Welcome to the first of out two-part coverage of E3 where will bring you news about some of the biggest announcements and hottest new trailers. Be sure to check back in a few days for part two of our coverage.
As we all know, 2012 has not been a good year so far for the videogame industry. Sales are down across the board. The major players such as Sony and Nintendo have seen their profits plummet, and entire studios (38 Studios) have gone belly up. The hope was that this year’s E3 would spark the industry as it normally does but I have my doubts. After seeing the announcements and trailers from the first couple of days it looks like business as usual. As was the case last year, sequels are the main course at this year’s E3 once again…Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed 3, God of War Ascension, Dead Space 3…All of these games look great but where are the NEW games? Where are the fresh ideas? Is this how things are going to be? In 2020 are we going to be talking about Halo 9?
Sony’s presentation was interesting in that the already disappointing PS Vita was barely a blip on the radar at E3. Other than Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation the Vita might just has well been the PSP. Not good. There was little surprises in Sony’s presentation although I found the J.K. Rowling Wonderbook project where utilizing the PlayStation Move, players learn how to cast spells, to be quite interesting and at least something different. I definitely liked what I saw game wise from Sony. Beyond: Two Souls and God of War Ascension look fantastic. But I have to say at this point since I could not get Sony to send me a PS Vita unit for review I’m glad I did not plunk down my hard earned money to buy one. My 3DS is already beginning to gather a heavy coat of dust and I don’t need two expensive door stops. On top of that, Sony has no plans of A Vita price drop similar to what Nintendo did with the 3DS a mere few months after its release.
To Nintendo’s credit, they were really pushing the Wii U but again, I found their presentation to be somewhat lackluster. I didn’t see anything that would make gamers want to run out and buy a Wii U as soon as it comes out. Mass Effect 3, Darksiders II, Trine 2: Director's Cut, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition were five of the third-party games shown during the briefing, and all of them are already on other platforms or will be, by the time when Wii U comes out. Nintendo Land was pushed as the system's “must have” game that will make you want to get the Wii U. I think the Wii U has potential but it would have been nice to see more games unique to that system rather than a bunch of ports.
THE NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM E3
The Last of Us Gameplay trailer
One of the trailers that made a big splash at last year’s E# was The Last of Us. On the first day of E# we got the first gameplay trailer. Check it out below.
God of War: Ascension Gameplay Trailer
Another highly anticipated game giving its first gameplay trailer glimpse (sing-player gameplay) is God of War: Ascension!
Disney Interactive Announces Launch Date For "Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two"
Paint and thinner will once again alter the universe on November 18, 2012 as Disney Interactive announces the launch date for its highly-anticipated action adventure game “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo).
“Our fans have told us how eager they are for a sequel to ‘Disney Epic Mickey’ and I’m happy to be able to reveal the launch date for “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,” said Warren Spector, creative director and vice president, Junction Point. “I think players are going to be excited by the new areas of the game being revealed at E3 where they will need to determine who their friends really are as they team up Mickey Mouse and Oswald to restore balance in Wasteland.”
This time the game will be available for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in addition to the Nintendo Wii
Dead Space 3 E3 Trailer
Dead Space 3 brings Isaac Clarke and John Carver on a journey across space to discover the source of the Necromorph outbreak. After crashing on the frozen planet of Tau Volantis, Isaac must scour the harsh terrain for raw materials and scavenged parts. He will have to put his engineering skills to the ultimate test to create and customize weapons and survival tools. The ice planet holds the key to ending the Necromorph plague forever, but first Isaac must overcome avalanches, treacherous ice-climbs, and the violent wilderness. Play together with a friend or go it alone as Isaac Clarke using the seamless new drop in, drop out co-op functionality. Each mode offers unique story elements and gameplay.
