Hit and Miss – E3 2012

I’m just happy this is *not* a sequel of something. (image: geeky-gadgets.com)

As another year of E3 rolls around, the industry is held under closer scrutiny now more than ever. Gamers have become jaded and wary, constantly assailed with yearly iterations, subscription-based products, and online DRM controversy. This year, however, has produced some interesting products that have the online community gushing.

It’s evident that Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs has grabbed the attention of the community. This free roaming techno-thriller looks to please with its pristine presentation, plausible storyline, mature content, and detailed game world. I know, the car crash at the intersection and all that it entailed looked pre-canned and scripted, but it still looked phenomenal. I’m hoping that we have a good selection of hacking abilities that are actually useful – I am gonna spark up a goddamned riot in this city.

Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us is also something that I’ve always wanted – an action-survival game that doesn’t feature some average schmoe with innate spec-ops training. The protagonist looks just as awkward and terrified as the young girl he’s travelling with. It looks like things actually go wrong in this game – prisoners struggle against you, foes can overpower you, and ammunition is scarce. The game also looks incredible, and the gameplay demo was fluid. Highly anticipating this one.

What I’m not digging is the so-called “real time control” of game demonstrations. With every big ticket game, some representative of the game company comes on stage with a controller and presumably takes control of the game displayed on the projector. Honestly, does anyone actually care that the demo is being controlled by a human being? Is it meant to be some kind of validation that it is actually all in-game graphics and not just a glorified demo? Show me some gameplay footage that actually makes me want to play your game, not some guy from the office pushing thumbsticks around in front of a video projector.

I also thought I’d never say this, but I’m getting pretty tired of the amount of new First Person Shooters. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good shooter as much as the next mouse jockey, but I’m thinking it’s time for something fresh and new. As in, we should have tried doing this several months ago. Crysis 3 doesn’t look terribly different to its predecessor. Far Cry 3 may have gone back to its tropical roots, but at its heart it’s still all iron sights and headshots. Halo 4 and Black Ops 2 speak for themselves (but I suppose they have nothing to lose by continuing to churn those games out if it still manages to make them money). Let’s all take a step forward from this genre, give it time to rest, and we can revisit it once we have some more interesting franchises cooked up. Or not.

Finally, Microsoft’s SmartGlass smacked of gimmick. Isn’t there already an Android-based solution that allows control of a TV via smartphone anyway? I suppose there are possibilities in using a smartphone to control certain aspects in games, but I’d rather just have one means of control (the gamepad) rather than juggle two input devices at the same time.

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