E3 2010

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Shir'le E. Illios
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E3 2010

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:13 pm

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 for short) was again last month, showing off a load of games and with a number of announcements. As always I tried to follow it all from home (having seen most of the press conferences live) and made a list of the games that interested me most for various reasons, which I thought I'd share.

You'll note that all of these games, with the exception of the motion controllers (and one other exception), are available on PC. While there were also some great console exclusives (probably more than there were PC games), I personally have little interest in them considering that I can't actually play any of them (because I don't have a console). The list is also mostly a list of games that interested me, so don't take this as any complete list or such. Some of these games made a pretty big showing, others where almost hidden away.

With each game I'll give a couple of short thoughts, then embed a YouTube video for the game (like a trailer or such) followed by a list of news links to articles and more videos. I've also tried to list with each game what platforms the game is expected to release on. And I'm not listing any MMOs (I've got a separate list of those that I hope to, sometime in the future, post on my Star Wars: The Old Republic blog). Oh, and I'm listing them in alphabetical order. Anyway, here we go; I hope that you'll find the list interesting. :)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution [X360, PS3, PC]

The first Deus Ex was one of the best games on the PC, giving players an unparalleled level of freedom. In some ways it was more of a roleplaying game than most 'pure' roleplaying games, particularly at the time, as it allowed you to play a role much better by letting you decide how to overcome obstacles (where RPGs tended to limit the choice to what weapon to use to kill enemies). The second game however was a little less well received, even if I did enjoy it as well after I gave it a chance.

Now a third game in the franchise, a prequel, is being developed by another development team and during E3 the press got a look at it. And by all account it's looking to be a very good game. St years before the first game it uses physical augmentations instead of nano-augmentations to allow players to upgrade; get a pair of mechanic arms or robotic legs and increase the things you can do with them by spending experience. It's also set to keep players' freedom of choice in how to tackle obstacles, giving choices between combat, stealth, hacking and social methods. Now I only wish they'd allow you to play a female lead character.

Either way, while before E3 I wasn't really that interested, after what I've heard back from the expo my interest is now definitely peaked.

The below list contains impressions and interviews from E3 (note that some contain a tiny spoiler as to the identity of one character). But let me start you off with the cinematic trailer:

  • [link] to Cinematic Trailer at YouTube.
  • [link] to impressions article at GameSpot.
  • [link] to video interview at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to video interview at IGN.
  • [link] to preview article at 1UP.
  • [link] to video interview at GameSpot.
  • [link] to impressions article at Kotaku.
  • [link] to preview article at ShackNews.
  • [link] to Deus Ex Week at PC Gamer (a number of articles, well worth a read).
  • [link] to demonstration article at GamingTrend.
  • [link] to video interview at The Escapist.
Dragon Age [X360, PS3, PC]

Though Dragon Age wasn't at E3 this year as such (that I'm aware of), it was announced the same week what the next bit of DLC for Dragon Age is going to be: Leliana's Song. In it you play the role of Leliana during her younger years, getting to see some of her background as a bard and assassin. It's also fully voiced (like Mass Effect) since you're playing an established character (namely Leliana). And as I understand the presentation is as if Leliana is telling the story of her past (where she might embellish on a few things here or there). It has since been released (last July 6th).

Though I didn't get any of the precious Dragon Age DLC (exception Awakening) because they just didn't sound that interesting to me, this one could be quite good. Particularly since Leliana is my favorite Dragon Age: Origins companion. We'll have to see, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

  • [link] to Dragon Age DLC list at BioWare.
  • [link] to Leliana's Song at BioWare.
  • [link] to announcement at Voodoo Extreme.
  • [link] to interview article at IGN.
  • [link] to trailer video at YouTube.
  • [link] to Corinne Kempa (Leliana's voice) interview at BioWare Blog.
  • [link] to Leliana's Song DLC available news at Voodoo Extreme.
Dungeon Siege III [X360, PS3, PC]

I never really got much into the first two Dungeon Siege game; too much hack-n-slash and not enough roleplaying. But even so the news that the next installment is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment got me curious. And during this year's E3 Obsidian showed what they've been working on to the press. From the articles (and I don't think there are actually any videos yet) it sounds like it'll still be mostly a hack-n-slash game (a rather big departure for Obsidian), but even so it might be interesting to see what Obsidian can do in that genre.

