E3 2011


Back at E3 of this year, I wandered in to what I like to call the "doldrums." The little booths filled with smaller companies, people attempting to get you to sign up for a credit card amid all the hooplah and confusion. Once in a while, you'll stumble upon something interesting--as was the case with GAEMS G155 Portable Entertainment System. And while I was immediately impressed with the design of this case, and I still am, I can't shake the pricetag or get past the lack of practicality with the G155.


At E3, I took a Nintendo booth tour. I saw the Wii U, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Kid Icarus--the list goes on. The one title that stood out to me, that I still wanted some hands-on time with was Super Mario 3D Land. I am the 99% that likes MOST Mario-themed game and salivates every time a new title hits a system. So that’s why when I was only able to sample a few levels in the new platformer--I wanted, nay, I needed to play more.


So, for the lucky few of us that have been to E3, we all know of the massive spectacle that comes along with it. Tons of swag, new games, flashing lists and people pushing product down your pipehole. So much to absorb--especially for the loyal readers out there. So, it's no surprise that The Simpsons have used it for fodder for the long running animated television show.


On November 15th, 343 Industries - the powers that be in the Halo universe since 2007 - are delivering a labor of love. If you count yourself among its legions, you'll recall that Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a visual remastering of the ten-year-old game that started the fight for fans both old and new.


“Welcome. And congratulations. I am delighted that you could make it. Getting here wasn’t easy, I know. In fact, I suspect it was a little tougher than you realize.” Alright, alright, I didn’t write that. That charming prose belongs to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003). Awesome book. But in theme, these few lines apply greatly to your predicament in Rage, id Software’s heavily anticipated first-person shooter for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.


Bastion is, in a word, incredible. It takes the standard Action RPG formula and adds enough quirks and style to make it feel completely different. It shows the incredible potential of downloadable games as rich and rewarding game experiences in their own right. 


One of the big games of 2011 was originally scheduled for a 2010 release, but the game has been given a complete overhaul. The end result is a racing experience unlike anything else out there. And a great reboot of a franchise that many gamers were hooked on back on the PlayStation 2. Reflection talks about the new game in this exclusive video interview from E3.


Sony Computer Entertainment America is moving beyond the cyber attack that caused its PlayStation Network to be offline for over a month and compromised personal data from tens of millions of gamers’ personal data. The company has invested $20 million over the next three years to develop original games for its online network, which reaches over 77 million users online.


Gamania Digital Entertainment has opened a North American item mall for its free-to-play massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, Lucent Heart. Gamers now access the new item mall for unique outfits and other in-game items. This is the latest game to build its business model on free gameplay, enticing gamers to purchase virtual goods with real money. The game was promoted at E3 last month through cosplay (costume play).


THQ and Zuffa are working on one of the big games of 2012 with UFC Undisputed 3, the new installment in the critically acclaimed and best-selling mixed martial arts (MMA) videogame franchise based on the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The game is poised to take players inside the virtual Octagon with extensive focus on intense toe-to-toe combat, impressive visual presentation and significantly increased accessibility, including the introduction of PRIDE Mode, two new weight classes and an impressive playable roster of more than 150 UFC fighters. UFC Undisputed 3 is currently in development for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and is scheduled to hit store shelves in January 2012.


Who needs the X-Games? Ubisoft wants you to make a name for yourself in the world of extreme sports and get a workout at the same time. Gamers can try their hand at extreme sports like wingsuiting, mountain biking and kayaking from the safety of their homes with Motionsports Adrenaline. The game uses Kinect for Xbox 360 and PlayStation Move to make the most of the experience.


Since the Wii came out, we've been inundated and inundated with fitness title after fitness title. Some do it wonderfully--a game like EA Active comes to mind, while others, shall we call them shovelware fitness titles, tend to just plain suck. Yes, it's difficult for me to throw the word suck around, but think of all the mediocre fitness titles that have come to your motion controlled consoles. And now here comes UFC Personal Trainer, which in my opinion is the savior I was looking for as it related to fitness games.


THQ and Zuffa have expanded their partnership beyond the upcoming UFC 3 to include one of the big games of 2011, UFC Personal Trainer. Designed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) with support from leading mixed martial arts (MMA) training experts Mark DellaGrotte, Greg Jackson and Javier Mendez, who have worked with renowned UFC fighters such as current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, current UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir, the fitness routines and full programs included in UFC Personal Trainer will deliver a challenging and motivating UFC fitness experience that includes the best and most effective exercises utilized by today’s renowned UFC fighters. 


Square Enix and GameStop launched the Augment Your Living Room PowerUp Rewards pre-order program to promote Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Running through August 30th, the prize includes up to $20,000 of audio and visual “augmentations” for the winner’s living room as well as a prototype of Adam Jensen’s augmented arm. The developer talks about the new game in this exclusive E3 interview below.