Thursday, 7 June 2012

Salvaging the positives from E3

PhotobucketDisappointment is a word that goes hand-in-hand with the aftermath of most E3 events, and this year is no exception. With everyone’s cards on the table it was disappointing to see that the winning hand only had a high card, with nothing earth shattering coming to the surface. The big three really left me feeling hollow inside, all seemingly wasting their big opportunity to drive excitement.

Sony’s The Last of Us gameplay was great and really has me pumped for the game, but that was it. Microsoft talked about a lot of things which seem remarkably unmemorable and Nintendo had with their wondrous Nintendo Land finale that went down like a sack of meat at a vegan convention. Even though the big players introduced next to nothing, there are still a few things to be excited about.

Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs was the surprise hit of the show for me, with the gameplay demo completely stealing my interest. The seamless on-the-go hacking gameplay is completely new, incorporated into an original IP that seems to have borrowed elements from some of the best games. I really can’t wait to see more of it.

As I mentioned above, the E3 gameplay demo for The Last of Us impressed the socks and trousers off of me. The dynamic enemy reactions to protagonist Joel were quite amazing, and it also looks like the first adventure game in a while where ammo conservation and a tactical approach are a must. My only concern is that the demo didn’t make it very clear how much was scripted. The action and encounters looked a little too good and natural for it to be completely unscripted gameplay. I would love more than anything to be wrong, but I am slightly sceptical.

I don’t think the E3 CG trailer did Assassin’s Creed 3 much justice, but the gameplay Ubisoft showed off seemed very promising. It looks significantly different from past Assassin’s Creed games, but still keeps the elements that worked in previous titles. Ezio’s accent has also worn the tread off of my brain, so it’s nice to finally have a new central character.

Aside from the non-shows put on by Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, the biggest let down of E3 was Splinter Cell Blacklist. I loved Conviction and Ubisoft just needed to do more of the same. Instead, they’ve pissed away the last remnants of stealth and made it into a generic shooter clone to please the Call of Duty crowed. I’m really not happy with it. Also, Michael Ironside is gone yet Sam Fisher remains. If you’re going to cut out his voice box you might as well kill the character all together. It would have worked a lot better if they introduced a new protagonist, rather than having the same Fisher with a younger voice.

E3 is drawing to an end now, but it’s left us with a lot to think about. Namely, when does Watch Dogs come out? Will Hitman Absolution actually be good? And does Nintendo care about its fans or investors?

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