There are definitely some reservations I have though. For one, there's also Diablo 3 on the horizon which could be the better choice for hack-n-slash games. Secondly Obsidian don't exactly have the best track record in games. But we'll see what comes of this; for now it's hard for me to judge based solely on some journalists' impression articles.
  • [link] to Square Enix owns Dungeon Siege IP news at Gamasutra.
  • [link] to preview article at IGN.
  • [link] to impressions article at GamePro.
  • [link] to preview article at Joystiq.
  • [link] to preview article at Atomic Gamer.
  • [link] to preview article at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to preview article at Shacknews.
  • [link] to Feargus Urquhart interview video at IncGamers.
Fable III [X360, PC]

The first Fable game had a lot of promise, but I couldn't get into it at all. And the second one was only on the Xbox360 so I couldn't play it. That means that initially my interest in Fable 3 was pretty much nil. Though when they announced that it would be coming to PC as well this time around I did think it prudent to keep an eye on it. Roleplaying games don't come that often after all (even though Peter Molyneux doesn't consider Fable 3 an RPG).

Lionhead showed the game at this year's E3, even if the truthfulness of Peter's statements tends to be questionable (in the past he's often promised more than he ended up delivering). If it comes relatively close to what he's been saying, and based as well on the playthroughs shown, this could be a nice game. Though I think that the 'improved' pause menu will end up being overly cumbersome and we've yet to see whether the PC version will just be a poor Xbox360 port or not, it's one to keep an eye on at least.

  • [link] to trailer video at YouTube.
  • [link] to preview article at IGN.
  • [link] to stage demo video at GameSpot.
  • [link] to combat video at IGN.
  • [link] to gameplay video at IGN.
  • [link] to preview article at 1UP.
  • [link] to gameplay video at GameSpot.
  • [link] to multiplayer children news at VG247.
  • [link] to hands on article at The Escapist.
  • [link] to preview article at Kotaku.
  • [link] to preview article at Shacknews.
  • [link] to impressions article at GameSpy.
  • [link] to hands on article at Eurogamer.
Fallout: New Vegas [X360, PS3, PC]

I loved the first two Fallout games and even though it was different in a lot of ways, I also feel that Fallout 3 was probably the most enjoyable game of 2008. So even though I haven't finished Fallout 3 yet I'm much looking forward to seeing what Obsidian, employing many of the original Fallout creators, can do with the game. Fallout: New Vegas is a completely stand-alone game though and during E3 Obsidian took it along to show off to the press.

Of course it's hard to get a feel for a full roleplaying game in only a fairly short demonstration. We got to see part of New Vegas (as in the city), as well as some combat. Overall the impression it gives is that it looks and feels a lot like Fallout 3, which can be seen as both a good and a bad thing. Though I got the impression that the Strip looked a bit more lively than areas in Fallout 3 did. It was also nice to see some of the casino mini games that they've added, though I doubt that I'll spend much time in those anyway. For the rest there were a couple of nice things in combat, but overall the game didn't really amaze so much as show more or less what you'd expect. But even so I'm looking forward to another run through the wastelands when it's released this October.

  • [link] to trailer video at YouTube.
  • [link] to release date news at VG247.
  • [link] to preview article at IGN.
  • [link] to preview article at Joystiq.
  • [link] to stage demo video at 1UP.
  • [link] to no open endings news at The Escapist.
  • [link] to booth tour/interview video at GameSpot.
  • [link] to stage demo video at GameSpot.
  • [link] to walkthrough video part 1 at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to walkthrough video part 2 at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to Chris Avellone interview video at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to stage demo video at IGN.
  • [link] to preview article at AtomicGamer.
  • [link] to hands on article at GamerLimit.
  • [link] to hands on article at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to Larry Liberty interview video at The Escapist.
  • [link] to Chris Avellone interview video at GameSpot.
Mass Effect 2 [X360, PC]

Mass Effect wasn't really at E3 either, but as with Dragon Age it was a bit in the news. Particularly because they released a trailer for the "Overlord" Downloadable Content. And the DLC has since been released as well, giving rise to a number of reviews. Overall I think the consensus is that this is the best DLC for Mass Effect yet, though it does suffer from some of the same issues as the previous offerings (short, no input from companions, out of place for those who have already finished the game, etc).

Overall I'm finding (for this game and others) that these bite-sized DLC don't really appeal to me so much. It'd be great if they're available when I'm still playing it (for the first time) as with the day one DLC for both games, but if it's been months since I've played a game then I'm not likely to go back just for an hour or two. In that sense I'd much rather have a full expansion, something with some meat on it (like Awakening for Dragon Age, even if I've still to complete that). But anyway.

Oh, and I don't think I've said this before yet, but if you haven't tried Mass Effect 2 yet and are unsure of whether you'll like it, then you'll be glad to know that there's a demo of the game out as well now.

