So, another E3 down.
The Monday after E3, which usually means the day after I sit at my computer for around 20 hours posting that Mega E3 GameShark Preview, which always tests the limits of my ability to do mundane HTML work without crying, is also a day of reflection.
After three days of sensory overload, I like to look back over my notes, skim other site’s coverage and try to think about what was actually worth seeing at the show. It’s not always obvious. Then there’s the yearly sad truth of not being able to see everything.
So it’s time for me to close the book on this year’s E3 with a quick look at what I liked and what I didn’t and what I missed…
The E3 Surprise:
Not only a surprise, but one of the coolest things I saw at E3, period. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise: this game looked original, beautiful and nothing at all like, well, Prey. Open world Blade Runner bounty hunting shooter? Yes, please. I saw this presentation with Tom, Brandon, and Todd and we all came away thinking, “Well, that was certainly unexpected.” We told Brian Rowe, my assistant at Gshark, how cool it looked and we could see the skepticism in his eyes but after he got a look at the demo, he was sold, too. Now, keep in mind this game is a long ways off — sometime in 2012 and these E3 demos are staged to show you exactly what the developers want, but it’s definitely on the right track.
Metro Last Light
This demo, which was another ‘sit in a dark room and watch 15 minutes of gameplay and then leave’, was not so much a surprise based on what we SAW , but the fact that THQ was really pushing the game — this was GREAT to see. It had its own display, its own little metro subway train prop, THQ looks to really be behind this thing and man…that’s encouraging. As for the demo itself? Yep, that’s Metro, all right. Still, I was confused when I asked the developer post show about the notion of dirty/pristine ammo and he wouldn’t answer me. If they take that out…no…they won’t do that…
The Not So Surprises of E3
Pretty much everything.
Skyrim looked like a pretty Oblivion. Not that it looked BAD–it didn’t. It looked like a game that will be devoured by its fans. But it also looked like a safe continuation of the series, only with dragons and a lot of shouting. Best part of the Skyrim demo? When this HUGE spider appeared on the big screen, dripping with venom and Todd, sitting next to me, went all squishy with fear. I think I heard a “Oh lord” from him at one point. A show highlight for sure.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations, again, looked really “safe”. I’m sure I’ll play it and will most likely enjoy it a great deal as I love the series but if you want some big new gameplay twist, it wasn’t on display at E3. Ezio is an old man and still jumps around like a spry 20 year old. He also has a hook blade of some sort. Otherwise, yep, that’s Assassin’s Creed all right.
BioShock Infinite’s demo was really good, which wasn’t a surprise. But again these demo presentations are more like expanded trailers. We are all huddled into a mini movie theater and sit in the dark watching BioShock Infinite for like 15 minutes and then we all leave. I have the uptmost confidence that Infinite will be good/great, you have to consider the developer’s track record here and the gameplay demo we saw was admittedely neat, but the highlight of the demo for me was watching the PR guy walk the room like a jailor looking to see if anyone was recording the demo, which is a big no no. I think I missed a good 5 minutes of the demo watching that guy prowl the room. We were innocent, turns out.
Saints Row The Third was a 25 minute demo of non stop laughter. Purple dildos, bobble head masks of Johnny Gat, and numerous groin shots. Nothing truly surprising here either, but a needed break from the “serious” tone of most games at the show. Must play.
Mass Effect 3 looked like Mass Effect with more explosions. You talk about a demo that had no surprises of any kind — that was Mass Effect 3. I’m ready for this series to be over.
Based on what Tom and Jason told me, Modern Warfare 3 looks safer than Fort Knox.
The Games I actually PLAYED at E3:
Everyone I spoke to liked this. I have concerns, mostly canonical. Either these three Ultramarines are blessed by the emperor or these orks are the worst orks of all time.
Assassin’s Creed Multiplayer:
I killed two targets, one civilian, and got knifed once. Yep, that’s Assassin’s Creed.
Driver San Francisco:
Loved it. I normally don’t play driving games and when I do I’m laughably bad at them but this MP demo was a blast.
Madden, NCAA, and FIFA:
I didn’t technically play this but I watched other people play it for a good 15 minutes. (Long lines) That’s a shooter all right. It had shotguns and everything.
I wish now I would have seen Dead Island as it sounds MUCH better than I anticipated. Hell even Tom liked the demo at E3. Same with Tomb Raider — it sounds like the series is finally moving back to relevance.
The funny thing …with all of the big, expensive, loud demos from E3 the game I want to play the most?
Crusader Kings II. I’m old.