E3 - Day 2

Day 2 of E3 has come to an end and we have more news and pictures for you to browse through.  First and foremost the news that everyone has been dying to hear: VALVES BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!  Portal 2 is coming to the PS3 and Steam.  Now that is some big news isn't it?  Let's move on.

Once E3 opened its doors for Day 2, we rushed to find the line for the Gears of War 3 demo.  While in a mad dash, we got in line for Gears 3 or so we thought.  Unfortunately, in that moment of blur, we ended up in line for the official Microsoft Kinect demo while the Gears demo was the next line over.  We figured since we were already in this line we might as well check it out, but next time we should pay closer attention.  We attempted to see the Kinect demo, but gave up after standing in line for 40 minutes and moving only about three feet. 

We then moved to the correct line for the Gears of War 3 theater. Thankfully we only had to wait 15 minutes to get into the demo once we moved lines.  This game has turned out to be a great evolution in the series.  The world is being destroyed and the Locust are disorganized and feral.  The game starts with you playing a four player co-op.  The fine people at EPIC have removed emergence holes, the Lambent now comes from stalks and just for fun they now explode when they die.  This means that sadly you can no longer chainsaw them to death because you will blow up; however, now there is a new melee attack that allows you to kick them away from you before they explode.  This melee move also serves as a convenient way to attack additional enemies. 

The Hammer of Dawn also makes a return; too bad you can't control it in the demo they showed.  The heroes were getting attacked by a Berserker that can only be killed by the Hammer. (Irishpride always wishes they would play a soundbit of Hammertime whenever the Hammer was used.)  However, the Hammer seems to have a malfunction of sorts which means you are unable to control its trajectory meaning you will have to dodge out of the laser's path of destruction.  In previous Gears games the Berserker has always been a pain and in this installment she can now jump, joy!  The game also introduces a new multi-player mode tentatively titled Beast Mode.  This mode allows you to take control of the Locust and teach those pathetic humans a long overdue lesson.  There are several different Locust that you get to choose from and this is done like Horde Mode in Gears 2, only with more lives for you.  The game looked like a lot of fun, but sadly, we only got to watch the demo :'-(.  Expect Gears 3 to launch in April 2011.

Next we visited the Tron booth.  Tron booth, large and in charge.When many think of Tron, they picture the classic light cycles from the movie.  Too bad we did not get to play that part of the demo, sad times.  They are in the game, so don't worry you do get to try your hand at it; however, it is also a third person action game that appears to be experience based.  We think it is experience based since you received experience points from killing the bad guys.  We don't know what importance this has yet, but we hope to hear new information explaining the game play.  The third person action game includes a combo system and an acrobatic way of navigating through the areas. 

The next exhibit we visited was Homefront by THQ and Kaos.  This game takes place approximately in the year 2026.  North and South Korea have become an unified nation and have taken over Asia and the United States.  You play as a  member of the US Resistance.  In the demo you wake up in a safe-house that is kept safe from Korean patrols by fences and camo.  This is one of the last American refuges left as the rest have been taken over by the invading forces.  Civilians have been forced from their homes and put into concentration camps.  Things are bad for the States and it doesn't look like it is going to improve anytime soon. 

Next in the demo, they showed a Lumber Wholesale store being used as a fortified Korean military base.  The US starts an attack on the base with a van ramming through the gate with the radio blaring.  This causes the Korean forces to inspect the van which centralizes the Korean force in the base.  The US forces then fire a missile which spreads napalm and ignites most the Korean troops.  During the attack, a missile misfires almost hitting your character.  Though he does not get hit directly by the missile, he is still bombarded and survives from other flying projectiles.  He and fellow resistance member takes shelter in a nearby wooden tower which proceeds to be shot to bits by a Korean chopper.  While escaping the tower carnage he is captured by the Korean forces and is about to be executed when an armored resistance vehicle runs over the Korean shooter.  Homefront booth, there were plenty of Korean soldiers around...with guns.Our hero should really play the lottery when it comes back, as he seems to be one very lucky man.  Overall, Homefront could be a very promising game. 

The concept of protecting the United States form a complete Korean occupation is a great hook to pull the gamer in.  THQ commented: "We want to create a new type of FPS that is really story driven and engages the player in heartfelt situations."  One thing that has Assimilator and myself concerned is that THQ stated that they wanted to showcase the single player aspect at THIS E3.  This made it sound like the game could still be well over a year from being released, as there is a supposed multiplayer angle to the game.  This may be a blessing in disguise, for the graphics still appear to be in development.  In fact, we were thinking the game looked like an early XBOX 360 title.  While we both know graphics are not everything, it would have been nice to see a sharper presentation especially considering its advertising budget.  There were flyers, poster, banners, and materials swamping the expo.  Look for our report next year at E3 2011 when we take another look at Homefront.  And as an aside, don't sit two inches away from a 100" television.  You will get motion sickness and not just because of the lackluster graphics.

