For those unaware of the nerdery that occurs annually in the Los Angeles Convention Center in late-spring, please allow me to bring you up to speed. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (commonly referred to as E3) is one of the world’s largest dog-and-pony shows for the video games industry’s finest to showcase their latest and greatest developments. The South and West Halls of the facility are littered with game developers’ elaborate (and expensive) booth setups, which are populated with every aspiring Hollywood actress casted in the role of “booth babe” to attract wandering gaming enthusiasts. Presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the convention is attended by every company from Activision to Zynga and everyone in-between.
Rather than roaming around the halls aimlessly hoping to secure a five-minute demonstration of random games after standing in line for hours, this year, I scheduled a strict agenda that allowed me to test, observe, judge and dismiss more games on the floor than ever before. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the “Good News” and “Bad News” of every game I got my grubby mitts on, sorted by publisher.
Title: Top Gun: Hard Lock
Game Type: Third-person aerial assault.
Good News: Think “After Burner” on crack with “Danger Zone” mode.
Bad News: None of the original actors lend their voices to the cast.
Title: Michael Phelps: Push the Limit
Game Type: Faux swimming in front of your television.
Good News: Kinect games are breaking out of the cutesy Wii-esque graphics.
Bad News: Phelps demands perfect swimming form, so prepare to sweat or drown into your carpet.
Paramount Digital Entertainment
Title: The War of the Worlds
Game Type: Side-scrolling downloadable game set during the 1953 alien attack
Good News: Narrated like a novel by the mesmerizing Patrick Stewart
Bad News: You don’t get to purposely incinerate Tom Cruise over and over again
Title: Star Trek
Game Type: Third-person shooter co-op starring Captain Kirk and Spock.
Good News: Links the 2009 film to next year’s sequel with J. J. Abrams’ lens flares and all.
Bad News: It doesn’t come out until summer 2012.
Game Type: First-person intergalactic shooter set in 1962.
Good News: Annihilating invading aliens during the decade of peace, love and harmony.
Bad News: The copious amount of controls seem daunting when all you want to do is blow shit up with alien technology.
Title: Bioshock: Infinite
Game Type: First-person shooter with role-playing game elements embedded within the story.
Good News: Jaw-dropping game design with heart-pounding gameplay … and that was only in the five-minute demonstration.
Bad News: It’s not in your hands at this very moment.
Title: X-Men: Destiny
Game Type: Third-person fighting with mutant powers in a futuristic dilapidated San Francisco.
Good News: Players have the ability to choose different scenarios, constantly changing the storyline.
Bad News: The selection of unknown playable characters sparks little interest.
Title: Spider-Man: Edge of Time
Game Type: Third-person web-slinging time travel complete with punches and kicks.
Good News: Players affect time and space with two versions of Spider-Man (The Amazing Spider-Man & Spider-Man 2099).
Bad News: Hopefully, the developers deliver something new and not just a replica of their successful “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” which is what it appeared to be at first glance.
Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Game Type: First-person shooter as Russia invades America on our own soil.
Good News: What THQ’s Homefront should have been and then some on all elements.
Bad News: There’s a five-month waiting period before you can send those Commie bastards back to hell.
Title: Prototype 2
Game Type: Thid-person disemboweling revenge tale in a virus-ridden New York City.
Good News: The blood and gore department must have received a bonus check this year.
Bad News: Same game, different protagonist … was hoping for something as fresh as the torn flesh on the pavement.
Title: Cars 2
Game Type: Animated racer with battle modes and secret agent missions.
Good News: A step-up from the Super Mario Kart universe that’s easy to grasp.
Bad News: While you may have to put up with Larry the Cable Guy’s Mater, at least you can obliterate him with a vast assortment of high-powered weapons.
Title: Disney Universe
Game Type: Up to four-player co-op adventure with party games and adorable deaths.
Good News: The first collaboration of Disney’s animated classics with their live-action films as well as Pixar’s characters, too.
Bad News: With over 40 characters to choose from, starting a game will take forever.
Title: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Game Type: A massively multiplayer online (MMO) game with lots of different colored lightsabers.
Good News: Even if you’re a Jedi, you can decapitate your enemies and join the dark side.
Bad News: Even if you’re a Sith, you can choose righteousness and join the light side … douche.
Title: Need for Speed: The Run
Game Type: An intense cross-country racer with an angry mob in your rearview mirror.
Good News: Nothing like dodging bullets from a police helicopter in the streets of downtown.
Bad News: The out-of-car chase sequences seem unnecessary … stick to the steering wheel.
Title: Binary Domain
Game Type: Thid-person shooter set in 2080 Japan against an army of pissed-off robots.
Good News: Players use 40-50 voice commands via headset to control A.I. teammates.
Bad News: Players with lisps/speech impediments may find themselves dying … a lot.
Title: Aliens: Colonial Marines
Game Type: First-person shooter that is a direct sequel to James Cameron’s 1986 “Aliens.”
Good News: Friends can drop into the game at any time, so you won’t be alone when you soil your shorts.
Bad News: Friends can leave the game at any time once you’ve admitted to soiling your shorts due to a video game.
Title: Street Fighter X Tekken
Game Type: Crossover fighting game with all of your favorite characters from the 1990s.
Good News: Fans of hyper-active fights with confusing arcade-style controls rejoice!
Bad News: If you haven’t mastered ultra combo moves yet, you may want to sit this one out.
Title: Asura’s Wrath
Game Type: An action story revolving around a fallen deity consumed by anger who seeks vengeance on those who betrayed him … he sounds pissed.
Good News: Gamers can control everything, including the cinematic sequences, which can affect the storyline.
Bad News: Even with the over-the-top sequences (and they are OVER-THE-TOP), here’s hoping the actual gameplay can back it up or it’ll just be a pretty movie to enjoy.
Title: Prey 2
Game Type: First-person shooter starring a human bounty hunter on an alien planet.
Good News: Not only can you imprison intergalactic scum, you can also toss innocent bystanders off of buildings for looking at your funny.
Bad News: Here’s hoping the “Blade Runner” environment is as pleasing to explore as it is to observe.
Title: The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
Game Type: A fairy-tale role-playing free roam adventure set in a mystical land.
Good News: If you’re into casting spells and roaming around elf-inhabited villages, you are in luck!
Bad News: If you’re NOT into casting spells and roaming around elf-inhabited villages, you may find solace with Saints Row: The Third … I hear there’s purple dildos.
Title: Saints Row: The Third
Game Type: Third-person shooter.
Good News: There’s nothing like a demonstration that starts by assaulting a homeless person with a purple dildo.
Bad News: There seemed to be only one color of dildo … kidding … I’m sure there’s more.
Title: Metro: Last Light
Game Type: First-person shooter set in post-apocalyptic Russia with ungodly creatures flying about.
Good News: The survival horror, exploration and combat elements have been met wholeheartedly.
Bad News: Much of the gameplay feels incredibly “been there, done that,” so, with a bit of luck, the end of the world angle can save interest.
Title: Tomb Raider
Game Type: A prequel quest that unveils the origins of the explorer’s addiction for adventure.
Good News: This darker, gorier revamp is exactly what the franchise needed in a desperate way.
Bad News: If the decision to make a film adaptation is in the works, let’s all pray that Angelina Jolie is too busy to commit.
Title: Hitman: Absolution
Game Type: Third-person shooter that pits our favorite assassin against an entire police force.
Good News: Never have I seen so many ways to kill a man than in the 10-minute demonstration.
Bad News: I hope true fans don’t get any crazy ideas from these elaborate death traps.