Ubisoft's Infectious ZombiU Coming Exclusively to Nintendo Wii U
At E3 Ubisoft has accounced ZombiU – a new survival-horror shooter that will be released exclusively for Nintendo’s Wii UTM. ZombiU headlines a group of eight titles from Ubisoft that will be available for the Nintendo Wii UTM. ZombiU puts players in the middle of London circa 2012, where an outbreak has infected the population, destroying their humanity and turning them into mindless monsters preying on the flesh of the few remaining survivors. This fear-fueled first-person shooter takes all the terror, chaos and tension found in the best of the horror genre and adds original interactive elements, including a unique death mechanic that puts players in the body of a different survivor each time they die, allowing them to track and take down their old, infected characters, recover their equipment and see if they can stay alive just a little bit longer this time.
ZombiU showcases the innovative features of the Nintendo Wii UTM GamePad and creates new game experiences not possible on other consoles. The Nintendo Wii UTM GamePad serves as the player’s ultimate survival kit, called the “Bug Out Bag.” The Bug Out Bag is a backpack containing all the maps, tools, weapons and supplies that players can scavenge from the limited resources available in the devastated cityscape. ZombiU also uses the Nintendo Wii UTM GamePad’s touch screen, gyroscope and camera to create a tactile connection between gamers and the in-game world. Finally, ZombiU features a distinctive multiplayer adversarial mode that allows one player to take on the role of “Zombie Master,” spawning and controlling enemies from a top-down view on the Nintendo Wii UTM GamePad while the second player fights for survival on the big screen in first-person shooter view with the Nintendo Wii UTM Pro controller.
2K Games Releases New Trailer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown
2K Games has released a new trailer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the highly anticipated action-strategy game from Firaxis Games. The trailer focuses on the intense tactical combat, the terrifying alien enemies, and the wealth of strategic options that players will encounter when XCOM: Enemy Unknown invades stores on October 9, 2012.
Assassin's Creed III Liberation Brings the Fight For Freedom to the PS Vita
Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed III Liberation will be released on October 30 exclusively for the PlayStation Vita, bringing the full Assassin’s Creed experience to a handheld device for the first time. Assassin’s Creed III Liberation includes key pillars of the franchise that fans of the series know and love, including combat, free-roaming navigation and a rich story full of intrigue and twists, delivering a true Assassin’s Creed experience to the PS Vita system.
Gamers play as the series’ first female protagonist, Aveline. A woman of conviction, Aveline is fighting for freedom in 18th-century New Orleans – a city on the brink of a rebellion as the Spanish Empire imposes its new rule.
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation also features PS Vita-specific controls, making the most of the system’s touchscreen and rear touch pad, cameras and gyroscope. These include distinctive combat, character interaction, deciphering and traversal controls – all delivering an immersive handheld Assassin’s Creed experience. Assassin’s Creed III Liberation will also bring a unique multiplayer experience to the series exclusively tailored for the PS Vita system.
CCP Announces New 'DUST 514' Details, Trailer at E3
CCP Games is proud to announce a number of new details for its upcoming free-to-play massively multiplayer first person shooter, DUST 514, scheduled for release this year exclusively on the PlayStation 3. The premier beta event for DUST 514 is scheduled to begin on Friday June 29th, and will run throughout the weekend. Participants that register at www.DUST514.com/beta will be chosen at random to participate, and new players interested in joining the action can still sign up. This event will be the first of several throughout the summer, and CCP will be revealing more information in the coming weeks.
DUST 514 will be fully integrated into PlayStation Home, starting at E3. Debuting as part of Sony’s Virtual E3 Experience, the DUST 514 Home Space is a way for users to get up close and personal with the New Eden universe. In addition, the first 10,000 visitors to the DUST 514 Home Space will be able to get “All Access” beta keys, guaranteeing them access to all the DUST 514 beta events over the summer. The DUST 514 Space will remain live and accessible to players throughout the summer, and Home users can expect additional beta keys to be distributed via the Home Space in the future.
