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Day Three - Thursday
11:37am PDT - B. de la DurantayeWow! I just got out of the Bethesda booth tour and I'm blown away. Let's just say Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is just awesome. It's a true sequel to the IP in the way that it is still able to maintain the feel of an Elder Scrolls game, but it adds so much more without compromising the good stuff from Oblivion. I scribbled notes furiously during the 30 minute demo which became quite tricky because I didn't want to take my eyes off the screen - it was that good. So I've got five pages of scratchings I'll need to find a decoder ring for before I write up that preview.
The coolest aspect of the game, to me, was the "shouts" mechanic. This works similar to magic, but as you progress through the world you find more runes, absorb dragon souls (yes, you fight LOTS of dragons in Skyrim) and unlock dragon-like abilities like fire breathing, stopping time and much more. All the while exploring a huge world of such incredible detail I felt a tear rolling down my cheek.
I can't wait to tell you more, but we will have to. I only have a few minutes to update this from my iPad before I have to get ready and head out to the next appointment.
I also saw Prey 2 and RAGE, which were both impressive as well. The Prey 2 demo started off like a standard shooter but quickly demonstrated it was so much more. Breaking away from the linearity of the first Prey game, Prey 2 offers a much more open world and leaves the player with choices as to what missions they want to do and how they want to interact with the world and its inhabitants. The good-hearted may opt to choose to rescue a bloke being beat on by a gang while the more evil-inclined may find innocent citizens to push off bridges. The choice is up to the player and there are plenty of cool weapons and abilities that make the game promising.
A bit of hands-on with RAGE left me wanting more too. The interface was very simple to pick up and just play, particularly for anyone who's played through Borderlands. The artistic direction of the game is much more defined making for an incredibly high level of visual allure. It's tough to make a wasteland universe "pretty" and while that's not necessarily the best word to use for the visual appeal, it certainly is an attractive and smooth-playing game.
Out of time for now! But we'll be back a bit later after we visit APB, Perfect World, UTV, gamigo, Torchlight II, World of Tanks and Gameforge and Frogster.
Our last day here is flying by already, but boy do we have a lot coming for you. Be sure to check out the other articles we've been able to post at our E3 2011 Portal Page.
Day Two - Wednesday
3:20pm PDT - B. de la Durantaye
Reuben is off to the big appointment of the day over at the EA booth. He'll be seeing a ton of games, including Mass Effect 3 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. All three of us wanted the appointment, but I lost on the weighted /random as I have been able to check out Amalur earlier this year. His tour of the EA booth, though, should yield some fun reads.
I did go to check out Atari today. While the games there aren't specifically MMO, they do have some multiplayer and nostalgic appeal. Of the titles I saw I got some hands on time with Warlords which lives up to its classic counterpart. A complete facelift of the game coupled with some new mechanics, avatars and abilities brings a fresh look at the arcade classic. My hands-on with it did emphasize to me how sadly out of touch with the old-school arcade games I really am. This game requires so much multitasking one almost needs a multi-threaded brain to keep up with some of the advanced play modes.
Another title at Atari that caught my interest was Gamma World: Alpha Mutation. Based on the pen and paper game this 3rd person shooter adds some RPG elements in the way of character customization and weaponry. Vowing to never take themselves too seriously with this game, Atari has designed character customization by offering the player a selection of Primary and Secondary Origins. As an example the demo was played through by a Radioactive Yeti. You don't see that every day.
Weapons galore, my favorite was the bacon wrapped baseball bat. Gamers will get a multitude of weapons that come in both ranged and melee flavors, however the game plays out at about 70 percent ranged with 30 percent melee.
The game will be available on XBLA, PSN and the PC in digital distribution format. It offers about 10 hours of gameplay and they aim to launch at the end of the year.
12:36pm PDT - B. de la Durantaye
My first stop this morning was with Gamania who has a game by the name of Lucent Heart on its way to North American audiences. This game was able to capture my interest as it contains some pretty unique features, not the least of which is a matching system that gives you buffs if you find a mate. Emotes such as kissing and hugging will give you power buffs to deal more damage, or increase your armor.
It's certiainly unique in that respect. Players can match up not only wiht members of the opposite sex, but added specifically for North American players is the ability to partner up with someone of the same sex. It's a risky move for a free-to-play game that focuses largely on social gameplay, but how it will be received remains to be seen. The game goes into open beta later this summer, so you'll be able to check it out yourself.
10:31am PDT - B. de la Durantaye
Last night was a good time. Reuben and I went to the Colony to the party of E3 - a joint party between Nexon, CCP, Trion Worlds, EA, Riot Games and Valve. The place was packed wall to wall but there was enough interesting "content" that even the most clausterphobic gamer wouldn't mind.
A bit worse for wear, I rolled lazily out of bed this morning about an hour ago. Now is time to get ready for day two. We've got a good line up today including visits with Turbine, Atari, and EA. I may need to wear my sunglasses inside today, but that just makes me look cool, right?
Day One - Tuesday
3:29pm PDT - B. de la Durantaye
For the first time ever world wide, we were able to check out Trion World's upcoming MMO shooter, Defiance. We didn't know what to expect, apart from that it was somehow tied into the new show coming up on Syfy. As it turns out, it's somewhat promising. It will be a cross-console shooter game that takes place in the near future in the San Francisco area. Like other MMOGs, it will allow grouping to overcome PvE content, with an open Mission system and Arkfall events which play out somewhat similar to Rift's Rifts.
I also got a sneak peek at what's to come in Rift's content update as well as a look at End of Nations. I'm not much for RTS games, but End of Nations has enough to it for even a newb like me that it looks promising for launch.
We'll be posting all these stories more in depth as the week winds on, but I just wanted to give you guys a quick update as I head to my next appointment: Sony Online Entertainment. I'm told Executive Producer, Dave Georgeson will be talking all things EverQuest including EverQuest Next so it should be a doozy. I'll let you know how it went after the meeting. Talk soon!
1:10pm PDT - B. de la Durantaye
I just got out of the VIP SWTOR demo. I gotta admit, when I saw the game for the first time a while back I was a bit underwhelmed. Now though? Complete opposite. I'm overwhelmed by all the cool features - hundreds of hours of unique gameplay per character, group dialog with NPCs, incredible choices for character and story development, personal star ships, an in-game codex... The list goes on. Jeff is doing some hands on time with it now as I run over to see Defiance from Trion Worlds. He will have much more SWTOR to post a bit later, so stay tuned!
8:44am PDT- B. de la Durantaye
We're at our cozy hotel this morning getting ready to head to the show in time for its noon opening. And by "cozy hotel" I mean so cozy, in fact, that I'm sure I stepped on Jeff's head last night when I got up to go to the bathroom. He hasn't said anything so far but he has been giving me the evil eye all morning. Hopefully he'll forget all about it as we head to our first appointment of the show - Star Wars: The Old Republic.
SWTOR is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated titles of the decade, so we are anxious to see more of it. The SWTOR intro trailer was released a few short hours ago so go and check it out if you need a fix before we get to the show.
Tons of cool things coming later today. We've got, in addition to SWTOR, DUST 514, a new game from Trion Worlds called Defiance, TERA, all the EverQuests including EQ Next, and Neverwinter. And that's just day one.
Stay tuned and we will have updates for you later this afternoon. For now though, I must run. It looks like Jeff has found my sock drawer and is laughing maniacally about something. Be back soon!