel—it just appears that now those instances have been defined as a separate trigger.

    After the demo I asked the design lead about the inventory system. He wouldn’t give me specifics but he said that they have completely scrapped the inventory system from both the console and the PC versions and are starting with something completely new. He said they are going for something way more practical, accessible, and allows sorting.

    I then asked him about the planets and side quests and he assured me that every planet will be unique in design. I stopped him and said “every planet?” and he responded “every planet.”

    Lastly, I asked him if the same composer was returning and he said, unfortunately, that he could not talk about that.



    Assassin's Creed 2
    The very first thing I noticed about AC2 is that it's visually more stunning than the original. There was a point where the protagonist, Ezio, reached the top of a chapel and looked around the surrounding city of Venice and it just looked incredible. The draw distance hasn’t changed but the depth in richness seems to have been increased. It looks great! Oh and for what it’s worth (and for those that are interested), I was shown the game on the PS3 and nary a frame dropped—it was solid.

    The section that was shown to me included some new assassin moves where Ezio performed a double-kill on two guards chatting it up near a door. He also can swim now which provides him another vehicle for escaping trouble. Leonardo's flying machine was something I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing because I figured it would be a degradation to the overall AC experience. I question it purpose because it removes us from the rooftops where the running-jumping-pulling mechanics work so well in terms of immersion and gameplay.



    Uncharted 2
    This game, visually, looked a little rough when I saw it. I don’t know if it was the TV (doubt it) or if the single player portion was still too early to show (perhaps), but it certainly wasn’t as sharp as the original game or even the MP beta that’s out now—it was weird. I'm going to chalk it up to unfinished code or just general E3 madness since we know that the first one, and the MP beta, look amazing.

    I don’t have too much to say here (even after a 15 min demo) because I think it's going to be exactly what everyone expects in regards to improvements all around. I asked the developer who was showing us the game about the adventure/puzzle aspect of the game--my favorite parts of the first one--and he said they plan on having roughly the same amount as the first one did. I know I might be in the minority here, but I really wanted Naughty Dog to expand on this aspect of the game because they were very well made and just fun to play with, but no dice. Still, some of the scripted events looked great.



    God of War 3
    If you're a GoW fan then you're going to be very very pleased with this game. To sum it up--it's everything that the first two entries are but elevated to a new level. Behind Mass Effect 2, this was my favorite game I played at the show.



    Brutal Legends
    I had little to no expectations for this game entering E3. I a pretty huge Tim Schafer fan (Grim Fandango and Full Throttle are some of my favorite games ever!) so I was looking forward to checking out the game.

    Immediately the game’s charm is noticeable. Heck, this game already has more charm in 10 minutes of gameplay than most games do in 10 hours. I’m very much looking forward to playing this one.



    Dragon Age: Origins
    I saw a hands-off demo of the PC version and although the game’s underlying structure appears to be really impressive, I feel like the game has no visual identity. I think if Bioware found a unique and interesting aesthetic for this title it would really jump out more.

    However I did get some time with the console version and it almost looks (literally) like a totally different game. The UI on the PC version is much like WoW where the console version is much more simplified (remember, that doesn’t mean bad).

    The difference between the two is like Oblivion and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance.



    Heavy Rain
    The game started off as a hands-off demo, but we were eventually handed the controller.

    The frame rate was running a little rough on this one during the initial in-game cutscene (the PR person blamed the debug unit we were playing on), but it settled down once we started playing the game. I was surprised because it actually didn’t look as good as I hoped it would graphically speaking.

    To no one’s surprise there were plenty of quick time events, but at least they’re presented in a little more of a unique manner than just a gigantic button floating over the protagonists head. There were quarter circle prompts for the left and right sticks to remove certain inventory items, then other motions to perform certain tasks and to examine items—so it’s not just limited to button presses.

    At one point in the demo a button was pressed to reveal the protagonists thoughts and several subjects represented by a single word or two began circling his head with a button associated with it. It was conveyed to me that these thoughts would change several times during a scene or gameplay segment.

    I do find it really interesting that all the supporting characters in the game (up to 6 of them I believe) can die in the game changing the game’s progression and effecting the ending. It’s an interesting concept right? Let’s just hope that the game doesn’t get really wacky and nonsensical towards the end like Indigo Prophecy.

    Oh, and I found the voice acting to be most on par with video games in general—pretty poor.



    Pixeljunk Shooter
    Fun fun fun! After seeing videos and screenshots of this game I knew it would be interesting but I had no idea it would be a blast (har dee har har)! We played some coop, and it was much more entertaining working together here than in all the other PJ games that support the feature. It actually seems like the game was built from the very beginning with SP and coop in mind.