DUST 514 also supports the PlayStation Vita in the form of a companion app. Officially titled DUST 514: Neocom, the app integrates services that incorporate the feel and functionality from DUST 514 on PlayStation 3, with a focus on customization, communication and trade. Each character can be customized and configured using DUST 514: Neocom; players can create and edit customized fittings (load-outs) with a huge variety of dropsuits, weapons, equipment, modules and vehicles. The Vita app will also access a wide range of social features, such as the in-game Mail system and Friends List to keep up with game dynamics, and players can purchase new items, weapons and vehicles from the DUST 514 Marketplace using either ISK (in-game earned currency) or Aurum (purchased currency). DUST 514: Neocom is scheduled to be released later this year alongside DUST 514.
One of the most anticipated titles of the year, DUST 514 brings intense infantry combat, large-scale warfare and deep character advancement to the PlayStation 3 in an exclusive free-to-play massively multiplayer shooter. Set in, and integrated with, the massive universe of EVE Online™, players wage war in the next generation of first-person shooters, where a single victory could prove the crushing blow to a galactic empire of thousands of online gamers.
Tomb Raider Crossroads trailer
While it was announced at least year’s E3 we are still nearly a year away from the release of the latest Tomb Raider game which should arrive in March 2013. In the meantime Square Enix does have a new trailer for you to check out.
Deep Silver Announces Dead Island: Riptide
Deep Silver today announced the development of a new entry to the Dead Island™ franchise. The next battle between life and death will be waged in Dead Island Riptide and is currently in full development by Techland for consoles & PCs. An extensive reveal of its’ thrilling new perils is planned for later this summer.
Konami Announces Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate for the 3DS
Konami announced that the action adventure title Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate will be available this Fall exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS™system. Mirror of Fate takes place 25 years after the events of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and is a precursor to the highly anticipated and recently announced Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate reveals the story of Gabriel Belmont's descendants, Simon and Trevor Belmont, as they battle their own destiny only to discover their true, shocking fate.
Trevor Belmont, a knight of the Brotherhood of Light, sets out to avenge the death of his mother, at the hands of his own father, who has returned from years of exile to take up residence in a mysterious castle. What was once Gabriel Belmont now stands Dracula, a powerful vampire. Dracula has declared war upon the Brotherhood and thus the scene is set for a cataclysmic showdown between Father and Son.
In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate, players take on the role of multiple characters, each with unique abilities and skills across different eras. Featuring a huge array of combos and a deep strategic combat system, players can use their characters' weapons and magical abilities to take down their evil foes. Fans will traverse through immensely detailed levels and encounter enormous boss fights, all within a unique Nintendo 3DS setting that features high resolution 3D polygon graphics, and side scrolling areas with full 3D battles combined.
Sony Unveils Beyond Two Souls at E3
Beyond Two Souls is a unique psychological action thriller featuring Academy Award(r) nominee, Ellen Page in the lead role. Experience the incredible life of a person who possesses extraordinary powers through a connection with an invisible entity. Watch as your actions and decisions determine her fate and face incredible emotional challenges never before seen in a video game.
Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs Trailer
If there’s one company that has really hit the ball out of the park the first couple of days of E3 it’s been Ubisoft. And here is another reason why!
Activision’s Skylander’s Sequel
Skylanders Giants builds upon the breakthrough fundamentals of the Skylanders Spyro's Adventure merging the physical and virtual realms with an innovative line of cross-platform toys with "brains," which players everywhere can magically bring to life in the world of Skylands. Using the mystical Portal of Power, players once again lead a team of heroic Skylanders in a new adventure to save their world. Portal Masters will journey through new areas of Skylands, encountering new enemies, solving fun puzzles, overcoming different hazards and obstacles, and finding a variety of collectable rewards and treasure. Skylanders Giants introduces sixteen new characters to build on the magic of Skylanders Spyro's Adventures, including super-sized giants with powers to match, as well as the new LightCore Skylanders that light-up in the game and in the real-world as players transport them to Skylands using the Portal of Power. Additionally, the game features new Hero Challenges, more Battle Mode gameplay, and advanced integration across console, handheld, mobile and Skylanders UniverseSM. (Developed for Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 system, Windows PC)
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
Gravity Rush (Sony) Rated T PS Vita
Gravity Rush is a single player Action-Adventure game with RPG and Platforming game elements that is specifically designed for PlayStation Vita. Utilizing PS Vita specific functionality such as the gyro motion sensor of the PS Vita, highly refined graphics and touch control capabilities, and a rich storyline rendered in a crisp comic/animation-like style, Gravity Rush provides an engrossing 3D experience in which the usual laws of gravity cease to exist. Additional features include: simple shoulder button-based controls for gravity-altering move, varied enemy and boss battles, and beat-em-up combat.
