And Ubisoft Takes the Prize – E3 News

5 Jun

E3 over the last two days has been a flurry of news and information. While it’s not over yet, all of the big press conferences are over. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, and Ubisoft held major press conferences and wowed, or bored, crowds with their presentations. Here’s what I thought stood out during each.

Microsoft came out with a presentation for the next Halo. My opinion is the game will be mediocre now that the old team is no longer developing it, but time will tell how good it really is. They also announced the release date, November 6, so we won’t even have to wait that long.

Next was the announcement of the new Splinter Cell which attempted to demo voice commands via Kinect. It didn’t come off so well. The developer playing the game knew the commands, but it’s going to take some heavy tutorials to get players using them as smoothly as a button press. The guys from Madden came in afterwards, though, and they showed how Kinect voice can really be utilized.

You ever really wanted to feel like a quarterback? Well now you get to call play commands like one instead of selecting the play to be used. I’d love to see more games use voice as a main command instead of a gimmicked addition – Like Splinter Cell does.

After that, a slew of new of titles were announced:

  • Fable: The Journey
  • Forza
  • Resident Evil
  • Wreketeer
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • Matter
  • Gears of War 4
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • Dance Central 4

The biggest announcement, though, was SmartGlass. CNN claims that people think this is actual glass, but I know you guys  are smarter than that. It’s an app that links your Xbox 360 to your PC and any smart technology you own (smart phone, ipad, etc.). All you need is a PC running Windows 8, any mobile device running Windows 8 (or an iOS or Android device).

Supposedly, SmartGlass will let you start watching a show on your tablet or phone, then send it to your TV or vice versa. The app also will recognize TV shows or movies you were watching through an Xbox device and will remember that content so you don’t have to go looking for it. Supposedly, players will also be able to enhance their gameplay via their mobile devices as well. Microsoft showed off a tablet being used to edit a football play in Madden ’12.

While I’m not so sure about this technology, I am pleased to see this step towards gaming consoles being the core of the entertainment center.

Unfortunately for EA, there presentation was forgettable. I literally forgot they even presented, despite watching the presentation for two hours and taking extensive notes. All they did was announce new games and introduce their new plan to make social games via Facebook.

The Star Wars: The Old Republic news was disappointing. Adding another new story line and the HK 41 Assault Droid as a companion, they said nothing about fixing old bugs or improving their endgame offering. What they did say, was SW:ToR would be free to play up until level 15. Not that I was going to ever renew my subscription, but this just adds nails to the coffin.

Their list of new game announcements consisted of:

  • Dead Space 3
  • NFL 13
  • SimCity Social
  • SimCity for the PC
  • Battlefield 3 Premium
  • Medal of Honor Warfighter
  • Madden NFL Social
  • Need 4 Speed: Most Wanted
  • Crysis 3

Of the announcements, Dead Space 3 and the new SimCity for the PC were the only real gems. Dead Space 3, scheduled for release February 2013, will have better voice acting and a more open world, though it looks more like Gears of Wars to me. SimCity will have a multiplayer component and allow you to construct your city they way you please for the first time. I’m really excited to get my hands on this, but I don’t know if my computer will be able to handle the graphics.

The best presentation of the lot was by Ubisoft. It opened with Flo Rider performing for Just Dance 4, his back up dancers actually dancing the steps while he performed. Then Aisha Taylor was hosting and promptly flubbed her lines, calling everyone gay. I loved every second of it, though the actual Just Dance 4 game bores me.

The unexpected title announced was Watchdog. Similar to Heavy Rain, it’s got actual shooting elements instead of just story lines. Headed for Xbox, PS3 and PC, a video says a thousand words so here is the trailer and gameplay video:

Also announced was Farcry 3 and a sexy trailer with boobs, tattooing , and blood – everything that makes up a really good game. This trailer and game play demo was so intriguing that I’m planning to pick up the first two Farcry games just so I can be caught up on the story for when this releases. The graphics, gameplay, and story all look like a winning package that could make this one of the best games announced at E3.

The other games announced and demoed (all amazing) were:

  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  • Marvel Avengers
  • Rayman
  • Assassin’s Creed 3

With a close second to Ubisoft, Sony had the next best presentation at E3. My favorite announcement was their decision to make the PS Vita a cross sharing platform with the PS3. What’s that mean? Like the Wii U has a controller with a screen, the Vita will work the same way with the PS3. Players will be able to do more than just access their trophies over the PlayStation Network, they’ll be able to play games on the Vita and multiplayer with people on the PS3. They’re also releasing games for both systems, the first of which is Sony Allstars.

Many other new titles were also announced for the PS Vita:

  • Little Big Planet
  • Call of Duty: Declassified
  • AC3: Liberation
  • PS1 classics Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy.

Another new addition to the PS3 is the Wonderbook. While I think it will confuse the hell out of most people, it allows you to read a book and interact with it via Move technology. J.K. Rowling has already written a book for it called the Book of Spells which is in conjunction with her Pottermore project.  I didn’t find this impressive, but I’m sure there will be plenty of kids out there who will love it.

The last big announcement was the PS Suite, now renamed PS Mobile. Similar to what Microsoft is doing with SmartGlass, the PS Mobile will be on open system OS smart phones and tablets and allow players to interact on a deeper level with their games. They’re also “PS Certifying” new technology, starting with HTC platforms. More information will be coming out, but I’m glad that Sony is keeping up with Microsoft on this.

Other than that, there were several new announcements for the PS3:

  • Beyond
  • Farcry 3
  • God of War 4
  • Uncharted

The Nintendo press conference already happened, but I’ll be waiting for the 3DS press conference before writing it up. So stay tuned and I’ll have more information soon.

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