Call Of Duty: Black Ops
What better way to kick off Microsoft's press conference than with a little first-person shooter action from Treyarch and Activision? Serving as the seventh entry in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops blew us away with intense gameplay and awesome visuals.
The E3 demo was so spectacular that we wanted to jump onstage and rip the controller right out of Mark Laima's hands. Who wouldn't, since it was shown on a gigantic gaming screen, after all? We even felt remorse when a fellow soldier was knifed just up ahead in the dark, dusty tunnel.
Yep, we were into it.
This time, the setting isn't the typical World War II 1940s era, but rather the Cold War in the 1960-70s, taking players from Cuba to Vietnam to the bitter-cold Arctic.
Although the game is slated to launch on multiple platforms, the big news from Microsoft was that all add-on content will be released on the Xbox 360 version first through 2012. Content distribution will begin with new downloadable items associated with the game's future release on November 9.
Gears Of War 3
Mr. Epic himself, Cliff Bleszinski, hit the E3 stage and revealed the final chapter of the Gears of War franchise. He has said in the past that the game will remain at a steady 30 frames per second (FPS) so that the designers could shove in as much detail as possible into each rendered frame. That clearly showed up in the live demo, sporting incredible, crisp graphics and more eye candy than what seems possible for a console.
In this installment, players take on the role of Marcus Fenix, war hero and leader of Delta Squad. It has been 18 months since the end of Gears of War 2 and the war against the Locus still continues.
But apparently there's a new threat: the Lambent, a hostile plague/race/alien that is infecting the planet from within. With the remnants of humanity spread out across the globe, Marcus and his clan must now make their final push to save the world (but not until April 5, 2011, when the game hits the Xbox 360 in North America).
In Bungie's last hurrah as a Halo and Xbox developer, the famed masterminds are giving it all they've got with an action-packed prequel. Halo: Reach could very well be one of the biggest titles of 2010.
The game follows the story of Noble Team, a squad of heroic Spartan soldiers, and their final stand on planet Reach, humanity’s last line of defense between the Covenant and Earth.
Gamers already got a taste of Halo: Reach during a month-long multiplayer beta test during May 2010. More than 2.7 million players participated, and that was probably only a fraction of the gamers who will pick up this Xbox 360 exclusive on September 14.
Of the three motion-sensing products made available for the current flock of consoles, Microsoft's Kinect device for the Xbox 360 appears to be more than a simple gimmick.
With Kinect, gamers don't need to use a controller. All functions are carried out by gestures. Even when using Kinect to access the console's core features, there's a hint of Star Trek when commanding the device for specific tasks.
This point was made during Microsoft's press conference at E3 when a little girl came out onstage and began to play with her virtual tiger cub. Although the sequence seemed a little over-dramatic and scripted, what other device allows gamers to interact with virtual objects simply by using their hands? Imagine playing chess or constructing a virtual racetrack.
While it seems that most E3 attendees and viewers thought Nintendo had the best of show, Microsoft's Kinect showed the most promise on a hardware level, hands down.
While we've already seen Sony's PlayStation Move in action, the biggest selling point for this motion-sensing device is that the PlayStation Eye, which is a component in the overall Move setup, is already available. For gamers who own the device, they can simply purchase the Move controller and be up and running in minutes.
But for those who don't already own the console camera, a costlier package will be required for the Move experience. This includes the Eye, the Move, and a compatible game.
With all of that aside, the Move is a must-have simply because it pulls PlayStation 3 owners off the couch. It looks to be on par with Nintendo's offering, requiring users to actually hold a device in their hand, unlike Microsoft's Kinect, which doesn't require a controller.
While some of the demos shown at E3 2010 looked impressive and rather fun, we're anxious to see more of what developers can offer in terms of design and content. As it stands now, the device may have to take a backseat to the PlayStation 3's other big feature, stereoscopic 3D support.
Those who attended Sony's press conference at E3 got an early taste of Killzone 3 running in 3D glory. But even in 2D, the game was incredible to watch, and is certainly a must-have for PlayStation 3 owners.
The gameplay shown at E3 looked epic. According to Sony, the environments are 10 times the size of those found in the previous PlayStation 2 exclusive, Killzone 2. The game engine has received a number of enhancements, allowing the console to load textures, meshes, and music content sans interruption.
It also brings to the table better controls, increasingly varied AI, and a high-dynamic range (HDR) audio system that allows the game to dynamically focus the audio depth of field. Vehicle gameplay has also been greatly expanded, with players able to do battle from Intruders, using jet packs, and accessing a number of land-based vehicle options.