Lollipop Chainsaw (Warner Bros) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360
Lollipop Chainsaw is the 'un-deadly' story of sweet and killer zombie-hunter Juliet Starling and her quest to uncover the root of a colossal zombie outbreak. With her wickedly awesome chainsaw in hand, Juliet slices, dices and splits her way through hordes of the undead, but soon realizes the horde is only the opening act to a festival of zombie rock lords determined to kill the chainsaw-wielding cheerleader.
Lollipop Chainsaw is being developed by Grasshoper Manufacture, led by celebrated game developer Goichi Suda (aka SUDA 51) and featuring the musical compositions of the renowned Akira Yamaoka. In addition, Hollywood director and writer James Gunn (Super, Slither, Dawn of the Dead, Tromeo and Juliet) has brought his cult humor and edgy storytelling to Lollipop Chainsaw's script.
Dirt Showdown (Warner Bros) Rated E PS3, Xbox 360
DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.
Starhawk (Sony) Rated T PS3
Sometimes it’s the games that get very little fanfare that turn out to be great. That’s definitely the case with Starhawk which flew under everyone’s radar but is one fantastic game. It is a sequel to 2007’s Warhawk but with some notable changes to its gameplay that combines third-person shooter action with elements of real-time strategy for a game that has a much needed fresh feel to it. A new system called "Build n' Battle" allows players to build structures such as bunkers, defenses, and armories in the midst of battle, giving the game its real-time strategy feel.
The plot is almost like a futuristic western where humans have colonized various planets and each is like a new frontier. The humans mine a valuable energy source known as Rift Energy. However miners who’ve become exposed to the energy for too long have mutated into Outcasts. Protective and basically addicted to the energy the Outcasts begin to attack the human miners and settlements. Two brothers were infected by the Rift Energy: Logan is mutated into a full Outcast while Emmett was saved by a friend who outfits him with an implant to prevent him from fully mutating. Emmett and his friend Cutter become essentially old West Gunslingers for hire, going about ridding the lands of Outcasts.
While the action is fast-paced it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Your enemies move fast too but indicators on screen give you the direction of their attack to help you plan your own defenses. This is where we get to the “Build ‘n Battle” part of the game. By collecting valuable Rift energy you can utilize it to build valuable assets like walls, gun turrets, watchtowers, supply depots, and repair drops. These can be linked together and built up so you can create a truly formidable fortress against the enemy. You even have buildings that produce vehicles so you can take the war mobile in jeeps or tanks and take to the air in a jetpack. These many options are what set Starhawk apart from other third-person shooters. My only complaint is that in each level your loadout is tailored to whatever enemy force you are facing so the only real decision you have to make is where to build so it dumbs the decision making down a good deal.
The campaign is relatively short at around 6 hours but Starhawk also comes with robust multi-player action as well that amps up the challenge immensely. You can play in games with up to 32 players, each controlling and building their own forces. That means there is a heck of a lot going on in multi-player games. Starhawk also has a co-operative mode similar in concept to the Horde Mode in the Gears of War franchise.
Starhawk combines intense and exciting action with the kind of strategy you don’t see in most shooters. Coupled with fantastic graphics and voice acting, this is one nice little gem of a game. Grade A-
Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment. He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames and the horror dedicated column, Tuesday Terrors. Tim has written for Fangoria, Newsarama, City Slab Magazine, Twitch Film, and Cinefantastique. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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