Friday, June 14, 2013

E3 2013 - Have you started saving up?

Well, this years E3 sure brought a lot of arguments up for discussion. Basically, most reported topics are "My Xbox is better then your PS" and "Did you see how Sony crushed Microsoft". Now, we're a different community. We don't really care for all that drama they made by calling the cops to chase Ouya stand away, do we?

Other then the new Xbox One announced, and the new Playstation 4 announced, this years E3 was home to a lot of game developers as well. We've seen a total of 95 games for now, for all platforms, appear in various presentations, game-plays and press events, 37 of those being PC games and only 2 PC exclusives. What's really interesting to see at a conference like this is 5 new mobile titles announced, 3 of which are exclusive. Here's whats awesome.

Battlefield 4
DICE is breaking the barriers. The new title, announced to be published end of October, doesn't update the game heavily compared to BF3. There are dual scoped weapons, minor HUD changes and the ability to use vehicles in single-player. But what's really groundbreaking is that DICE connected mobile and PC platform, enabling you that sweet experience - on the go! The new Commander mode will let you engage in combat from your tablet, but in a different role. You will be playing support and intelligence for your team, providing insight, dropping suply packages and giving out orders, all this while trying to prevent enemy commander from doing the same. This is an excellent example how mobile platform can be connected to PC and consoles, and we'll just have to wait and see how fun it will be. Battlefield 4 will be available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Metal Gear Solid V
Finally, right? The successor is bringing some heavy gear into the game. The Phantom Pain brings open world environment, with long cut scenes. According to Hideo Kojima, the creator of the game, it will be instantly available on all console platforms, both new and old, while PC is likely to happen, but not a priority at the moment. A lot of speculations were made around this game, and finally it was confirmed that rumored Ground Zeroes was actually prologue to Phantom Pain, and that they are basically on and the same. Release is scheduled for 2014.

Company of Heroes 2
The award picking game is finally getting a sequel! Planned to be released 25th of June, 2013, at a price of 50 euros, this RTS game is offering you a chance to jump in and check it out! Open beta will remain open until 18th of June, and you will be able to keep all the progress you make when the game goes live, as long as you play the same account up to 60 days after launch. The RTS is still all about WWII, but it focuses Eastern Front now, as well as the ability to control Soviet Red Army. They've also added weather conditions, so your soldiers can and will die of frostbites and receive other penalties due to bad weather, such as ice breaking while you walk over a frozen lake or less movement speed while you walk through deep snow.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag
It's a combo we all like: assassins and pirates! New Ubisoft title, hitting the shelves November 2013, will be release on all platforms and will bring that open-world experience that makes it fun. Unlike the previous Assassin's Creed titles, the latest will allow you to explore the game world much sooner and to capture ships! You will also have unrestricted access to your mother ship, Jackdaw, which will be upgrade-able throughout the game. What's weird is that multiplayer will feature new modes, however, it will only be land based. Title got criticized before it even got published by PETA, because it will include whaling, and they consider video games should celebrate animals, not promote hurting them.

The Crew
EA isn't the only one thinning the line between mobile and other platforms. Ubisoft is not all about killings. Combined with Ivory Tower, the developers behind Driver: San Francisco, Ubisoft Reflections presented a new MMO-ish game called The Crew. The game will be playable early 2014 and is trying to incorporate single player, co-op and multiplayer seamlessly. Ubisoft presented this in such a fashion, that you might be surprised, while racing a single-player mission, to find a real person behind the other wheel. What's awesome about the game is that it features a huge map, modeled after the entire United States. That's just awesome. The mobile app that quickly flashed during the presentation suggests you will be able to interact with the game using a mobile device, however, you will be limited to checking what your friends are doing and customizing your ride. Not much, but it's a good start.

Command & Conquer
We all grew up playing Red Alert 1 and 2 right, and we all liked C&C Generals. Well, Vicotry Games just kicked it up a notch. New EA title, scheduled for Q4 2013, will bring even more options when it comes to generals. Did I mention the kick ass graphics? And the new Frostbite engine? Combine all that, you finally get a shot playing a revamped RTS with more content then ever. Judging by the preview they teased us with at E3, it's going to be hot. New generals to play as and against, new abilities for each of them and new graphics combined make Command & Conquer a unique experience that's definitely worth checking out. Welcome back, General.

