Once again E3 attendees lined up as we did in previous days and once again lines gave way to pandemonium as the doors opened up for the final day of E3. I myself took the time to make sure I’d seen every thing I wanted to, and of course, to take in the generally insane atmosphere.
Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker HD
Though there’s virtually nothing new here in terms of game content, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see how these classic games held up on they’re newfound platforms.
Peacewalker HD, part of the Metal Gear Solid collection coming to the PS3 later this year is an exciting prospect for me, as I decided against playing its PSP iteration due to my disgust of the single analogue control system.
Fortunately, it’s now running very smoothly the way it should be with two sticks right on the PS3. Slightly discouraging, however, is the fact that Konami seem to have used the phrase ‘HD’ very loosely given that, when displayed on a 50-inch LCD TV, Peacewalker is looking much shoddier than a fair amount of PS2 games, with very low-res textures and unnaturally sharp edges. Nonetheless, it’s very much more playable than it’s ever been, and comes with two of the best PS2 games of all time, so it’s hard to argue with that.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3DS
Next I headed over to the Snake Eater 3DS stand where the game had taken the opposite route, from console to portable. Comparatively it’s looking much better, and though I haven’t played the original Snake Eater in a little while, I’d put myself out there to say it looks just as good as it did on the console. Much like Peacewalker, Snake Eater 3DS uses the action buttons (X, Y, A & B) to manipulate the camera direction and the sole stick to control movement. While this isn’t ideal, you can get use to it, and utilising the bottom touch screen for inventory management actually works pretty well.
Unfortunately I still cant put my brain and eyes through the dizzying experience of 3D for more than a couple of minutes, so I tended to leave that off, but it does actually add something to the cinematics if you flip it on for MGS’ trademark cutscenes, so all it is not lost.
Aside from a few other questionable features such as being able to take a picture and then apply it as camouflage on Snake (get those silly thoughts out of your head!), it’s essentially the same game, but at least that game is arguably the best the series has to offer!
The Playstation 3 continues to build up a strong catalogue of games after a rocky first few years, and the 3rd person shooter Starhawk aims to aid that further. Now saying it’s a futuristic shooter with fairly brown and grey environments isn’t exactly going to get people’s neck hair standing on end, but what it does have going for it is 32 player multiplayer with vehicular combat and a real time strategy element.
It isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but being able to build structures including vehicle dispensers and defences by using ‘Rift energy’ earned in combat is pretty fun and makes a welcome change to the majority of shooters.
It’s going to be hit or miss as to whether the strategy element becomes apparent, as a lot people spend most of the time splattering clueless players across their jeeps’ bonnets, but ideas are there and the basic mechanics of combat are their with a nice fidelity to aiming and shooting. Look for Starhawk out in 2012.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 is one of the most anticipated titles for the Xbox 360 this year and a presentation I attended today proved to me that the team at Epic aren’t content to rest on their laurels.
One of the main additions this time is the reintroduction of Horde Mode, now with ‘2.0’ on the end, where players will be fighting against round after round of Lambent and Locust. The revamped game takes a page out of Call of Duty’s Nazi zombie mode allowing players to use the cash that they earn during rounds to buy defences such as walls and barbed wire, automated turrets and player controlled mechs.
Additionally, players have the option to try to complete mini challenges for the chance to earn extra ammo and weapons, which should come in handy especially when every 10th round features a random boss; a mighty Berserker in the playthrough I watched.
This mode along with other advances in the storytelling such as playing epic scenes from different perspectives and a solid competitive multiplayer assured by the recent beta, make the conclusion to Gears of War story look pretty tempting, aside from the cringy theme song from rock band Bodycount – but we’ll forgive that one slip up.
More Curious Gaming Technology!
As well as games and new consoles, E3 also has more to offer, depending as to whether you’re willing to get a bit experimental.
One game/experience I came across a game that used what looked like a gas mark to completely cover the players face and blind them, which created a very eerie scene as I walked past the bank of faceless players and computer screens.
The player uses sound and a joystick to locate his enemies in a simulated underwater setting. However, the mask also measures your breathing, and depending on how loud and heavily you breathe, you’re enemies might hear you, and you might not be able to hear them over your own breathing.
It sounds, and frankly is, crazy, but it’s small developers like this who keep creativity in its truest sense alive.
Other attempts to create increased immersion included projector screens that wrapped round the player in a spherical shape and virtual reality stereoscopic 3D goggles that use head-tracking, allowing you to somewhat naturally look around your virtual environment in a racing game.
Of course there are also plenty of interesting and odd things going on about the place such as autograph signings from minor Glee cast members, full orchestras playing Lord of the Rings music in the foyer to promote the new War in the North game and scantily-clad girls in t-shirts baring the phrase “I love rim-jobs”, washing obnoxiously modified cars in the parking lot; all part of the madness of E3.
But more of that stuff in my overall E3 review in the next few days!