Next up we visited our childhood in the West Hall at Nintendo.  After the initial excitement of a new hall, we ended up in line for one of the biggest innovations of the show, the Nintendo 3DS.  One nice thing about waiting in Nintendo's line was the amount of people they allowed on the demo show floor at once.  Nintendo booth babe entertaining geeks while waiting in line.This cut the wait time drastically and while waiting, booth babes and a couple of booth bros (we claim the term "booth bros" as a Gameslave trademark) showed us actual demos of the Nintendo 3DS.  We experienced a hands on demo of the system and were extremely impressed how well the 3D aspect worked.  The greatest thing about the 3D aspect is that you do not need to wear 3D glasses to play 3D games.  All you need is your eyes.  When we got to the actual demo floor, there were about 100 Nintendo 3DS' on the floor with multiple games to check out.  Here, Assimilator and I split up to try and see the different games being showcased. 

We both watched a short video demo of Mario Kart in 3D and were impressed.  Being a video demo, we could not actually play it, but we could turn the camera with a new mini joystick that is introduced in the 3DS system.  Nintendo 3DS, notice the two built in cameras which allow you to take 3D pictures.The joystick seemed to be quite responsive and well built, so you shouldn't have to worry about busting the mini joystick.  Another cool feature of the 3DS was a built in accelerometer.  This basically means that the 3DS will have tilt screen and motion controls (what doesn't these days, huh?) much like your iPod Phone / Touch.  You maybe asking yourself "What about all my other DS games, will they work on this new hand held system?"  Fear not friends.  On the top screen (where the 3D video occurs) there is a switch which allows you to slide a switch up for full 3D or down for no 3D which will allow you to play your normal DS games.  On the front of the system there are two small cameras installed.  What these cameras allow you to do is take pictures in 3D.  Assimilator took his picture while punching at the 3DS and the photo showed his fist popping out of the screen, which was pretty nifty.  One question we asked was when this awesome system was set to be released and of course, Nintendo could not talk about it.  We look forward for the Nintendo 3DS to hit store shelves, in fact, Assimilator says he is now ready to replace his original DS, woo hoo!

We then ventured through the Playstation booth.  Damn it was busy there.  PSMove was in abundance, but to be honest we were not interested enough to want to play with it, or it could have been the line.   It looks like a fancy Wii Mote to be honest.  They had games in 3D to play, including KillZone 3, but we did not make it to it.  Playstation's biggest announcement was that there will be a new installment of Twisted Metal, Playstation's longest running franchise.  One thing that looked interesting was a brief Infamous 2 trailer that appeared.  There was lightning of course, but for reasons unexplained, there was also ice.  We have no clue why so far, but if it's anything like the first Infamous we're in for a treat.Didn't really write much about the Playstation booth, but look, they have a big picture!!

From there we wondered around until we found Blacklight Tango Down.  The game appears to be for PC, PS3 and XBOX 360. At its core, you have a basic FPS made for multiplayer. You run around an area, shoot, and die.  IrishPride would like to point out that he actually killed more people then getting killed himself, invisible highfive!!  For the first 7 minutes I played I could barely find anyone, then I found the visor controls.  To control the visor, you press the v (V for Visor!) button to turn it on, then let it run out of power or turn it off.  The visor allows you to see ammo caches and enemy movement through walls.  Too bad you can't fire your gun with it on (both of us found that one out the hard way).  It also seems to be that you are not an actual person in game, you are playing in a netwar of types.  I tried to find out more, but the guy at the booth walked away as I walked up.  I didn't think I was that scary.  Guess we'll have to get news from it elsewhere and not from the source.

Lastly was the second twitch space shooter we saw on the floor, Black Prophecy.  Basic space shooter that keeps you in control of the action.  It is not a railer shooter so things don't progress just at the computer's leisure.  You press the trigger and it fires the guns.  The bit I played had quite a bit of action to it as I was thrown into the middle of a war zone.  It takes a bit of finesse to pilot you craft skillfully, but it works great from what we saw.  It, along with Taikodom from GamersFirst, can bring a lot to the table for the space shooter genre.

From there we walked into the Into The Pixel art exhibit, which has many pieces of art work inspired by games.  Examples were Guild Wars 2, Star Craft, and Epic Mickey.  Words cannot express how nicely this area came out, but I will try to sum up my feelings about it.  Suck it people who say video games are not art.  Yeah, that sounds good.

And that ended Day 2.  The final day approaches.