Microsoft’s press conference had a solid lineup with impressive gameplay demos of Halo 4, Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Resident Evil 6 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Other than Splinter Cell, there weren’t any new blockbuster titles shown off. Smart Glass was the closest thing to a surprise, but even that news was leaked a few days ago. However, I am interested to see how good Smart Glass will be in practice. Its hard to fault MS for showing anything new however, as the next generation of systems is just around the corner.
Microsoft’s conference really spent it’s load very early. Forza Horizon is looking very exciting and the Tomb Raider footage was incredible. Both titles I can’t wait to get my hands on. Things dropped when the Nike + stuff was revealed. Although it isn’t something that is going to be of any interest to those in attendance or watching the live feeds but will probably heavily advertised by Nike and a hit for those in the fitness fields. I thought the Gears information was underwhelming and short for something that will be out in a year. The Fable information was skimmed over and forgotten real quick and Microsoft is trying to push more sports related content on the console, they aren’t messing around when it comes to media content. They introduced a music service that feels like it will replace the Zune marketplace and speaking of music, if Dance Central 3 can make me dance like Usher, I’ll buy 50 copies. The most interesting bit of information was the Smart Glass. Microsoft put Nintendo and Sony on notice with this feature. Instead of buying a dedicated piece of hardware or a new console. Microsoft will have you download this app and interact with your Xbox for movies, games, and finally internet web surfing. It’ll be interesting to see how well this app will work in comparison to Nintendo’s dedicated hardware. Overall the conference could have used something more but was ok.
Today I received word from the E3 Media Relations that I will be attending E3 as my badge has been approved. However, I will not be representing Saving Content. We unfortunately do not have the traffic that warrants a media pass. However, I am now a Contributing Editor for TRMK.org in which I will be representing. Though Saving Content will be mentioned to the people I talk to on the show floor.
When we last left our “heroes”, the Third Street Saints had taken over Stilwater and reached the likes of rock stars. People want to be them and fall head over heels for them. We welcome back: Johnny Gat, Shaundi, and “Boss” (your character) back from Saints Row 2. The very first mission? Rob a bank, what else. Oh did I mention while wearing Johnny Gat Bobble Heads? Yeah, let that sink in. This all leads to a crazy bank shootout in which you still have time to sign a few autographs. Hell, a cop even requests you sign and drop then drop your weapons. The whole ordeal eventually ends with you falling out of a cargo plane shooting baddies and dodging debris. You’re literally skydiving to enter the new city of Steelport. The game is filled with crazy moments like these that just beg you to talk to your friend’s about. “Yo man, I just got to the part with the autotuned guy”. “Are you serious? ugh, there’s a guy who sings in Autotune?” “No dude he TALKS in autotune.” “WTF.” or maybe you’re standing around the water cooler at the office and you’re telling Bob about how you spent 15 minutes fighting off a wave of guys dressed as hotdogs and bunny rabbits. Thankfully, these crazy moments aren’t stacked on top of each other so you’ll have something new and crazy to see throughout your game. By the way, you need to play this game.
Simulation racing games like Forza are few, so for the fans of the genre we are pretty hardcore about what we want. Fortunately this year with Forza 4, Turn 10 has delivered. Don’t fret though, you don’t have to be part of the hardcore car crowd to enjoy this game either. Turn 10 has included a wealth of options and controls to let even your father, the man who can’t move both joysticks at the same time, race side by side with you. The beauty comes in expanding on the features built into Forza 3 that lets newer or less experienced gamers have access to what all the hub bub is about. For those who haven’t played Forza 3, I’m speaking of the difficulty tweaks that make it easier to control your car, almost the point of having the car turn and brake for you. It’s not about an unfair advantage, but more about having a fun time and that is exactly what this game is, fun.
The first thing that needs to be said about Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is that it is a technical marvel. The graphics, physics, animations, voice capture and motion acting are all state of the art and developer Naughty Dog seems to set a new bar with what can be done with a video game.
Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood are easily two of my favourite games to come out in the last 5 years. This made it a really easy sell to me to have a third year in a row with an Assassin’s Creed game considering the quality of the last two games.
Batman: Arkham Asylum was a surprise hit for 2009, by being both a great action game and the best superhero game made. Six months have passed since the events of Arkham Asylum and now Dr. Hugo Strange has been assigned to run Arkham City – which can’t be good. I can’t detail how it is you get into Arkham City, but it’s one of the strongest and engaging openings to a game. Batman now has to find and stop Hugo Strange all while deterring some of the great villains like The Joker, Two-Face, and the Penguin, even stopping random acts of violence within the confines of the prison. All of it seems daunting for even Batman to do alone.
EA’s venerable racing series, Need For Speed has now reached its 18th game in the franchise. Titled “The Run”, the game revolves around Jack – who ends up getting in trouble with the mob and must pay to save his life. In order to do so, he must travel 3,000 miles from San Francisco to New York to win this race across America and be #1 amongst 199 other drivers for a $25 million dollar cash purse.
Truth be told, I have never really played Dungeon Siege or Dungeon Siege II for any amount of time beyond 30 minutes each from the demos. But six years have gone by and many things have changed, namely the Developer and the Publisher. Instead of Gas Powered Games at the development helm, it is now Obsidian Entertainment (of KOTOR 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Alpha Protocol fame). And the publisher is now Square Enix. So what does that say for the series?
Sucker Punch’s approach to making this Halloween-themed spin-off of their popular franchise as a downloadable game instead of DLC for inFAMOUS 2 is a great sell both for timing and the series. As someone who’s played inFAMOUS and not it’s sequel (yet), the idea that this would be its own, self-contained game in the vein of Dead Rising: Case Zero served to the pleasure centers of my cerebral cortex.
Hybrids are all around us: combat racing games, puzzle RPGs, first person / real time strategy, Prius’, and even peanut butter and jelly. Iridium Studios brings us a mash-up of two genres not likely to be friends: music and RPG. Sequence takes what made DDR famous and mashes it with RPG nature of battling enemies, gathering loot, and levelling up – combining to be one unusual, yet refreshing take thanks to this indie developer.