Wednesday, June 06, 2012


The big presentations at E3 were largely underwhelming and sometimes silly --- PS3 Wonderbook, Nintendo Land, Reggie Fils Aime --- but there were a few exciting games that caught my eye.

Halo 4
The graphics are impressive, the music is cool, and the weapons sound great. I'm not so sure about the enemy, though; it looked a little silly to me. I hope more demos will emerge before the game is released so I can get a better look at it.

Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
This is a great looking game in which there is a seemless transition from cut-scenes to gameplay. The voice acting is quite good and there are some impressive wind and coat-physics, too. The gunfight near the end showcases destructible vehicles and bullet-time, which is cool, but what I don't understand is why the target just sits in his vehicle while all his bodyguards are being gunned down. Why doesn't he get out and run while his killer is occupied?

Beyond: Two Souls (Quantic Dream)
From the developers of Heavy Rain and that excellent Kara tech demo comes Beyond: Two Souls. Now, this is just a cinematic trailer, and trailers sometimes give a flase impression of the final game (e.g., Heavy Rain, Killzone 2) but I have to say that it looks interesting. It's creepy and tense, has some flashes of action-packed events, and features the voice and acting of Canadian actress Ellen Page. As in the Kara demo, it also displays some excellent face rendering and lip-synching. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

The Last of Us (Naughty Dog)
Here we have more seemless transitions, great lighting, great motion capture, and brutal hand-to-hand combat. When the lead character, Joel, punches or smashes someone's face in with the butt or barrel of a gun I cringe a little; it seems weighty, visceral, and consequential, unlike the combat in most modern games. Also, I am really impressed by the actions of Joel's AI-partner, Ellie. She remains an integral and effective part of the action, rather than just a scared, passive bystander --- check out what she does at the 5:16 mark. And that final shotgun blast always makes me jump and wince. This is the game I am looking forward to the most.

There were more games shown, but these 4 are the ones that truly interest me. I have no interest in anything that Nintendo does; I'll wait for Black Ops 2 to find its way to the bargain bin; Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell --- meh; and I'll pass on Assassin's Creed III. Call me crazy, but I don't think I would enjoy killing British soldiers.

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