It is a writ of passage that when spring arrives, it is time for baseball season. In the video game world, “MLB12 The Show” (Sony) and “Major League Baseball 2K12” (2K Games) both arrive and ready to crack the starting line-ups of gaming consoles everywhere. Each franchise has been around for a while – 8 years for “2K12” and 6 years for “The Show” – but one is starting it age.
Pitching styles is a big difference between the two titles. “2K12” continues to use their gesture mechanic with the joystick controllers that relies on timing one circle to fit within another. The artificial intelligence has been fine-tuned so that batters will remember pitches and adjust accordingly, thus ramping up the realism level a bit.
“The Show” has added a pulse pitching mechanism that determines how accurate your pitches are within your target area. It’s all about timing, but only utilizes one button as opposed to moving the joystick in a particular way. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the thumbs.
Defense is straightforward. There are animation differences that I’ll get into later, but fielders move and throw with good precision. Both title use a scale to determine how accurate the throws get – “The Show” uses a circle; “2K12” uses a bar. Push a button to the corresponding base and fire the ball. Holding down the button longer makes for a stronger, but possibly inaccurate throw.
Zone batting is new for “The Show,” where the right stick determines your stride and swing while the left allows you to move your “sweet spot” to the area where you think the ball will cross the plate. “2K12” already uses a similar style to determine how hard you are swinging and where. It also will give pitch type hints as the ball is heading for the plate, much as a batter would be able to recognize a curveball from a slider. “The Show” also has a simple button swing mechanic if that is more your speed.
The animations and look of “The Show” really make it shine above “2K12”. Each player has a unique look and fluid movements in everything they do. Pitching, hitting, throwing and catching the ball all appear very realistic and natural. It is a visually appealing game and looks like you are watching an Orioles vs. Yankees matchup on television.
“2K12” looks less like a TV broadcast and more like … well, a video game. There are hiccups and stutters in some of the animation. Most of the players don’t look much different from each other. Balls hit near fielders will make sudden leaps into the glove or outfielders will jump slightly to one side before catching a fly ball. It isn’t as well polished as its counterpart and looks old.
And speaking of TV broadcasts, a tip of the cap to the announcing team of Gary Thorne, Steve Philips and John Kruk on “2K12.” Their banter seemed fresh and timely, referencing the right things and never sounding boring. Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell and Eric Karros for “The Show” sounded stale and repetitive. Some of their phrases sounded exactly the same as last year, and there were a couple of games when I wondered if Karros had gone out for a pretzel and just never came back because he was heard so infrequently.
Franchise mode is back for each as well as allowing you to create your own player and work him through the ranks. “2K12” offers a “MLB Today” mode that lets player play games at the same pace as their favorite MLB team. But that means you can only play one game a day in that mode and doesn’t allow you to play past or future games.
The new “Diamond Dynasty” mode for “The Show” seems geared more for a fantasy franchise baseball fan than someone who wants to play a game. There are baseball cards, budgets, and customizable team logos and colors. If you are a stats nut or someone who likes to micromanage, this might be right for you.
The “Perfect Game Challenge” is back for “2K12” with a twist. In previous years, whoever got the first perfect game of the season using the title won $1 million. This year, the first eight perfect games will get the chance to head to New York City and compete in a live tournament for that top prize.
“The Show” is Move ready, bringing motion controls to every aspect of the games. They have also tied the PlayStation 3 game with the new PS Vita handheld console. Games can be saved to the Cloud on one console and downloaded to another for continued playing. For die-hard video baseball games, this mean never having to stop even when you are away from home (provided you have a Vita).
The biggest drawback to “The Show” is that it is a PlayStation exclusive title. If you own anything other than a PS3 or Vita, you can only play “Major League Baseball 2K12.” Fundamentally, it is a solid, but visually underwhelming, title that will be enjoyable.
But if you have a choice, “The Show” brings together realistic mechanics with outstanding animation to create an “at the ballpark” feel that outshines its competitor. All I need now is a hot dog and a frosty beverage to make the experience complete.
