Games Meet Metal: The Full E3 Round-up!

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Full E3 Round-up!

Long story short: It was an insidious orgy of well-placed neon lights and push-up bras.

And now, the long story.

First off, let's cool off a whole of fiction about E3. With this being my first time, I was prepared a bit better than others, mentally speaking. While it is a grand spectacle with games-a-plenty at the helm, there are some harsh realities that a small time schmuck like myself must face. One is that the really big titles (like Bioshock Infinite, Modern Warfare 3, and Elder Scrolls 5) are all shown behind closed doors. If you don't have the right colored pass, then kiss your chances of seeing any of that stuff goodbye. The gaming Gestopo WILL stop you if you try to sneak in, and usher you away. Of course, not all the big stuff was under cloak and dagger. I did sneak my way into a couple that had spots open, but even they had ridiculous wait times. Mass Effect 3 was well over an hour. That was light compared to trying the PS Vita and the Wii U, as those lines were a three hour wait each! Unless you had the right badge, then cutting was allowed.

Next, let's diffuse the great myth of gamer swag. Long story short, it's mostly crap. Sure it's nice to get a few free shirts, and a couple of the posters being handed out are quite pretty looking. For the most part, your pockets (or, if you planned ahead, your backpack) are just gonna be filled with marketing crap, and 95% of it you're gonna end up tossing out. Maybe this supposed super nice stuff is handed out in those behind-closed-doors meetings.

An advance note to anyone going next year: QUIT OGLING THE BOOTH BABES!!! You will be trampled. Now, I understand why the game companies have hot chicks hanging around: to gain your attention! Yes, it does work. Yes, they're actually polite and may even chat with you for a minute. But for the love of Satan, quit taking pics of their hooters and hanging around awkwardly to get a quickie upskirt shot. Like I said, you will be trampled. You will also be vacated from the building, with your head being used to open the doors.

Now, that may be a nice bit of hate, but that's small to the amount of good the show produces. Yes, the closed door stuff is tough to swallow, but the floor is still where the majority of the games are being held, and that's where the most action is!

Okay, we're gonna hit company by company. Also keep in mind that I'm only one person, so I wasn't able to try every damn thing at the show, but I like to think I got most of the big stuff out of the way.

Microsoft: The Xbox booth could probably be considered a work of modern art, with it's sexy curves and hidden alcoves. the caves were actually pathways to Kinect booths that were surrounded in glass, and show goers could watch you flailing around like a goof. It was like jerk booths, but in reverse. Of course, I just really wanted to see more of Gears of War 3, and I got to with a special video demo in a closed off theater. The programmers showed off the same demo that was played at the press conference, but added in a new scene where you play Train as you drop the explosive aliens on top of the Emulsion monster. The GOW team also showed off a new Horde Boss mode, which is what it says it is: wave after wave of bosses. Now though, you're allowed to set up traps and perimeter canons for money earned in matches.

Sony: I got a good amount of playtime at Sony, booth, but that was due more to the fact that they had a ton of 3rd party stuff. Couldn't get into Capcom's area to try Operation Racoon City? Swing by Sony's booth, where it's an eighth of the wait. Square and Tecmo titles that also had long waits at their booths were nothing at Sony's. Of course, all the attention was on the PS Vita, and that line was one of those three hour waiters. Um, no thanks. My legs can only stand for so long. I took that opportunity to swing into an open spot and try the God of War PSP Hi-def remakes for PS3, and they look FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC!!!!!

Nintendo: The Big N gets the "Less is More" prize, for having a simple area that was easy to get around and play a ton of games. Unless you wanted to play the Wii U, then it's another three hour wait. And that's if you got there early! Thankfully, Nintendo thought outside the box, and demo units of 3ds's and Wii U controllers circulating amongst the crowd, so you could at least hold the thing in your hand while you're waiting to play your next game. I chose the Wii U, and it was surprisingly light. It has it's own stylus space like the DS, hand grips on both sides, and two analog sliders. I hope they turn into analog sticks, but they still serve their purpose just fine. Speaking of gaming, it was rapid fire for the 3DS stuff. Kid Icarus! Super Mario 3D! Resident Evil Revelations! Zelda Ocarina remake! Luigi's Mansion 2! Out of the pack, Mario was the one I was most excited about. Like everyone is saying, it really does feel like Super Mario 3 in a 3D landscape. I also finally got to try Zelda: Skyward Sword for the first time. I played a bird racing game, and it handled pretty good. I wish it was a bit in a dungeon, but from what I saw everyone else playing, it's looking to be a great game to close out the Wii.