Sony revealed its return to the Twisted Metal franchise at the end of its E3 press conference, which was certainly quite a shock. After all, fans haven't seen a true, full-fledged Twisted Metal game since the release of Twisted Metal: Black for the PlayStation 2 back in 2001.
Since Twisted Metal: Black's release, other Twisted Metal variants have hit the market, such as an online version of Twisted Metal: Black and a PlayStation 2 version of Twisted Metal: Head-On for the PSP. However, the Twisted Metal game shown at E3 will supposedly be a successor to 2001's launch.
The game is currently in development at Eat Sleep Play, the team formed by David Jaffe and Scott Campbell, which was behind the original Twisted Metal games. This version will have multi-player support, providing a two- to four-player split-screen mode offline and accommodating up to 16 simultaneous players online.
The actual storyline goes like this: "High atop his penthouse office, a mysterious ringleader named Calypso lords over the contest of vehicle combat known as Twisted Metal. He returns again to host the ultimate contest of skill and destruction. Contestants have been chosen to compete and, should they emerge victorious, win whatever prize their heart desires."
The big surprise with this game is that it won't support 3D or Move. Bummer.
While the genres are completely different, the editor behind the upcoming PlayStation 3 game LittleBigPlanet 2 will be somewhat similar to Blizzard's StarCraft II editor (in nature, at least). Instead of limiting gamers to simple custom level designing, both editors open the doors to total creation, allowing gamers to create anything, whether it's a platformer, RPG, or first-person shooter.
Look at it this way: LittlebigPlanet 2--like its predecessor--is a side-scrolling, platform game. The original editor allowed gamers to create custom levels that could be shared online with other LittleBigPlanet gamers. However, with LittleBigPlanet 2, gamers can now create entire games of any genre, despite the parent platform. Blizzard's new editor for StarCraft II performs the same way, allowing users to create new games outside the parent RTS genre.
On a whole, the editor was really LittleBigPlanet 2's biggest selling point during E3 2010. Still, it was also exciting to see the return of Sackboy and its silly antics, dazzling us again with awesome visuals and interesting design concepts. LittleBigPlanet 2 is definitely one console game we're looking forward to when it goes retail this holiday season.
This device is somewhat interesting. After all, it's 3D gaming that fits in your pocket. Still, it's a Nintendo product. Despite the new 3D spec-less technology, hardcore gamers will likely not see bloody shooters and explicit gangsta love gracing its screens.
But the device does offer a gaming aspect nothing else currently can match. Throw in the ability to take 3D pictures and watch 3D movies, and you have a mobile platform that raises the mobile platform bar.
The question will be whether or not Nintendo can regain some ground taken away by Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch, and the recent iPad. We're still hoping that Nintendo will broaden the WiFi service and take an iTunes approach.
As of this writing, Nintendo is still quiet about how it plans to distribute its 3D movies (stay tuned on that one), but there are plans to release enhanced ports of classic Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System games.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong Country Returns seemed to come out of nowhere and was probably one of the biggest surprises from the entire event. But when we consider that Nintendo went back to its side-scrolling roots with Super Mario Bros. for the Wii, this latest Donkey Kong title shouldn't be a surprise at all.
Rare's original 2D Donkey Kong side-scroller first appeared on the Super Nintendo back in 1994, and the title sported some heavy-duty graphics for its time. Retro Studios has now taken the reigns of the classic franchise and is staying true to its original platform design, while incorporating the technical capabilities of today's hardware (richer environments, spectacular special effects, etc.). Diddy Kong is even making a return, offering his tag-in/tag-out services, just like the old days.
It's unknown if the game will support the classic gamepad--the E3 demo used the Wiimote and Nunchuck for player input.
While rumors of GoldenEye: 007's return floated around for at least a month before E3, the game's big reveal was still a big shock nonetheless.
Originally developed by Rare, the game was a huge success for Nintendo and its Nintendo 64 console back in 1997. The game proved that first-person shooters are possible on a console using the conventional game pad, and the title became one of the best Nintendo games of all time.
Now Eurocom has taken the reigns of the franchise and has created an enhanced remake of the beloved classic. But rather than stay true to the movie and the source Nintendo 64 game, GoldenEye: 007 will use Daniel Craig's likeness and voice for James Bond.
According to Nintendo, the storyline and environment was also retooled to fit Craig's interpretation of the character. The new version will also incorporate features found in other modern shooters, such as online multiplayer support and destructible environments. David Arnold, the soundtrack composer of the last five Bond films, has signed on to create GoldenEye: 007's soundtrack.