“MLB12 The Show” is available now only on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. “Major League Baseball 2K12” is available now for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, Nintendo DS, PSP and Microsoft Windows. Both games are rated E for Everybody. This review was done playing both titles on the PS3 as well as playing “MLB12 The Show” on the Vita.
The third-person shooter from Zipper Interactive and Sony puts gamers in the role of a NATO operations commander who is deep into a battle with insurgents in a peacekeeping mission. The insurgents deal a crippling blow to NATO early in the game and you take it upon yourself to find who is behind the attacks.
With two American soldiers and two South Korean soldiers, your squad battles through six days over gun battles, stealth missions, and guerilla warfare. Each pair is specialized; the Americans are heavy troops with high damage weaponry while the South Koreans are adept at sniping and reconnaissance.
Ben Jones, game designer at Zipper, told CNN at a Washington, DC, demonstration that a lot of effort went into the single player campaign.
“The cinematics are fantastic,” Jones said. “This is a full fledge campaign in a single theater. We made some big investments in the animations and the audio. And the AI (artificial intelligence) on both sides is massively better.”
As the ops commander, game controls allow you to direct and position your 2-man squad team in locations or have them concentrate their fire on specific targets. Jones said the team-based play sets “SOCOM 4” apart from other games in the genre.
“You can direct (the teams) in very powerful ways,” he said. “It is all about your style of play and making the best choices possible. Almost as if you were in the military.”
D-buttons control which team you want to give control. Different buttons indicate where you want them to move or which targets you want them to attack first.
Tactics play a big part in getting through the campaign. Deciding if you want to take the lead and have your teams follow or stand back and direct their action will impact how the game plays out for each gamer.
Weapons upgrade as they are being used to increase power or accuracy. There are also many variations of weapon types available to offer as many choices as possible.
Standard plays similar to the single player game as far as health regeneration and lives. Classic mode harkens back to previous “SOCOM” titles where there was only one life and death actually means something.
Jones said there are unlockable weapons and gear in multiplayer and they really worked hard on the matchmaking to have balanced combat between players.
A 5-player co-op campaign recruits you and four friends to work your way through a completely different scenario than the single player campaign. You choose which missions you want to tackle and how you want to deal with them.
Overall, “SOCOM 4” utilizes the squad commands very well and improving weapons as you go is a very nice touch. The team members feel real and exhibit individual personalities beyond the normal grunts in some squads.
During stealth missions, you get to play the female South Korean officer, which offers a nice change of pace and is done very well. However, the enemy AI does get a little stupid during these missions and sometimes can’t even see a dead comrade’s body right in front of them.
The variety of play – single player, multi player and co-op — and the unique command structure make “SOCOM 4” a good shooter for any type of gamer.
“We give you a lot of suggestion, but there is a ton of flexibility,” Jones said. “It is all about your style.”
“SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs” is available now and exclusive to the PlayStation 3. The game is Move controller compatible and also can utilize the SharpShooter accessory. It is rated M for Mature due to blood, strong language and violence. This review was done on the PS3 using a preview copy and the DualShock 3 controller.
Jax and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Sly Cooper and Bentley battle for supremacy in a galactic game show while sinister plots hatch in the background. The game was designed exclusively for the Move controller and involved more than 50 platform levels.
We talked with Harley Baldwin White-Wiedow, design director at Nihilistic Software, to find out how the game came together and why those iconic characters were chosen.
Was the idea to make this a Move game to show off the controller’s capabilities? Why the Move controller over a traditional Dual Shock controller?
When we started building this game, we started with the goal to build a game from the ground up that was for the PlayStation Move. Sony asked us to take a look at the controller, and it was really interesting, really exciting. The kind of data we could get and use was really deep, so we wanted to explore the capabilities, and of course, once we knew what it could do, we wanted to show them off.
The characters are classic and beloved. Did you start from a bigger pool and whittle down to the six and how were they selected?
Well, certainly there are a lot of PlayStation Heroes – lots of beloved characters that have been exclusive to that platform. We did want to do a game that had a kind of internal coherence, though, so we chose the characters because they worked well together, and because we felt that they could inhabit the same physical and narrative space and be more than the sum of their parts, rather than rubbing up against each other awkwardly. Also, this cast of characters gave us a similar set of mechanics and histories that we could use to inspire specific game play elements, so that was a win.
