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There are very few things that’ll get me on a plane. I hate flying, I really do, what with dealing with traffic and security, then getting on a plane that has seats that always seem way too small. What few things would get me to get on a plane? Family emergencies, game conventions and big comic conventions. As luck would have it, I was invited to go to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year as part of an ambassador program for Tomb Raider through Eidos and Crystal Dynamics. Putting all fears aside, I was able to visit E3 2012 on Wednesday and Thursday. The only other time I attended E3 was back in 2004, and I had a blast, so I was really looking forward to 2012.
While I’ve noticed many reviewers have criticized the show for a multitude of issues, I found it to be entertaining and informative concerning new hardware and upcoming games. The funny thing that occurred to me while walking the show floor was how many booths had set game units side by side for the attendees to play; it looked like a Las Vegas casino. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, just a curious observation. I’m sure you don’t want to read about me going on and on and not talking games, so without further adieu, here’s what I’m I was stoked for when I arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
On my way to the Eidos booth there was this little game situated across from the Square/Enix area called Star Trek. I knew this was one I had to see, but first I had to meet up at the Eidos booth and coordinate the day with the other ambassadors. Being given two hours to explore before the first showing of Tomb Raider didn’t give me a lot of time, so two of my colleagues and I took off to check things out. Our first game to visit, and also one of the closest, was Hitman: Absolution. It was a play-through with the developer taking on five thugs who looked like a throwback to Biff and his gang from the Back to the Future movies. Those who are fans of sneaking and waiting for the right time to incapacitate, blow up and/or squish, just to name a few ways of being a death dealer, are going to really like this game. Of course, you don’t have to kill, but where’s the fun in that? The game looked very good and well populated with enemies, civilians and animals, although I could’ve gone without seeing dogs humping. As it stands, with good visuals, solid-looking play and an interesting story, I’m very interested in getting it once it’s released.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was my next stop, with several playable units all set up. The game isn’t based on the abomination that is the Michael Bay movies, but is set in the same universe as the original 1980s series and is a follow-up to Transformers: War for Cybertron. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the graphics from the original, and the same is true here, with many returning voice actors, the inclusion of many classic Transformers (including the Dinobots), and solid-looking gameplay. This looks to be one for me and the kids to enjoy for a long time.
Just around the corner was Skylanders: Giants, and if I might steal a tag from Pokemon, I gotta collect them all. A couple of years back there was a game called Funkies. It consisted of a base and purchasable characters that would change the onscreen icons, and it had different games to play alone or online. My kids loved it until it was shut down, although I found the connectors didn’t read the characters from time to time. Once it was shut down I had to find a replacement. Jump ahead 18 months. Skylanders came out and, much to my surprise, it contained none of the annoying problems that plagued Funkies. I’ve collected almost every Skylanders figure and my sons have completed the game, so we’ve been waiting for an add-on, and what a very cool add-on Giants appears to be. We now have, as the name implies, GIANTS! The game looks good, with the same pleasing aesthetics, new characters and abilities. If you were a fan of the original but completed it, then Giants looks like it will be just what you’ve been waiting for.
Bethesda was giving away speakers. Cool. Each container held two collapsed cardboard boxes with speakers attached. One speaker had art for Dishonored and the other for The Elder Scrolls Online. Very cool-looking, but time and the line prevented me spending time with the games. This made me a very sad panda. Be sure to check out the building paintings for the Elder Scrolls Online at the end of this article. Really stunning.
Wargaming.net had a very big presence with their “World Of” series. World of Tanks, which is already available, had center stage, with two rows of units set up for people to get one-on-one time with this fun game. In the middle they also had rows of round, comfy seats facing a massive screen for team battles on World of Tanks, with two announcers giving play-by-play and commentaries. World of Warbirds was on the other side of the area, also with two rows of units set up with a flight stick for play. The entire wargaming.net area always seemed busy, with everyone appearing to be having a really good time with both games. The one I really wanted to see was World of Battleships, but it didn’t appear to be available for public display if it was at the show. This was really disappointing; if I ever do this again, I need a press pass. If you have a good Internet connection, then I really do recommend giving World of Tanks and World of Warbirds a whirl. If I didn’t have a satellite connection for Internet, I’d be playing right now.
Time was running short, so it was time to head back. We swung through Ubisoft’s area with the prominently featured Farcry 3. The lines were way too long, but I did notice the game returns to the jungle (yeah!), where the original game was set. Also, it features smooth gameplay and really good audio. My mom loves the Farcry series. I think she’s going to get a blast out of this one.
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