Howdy, fellow gaming connoisseurs, E3 has officially begun and Microsoft was the first company to kick off the showcase. After watching the SmartGlass presentation, I came away with the feeling Xbox wants to take over every last device I own in my house. I’m really, very excited for E3 2013 where we’ll see the unveiling of Xbox Integration Chips planted into our gray matter so that I may browse my apps with a simple scream. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s take a look at what actually mattered at the show, in this year – the games.
- Halo 4 opened up the show, fists-a-swinging. A TV-show budgeted live-action short was shown, introducing us to the plight of the UNSC Infinity. The short was effectively eerie and cleanly led way to a surprising gameplay demonstration that managed to a) Show off the game’s new breed of Forerunner-related monsters and b) Subtly fuck with Halo fans’ expectations. Seeing a plasma grenade caught by your enemy and tossed right back in your face are some of the little ideas shimmering beneath the game’s surface. To be completely honest, I haven’t been this excited for a Halo title in years.
- Splinter Cell: Blacklist also received the live demo treatment on the Xbox. It appears to be a direct sequel to the game changing Conviction, displaying familiar conventions and mechanics…right up until Sam starts scaling walls as if he forgot for a moment he wasn’t in another assassin-centric Ubisoft game. I may have missed one too many Splinter Cell’s to ever figure out what the hell’s going on but I still know quality when I see it.
- Tomb Raider decided to make an appearance and the extended gameplay demo, finally giving us a violent taste of the game’s combat mechanics, went a long way in proving Crystal Dynamics’ reboot can go toe-to-toe with any modern day actioner. The kind of interactive hell you can sic on your enemies using the environment was eye-popping. Seriously hoping the rest of the game follows suit.
- While Resident Evil 6 was not one of the smoother demonstrations on stage (the producer playing it was a bit finicky with the controls), it was still an impressive showing of how drastically different this iteration handles. Leon and his partner Helena shoot, burn, blow up, and beat the shit out of moaning zombies as they advance through a flaming cityscape. Context-activated melee returns but with so many more options, I’m friggin’ jittery – on the ground, near a wall, or stumbling, Leon proved he knew more than a few creative ways to end a zombie. I’m sad to report to survival horror fans, though, that in just five minutes, RE6 proved it has more of a focus on action than ever before.
- Black Ops II capped off the afternoon with gameplay transporting us to 2025. At a glance, it all looked like run of the mill Calluty (not a type, that’s actually how I refer to it/mumble), but the little things sometimes make the whole: we were privy to Perfect Dark-esque sniping through surfaces, plus the first-time introduction of choice in the series where Mason Jr. had to decide between tactical options before a firefight. The biggest high point for me was seeing how freely you could pilot a jet in the game. It almost appeared to be the on-rails mechanics of yesteryear but towards the end, you see the jet veer off and chase other fighter jets into a dogfight. The series may be tired, but I still would like to see the engine stretched as far as possible before we put this console generation to rest.
- During both Tomb Raider and RE6’s presentation, publishers could not resist the urge to announce timed-exclusive DLC. When your game isn’t even fucking wrapped up yet, how does it not sound like withholding to openly state separate content is being made? Trust me, guys, your exclusive DLC won’t ever get a standing ovation from gamers.
- No knock against Gears of War: Judgement – a game I desperately need to know more about – but its trailer was barely a blip. They had me all pumped when A Perfect Circle sounded off, but a pose and an explosion later, our Judgement lowdown abruptly ended.
- The marketing director of Xbox Live decided that in order for me to properly appreciate his company’s bid to integrate every goddamn thing I do into everything else, I had to have parts of Prometheus spoiled for me. Thanks, broski.
- Usher showed up, stopped us from seeing games for a glittery, choreographed eternity.
- My brain automatically switched off anytime they mentioned the Kinect. I think there’s a new Fable but…I-I can’t be sure…
- Hey, I completely respect your interest in sports games and I would never belittle their prominence in the market just because they’re not my preference. But you also have to respect the fact I want to hit someone squarely in the face every time a retired sports star is brought before a crowd of the kind of people he spent his adolescence stuffing into lockers, then proceeds to awkward up the stage.