Do the characters behave as they do in their own titles?
We worked pretty closely with all three of the original developers to ensure that they were the right personalities. We really wanted Ratchet to be Ratchet, etc., so we spent a lot of time on that in terms of art, and their worlds, and their roles in the story. Game play wise, we focused on delivering a mash up that is really made for the PlayStation Move, rather than the traditional action/adventure platformer that is really more suited for the Dual Shock. We kept the game accessible and made sure we were letting players explore what the technology could do, and have more of a pick-up-and-play experience.
Are there particular benefits to playing one character over another during each scenario?
Absolutely – each character has his own set of abilities that change the experience, so depending on the situation or the player’s goal, some abilities will have an advantage over others. We really wanted each character to be valuable in and of himself, so that people could play with different characters and have different experiences and compare those.
Was the game geared toward a particular age group or fan group?
One thing we knew we wanted to do from the beginning was keep the game really accessible to young gamers and new gamers. We wanted families to have fun with this game, and kids, and people that you don’t necessarily think of as gamers, but who like to have fun with some pretty cool technology. We also wanted to make sure that for those who are fans of the franchises, we seeded the world and experience with lots of little elements that they would immediately recognize and appreciate.
“PlayStation Move Heroes” is available now and an exclusive title for the PlayStation 3 and the Move motion controller. It is rated E10+ due to fantasy violence.
It has been three years since 2KSports put out a tennis game in this series and they decided to go back to the drawing board for their latest. They wanted to keep the elements that made the “Top Spin” franchise great while still tweaking some things to be easier for new players to join the fun.
Shot selection is done using a press and hold system. Each button on the controller corresponds to a particular type of shot – slice, normal, top-spin, lob.
The power of the shot is determined by how long the button is held and the effectiveness of the shot is determined by the release of the button and timing of the swing. I did spend some time in the practice area, but the controls became second nature very quickly.
There are refinements that can be added to each shot, like making it an inside-out shot or utilizing a drop shot when you want to draw in your opponent. But if you never use these, you will still play a solid match.
Opponents include 25 professional and legendary tennis players. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters are included as well as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi (the bald version). Sadly, John McEnroe and his world famous outbursts were not included.
Each tennis player is true to their real world style of play and looks really life-like with their movements and facial expressions. Expect Novak Djokovic to be super aggressive and Michael Chang to run all over the court.
Game developers doubled the number of animations from their previous titles to over 4,000 to provide as much realism as possible. Even the background noise during the virtual matches was recorded from real matches, including specific cheers for specific players.
The real fun is making your own player and see how well you can do. Gamers start off by designing their player’s look, and then refine their beginning skills in several different categories.
Created players can build on three different tennis styles to suit their particular game. Serve and volley, offensive baseline play and defensive baseline play can be improved as experience levels are earned.
Think of it as a tennis role-playing game with powers unlocked as levels increase.
Coaches can also boost certain skill sets for added bonuses. They also provide skill challenges (for example, hit 50 slice shots) to increase those skills bonus points.
How you choose to play, what coach you use and what skills you buff offer a wide variety of unique players to create. And it doesn’t matter what game mode you use your player. Skills are built no matter if you are playing against the computer or competing online against a human opponent.
Online, the Top Spin World Tour allows you to take your player and really see how well you can do against players from around the world. There are also weekly seasons to challenge your skills over a shorter period of time.
The men’s and women’s tournaments are separated so don’t think you can garner some easy experience points by picking on the weaker sex (you figure out for yourself which one that is).
There is also the 2KOpen that features matches against star players, quicker matches and random venues. Experienced gained here also contributes to the overall growth of your player.
The entire game was designed to be immersive, realistic and authentic. “Top Spin 4” hits all three of those points with a powerful overhand smash.
The play is addictive and earning experience points makes me feel like my player is truly growing towards becoming a star. My only gripe is the AI curve as I won 44 matches and 9 tournaments in a row before falling to my first defeat.
