Pre-E3 2012 Thoughts

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is THE event of the year for gamers. Every year at E3 there are huge announcement made, technology is unveiled, and amazing game demos are shown.

This year marks my first E3 covering for Machinima. It is crazy to think how far I’ve come in a few shorts years, and I am proud to be part of the team! I will be conducting a variety of interviews and showing viewers what the E3 experience is all about. Starting Monday June 4th with the press conferences, you can watch our LIVE streaming coverage at MachinimaLive.com and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Page for lots more video content throughout the show.

On my last appearance of “Weekend Confirmed” I said I thought the lineup this year was a little lackluster. Just 1 week later I am already starting to eat my words. Here are some of the things I’m excited to see at E3 2012:

1. Nintendo Wii U – Nintendo’s new console debuted at E3 last year and I got to participate in a tech demo showcasing its abilities. However, it was a highly controlled environment, and frankly, did not show the full picture of what Wii U is capable of. This year I hope Nintendo really shows what the console can do, along with announcing key launch titles that better include MARIO!

2. Tomb Raider – Last year at E3 I came away from this Square Enix title a little apprehensive. I wasn’t sure if I liked this new, deconstructed Lara Croft, or if I was angry that Crystal Dynamics took one of the few strong females in games and made her a sissy. I do like the creative direction the series is going, very reminiscent of “Uncharted.” This is one of the few demos that I am going to go out of my way to see, and I hope I come away a believer.

3. Dishonored – I have yet to see any extensive gameplay from Bethesda’s new title but the buzz is HOT! Every journo I’ve talked to has said that this game is likely to be “Game of Show.” Coming off a big showing with Skyrim last year which went on to become Game of the Year, Bethesda is looking to have another strong title. With an intriguing storyline involving assassins, it is very possible that this Bioshock and Deus Ex mashup could be the darling of E3.

4. Gears of War: Judgement – This recently announced title is the latest from the Gears of War franchise. It will be on the cover of the July Game Informer issue and is expected to debut at the Microsoft Press Conference. If you played GOW3, then you know there aren’t a lot of options for continuing the storyline with the lovable Cogs. So, expect this title to be a prequel starring Baird and Cole Train. It is also worth mentioning that EPIC Games has passed development of the series onto People Can Fly, the studio responsible for Bullet Storm.

5. Assassin’s Creed III – I’ll admit it: I am a big Assassin’s Creed fan. This is one of the few franchises that I will stick by through thick and thin, and yes even silly tower defense mini-games. I have seen extensive gameplay of this title already but the fate of Desmond is still unknown. I am expecting to see part of his storyline at E3 and hopefully learn more about the new Native-American protagonist, Conner. I was originally hoping to see some multiplayer action, but I’ve been told that it won’t debut until Comic-Con next month.

Those 5 are just the tip of the iceberg my friends. There will be TONS more to see including these awesome items:

  • Halo 4
  • Borderlands 2
  • The Last of Us
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • Medal of Honor: Warfighter
  • Rock Band Blitz
  • Family Guy Online and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse
  • Lost Planet 3
  • Resident Evil 6
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Guardians of Middle Earth
  • Dead Space 3
  • Crysis 3
  • Star Wars 1313
  • Hawken
  • Super Mario Bros. Wii U (rumored)
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist (rumored)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (rumored new trailer)

I will have more blog posts for you next week and hopefully some vlogs too! If there is something specific you’d like to learn about or see, let me know by tweeting me @andrearene, leaving a post on my FB fan page, or by commenting right here!

The Future of Mid-Tier Games – Question of the Week – Weekend Confirmed #114

My question of the week comes from Twitter:

@Ckrawl asked, ” I feel the middle tier of games is going to be pushed out next generation, i feel like the only games left will be triple A hits (CoD, skyrim Asscreed etc) what are you thoughts on the mid tier developer going into next generation?”

Check out my answer in this video!

Weekend Confirmed 114 – Diablo 3, Max Payne 3, Lost Planet 3

Listen here!

Diablo 3 has strengthened its hold on Jeff Cannata who really only wants to talk about his barbarian, but there’s so much more to cover. Garnett returns to the driver’s seat after spending last week getting a sneak peek at some of the big games ready to vie for the spotlight at E3. “Indie” Jeff and Andrea Rene complete the adventuring party that gets down to business discussing their varying degree of anticipation for E3, the demise of 38 Studios, and the plight of subscription model MMOs, whether Max Payne 3 actually improves the gunplay over previous Rockstar open world games, and a handful of other games including Lost Planet 3 and Rock Band Blitz. Put a bird on it with Finishing Moves and you’ve got one massive show to take along on the Memorial Day weekend.

Max Payne 3 First Impressions

I’m going to come out and say it: I never played Max Payne before. I have never even seen the movie. So when Rockstar Games announced they were making Max Payne 3 I did not think much of it.

Fast forward to the present and the hype over the game is too much for me to NOT pay attention. I am intrigued by the “Bullet Time” mechanic and their progressive multiplayer strategy. So I pop the game into my Xbox 360 and start it up.

Right from the start the game looks like classic Rockstar. (yes, that’s a good thing) I am immediately immersed into a rich narrative involving Max, a former cop who is in Brazil doing private security work. I’ll admit the long cutscene sometimes feel like they slow down the pace of the game, but the writing and the cleverly disguised loading screens are worth it.

The action is mostly 3rd person shooting with a standard cover system. I recommend turning on individual reticules for each weapon as it certainly helped me with aiming. There is also a soft or hard lock aiming system for enemies, or you can free aim. I am currently using hard lock but I’ve been told the free aim is more challenge, and fun.

Max Payne 3 is hard. You will die A LOT. The beauty of the combat, though, is being able to find a rhythm between using the cover system, moving through space, and knowing when to activate bullet time to slow down the action and score crucial kills.

Since intitaling starting this blog post, I am now onto Disc 2 and really enjoying the game. The narrative keeps you intrigued while also keeping a nice pacing to the game. There are a variety of colorful locations, and Max’s one-liners are superbly written. Though the story-line may be a bit too “noir” for some people used to the previous installments in the series, I think the dark tone works perfectly.

Bottom Line: Give this game a try!