Games for Grownups
E3 Recap: The new eye-popping offerings from the world's biggest videogame expo
In case you didn’t know, or don’t scour the Internet all day, or have a job, the Electronic Entertainment Expo(affectionately known as E3) took place this week in the Los Angeles Convention Center. The three day expo is the biggest video game circus of the year, where every major company, studio, developer, and game journalist come together to show off what they’ve been working on this past year.
In the past 17 years, the Wii, the Playstation 3 and most other game consoles have premiered first at E3, like prized hogs at some geeky, glitzy county fair. This is basically the biggest week in video game news, and every year, techies are left drooling over footage of new games they will inevitably spend the next two months obsessing over.
Some games journalists have argued that the Expo has gotten progressively bloated over the years, but if you’re only interested in E3 eye candy (like I am), take note: this is the year that video games almost look as good as 3-D movies in the theatres. It’s finally happened.
So here are the highlights of the best offerings from this year's E3:
This isn’t your papa’s Halo. Well, actually it is, but the graphics have gotten a major overhaul since 343 Industries picked up where Bungie left off. The Halo series is best known for revolutionizing online multiplayer action, and it looks like H4 has a new trick up it’s sleeve: weekly installments of co-op episodic content, similar to seasons of a TV show. It’s incredibly ambitious and could change the future of narrative games. That is, if 343 can pull it off.
Beyond: Two Souls:
Do you like Ellen Page? Have you ever wanted to be Ellen Page? Beyond: Two Souls casts the wisecracking Juno actress’ voice and likeness center-stage in this kind-of-a-movie-but-mostly-an-action game. It’s made by the same people who did the PS3’s Heavy Rain last year, so if you like your video games with a touch of cinematic flare, keep an eye on this one.
There’s a multitude of real-life conspiracy theorists who theorize that the Northeast blackout of 2003 was done by a single person - a lone hacker - who gained control of an entire city’s infrastructure. If you ask me, that’s a load of baloney, but Watch Dogs bites off a chunk of this historical fiction and sings with it. Looking like a prettier, Chicago-based Grand Theft Auto, the cellphone hacking and shooting gameplay in Watch Dogs made it a clear E3 audience favorite.
Star Wars 1313:
If the Clone Wars left a bad taste in your mouth, Star Wars 1313 will cleanse your palate, burn your mouth, and scrape every last bud off your tongue. This game looks real. Holy crap. it literally looks like a movie. This, my friends, is the Star Wars game we all wanted and truly deserve.
This trailer from Final Fantasy creators Square Enix isn’t so much of a game as it is a tech demo for Square’s new graphics engine. It honestly looks better than most CGI in films; the facial expressions are so convincing, you almost get lost in it, but it’s just a tickle, a tease of what is possible. Will Square Enix ever really make a game this good-looking? I hope so.
And I guess that’s what E3 is all about, selling us on the idea that video games are a good way to spend our time and hard-earned money.