While I like winning as much as the next guy, even opponents like Federer and Andy Murray fell easily to me as I was building up my player. However, once I got to level 18 (there is a level cap at 20), Nadal crushed me in straight sets at the French Open semi-finals and played like he hadn’t in previous games.
That lack of consistency was a little frustrating, but is easily overlooked. It forced me to work harder on perfecting my shots and timing.
Winning the minor tournaments should be easy. Winning the Slam tournaments should feel like I need to bump up my game and “Top Spin 4” aces that.
The game is deep and fulfilling for tennis fans while still remaining fun for the afternoon for beginning players. And the signature shots (between the legs while running away from the net) are still as awe inspiring as they are in real life.
“Top Spin 4” is rated E for everyone. It is available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. The PlayStation Move controller is also supported for the PS3 version. A 3-D display is also supported for monitors that can use that function. This review was done with a review copy for the PS3 and used the DualShock 3 controller.
Gamer fans and critics alike have seen what the new device can do, how it will behave and even how it will affect their current and future gaming. But did you know that the Move, as complex and complicated as it seems, has a very basic beginning?
To paraphrase Walt Disney, it all began with a ball.
At a demo event in Washington, D.C., the man behind the Move, Dr. Richard Marks, talked about how the motion controller came to be and where he hopes it will take gaming in the future. As the manager of research and development for Sony, Marks said work on the Move started after they developed the EyeToy and discovered they needed a ball.
“Early work with the EyeToy camera got it to recognize specific shapes and colors to help it with tracking,” Marks explained. “We figured out that lighting is key to tracking.”
Marks and his team found that using a sphere or ball shape allowed the EyeToy to find and follow the ball in all dimensions.
“The sphere looks the same no matter what angle you hold it,” he said. “The camera then tracks the location by the size of the sphere. Bigger sphere means closer to the screen while smaller means further away.”
The development team used foam spheres with some success until a researcher wanted to make the spheres light up. It turned out that lighting the ball actually helped the EyeToy track the device even better.
“(The researcher) wanted the sphere to change colors to reflect different things in potential gameplay,” Marks said. “What we found was that the camera worked better because the colored light in the ball makes it stand out from any background.”
The Move and EyeToy actually examine the surroundings of a player for color pixels and then assigns a completely different color to light up the sphere. The result is a smoother tracking of movement in three dimensions, something that a similar controller for another console can’t do.
Once they got the camera to track a lighted, colored sphere reliably, how could they turn that into a game device?
Marks said for his very first rudimentary Move controller, he took a regular controller for the PS3 and put the ball on one end.
“I cut the ends off (where the controller would fit in the palm of the gamer’s hand) because I wanted to make something that would feel good in one hand and had buttons to help with gameplay,” he said. “It wasn’t pretty.”
The R&D team would begin to tweak the look and feel of the proto-Move controller, adding a gyroscope and accelerometer to assist with game movement. Marks insisted the new device keep the buttons from the PS3 controller because he said they are needed to do specific, in-game movements.
“You want to know you are having an effect in the game. Buttons give you instant feedback instead of just waving a hand to get something done,” Marks said. “Not only can you quickly change from item to item using buttons, the T-button (an analog button located where your fingers wrap around the device) allows you to control how much of something you want do. It gives the players more feedback and more freedom.”
Marks envisions the Move controller as a device that will allow players the opportunity to explore 3-D environments and games in ways that previously were seen in science fiction movies. He said the Move can pinpoint position and angle of the player’s hand in a way to show off in point-of-views in games.
Although his team had a good controller in the hands, it was too expensive in the beginning. It wasn’t until pricing of the components, specifically the gyro and accelerometer, came down over the past 5 years. Marks said sensor technology also got better over time.
“We could have done something early, but it wouldn’t have been as good,” he explained.
And if one Move is good, two is better.
“Two Move controllers allow for more detail,” Marks explained. “It opens up so many more possibilities for game developers to really put players in the middle of the action. There are a lot of things you can do as long as the platform is good.”
He said first-person shooter games like “SOCOM” and individual sports such as tennis, golf, and archery will be the early success stories for the Move. But he’s not counting out any game genre because he said developers are already testing out the Move to find out what it can and can’t do.
