Now that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is over, let the buzz for the hottest video games begin.
The week started off Sunday night with a party hosted by recently launched gaming blog, Polygon.com (currently at TheVerge.com/Gaming), at the Broadway Bar in downtown Los Angeles. It was a good event to kick thing off for the week — free food and drink plus good music is always a good thing. That’s usually how E3 parties roll. I also rolled to the Swedish Affair party (L.A.’s Swedish elite were in the house) on Monday night at the Sowden House in the Hollywood Hills and the GREE Party at Club Nokia that featured an outstanding performance by Girl Talk.
But what about the games? Monday is always about the press conferences. I went to all of them — Microsoft, EA Games, Ubisoft Games, Sony and Nintendo followed on Tuesday morning. Here’s are some of the highlights:
Microsoft – They finally showed off Halo 4
, the company’s biggest franchise and one of the most anticipated games of the year. It looked great with new enemies, new weapons and new environments, along with a new intriguing story. That wasn’t a surprise, but seeing Splinter Cell: Blacklist
sure was. The third person action franchise is making a return that looks like will make a huge impact. Elsewhere in the conference, it was announced that Madden 13
and FIFA 13
will be compatible with Xbox Kinect, the voice and motion sensor accessory. Other games announced and shown: Fable: The Journey
, a new Gears of War
game, Forza: Horizon
, which is based in Colorado, Resident Evil 6
, Tomb Raider
and of course Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
, where Los Angeles was under attack by our own military drones. The game will be a sure fire hit. Celebrities showed up too. Usher performed his current single “Scream” to promote Dance Central 3
and South Park
’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker announced their new South Park
game. In addition to all the games, Microsoft offered even more reason to cancel your cable. They announced new content deals with Nickelodeon, MLB, NBA, NHL and live broadcasts of ESPN shows and programming.
EA Games – There was a huge line at the Orpheum Theatre where the EA press conference was being held. It wrapped around the block. Luckily, I knew some people who knew some people and I was able to skip a majority of the wait time. To be honest, the highlight of the entire press conference was the demo of Dead Space 3
, EA’s excellent space-based horror franchise and Need for Speed: Most Wanted
looked great. And other than UFC president Dana White coming out to announce the next UFC game will be an EA game, the press conference left much to desired. With first person military shooting games like the Call of Duty franchise, it’s hard to get people excited about similar games like EA’s Battlefield 3
and Medal of Honor: Warfighter
. Maybe it’s just me, but I just wasn’t interested. Also, NBA Live
is supposed to come back this year. With 2K Sports ruling NBA gaming right now, this will be a struggle for EA Sports to relevant again in the NBA world. Of course they still have Madden, FIFA and now UFC. They ended the press conference with a demo of Crysis 3
, a popular franchise from the PC that made its way onto consoles, and yes, another first person shooter. It looked great, but no thanks.
UbiSoft – I initially planned on skipping the UbiSoft press conference because I wanted to see if I would be able to get into the Sony press conference later that day. I wasn’t invited to the Sony press conference and there was chance I could get a last minute invite if I showed up early. Unfortunately, I missed the bus that was heading in that direction and decided to go back to the Los Angeles Theatre for the UbiSoft presser. UbiSoft tried to start things off with a bang by bringing out Flo-Rida, performing “Good Feeling,” an old song, to promote Just Dance 4
. There wasn’t much of a response from those in attendance. However, actress, comedienne and real gamer, Aisha Tyler, hosted the event which was a welcomed addition to the affair. Toby Turner, a “YouTube sensation,” was her co-host, but it just seemed like he got in the way of Aisha’s awesome one-liners and clever quips throughout the show. UbiSoft is the publisher for some of the year’s most anticipated games: Far Cry 3
, Splinter Cell: Blacklisted
, Assassin’s Creed 3
along with Wii U titles Rayman Legends
and Zombi U
. But the demo that had people talking throughout the week was for Watch Dogs
, a new game with you playing as a master hacker who has access and control to any and everything technological — cell phones, security cameras, computers, a city’s electrical grid, etc. The demo was so intriguing it was the most talked about game after the press conference.
Sony – I didn’t get invited to the Sony press conference. That’s never happened since I started going to E3. But thankfully, again, I knew some people, who knew some people and I was able to get in. The show is set off with Beyond: Two Souls
, a new franchise starring Ellen Page, who has a unique power of basically destroying things. The concept showed a ton of potential and we definitely can’t wait to see and hear more. Sony also introduced Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royal
, which is basically Sony’s version of Super Smash Brothers and features famous game characters like Kratos, Nathan Drake, Big Daddy from BioShock and others. Speaking of Kratos, Sony also demo’d God of War: Ascension
, a prequel to the God of War trilogy and it looks to be just as good as the previous games. Both PS Vita and Playstation Move got some love with some exclusive titles of their own including Assassin’s Creed: Liberation
for PS Vita and Wonderbook
, which includes a J.K. Rowling-inspired game, for Playstation Move. Sony closed out the event with a live demo of The Last of Us
, a game of a man and a girl trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic girl. The demo showed the brutal hand-to-hand combat that will be featured in the game but it was shown in a way where your character feels like he’s fighting for his life more than has ever been portrayed in a video game. It was intense.
Nintendo – Early Tuesday morning Nintendo held its press conference with people hoping to be blown away. At least Nintendo started it off that way. The conference was all about the Wii-U and the games that will be on it. Pikmin 3
got fans excited and so did Zombi U
. There was a lukewarm response Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition
and the mandatory Mario games introduced like New Super Mario Bros. U
. After that, there wasn’t much to talk about except how much a terrible idea Sing is or if people still use Wii-Fit or how weird and uninteresting NintendoLand
is. At least Lego City Undercover
looks good. Other than that, with no pricing or release for Wii-U, we’ll see you next year Nintendo.