  • [link] to Overlord trailer video at YouTube.
  • [link] to Overlord review article at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to Overlord video review at IGN.
  • [link] to Overlord review article at IGN.
  • [link] to Overlord review article at GameSpot.
  • [link] to Overlord video review at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to Overlord review article at Kotaku.
  • [link] to free comic at IGN.
Microsoft Kinect [X360]

The big news this year was the motion controllers for consoles. For the Xbox 360 Microsoft was focused primarily on their Kinect (formerly Project Natal), advocating hands-free gaming as the future. They started with a big Cirque du Soleil and then during their press conference spent the majority of time talking about the various games and such for the Kinect.

And overall I got the impression that people were deeply disappointed. E3 is an event mainly for ('core') gamers and pretty much all that Microsoft showed for their new controller was Wii-type casual games. Additionally, and perhaps I'm slightly biased here, having experienced hands-free gaming already with the EyeToy I have to agree with Sony that for many games you really need buttons, need something in your hand. Pretty much the only game that Microsoft showed for the Kinect that had people somewhat excited was their Star Wars game, but upon closer examination even that seemed very much an on-rails experience. After all, without buttons it's going to be very hard to make game characters move freely. I'm sure that Microsoft's marketing push might make it successful regardless, but personally I'm not seeing it.

  • [link] to Cirque du Soleil event article at The Escapist.
  • [link] to price rumor at VG247.
  • [link] to launch date news at VG247.
  • [link] to Cirque du Soleil Star Wars video segment at Kotaku.
  • [link] to press conference Star Wars video at Kotaku.
  • [link] to concerns about Kinect article at IGN.
  • [link] to Star Wars Kinect video at YouTube.
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition [X360, PS3, PC]

One of the big surprises, for me, during E3 2009 was the announcement of The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition. Taking the existing game and keeping the story, gameplay and puzzles exactly as they were but polishing up the graphics and sound (both music and voice acting) to higher quality was a stroke of genius. And allowing players to switch back and forth between the new version and the old one at any time wasn't only a nice feature, but helped give confidence that it really was the exact same game still. Thus people who loved the game many years ago could relive some past glory and those who never had the chance to play it could get into it after all.

So with the success of that special edition it should come as no surprise that LucasArts decided to make a special edition of the sequel as well. Next to giving all the same improvements the first one did this one also adds a couple of other features, most notably a commentary by the original creators. The game was already announced a while before E3 and there wasn't that much of a presence during E3, but there were a few tidbits. The game has since released (I've added two reviews that have shown up so far as well). Note, the polished up graphics don't like quite as good as in this trailer. ;)

  • [link] to E3 2010 Trailer video at YouTube.
  • [link] to first look article at GameSpot.
  • [link] to stage demo video at Voodoo Extreme.
  • [link] to "Six Changes" article at IGN.
  • [link] to release date news at Eurogamer
  • [link] to review article at 1UP.
  • [link] to review article at IGN.
PlayStation Move [PS3]

Sony's motion control device for the PlayStation 3 is the "Move", for which they had already given a showing during GDC this year. And again, I'm probably biased, but I got the impression that they had a much better showing of their motion controller than Microsoft did with Kinect. For one, they didn't focus on it almost to the exclusion of all else. And secondly, they showed more than just "Wii-too" games.

Of all the games that they showed for the Move I think that the one that impressed me most, which looked the most fun, is a game called "Sorcery" (links for which I included below as well). Not only does it make great use of the motion controller (in a way that Kinect simply can't), but it's also showing a more 'core' type gameplay with spells and killing monsters and such. And it just looks like a lot of fun. Next to that Sony announced prices and target release dates for the controller which, while a bit more expensive than I would've hoped, are still quite reasonable (and definitely a lot cheaper than the Kinect is expected to be).

For me, if I had any console then I'd definitely want to pick up the Move before Kinect (or Nintendo's Wiimote).

  • [link] to Sorcery Demo video (during Sony press conference) at YouTube.
  • [link] to hands on video at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to Move price news at Kotaku.
  • [link] to Move release date news at VG247.
  • [link] to UK Move price news at GamesIndustry.
  • [link] to tech stage demo video at 1UP.
  • [link] to SOCOM 4 Move demo video at PlayStation Blog.
  • [link] to tech interview article at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to Sorcery impressions article at Kotaku.
Portal 2 [X360, PS3, Mac, PC]

Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve, has in the past been pretty outspoken about the PS3. So it came as a pretty big surprise when during Sony's press conference suddenly GLaDOS spoke up "deploying surprise in three... two... one..." and out stepped Gabe to announce that Portal 2 was coming to the PS3. In fact, despite it being announced ahead of time that Valve would have a big surprise at E3, I think that this news was probably the most surprising of all during this year's E3.