“I want new ways to show to up to do things we haven’t even thought of,” Marks said. “The Move isn’t going away any time soon.”
The Sony Move controller was suppose to be released for sale on September 19, but there have been reports that it is already available in some locations.
Fresh off their convention in Los Angeles in June, video game makers are setting their sights on a new audience as they arrive at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego this week.
Game makers and developer not only get to show off their best and brightest material again, but they hone in specifically on games that have a comic character tie-in. “DC Online Universe” (Sony Online Entertainment) and “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” (Capcom) have direct relationships to the superheroes and villains from the comic book world, but other companies know that readers of those publications also play video games.
Nintendo doesn’t attend Comic-Con every year, but when they have a game that they know might appeal to the comic world, they step up. Marc Franklin, director of public relations for Nintendo of America said hands-on demonstrations of two new games — “Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies” and “Metroid: Other M” — will be featured at the convention, because those themes and characters resonate with the attendees of Comic-Con.
“We have been seeing these kinds of trade shows attract a broader, more diverse audience,” Franklin said. “Which fits right in with Nintendo’s goal to expand the world of video games to new audiences.”
Eric Levine, Sony’s manager of product public relations, agrees. He said Comic-Con isn’t just about comics anymore.
“The show celebrated pop culture from gaming to movies to television and everything in between,” Levine explained. “This show allows us to engage an audience that is passionate and excited about games, so it makes perfect sense for us to be involved.”
Online game review site editor-in-chief Richard Torres says over the past four years, companies are taking Comic-con seriously and plan to debut new material at the convention. He points out that game developers will also experiment with how much they show and even allow attendees to play unreleased software.
It is all about building a buzz with the audience, he explains.
“You live and die with these people,” Torres said. “Now with tweets, you can just see ‘oh my God this panel sucks’ or ‘oh my God it’s really cool.’ It is a great way to find out where on the cool scale they’re going to land.”
In additions to the games already mentioned, here are some other titles looking to find their place on the “cool scale.”
- “Halo Reach” (Bungie/Microsoft) – The end of the legendary series is coming and Microsoft will be showing off new material and revealing details about the final battle between humanity and the alien Covenant.
- “The Force Unleashed 2” (LucasArts) – This title is set six months after the events of the first game and a year before “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” takes place. Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, returns as the protagonist to use new Force powers and stronger enemies.
- “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions” (Activision) – Everyone’s favorite wall-crawler is making a return by sending Spider-Man across time and space to keep reality in balance. The game’s story was written by “The Amazing Spider-Man” comic writer Dan Slott.
- “Pro Evolution Soccer 2011” (Konami) – This sports title hopes to piggyback off the World Cup euphoria and ride the wave through Comic-Con. The soccer game will feature leagues from all over the world and include Argentine star Lionel Messi on its cover.
- “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood” (UbiSoft) – The follow-up to the immensely popular “Assassin’s Creed” game will be on display. But in a twist, the game publisher announced they will be showing off the first issue of a three-part comic book mini-series based off the franchise.
With a new motion-controller in hand, Sony hit the E3 stage amid a display of their hardware and the sounds of rock and roll blasting.
Saying they are ready to take their entertainment to the next level, Sony immediately touted their efforts into the 3-D arena with the software updates and new consoles with 3-D build in. Twenty titles are expected to be created natively by March 2011 that will be 3-D ready.
“Killzone 3,” a title that was developed and created with 3-D in mind, is intended to put the gamer in the middle of a war. Tougher enemies, stronger weapons and an expansive environment were all featured in a pre-alpha code demo video. There was also a cool scene where a soldier used a jetpack to sneak behind the enemy to place some explosive charges.
The game is expected to arrive on the shelves on February 2011 exclusively for the PS3 and fully compatible with Move.
More 3-D games – “Crysis 2,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Gran Turismo 5,” and more – were also featured in a wide-ranging video.
The Move controller is expected to be Sony’s efforts into more realism into gaming. Using the PlayStation Eye camera, the Move will offer more precision in game play and will be used in family friendly games as well as appeal to core gamers.
