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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Electronic Entertainment Expo reveals latest in modern gaming


    Before this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo even came to a close, a lot of what was shown had been circulated like mad around the Internet. Fortunately for gamers, a few surprises gave E3 the kind of spark it needed, and games the community already knew about still impressed enough to rise above the rest. Here’s a look at some of what the show had to offer.

    Best of show — “Dishonored”

    Little was known about this game from Bethesda Softworks, makers of “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” aside from the fact that the main character is a supernatural assassin framed for the murder of his empress. A behind-doors demo revealed much more detail, making this the best game unveiled at E3.

    A first-person action game that focuses on player choice, “Dishonored”’s options can be anything from deciding which of the many powers and gear to use on a mission, choosing between bursting through the front doors and infiltrating the premises stealthily or murdering everyone in your path and leaving the innocents alive.

    Today’s audiences seem to make the former choice to kill the preferred one, but Bethesda was sure to balance the game so that players can’t charge in with reckless abandon and come out unscathed. Killing a few enemies at a time is easy and fun, but the crowds are hard to handle. Even better, stealth is almost more fun. Players can use an ability called “blink” to teleport short distances to avoid enemies all together, or possess the bodies of rats and fish around the map to sneak past everyone. Eventually, players can possess other humans and walk right past any guards.

    Story details are limited at the moment, but the world “Dishonored” is set in is unique from the start. It’s a steam-punk setting, meaning semi-modern technology built with a more Victorian-era feel — think lots of gears. Bethesda revealed that a lot of the technology in the game is somehow powered by whale oil and that a specific type of enemy, known as a Tallboy, polices the streets from above with powerful weapons.

    More details will come out as it gets closer to the game’s Oct. 9 release date, but even the small unveiling proved that “Dishonored” is going to be one of the best games of the year.

    Best new series — “Watch Dogs”

    This was the biggest surprise of the show, courtesy of developer Ubisoft. A “Grand Theft Auto” style, open-world action game, “Watch Dogs” puts a new spin on an old genre. Instead of being some kind of gangster, policeman or any other familiar character, Aiden Pearce uses information warfare to dole out his vigilante justice.

    Hacking is central to the game — whether it’s nearby traffic lights, cell phones or the city’s central operating system, the information gained can be used to blackmail people or simply take them out. While this kind of interaction is a standout feature of the game, there’s still a third-person shooter element involved. The visuals are phenomenal, though it was premiered on a powerful PC during the press conference. Even still, “Watch Dogs” will no doubt look pretty damn good. In fact, the game looked so good that some speculated it would be released on currently unannounced next-gen consoles. It’s since been confirmed to be for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, but the possibility of it coming out for the next-gen eventually hasn’t been ruled out.

    No release date has been set yet, but most people will be eagerly waiting for the day they get to play it. “Watch Dogs” is definitely the best new series to show up at E3.

    Best sequel —- “Halo 4”

    When developer Bungie announced they were finished with “Halo,” most gamers were content to see the series end. Not Microsoft, though. They refused to give up on the franchise and invented 343 Industries to develop “Halo 4.” I was highly skeptical when the news first came out. “Halo” was a Bungie game, and it was hard to imagine another company doing it the same justice. But after waiting in a three-hour line to look at the game firsthand, all of my doubts evaporated. While story details are scarce — which seems to be a theme with most games at E3 — the game does pick up four years after the ending of “Halo 3,” with Master Chief stranded on a Forerunner shield-world called Requiem. When the UNSC Infinity crash-lands on the planet, Master Chief goes to investigate. Not much else is known, aside from the new enemy. Prometheans, large aliens encased in orange and black armor, are a smart, new adversary new enemy with multiple types. Some can deploy their own units that can set up shields or deflect grenades, bring fallen allies back to life or teleport around the battlefield at will. Not to worry, though, the Covenant is making a return, to a degree, so old “Halo” fans won’t be disappointed.

    The multiplayer, which saw more focus at the show, is much more interesting. It all takes place on the Infinity before it crash-lands in the campaign, and the site of a new SPARTAN training program. In addition, there is finally a justification for why the red SPARTANs fight the blues. There will be new armor abilities, plenty of new maps and a more customizable load-out for players to make the gameplay more their own. What’s more, 343 Industries is introducing something called Spartan Ops, a cooperative firefight mode with new episodes available each week to Xbox Live Gold members, free of charge. There wasn’t anything more shown at E3, but the notion is exciting nonetheless.

    Best tech demo — Square Enix’s “Luminous Studio” Game Engine

    When Square Enix showed this the first night of the convention, it blew everyone away. Called “Agni’s Philosophy,” the beautiful demo is rendered in real-time, meaning it shows what the game will look like during regular gameplay. It’s almost impossible to describe the painstaking detail and eerily realistic look to the most minuscule objects with words, so just be sure to check it out yourself. The only way to understand would be to imagine playing an entire game with the same quality of a “Final Fantasy XII-2” cut-scene. “Agni’s Philosophy,” as a game, doesn’t really have any information on whether it will ever actually be a fully finished project, though it was meant to show what a future “Final Fantasy” game might look like. The game looked fantastic, though, and I sincerely hope it turns into a final product one day.

    Some feel that the Luminous Engine’s demo pales in comparison to their competitor’s Unreal 4 engine, however. Unreal 4 does make programming and designing far easier for developers, and it does look good, but Luminous just edges it out. The only downside is that Square Enix is unlikely to let anyone else use their technology. So while their games will be the most beautiful way to see video games for the next decade, only their’s will look that way. It would be great if they sold the ability to use it to other developers, but that’s highly unlikely. Still, anything is better than nothing, and this Luminous Engine will be a certain game-changer, once it actually turns out a game or twoshows up in a game.

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