And that wasn't all that we got on Portal 2 at this E3. They came with a whole load of video clips showing some of the new puzzle elements that we will get to play with. Next to the announcement video (which I'll post right below this paragraph) I'll embed all seven gameplay videos after the links. With the possible exception of the first one (that's the first video after the links) in which you get to see your first reunion with GLaDOS ingame they're all spoiler free; videos 2-7 pretty much just show a new puzzle element and one room where it's used. Overall this game has me pretty excited and I can't wait to play it (when it's released in 2011 on PC, X360, Mac and now PS3).

  • [link] to Valve's surprise during PS3 keynote video at YouTube.
  • [link] to Portal 2 on PS3 news at 1UP.
  • [link] to preview article at Kotaku.
  • [link] to preview article at IGN.
  • [link] to coop hands on article at Kotaku.
  • [link] to stage interview video at 1UP.
  • [link] to preview article at 1UP.
  • [link] to impressions article at GameSpot.
  • [link] to preview article at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to stage interview video at GameSpot.
  • [link] to cross compatibility news at VG247.
  • [link] to no rehashed memes news at Gamasutra.
  • [link] to stage interview video at IGN.
  • [link] to preview article at ShackNews.
  • [link] to gameplay video 1 (some spoilers) at YouTube.
  • [link] to gameplay video 2 at YouTube.
  • [link] to gameplay video 3 at YouTube.
  • [link] to gameplay video 4 at YouTube.
  • [link] to gameplay video 5 at YouTube.
  • [link] to gameplay video 6 at YouTube.
  • [link] to gameplay video 7 at YouTube.
Meet Wheatley Personality Sphere (some spoilers)

Excursion Funnels

Faith Plates

Thermal Discouragement Beams

Pneumatic Diversity Vent

Repulsion Gel

Propulsion Gel

Puzzle Agent [Wii, Mac, PC]

Telltale is known for it's more classic, episodic adventure games such as Sam & Max and Tales of Monkey Island. But next to blowing life back into existing franchises they've also started their own with Puzzle Agent. And if you've played their previous games then Puzzle Agent might come as a surprise as it's quite different from their previous offerings. Not only does it use a quite different art style, but instead of the usual inventory collection gameplay its gameplay is based on short minigames (or rather mini puzzles) instead.

Puzzle Agent has a bit of a showing during E3 (though not that much), and since then not only has the game been released but a demo has been made available as well. Having played the demo I must say that I'm of two minds though. I like the graphics style, the humor and the story shows promise. But the mini games themselves kind of leave me cold. Most of them are almost trivially simple (though there was one I just didn't see and another where I misunderstood the rules, making me feel really stupid). It's also an episodic game again, so unlike with Tales I think I'll at least hold off on this one until all the episodes are available and reviewed (and it's available on Steam).

  • [link] to Puzzle Agent official website.
  • [link] to trailer video at YouTube.
  • [link] to impressions article at GameSpot.
  • [link] to preview article at IGN.
  • [link] to release news at IGN.
  • [link] to review article at IGN.
  • [link] to review article at 1UP.
  • [link] to demo news at ShackNews.
QuestMania [PC]

I'm generally ignoring anything from Ubisoft until they get rid of their utterly stupid DRM system on PC (which requires that you're online every single second even for single player games... I've got a pretty good Internet connection, but it's not quite that stable) and have the company blacklisted; despite them having some interesting titles (I was planning to buy Assassin's Creed 2 until they decided on their DRM stupidity) I'm not buying them with said DRM solution. Even so I'd feel remiss if I didn't at least mention QuestMania.

I recall some years ago when I downloaded and played TrackMania, a fairly simple racing game whose unique feature was that it allowed players to build their own tracks with stunts and whatnot. Racing isn't really my thing, but still it was fun and I could see the potential in it. And during their press conference at this year's E3 Ubisoft announced ManiaPlanet which is to consist of three games alogn similar lines: TrackMania 2, ShootMania and QuestMania. ShootMania is supposed to be the FPS equivalent to TrackMania, (I suspect) a straight forward first-person shooter game that allows players to build their own levels. And QuestMania is supposed to be the RPG equivalent. No real details beyond that have been revealed, but I suspect that with "RPG" you should probably read "ARPG" (i.e. a simpler version of Diablo type games). But allowing players to build their own dungeons to slay monsters in could be fun. And who knows, maybe they'll surprise us and make the next Neverwinter Nights (yeah, fat chance). Either way, one to keep an eye on. Now if only it came without their ridiculous DRM.