Forty developers are working on games that will utilize the Move controller with more ready to join in. They also featured some games they think the Move will be perfect for the action.
“Sorcery” is third-person, action game that puts the player into the role of a young wizard in a fantasy world. Live action game play showed how the Move is utilized to fire of a wand, open a door or shake up and drink a potion. The graphics were impressive and the game will be out in the spring of 2011.
“Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11″ showed how moving the Move controller directly affects how the club behaves during the game. Not only does the controller need direction, but touch on the course (and the Move) is also important during the game.
“Heroes on the Move” brings together six classic Sony characters for the first time. Daxter & Jax, Rachet & Clank and Sly & Benley will all be in the new game that will use the Move.
Kevin Butler, the PS3′s mouthpiece, came out to a roar from the audience and proceeded to do a little Kinect-bashing. He then issued a “Call to gaming” to players of all ages. And the audience loved it.
Move will be available in Europe on September 15 and in North America on September 19. The Move controller is priced at $49.99 with the Navigation controller priced at $29.99. Both controllers bundled with a PS3 and the Champions Move game will retail at $399.99.
Some games will be getting software updates to support the new Move controller.
Sony also showed off a new campaign that focused on the PSP with a young kid named Marcus who wants players to “Step Your Game Up.”
“God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” “Invizimals,” and “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker” were all shown as PSP-exclusive titles. “Invizimals” also utilizes a PSP-camera peripheral to play the game. Over 70 new titles are expected to be released by December.
Casting call for the second season of “The Tester,” a reality-based show about becoming a game tester for Sony, will be starting soon. Sony also replicated their E3 booth in the PlayStation Network to check out their stuff online.
“Little Big Planet 2″ will show a multi-player, competitive environment where players can bring their Sackboys into an area to challenge others. Not only can gamers create their own Sackboy, they can create whatever kind of game they want – racing, puzzles, platforming and a real-time strategy game. Everything can be created and the limits are the boundaries of the imagination.
Sony also announced the PlayStation Plus service that will offer users exclusive material and content, preferred early demo and beta invites plus discounts on items in the PlayStation Store. A yearly subscription will cost $49.99 and the service will live on top of the current PlayStation Network service, which is free.
Electronic Arts also made an appearance to announce two new titles with exclusive content for the PlayStation 3. “Medal of Honor” will offer limited edition that contains the remastered “Medal of Honor: Frontline” game – two games for one price only for PS3. “Dead Space 2″ will also have exclusive content in the form of another limited edition only for the PS3.
“Portal 2,” a follow-up to the surprise PC hit “Portal,” will be available on the PS3 as well as features from the Steam gaming platform engine.
A brief video of “Final Fantasy XIV” was shown with no launch title announced.
Exclusive PS3 content to “Mafia II” was also announced as well as exclusive missions in the new “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” game coming out on November 16.
Many more big name titles are expected to hit the PS3 and PSP before the end of the year including “Mortal Kombat” and “DC Universe Online.”
More cinematic video was shown from “Gran Turismo 5″ (that will include NASCAR in this version) and “Infamous 2″.
The longest-running PlayStation franchise, “Twisted Metal,” will be making a comeback exclusively on the PS3. The violent clowns and dolls return with deathmatch mode, Nuke mode and side-by-side action.
Sony president Jack Tretton says after 15 years of producing great content, they are ready to write a whole chapter. And it starts today.
When developers and publishers of the world’s most popular games get together, expect big announcements, big promises and a few surprises. This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles promises to be bigger than ever.
Most of the focus will be on console makers with motion controller and 3D news from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. But game makers are ready to make their own noise with titles that should be ready to take advantage of the console advancements.
Fan favorites “Gran Turismo 5″ and “LittleBigPlanet 2″ will be getting upgrades with more realism, better graphics and more sharing between players. “SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs” will allow players to lead a 5-person squad on a six-day battle in Asia and it will be supported by the new Move controller.
“Killzone 3″ is ready to bring the realism into your gaming room. The first-person shooter will support full 3-D gameplay. Steven Ter Heide, Senior Producer of Killzone 3, said having larger areas to explore and an increased sense of immersion was challenging, but ambitious, to pull off.
