Published on June 14th, 2012 | by CoreySA0
E3 2012 Impressions
Hey everyone! Last week I got the chance to attend my first ever E3 in person in Los Angeles. Attending an E3 has always been a dream of mine, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. I spent the week seeing various games, meeting people I have watched and read throughout the industry and interacting with devs from various studios.
Although this year’s event didn’t come with many big surprises or reveals, I thought it was strong in the sense that almost every title I played showed incredible promise. As we seem to be approaching the end of this cycle of consoles, developers seem to have a good hold on the hardware now and are producing some spectacular titles. If this indeed the last year or two of this generation, it sure looks like we are going out with a bang. I thought I’d take some time and share my thoughts on the games I played this year in LA, and give some quick impressions. You can also look forward to our E3 2012 award winners coming shortly.
NHL 12/FIFA 12 –
Both FIFA and NHL have long been considered some of the top sports series’ around. Last year, FIFA took huge strides in gameplay and this year is no different. Getting hands-on with the new first-touch controls was a sight of beauty. The ball has much more realistic reactions off of a player’s body now and really changes the game due to its unpredictability. AI teammates really move differently now as well – using more realistic runs to set up your team’s offense. There is no doubt in my mind that FIFA will continue it’s reign of top contender in the sports arena.
NHL 13 is also bringing a huge improvement to gameplay. New authentic skating has made its way to the series and it feels fresh, smooth and absolutely incredible. Every player on the ice felt different and speed matters in ways it never has before. I was floored at how different the game felt as a result. The team has done an amazing job at bringing real team strategies over to NHL 13 as well. Teams will play as they do in real life and will react accordingly to the teams they are playing. For me personally, the NHL series has felt sort of stale over the past few seasons, but NHL 13 feels fresh and authentic. This is an early favorite for sports game of the year. It’s that good.
Madden 13 –
Over the past few years, the Madden franchise has taken some heat in its improvements and overall performance. This off-season, Cam Weber and the dev team nearly doubled in size and has seemingly put everything it has behind making Madden 13 a vast improvement over year’s past. Everything from presentation, feature base (connected careers), and gameplay with new real-time physics has gotten a huge overhaul. I spent some time with Madden 13 on the floor and everything about the game was impressive compared to last year. The physics are amazing to watch and it looked as if special team issues from last season were fixed as well. I really feel as if this season will finally put Madden among the best sports franchises available.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter –
After getting my hands on the latest in the Medal of Honor series, I must say that this was my surprise of the show. Using an upgraded Frostbite 2 engine, the game looked fantastic and has a very solid and fresh look at mulitplayer. Set up in teams of 8, each person is then assigned a ‘teammate’ who is visible from anywhere on the map. The thought is that it keeps teammates together and it really felt as if it worked. Each team has different abilities and each of them were vastly different. I wasn’t fully impressed with the first Medal of Honor from Danger Close, but its follow-up is definitely one to keep your eyes on.
Need for Speed Most Wanted –
I’ll just say it up front – this will be the best Need for Speed we have ever seen. After playing a chunk of the single player and the multiplayer behind closed doors, this was almost my game of the show. Great graphics, speed and an awesome open world city – this game has everything Criterion has worked on throughout the years. This new version is what would happen if Burnout Paradise and the original Most Wanted had a baby. Cops chases, intuitive leaderboards and autolog integration, huge jumps and billboards and gates return from Paradise as well. The multiplayer modes were a blast and included challenges and races with no menus. The game was a blast and showed immense polish even at this early stage. I can’t wait for this one.
Forza Horizon –
Yet another impressive racer – this one from Turn 10 and Playground Games. You can check out my full Forza Horizon impressions over at VGRevolution. After playing Need for Speed, I honestly didn’t expect Forza to live up to that title but it did. If you are a racing fan then this year will be a certain treat for you. Forza looked beautiful and played even better. It’ll be interesting to see which game fairs better as both release a week apart from each other.
Assassin’s Creed III –
I’m a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed series but over the past two year I’ve felt like they’ve sort of rushed the series. ACIII has been under development by a different team however – the same team that built the amazing Assassin’s Creed II – and has been under development since the first sequel. ACIII pretty much floored everyone that got a look at it. They showed the frontier and the city of Boston and from the animations, to the combat – everything looked spectacular. This game has a very definitive feel to it – one that is much different than other games in the series. Connor really moved with purpose and agility and the hunting? SO much fun.
For those worried that Hitman has taken a more mainstream approach to Absolution – worry not. The stealth and open world aspects are still here and so is the ability to approach levels in a multitude of ways. The game felt very solid and really requires you to think about every decision you make. I think this is a game that old-school Hitman fans are going to love. I do question whether casual fans will enjoy it though. It seems very difficult and technical. For me, I love that challenge, but some may be thrown off.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
There were a lot of fans of Splinter Cell who didn’t really like the approach taken with Conviction. I hate to tell you this but that type of Sam Fisher is not going away. This game reminded me a lot of Conviction mixed with Assassin’s Creed. What is great for long-time fans though is the return of a lot of the gadgets and movements missing from Conviction. What does return is a faster pace, the mark and execute function and a younger looking Sam. I am hesitant to be impressed as of yet however due to the fact it seems as if every Tom Clancy game seems to go through huge transition points and delays before release. Conviction and Future Soldier both saw various changes and delays. Hopefully the guys from UBI Toronto can keep this one on track. What we saw was great.
The team behind Mortal Kombat has decided to take on the DC universe in what seems to be a fantastic follow-up to the great Mortal Kombat released last year. Although it’s very early in development, Injustice showed incredible promise – especially in how they are using the environments. Pretty much everything in this 2D fighter can be used. See a car in the background? Superman can pick it up and throw it at an opponent. Using Batman however – a gadget heavy and not so strong character – can’t pick up the can and throw it, but can use bat-a-rangs and blow up the car’s gas tank. There are multiple levels to each environment and there are a ton of usable objects in each area that can be used in different ways depending on the character. This is one to definitely keep your eyes on. An early favorite for fighter of the year next year.
Tomb Raider –
Easily the talk of the show and the most impressive game I saw all week. This is shaping up to be an absolute masterpiece. Everything from the graphics to the brilliance of character development. They really have nailed an utterly brutal feel to the environment and to Lara herself. You can feel and hear every breath, every hit or drop feels painful and the cinematic immersion pulls you right into the emotion of the game. There is hunting, stealth, action and story. This game should be at the top of everyone’s list.
There were a ton of other great games at E3 2012, including the second episode of The Walking Dead, which Shopmaster covered here. Some of the titles were not hands-on, including God of War Ascension, Gears of War: Judgment, The Last of Us, Beyond Two Souls and Dead Space 3. Other titles such as Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 were huge talks of the show, but were hands-off and insiders were pretty sure both would end up being next-gen titles due to the fact they were both running on high-end PC’s.
Overall, E3 2012 was strong in the area of impressive software. 2013 alone looks as if it will bring an ungodly amount of fantastic titles, some of which didn’t even make an appearance, such as Rainbow Six Patriots and Grand Theft Auto 5. As we end this generation of consoles, the industry is showing no signs of slowing down their attack on our wallets.