    The graphical style reminds me more of Pixeljunk Monster than any other PJ game and the fluid physics were fantastic!

    Also, what’s up with the title? Q Games ran a naming contest for the game and this was the best they could do? I submitted Pixeljunk Specus (“cave” in Latin) and though not the most amazing name, it’s a bit more interesting don’t you think? Hrm, perhaps not. :(



    Split/Second
    Black Rock Studios worked on Pure which was my favorite racer of 2008 so I was really looking foward to seeing what the team was working on with Split/Second. The good news is that it was fun to play. The bad news is that it has a possibility of being monotonous. I only played the game for about 15 minutes so who knows what will be done in later levels to provide variety in gameplay as I didn’t get a response from the PR guy who was present.

    The game looks pretty good with graphics on par with Grid, but not as stunning as Forza 3.



    Blur
    Though I love the idea of merging the goodies in Mario Kart with arcade racing, unfortunately I found the game to be a little dull. The power-ups I experienced were shields, RPGs and speed boosts (where were the bananas!? I kid I kid). On top of that the games looks were mediocre at best. Overall it just didn’t stand out at all--bummer.


    Prototype
    Uh-oh, this game didn’t knock my socks off like I expected it to!

    Activision started me off with every power unlocked (my gosh there are a lot!), so I was super-jumping, running and jumping on sky scrappers, slamming onto the ground below, cutting people in half (it’s very gory), surfing on dead bodies...I mean it was crazy fun, but it did lead me to wonder how long something like that would be.

    It’s important to note that I didn’t run any missions or side-missions, so I assume that things would get much more interesting overall as a game with everything coming together.



    Darksiders
    God of War meets Devil May Cry meets Zelda—I mean the game has huge potential! I didn’t get a chance to mount the horse or run around the huge open-world hub, but I did get to run around a underground parking garage and kill stuff. :p I felt like it was a poor choice (for whatever reason) to showcase the game’s much touted features. However, what I played felt really good. It was responsive, brutal and generally all around fun.

    The graphics are really shaping up with the character designs making it sound out from most other games.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this title in the future.



    Red Faction: Guerilla
    GTA on Mars (sorta!) This game wasn’t suppose to be as fun as it is. I seriously cannot stop playing it. It’s fantastic and I recommend anyone who likes open world games to pick it up.



    Overlord II
    The sequel to Overlord is looking really good! First, they’re developing the Overlord character more by having you start the game off as the Overlord from the first game’s son. So, you’re roughly 8 years old and running around with little minions throwing firecracks are and snowballs. It was actually really charming and fun.

    They have really fixed the game’s overall graphical issues and it looks fantastic. It was that Fable glow to it, but to a much lesser degree.

    Another feature is the morality meter, but in Overlord II there is only Evil and Tyrant. :)



    Brink
    Brink looks really cool. Imagine the simplicity of Mirror’s Edge (read: this game is not a Mirror’s Edge clone!) hurdled, hops and slides integrated into an action heavy first-person shooter. Essentially you hold down a should button and depending on where you’re looking you will hop over, climb under, jump and/or grab things to move forward. It’s option, but really allows you to focus on running and gunning and is meant to increase the pace (and bring in more casual gamers perhaps?).

    It’s worth mentioning that the game does indeed have a unique look to it and at the point of the demonstration (X360) it was running super smooth at 60 frames per second.

    That's it for now, but I do have more I want to say on most of these games--more later! Feel free to ask my any questions or express you comments on what I've written. If you've made it this far then thanks for reading. :)


    __________________________________________________________
    Hey you little monkeys!

    This year marks my very first attendance to E3. As it stands right now I plan on going on Tuesday (3rd) and Wednesday (4th). There is a small chance I might attend Monday as well, but right now that's not likey since my real (paying) job might not allow that.


    Anywho, I'm thinking about twittering or blogging what my impressions are from the showroom floor and I'm curious what games you guys are interested in seeing. So far on the list are (if they're present at the show of course):


    * Assassin's Creed 2
    * Rage
    * Alan Wake
    * Uncharted 2
    * MAG
    * Gow of War 3
    * New Zelda
    * New Mario
    * Crackdown 2 (please please please)
    * APB
    * Gran Turismo 5
    * Brutal Legend
    * Dragon Age: Origins
    * Mass Effect 2
    * Diablo 3
    * Starcraft 2
    * Bioshock 2
    * Modern Warfare 2
    * Trico
    * Heavy Rain
    * LA Noire
    * Dead Rising 2
    * Forza 3
    * Star Wars: The Old Republic
    * Half-Life 2: Episode 3


    What else gentlemen? Also, is it worth twittering my little E3 adventure? What I mean by that is, would anyone here be interested in following it? I know there are going to be other really huge E3 news hubs all over the web, so it's not going to bother me if no one is interested. I just figured this could be fun from a different perspective. I'm going to try to use my iPhone to twitter since I dont have a laptop and web browsing on the device isnt as simple.

