Yesterday kicked off possibly one of the most historic gaming events we’ve seen in recent years. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the biggest annual event in the video game industry and for 2010 it is aiming to surpass new boundaries. With the competition so fierce between Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, they’ve always got something to prove. This year is certainly no exception.
At the forefront of the day, we had Microsoft’s press conference where there were plenty of big announcements. The official unveiling of “Kinect” (aka Project Natal) was probably one of the biggest, as Microsoft is looking to set a new standard in the market of motion peripherals.
The show began with a previously released trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops, and was shortly followed by the head of Treyarch, Mark Lamia, giving us a live demo of the game. Maybe it’s the beginning of over-saturating a franchise, maybe it’s that the demo didn’t show off anything new or maybe it’s all of the above. In all honesty, it wasn’t that exciting. Everything shown was typical of what you’d expect from the Call of Duty franchise except surrounded by a jungle setting. Microsoft Senior VP Don Mattrick hit the stage following the demo to announce an exclusive partnership with Activision. He stated that all Call of Duty map packs and add-ons would be released “first” on Xbox 360 until 2012. A bit anti-climactic, but there you go.
"I'm in a jungle now..."
After a short rant by Mattrick to tell of the event’s proceedings, he brought out Hideo Kojima to introduce the producer of Metal Gear Solid: Rising to discuss the game. This is where the show really kicked off with some amazing gameplay footage featuring Raiden and some incredible swordplay. The demo began with an intimidating cybernetic robot, complete with giant gun-arm, creeping through a factory warehouse. A few seconds later, Raiden assaults the unsuspecting bot and literally cuts him to pieces like a knife through hot butter. After witnessing this section of the demo, you realize that you’re not just seeing a cool cinematic, but they’re actually introducing a new gameplay element.
The demo proceeds with in-game footage of Raiden slicing through enemies, brick pillars, iron bars and an entire van with the greatest of ease. There was a section of the video that showed the player’s ability to slow down time and control a 360-degree blue slicing arc for a more controlled kill. At this point, you can methodically cut an enemy into tiny pieces without hesitation. There was even a short clip at the end showing off an in-game Raiden cutting up a watermelon like he was about to serve it at a picnic. It was an impressive showing to say the least, and one hell of a setup for Cliff Bleszinski to take the stage.
"Ooh, I'm sorry...did you want your spine back?"
This showing was largely based around the new four-player co-op in the campaign of Gears of War 3. The game, of course, looks as incredible as ever and commenced with some fresh gameplay additions. At the onset of the showcase, Marcus executed a new impaling finishing move on an unsuspecting locust. He used what appeared to be a new Hammerburst assault rifle with a bayonet attached to the end. A few seconds later he planted a grenade on a meat-shield hostage and proceeded to boot him into another locust for a pretty gruesome kill. There was also a moment where the main player swapped weapons with one of the three other co-op partners to mix up the assault.
For the most part this is familiar territory to Gears fans, but there were also new enemy types that might throw you for a loop. There was a new locust being birthed by a large worm-like creature that sprung from the ground. It looked somewhat normal at first, but then morphed into a multi-limbed abomination that resembled something out of the Alien films. Another similar creature followed, but this one dispensed a horde of what looked like Tickers. The biggest threat was a giant mutated version of a Berserker. It was far more agile, leaping great distances and would charge anyone unlucky enough to be near it. It was all pretty intense action that ended with a cutscene of Marcus and his crew being trapped by the giant beast. It was definitely a cliffhanger ending, and just before Cliff left the stage he announced that they would be showcasing a new game mode called “Beast” later in the week.