Capcom: Since ost of Capcom's stuff was also shown at Sony's booth, I decided to take in a theater presentation, which was an amalgamation of all that Capcom was coming out with in the next year. I tell ya, dragon's Dogma and Asura's Wrath look better and better each tie I see them. i also hung around the Street Fighter X Tekken area to see some tournament battles. The game intrigues me, but I'm a long known hater of Tekken stuff, so I'm being cautious for the time being.

Activision and Bethesda: These two companies simply rented out space to show trailers for their games! granted, they were very pretty trailers, but all the good was once again behind doors. Not that I needed any more pushing to pick up Elder Scrolls v, but a little playtime would of been nice.

Square Enix: Well, lookee at who's making an effort? Square wins "most improved" with a pretty killer line-up and maybe even fixing what went wrong with FF XIII by releasing a non-linear sequel. There was plenty of Hitman, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, FF XIII-2 to be had by all. Of course, that wouldn't be possible if Square wasn't acquiring studios left and right.

Sega: I really wasn't interested in seeing all the Sonic stuff that was on display. Instead, i wanted to check out another game they licensed and has been in development for so long that it's getting Duke Nukem jokes. The game's called Aliens: Coloniel Marines, and it's looking to be in a much better state than previously thought. The plot takes place a few months after Alien 3, as marines land in the setttlement from Aliens to figure out what the hell happened. Of course, they get attacked by the you-know-what. I gotta admit, for an Aliens game, this one is looking pretty damn good. Let's hope it will come out this year.

2K Games: Nothing much here. They had the Duke Nukem setup from PAX East, and a special video for Darkness II. The real goodie, Bioshock Infinite, was behind the Gestapo, so no luck there. Oh, I tried, but no amount of sad puppie dog eyes was gonna let me through.

Electronic Arts: Very nice setup, with a whole lot of room dedicated to Battlefield 3. I'm rally waning on modern day shooters, so I took a pass on that one. I was able to sneak into a Mass Effect 3 showing! Like the Gears showing, it was a repeat of the demo at the EA conference with an extra battle scene at the end. I also took in a showing of Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning, EA's other RPG that gets kind of hidden under ME 3's hype. Amalur would be for fans of Divinity II and Dragon Age II, as the combat and magic system is very similar.

Ubisoft: the one thing I really wanted to see was more single player AC: Revelations. Sadly, the Gestapo wouldn't allow it. They had plenty of multiplayer stations, but that's not where my heart was. I did take in a showing of the new Brothers In Arms game, Furious Four. The best way to describe it is Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards done right. They also served German beer for the promo. Nice touch guys. I also got some play tie in with Ubisoft's old-school revival platformer, Rayman Origins. The game is super fun with a group of people, but holy hell is it hard as shit.

Namco, Tecmo, and THQ: These wee the booths that really had the least amount of my attention. Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden 3 was already showing at Sony's booth, Namco didn't have anything that stood out, and THQ saved their money for, um, "outside advertisement." They rented an entire parking lot to pimp the new Saints Row game. They had free parking, hot cars, and strippers in booty shorts and bikini tops. Oh, and free car washes from the bikini girls. Know your demographic, says I.

Konami: The MGS hi-def remakes are looking pretty swank. Part 2 especially, as Raiden's adventure needed a new coat of paint. What wasn't looking good was MGS3 on 3DS. The damn foliage just doesn't look great in 3D, and controlling Snake with just one analog controller is just a god damn pain. Also not looking good was Silent Hill Downpour. Graphically it was fine, but the controls were extra super clunky. If this game is due for release this year, than the dev team better crank that shit into high gear.

Warner Bros. Interactive: And now, the coolest thing of the show. After testing out Lord of the Rings: War in the North, I was given a special wristband for a special performance. There was another War in the North setup in the main hall, but it was to be used for a full orchestra! the wristband got me into two full performances with songs from the actual game, as well as free eats and booze! Fancy waiters and all! I've never heard the power of a full orchestra, but now that I have, I can say that it's METAL!!!

And ladies and germs, THAT'S IT!!! My first E3 is finally complete. Next year, I'm gonna try my best to get some actual meetings with companies next year. Until then, it's time to plan......

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