    Follow me on Twitter for my E3 coverage from the showroom floor: http://twitter.com/heymarkd
     
    #1 warcrow, May 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2009
  2. L. Scofield

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    I wouldn't mind some impressions on Splinter Cell Conviction :p
     
  3. djskribbles

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    MGS5, Ratchet & Clank: Crack in Time, DMC5 and Beyonetta.
     
  4. warcrow

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    Good idea!
     
  5. RobertR1

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    Forza 3 and Mass Erect 2. Leave the rest of the noob stuff to other poeple! Oh and get me on the MW2 beta please! (360 version). Thanks in advance.
     
  6. Grall

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    Deliberate or freudian slip? Heh...

    If I was there I would make sure not to miss Diablo 3, new Mario/Zelda, HL2 Ep3, Rage (or better yet, new Wolfenstein) and GoW 3.
     
  7. Shifty Geezer

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    You'll appreciate this one : Whatever Snowblind Studios has been working on for years in secret, if it's there. Latest evidence suggests a LOTR hack-n-slash.
     
  8. warcrow

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    Snowblind! My wife and I love the Baldur's Gate series.
     
  9. Grall

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    Not sure a LoTR hack and slash would be the ideal setting; H&Ses typically thrive on over-the-top attacks, magic effects and gore, and none of those are particulary prominent in Tolkien's works. Rather, he was a more cerebral type writer, where his characters read poetry, and remenisced about nature and ages past... :D

    Of course, a videogame maker is free to simply paste a liberal dose of blood and guts onto Tolkien's world, but I'm afraid the end result would feel about as fake as it actually would be...

    Then again, I just might get positively surprised. Who knows.
     
  10. DieH@rd

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    Just go to Sony booth and give us the impresions of their games.
     
  11. warcrow

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    ...just Sony's?
     
  12. BadTB25

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    Nope, also MS and Nintendo as well.

    I'm interested to see if the new Zune will be there. I didn't think of it earlier, but a portable Netflix implementation would be very cool.

    The big games I'd like to hear about would be God of War III, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Halo ODST, Mass Effect 2 and Bayonetta.
     
  13. Silent_Buddha

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    Make sure you hit Eidos' booth also. :) I'm interested to find out if Thief 4 and Deus Ex 3 will be good or if they'll end up being total complete poo like Deus Ex 2.

    Wish I wasn't so busy, otherwise I could have taken a vacation down to my cousin's place down in Vegas and attended all the shows. :(

    Regards,
    SB
     
  14. warcrow

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    Theif 4 will definitely be on my list! Also, just as a heads up--the show will be in LA not Vegas.
     
  15. Silent_Buddha

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    Whoops, good thing I didn't take that vacation then. :D

    Regards,
    SB
     
  16. TrungGap

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    Anything regarding Crackdown 2...Really really looking forward to that. inFamous is doing a fine job for the time being, but still...it's not Crackdown fun/addiction.
     
  17. tha_con

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    I know you've got your list, so it's unlikely you'll get a chance to play, but PixelJunk Shooter is on my list, and I'm hoping it's at E3...so if you see it, you know what to do :)
     
  18. warcrow

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    Since I love the Pixel Junk series I will try to make room for sure!
     
  19. warcrow

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    I'm off to the show gentlemen--wish me luck so that the E3 monster doesnt gobble me up. :p If anyone has any suggestions or comments in general feel free to use my twitter feed to contact me: http://www.twitter.com/heymarkd
     
  20. warcrow

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    I survived and have some really good news (and bad) about a lot of games! :) I tried to get my hands on as many games as possible guys. Here is the easy list of the games I played or had a hands-off demo shown to me:

    * Assassin's Creed 2
    * Uncharted 2
    * God of War 3
    * Brutal Legends
    * Dragon Age: Origins
    * Mass Effect 2
    * Heavy Rain
    * Pixeljunk Shooter
    * Split/Second
    * Blur
    * Prototype
    * Darksiders
    * Red Faction: Guerilla
    * Overlord II
    * Ghostbusters
    * Brink
    * Fallout DLC: Point Lookout
    * The Conduit
    * Aliens vs Predator
    * Batman: Arkham Asylum

    I know I'm most likely leaving some games out but this is what I remember off the top of my head. I'm writing something up right now with impressions of each game. Will let everyone know when it goes up, and I'll just post some of it here.

    Also, I went to the Mass Effect 2 hands-off demo twice because it was amazing--game of the show for me.
     
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