“3-D really helps to heighten that sensation of being in the middle of this epic war,” he said. “The increased sense of immersion makes the environments and enemies almost tangible. It’s very much a foreground thing.”
Sony will also be showcasing their online role-playing game, “DC Universe Online”, and the latest incarnation into the God of War mythos, “God of War: Ghost of Sparta” for the PSP.
“Halo Reach” was released as a beta in May. More than 2.7 million players played over 17 days and Microsoft is ready to show the rest of the game during E3. It has already been tapped as the biggest seller in 2010 by a survey of game insiders.
Microsoft showcased many exclusive titles at a press conference prior to the opening of E3, including many games that will utilize their new motion-controller called Kinect. Big names like “Call of Duty: Black Ops”, “Gears of War 3″, and “Fable 3″ will be coming out later this year.
The early Kinect games (“Kinectimals”, “Kinect Sports”, “Kinect Joy Ride”, “Kinect Adventures”) are all played without a controller. Many will require games to be in pretty good shape to truly succeed and enjoy.
Likewise, Nintendo will be announcing games to go with their new 3-D handheld console, Nintendo 3DS. But they aren’t neglecting the Wii.
Samus returns in “Metroid: Other M”, which is expected to be release in 2010. They are also going to release info on a game that is currently called “Zelda Wii”, although that title is expected to change.
UbiSoft is trying to aim for the major genres with a first-person shooter, a driving game, and a sports game. “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” will offer players the ability to become nearly invisible while completing their missions.
“Driver: San Francisco” brings the series to UbiSoft for the first time, staying true to the franchise while offering a high level of grittiness. And Olympic medalist Shawn White returns to his roots for the new “Shawn White Skateboarding” game.
Ubisoft president Laurent Detoc said this is a great time to be into gaming.
“3-D gaming will improve our storytelling, immersion and experience for the players,” Detoc said. “We think it is going to be enormous and continuing down a path we’re already on.”
Holding a press conference the day before E3, the company also unveiled a new fitness game to be used with Kinect, a shooting game that isn’t played in front of a computer and a video game inspired by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Best of the rest
Starkiller is back to take on Darth Vader in “Star Wars: Force Unleashed II” from LucasArts. The cinematic trailers for the game have fans gasping and an early demo video shows some new powers. Then again, it is Star Wars, which means it will have an instant fan base ready to praise or bury the game.
Electronic Arts will have their latest versions on “Madden NFL 11″ and “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11″, which will offer online play for Ryder Cup action. “Bulletstorm” is a new game that will be revealed for the first time at E3 and offers “kill with skill” gameplay. EA is also ready to show off follow-ups to two of their big titles — “Crysis 2″ and “Dead Space 2″.
2KGames will be revealing more about their work on “Civilization V” and “Mafia II”.
Disney Interactive Studios is banking on games with movie tie-ins. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned”, “Tron Evolution”, and “Toy Story 3″ (which will be Move compatible) are going to be featured at E3. Mickey is also going to make an appearance for a new title called “Epic Mickey”.
Bethesda will be display their follow-up to the 2008 Game of the Year “Fallout 3″ with “Fallout: New Vegas” (Oct. 19). Imagine all the post-apocalyptic grime and grit, but amp it up and set it in Vegas. And what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there.
Capcom is showing off the latest installment in the VS series with “Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds”. And what would a gaming conference be if there wasn’t a zombie sighting? “Dead Rising 2″ will give players the opportunity to turn everyday objects into weapons to repel massive zombie attacks.
There will be music games (“Rock Band 3″, “DJ Hero 2″), re-imagined classic characters (“Sonic the Hedgehog 4″, “Mortal Kombat”, “LEGO Harry Potter”), and sports games (“NBA Elite 11, NBA Jam”).
Many more game titles are going to be announced once the console makers release the new information about their hardware changes. There are sure to be some surprises (possibly a Michael Jackson dance game?).
As one participant said, “We’re going to have the biggest entertainment announcement of E3.” We’ll see at the end of the week who can really lay claim to that title.