Watch Dogs
You have to admit, Ubisoft has been busy. This open-world game lets you dress up as Aiden Pearce, who is profound at hacking and bunch of other stuff. Think GTA on a whole new level. Who wants to kill people in the streets for money, when you can hack into their phone, pull bank data and steal funds? Ubisoft also presented something called "CtOS" which stands for "Central Operating System". "CtOS" came to play after Northeast blackout of 2003, which was presented as deed of a hacker, so creation of "CtOS" was necessary. At least that's how it work in Ubisoft universe. The system controls every piece of technology within alternate reality version of Chicago, where this game is taking place, making it easy to obtain information about it's residents. You will hack, you will kill, you will be stealthy, you will steal. What's not to love? Ubisoft will take a swing at our pockets with Watch Dogs somewhere around 20th of November 2013, depending on your region.

Tom Clancy's The Division
You guessed it, Ubisoft. Them bad boys really went all-in for E3. Introducing something rather new, an open-world third-person shooter/RPG! That's a lot of genres in one game! The plot is in regards to our lack of control over complex civilization. The Manhattan in the game is very cold, as a pandemic hit New York City! The virus, that spread via money bills, left you in a somewhat post-apocalyptic environment, where a lot of gun fire is involved and you have to find supplies. To assist you in your search, you get a small HUD that follows your character everywhere - literally, it's right next to you - and a smart watch, that allows you to view inventory, skills, options, world map and other in-depth details. Ubisoft asked you a simple question with their game teaser: "What will it take to save the remains?".

Mirror's Edge 2
Remember that first-person parkour game? Yup, there's a new one comming! While EA and DICE didn't really admit they made some mistakes by making majority of the game inside, they did re-label Mirror's Edge 2 as "open-world action adventure game". Original protagonist, Faith, is still the main character, so you'll be seeing a lot of her. Or you won't, considering the sequel will still be first-person. Considering the heavy accent on open-world games at E3, DICE will have to do some heavy lifting to keep a game like this interesting. EA wants you excited, without revealing too much, so they teased us by saying it will be published "when it's ready". Good thing we have all those other titles to play meanwhile!

Remember that big MMORPG where you don't really progress a character, but you get new tanks and all the whole shebang? That's right, World of Tanks. Coming to Xbox One. So is Minecraft. If you are a PC gamer and happen to enjoy these two, you'll be able to do so on a console too, soon. The architecture behind Xbox One and Playstation 4 is actually x86, meaning that ports will be easy to do and more of them will happen in the future. Considering console ports can be tricky to play with mouse and keyboard, I'd suggest you plan on buying a controller. This year, E3 really was, as promised, all about games, however, in a different manner. Spotlight was taken by Sony, as they deployed "learn from your mistakes" tactic in a unique manner. They learned from mistakes Microsoft made. All that fuss about DRM was not taking place at E3, meaning there are no updates. Xbox apparently still doesn't support sharing games, and it will require check-ins online, while Sony was more open to suggestions and ditched all those limits. To recap the new gaming hardware:

Playstation 4 - $399
  • New controller, much like the old one, however, more ergonomic
  • Controller features a touch pad 
  • X86-64 AMD "Jaguar" 8 cores 
  • 8GB of GDDR5
  • 500GB hard drive
  • Vitta (second screen, not included)
  • Playstation Plus subscription
  • Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
  • Trophies will be ported

Xbox One - $499
  • Same specs as PS4, custom Microsoft CPU instead of AMD
  • Kinect 2 built in the console
  • Slightly re-designed controller, d-pad updated, sleep mode added, so no more re-syncing
  • Smart Glass (second screen, not included)
  • Live gold subscription
  • Achievements will be ported

Aside from the two heavy hitters, we've seen some new stuff as well, such as Ouya, the $99 gaming console powered by Android, that's rather small and packs Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Sounds about right for an Android console. Madcatz stepped in, announcing their "Project M.O.J.O.", also an Android console. Both of these micro consoles come with a controller, so you can hook them up to any output and fire away, same you would with any other console. You can attach any other hardware too, like mouse or keyboard, as using a game pad to navigate the Android system they have can sometimes be tricky, but it's a start. We've seen some barrier breaking cross-platform solutions, new console systems, and a BUNCH of new games. What's got you excited? What monster titles are you saving for in 2014? And of course, the eternal question:Xbox One or Playstation 4? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

Bonus content - E3 Platforms Chart

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