  • [link] to ManiaPlanet E3 Teaser video at YouTube.
  • [link] to QuestMania official website.
  • [link] to QuestMania-Tube official user video website (empty).
  • [link] to ManiaPlanet announcement at IGN.
Rage [X360, PS3, Mac, PC]

id Software are often considered the creators of the first-person shooter genre, and for good reason. After all, it is from them that games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake come. But since Quake they haven't released any new franchises, just creating more Doom and Quake games. Until now that is, as they're working on a completely new game in a new setting with, as usual with id Software, a new, more advanced graphics engine. Rage is a post apocalyptic first person shooter with some very impressive visuals. Even more impressive considering that it runs on the current generation consoles at 60FPS (i.e. very smoothly).

Rage was shown during this year's E3 as well, giving what I think is probably the first ingame footage of the game. And it is indeed looking quite impressive and, more importantly, quite fun. Though I'm not really into first-person shooters and the game doesn't seem to do much new gameplay wise, it does look like it puts the pieces together quite well. Combining character interaction, vehicle sections, crafting and of course shooting with a great variety of weapons and ammunition types it might just let id Software reclaim the name of masters of the first-person shooter genre. While there were a lot of good games at E3 and a number of which that I'm a lot more interested in than Rage in the long run, I do feel that Rage probably stood out most. There's a reason it did so well in the E3 game critic awards.

  • [link] to impressions article at Kotaku.
  • [link] to stage demo video at 1UP.
  • [link] to stage walkthrough video part 1 at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to stage walkthrough video part 2 at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to Best of E3 video at IGN.
  • [link] to stage demo video at GameSpot.
  • [link] to impressions article at IGN.
  • [link] to preview article at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to interview video at GameTrailers.
  • [link] to preview article at The Escapist.
  • [link] to IGN's preview video at YouTube.
  • [link] to massive wallpapers at Bethesda Blog.
SingStar [PS3]

Ah, and finally we arrive at the best of the bunch. Shown only for a few seconds during Sony's press conference for fear of making all the other games look bad (or so I believe and I'm sticking to that), the popular singing game SingStar enters the motion control arena with SingStar Dance. Holding Sony's new Move controller you can now stand in front of your television, flail your arms around like an idiot, and score points for doing so. On top of that SingStar Guitar will allow you (if you live in Europe) to use your (undoubtedly discarded since you couldn't use them in SingStar before) guitar peripherals and play some mean guitar as well. That is, if I can get these bloody bugs fixed. ;)

Ah yes, my baby went to E3 as well this year and though the focus was more on Dance (since Guitar hasn't been taken up by the US yet) according to my colleagues it was received quite well. :)

  • [link] to SingStar Dance trailer at YouTube.
  • [link] to interview article at PlayStation.
  • [link] to announcement news at VG247.
  • [link] to announcement news at Eurogamer.
  • [link] to hands on video at The Ironstar Movement.
  • [link] to preview article at PlayStation Blog.
  • [link] to PlayStation Move video at G4TV.
  • [link] to E3 highlights article at GamesRadar.
  • [link] to Sony booth tour video at GameSpot.
Trine 2 [XBL, PSN, PC]

Trine was a fun little platform game with a beautiful art style and some nice humor (and an end level I've been unable to beat because it's suddenly strictly timed after the relatively leisurely pace of the rest of the game). And now they revealed that Trine 2 is in development, promising more of the same (not sure on the end level though). Play as three characters, switching between them at will to give you different platform puzzle solving abilities and fight of hordes of monsters. Add enhanced visuals, some new powers and online coop and this is one game that I'll most likely end up downloading when it's released spring 2011.

  • [link] to trailer video at YouTube.
  • [link] to preview article at IGN.
  • [link] to new features news at Voodoo Extreme.
  • [link] to announcement news at VG247.

As you can see the coming year (and change) should give us some great games to enjoy. Both big games such as Fallout: New Vegas and Portal 2, as well as smaller games such as Monkey Island 2 Special Edition and Trine 2. And then there are the games which could be interesting, games to keep an eye on, such as Rage, Deus Ex, Dungeon Siege 3 and Fable 3.

Of course that list pretty much doubles if you start including MMOs, considering that most of the games on PC these days seem to be that. And then there's the games which didn't make an appearance at E3 such as Elemental: War of Magic.

Though I would, of course, like to see the list being longer, I'm generally fairly happy with the things coming in the future. And maybe there'll be a few more surprises for us over the coming months. :)

Love -x-x-x-

F'sarn natha tithaur wun l'su'aco.

-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
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