E3 and Me: The PC Perspective

At the outset of each E3 conference, every available live stream is being loaded up into individual tabs in my browser and assessed for speed and quality as the picture focuses on a dimly lit stage. I love the weird performance of it — nerds, pseudo-nerds and businessmen attempting to enthral. It’s always a delightful parade of awkward moments and disappointment, with the occasional interesting item floating by like something you might have just day-dreamed amidst the epileptic fits and stock market self-harm.

Sony’s conference revolved around its new girlfriend Vita, with a hefty tax on not being American. The initially promising Café evolved into the weirdness of the WiiU. “A new trilogy for the Xbox 360” signalled the possibility of a further three years being squeezed mercilessly from the console’s lifeless corpse.

It seems from the footage shown and Reggie’s post-show, tight-lipped hints that the WiiU will essentially be playing graphical catch-up to the PS3 and Xbox 360, which surprised me hugely. Initial, pre-conference leaks had hinted at a significant hardware upgrade, but no sign of this was evident in their bizarre idea of a good time. The quagmire of current-gen is bewildering. I look at games on those platforms, with their 720p resolutions and 30 frames per second if you’re lucky and it makes me cry. Out of pity. From my castle. That I built (I’m talking about my PC, which I live inside of).

In order to avoid feeling sympathy for any extended period of time, I’ll move swiftly onto the games that I’m most excited to play on the shiny new PC that’s waiting for me in the not-too-distant future.

While most of the fanfare of the expo surrounds the various big-name conferences, E3 is also a time that developers choose to slyly slip teaser trailers into our surprised eyes. Like this one, for ARMA III:


This came completely out of left field for me and delighted the surprised eyes clean out of my head. ARMA II looked (and continues to look) graphically amazing, but this is something else. The ambitiousness of the entire ARMA franchise is endlessly impressive; the scope of the maps and the level of detail in every aspect of the game provide something that isn’t really available anywhere else. I’m excited to see more.

Battlefield 3 made its appearance, this time predictably, at EA’s conference. After watching a parade of dudes standing awkwardly in the middle of a stage with a controller gripped in their fake-playing paws, it was a moment of strange gladness to see somebody sitting down in front of a mouse and keyboard to demo the game. Watching tanks slowly lumber across an arid plane for three solid days, while initially impressive, quickly lost its appeal and struck me as an odd choice. I’ve been thirsty for a quaff of the BF3 multiplayer since the game was first announced and the only chance to see it, over the entirety of E3, was a very small peek during a strange, sweaty Ustream show. I don’t particularly mind that there’s a single-player aspect to the game — I might even play it — but I’ll be buying it for its multiplayer, not its set pieces. Watching the various games journalists quizzing members of the DICE team about why the game wasn’t demonstrated on PS3 or 360 in a way that implied some kind of deceit was jarring.

The Nadeo chicks provided a welcome relief from the barrage of loud noises emitted from Ubisoft’s spokesman “Mr Caffeine”, just as you began wondering where he’d hidden the dead bodies from the previous night. Mania Planet comprises three separate games; Shootmania, Questmania and Trackmania 2, which are an FPS, an RPG and a racing game respectively, across which you will be able to (apparently) seamlessly transition. Details of Shootmania and Questmania remain thin on the ground, but a Trackmania 2 trailer was shown that seems to transfer every obscenely fun element of the previous Trackmania games into a prettier, more impressive engine; if F-Zero and Micro Machines had a kid, it would be Trackmania.


A few other games that caught my eye in the squall:

Batman: Arkham City. Arkham Asylum was a huge surprise for a lot of people; it’s not often that a triple-A game borne of a film franchise has any punch, but this game had about a billion punches, and they were all fun. Hopefully Arkham City has some, too.

Skyrim. Previous Elder Scrolls games have left me feeling either overwhelmed or bored, but Skyrim looks incredibly appealing as a way to kill dragons this winter.

Finally, Rock of Ages is a game in which you roll a rock down hills. I’ll leave you with the new trailer.


Next stop: Gamescom.






One response to “E3 and Me: The PC Perspective”

  1. Nick avatar

    I agree with you quite a lot really, there was a lot of promise for each of the three big names but simply not enough delivered. It almost felt a little like a cold war with Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft not quite ready to show their cards.

    Personally, I thought the Nintendo conference was not very well presented. I was watching it live with a few friends and at first we all scratched our heads at the whole “is it a new controller for the Wii? Or a new console?!”

    I’m really glad DICE is sticking to it’s PC roots, they even said on a Twitter post in the past few weeks that they wanted it to look better than console, otherwise they would have simply failed.

    Was hoping to see some more coverage on Fear 3 which is out next week, the co-op on that looks fun as hell.

    And Valve is meant to be at Gamescom, here’s hoping that it won’t simply be more DOTA 2 🙁

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