Nintendo Press Conference
Nintendo kicked off the day with a conference that left many people confounded. I’m still not sure what to make of it myself, but nonetheless, we’ll try to make sense of the festivities. Project CafÃ© is dead, long live Wii U. The naming conventions continue to defy logic and suggest that this iteration isn’t in fact, a whole new console — which it actually is.
The Wii U features a 6.2-inch touch screen controller, as rumoured, complete with mic, camera and gyro sensor. It will be able to run 1080p, is backwards compatible (nudge, nudge Sony) and will allow for multiscreen play with the TV.
Despite their emphasis on the controller, there is an actual console that is small, sleek and white and more amazingly, is capable of running games like Batman: Arkham City and other such games, as John Riccitiello of EA announced.
To further add to the confusion, the video footage shown of the 3rd party games was actually caught off PS3/360, although Reggie Fils-Aime assures the Wii U will hold up to scrutiny once it’s closer to launch.
The brand new offering from Nintendo that no one is quite sure about yet, is due out 2012, is due to benefit from a new Super Smash Bros. (also for 3DS), Darksiders II, and Ninja Gaiden III, amongst other games, though none are ready to be shown yet.
Delving into the “other stuff”, Link’s Awakening is heading to the virtual console tying in with the Zelda 25th anniversary, Ocarina of Time 3DS is out next week with Skyward Sword hitting stores within the year and finally we saw a slew of 3DS games including Kid Icarus, new Mario, Starfox and Luigi’s Mansion 2.
It’s going to take some time and supplementary news of the Wii U to really start to win the crowds over, but it’s an interesting prospect to say the least. I’ll have more Nintendo news during the week as I get my mitts on the merchandise on the show floor. For the full conference, check below!
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Finally the show floor opened at midday today, turning an orderly queue full of respectable professionals into a frenzied, every-man-for-himself rush for the booths. The first game I came across was Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, where Ubisoft was offering playtime in the new multiplayer.
Although the format is essentially the same as Brotherhood’s, Revelations further extends the assassins’ arsenal with landmines and other bombs and weapons and features new game modes that take advantage of the unique chase and evade gameplay, with both teamplay and lone wolf style.
The Constantinople cityscapes look fantastic as expected and introduce a new colour set to the franchise in the lighting and buildings, which help Revelations differentiate itself. Finally, some may be happy to know that the Ubisoft attendants assured me the matchmaking was being significantly improved, in lieu of the fairly poor service offered by Brotherhood.
Next I embarked on an epic journey to endure the understandably mammoth Battlefield 3 queue, why? Because it just had to be done! And I can safely say it was worth the wait.
First Lars Gustavsson, the lead multiplayer designer and a veteran of 12 years since the beginning of the franchise spoke about their new engine and the multiplayer operation we were about to play through
“The magic is called frostbite 2, it’s our new engine built locally at DICE that’s going to allow us to build this game. We really need to start creating new inventive ways of making games continuously better and better and we think we have the edge here.”
“We integrated the new system [of fluid animations], the same one they have in the new FIFA game, which really improves the experience on the battlefield and sets us apart from the competition”
“Battlefield has always been about huge battles, possibilities and Battlefield 3 is no different. This time around we challenged ourselves to move into more urban environments, which was quite a challenge, especially with destruction”
At E3, he explained, they wanted to show the infantry and close quarters combat in contrast to the tank battle show at the EA presser. Soon enough we were whisked in to play a map in rush mode set in a recently invaded Paris.
As soon as I hit deploy, the visuals had me taken aback for a few seconds and I could hear similar reactions from others — this particular map had a bright and clear feel as the afternoon sun shone across the grass in the park, that proved that BF3 wasn’t just about the brown and bloom of the desert. As we made our way to our first objectives the animations became very apparent in their fluidity, especially when I cast my mind back to the old days and certain other shooters that look stiff and hence videogame-y.
The rush game mode allowed us to move forth once the first line of defences had been secured with a momentous bombing run that opened up the subway underground and the next part of the level, becoming much tighter. It was at this point I really started to notice the destruction system that felt impactful but not silly to the point where a couple of bullets could destroy a wall. It meant that subway turn-styles and other fairly flimsy objects just became a part of the battlefield in terms of obstacles that could be overcome, as opposed to inexplicably immovable objects, such as in Call of Duty.
Combat felt great, as I’d expected from the Battlefield series, and I witnessed new features such as suppressing fire that allows machine gunners to lay down fire that reduces nearby enemy combat efficiency, while your team mates move up to make the kill. Also, the HUD and UI take a page from Bad Company 2, but are more refined and feel suitable and sleek for a new generation Battlefield.
My experience in this short period was really great and I could have sat there for hours had they let me. When considering this game is still in alpha, it really is astounding, and it no doubt will prove a very worthy opponent to the Call of Duty behemoth.
Follow @ZathUK and watch this for plenty more E3 impressions over the next two days!