E3 :: The Experience

Going to E3 is a lot like breaking into your school’s grad night because you didn’t have good enough grades to get invited, and you didn’t want to pay 500 for guest admission. There’s half naked girl’s, lots of technology, and all the cool kids have their own pack.

It’s a whole new experience, but that’s probably because this was my first time. My cohorts are all jaded from having been there before, but I don’t care because I still liked it, just like anyone else’s first time. I’d like to say there’s a professional demeanor when you bring some of gaming’s biggest heads into one place. I’d LIKE to say that. But it was actually really calm and friendly, when you’re talking to the makers themselves.

What isn’t calm are the gangs of ravenous media groups and fan boys hording through the halls in droves as the push to get to the Give Away of the Minute in a quest to collect enough free swag to not have to buy the family Christmas gifts. They aren’t what I love about E3, and some of them are so high on their horse they will sabotage you interview just because they can’t be inconvenienced to move. But I’ve talked enough about them, any more and I might get put on a watch list. What I will say is there’s something you grow to appreciate when you’re sneaking in for free, and that’s the hidden gems of E3.

There’s totally overlooked booths with really innovative new fresh games that no one got to really see because the big name expensive booths had more crowd draw. I won’t say they’re small, but Perfect World came with something new out of left field that you can only do when you aren’t scared of too much change and have the will to make truly good games.

You’ve got RaiderZ, which is monster hunting game. Now, I swore I’d never play a monster hunting game because they all bored me and made me want to chuck flaming controllers at my scream while cursing in languages I don’t know. But when you play RaiderZ, it’s just good. I don’t feel so attached to my team that I’m scared to walk alone. But I don’t feel the need to walk alone because my team doesn’t feel like it operates at a 3rd grade level. It’s easy to use and it’s upgradable. It gives me what I want and lets me do what I please. That’s the kind of freedom I need if I’m going to burn hours upon days of my life away playing a hunting game.

Then there’s Rusty Hearts, a dungeon crawler that doesn’t give me claustrophobia. It has premade characters to choose from, but from there you can make it your own. And it’s got a balanced reward system that doesn’t make you feel like you have to grind harder than the more skilled guy in order to get goods with half the shine.

And last but not least, Blacklight Retribution. When they said “You can drive a mech” I thought I was going to have to give up on it for being unbalanced. But they found a way to make everything unbelievably even to the point where skill and some luck are all you need to put up a fight and win. I mean, where else can the guy with a pistol take on the guy in a tank suit and win?

What Perfect World definitely has running for them right now is personalization. All their games give you immense options to let you make your character your own, then actually use them. And use them well. Great controls, a feeling of accomplishment, and making something yours. It’s like they woke up and said “I want to come at these gamers, bro”.

Next booth to blow me away was Paradox. Now you might not know the group out of Sweden by name, but you’ve probably heard of Magicka. Well they are another example of smaller developers listening to the masses and giving them what they want. When I interviewed them, Mr. Swaged-Out-Robe said that players not only were able to kill their teammates, but they did it on purpose. We’ll I played the game. And it’s hard not to want to kill people.

There’s just so much you can do as far as mixing up your own spell concoctions that you could spend a good while just testing spells out. Jazzy interviewed them on their other two games, and I’m still downloading them, so you’ll have to wait to find out how the whole booth met up to how great Magicka was.

There were also mountains of tech flying around the Expo. You either saw Razer hardware or Alienware hardware. I got to sit down with the guys from Razer and they’re trying to get whole matching packages out to the gaming community. Instantly adjustable controllers, headset, mice, LCD screen keyboards, magnetic motion controllers, and custom keyboards, Razer has a full set of it all.

But when it came to sound, NOX Audio was good vibrations. They especially helped facilitate us with our E3 travels so they get the gold star in my book. Those are some hard working people there, and it shows in the quality of their products. There are 3 different ways to wirelessly hook up your headphones. Headphones with a touch screen display! That’s some next level futuristic stuff right there.

But its E3, people come for the games, and games they got. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim had people planning a second mortgage on their house. But once again over looked was the Trion booth right behind them. If you saw the detail alone in the graphics for Rift, you’d see no one on that team must have slept for months. The glisten of the water, the detail in the bumps, and the finite backdrop were done so precisely it feels like someone’s memory. And End of Nations is like nothing I’ve seen before.

Another over looked booth was Focus Home Interactive. G4 covered them for a second on their Game of Thrones title, but that felt like they were just checking something off a list instead of covering a game. What they missed was Wargame and Rotastic. The expansiveness of the mapping and intricacy of the zoom blew us all away in the Wargame demo. And the instantly playable Rotastic had us all pausing life to swing from a string.

Least I not forget a guy who invented a way to make any device 3D with just a protective film. Back to game, everyone has a shooter series, and they all play the same as the last one. Perfect World’s Blacklight Retribution made some great changes, and the Kinect version shooters show some promise. That’s about it. CoD: MW3 is the same as MW2. Same is true with Battlefield, and Halo. Honestly a lot of games didn’t have me hyped. It was more a tech time to shine. We will talk about the WiiU later, after a drink. There’s a new Madden…Fifa…NBA…NHL… Slightly improved. You have to love the games to love the upgrades, so it isn’t for everyone.

There was probably other stuff, but seeing how I snuck in, I didn’t see everything in depth. Warhammer: SubMarine had a good showing. AMD’s booth was in demand. EA had a great following.

But that’s not what I hunted at E3. I hunted booth babes. They are the reigning showcase that’s the only thing that can take a raging nerds mind away from the latest tech. and there were plenty of them. As far as the eye could see. Even some employees looked like booth babes. That was the biggest stand out of all to me, blame it on the fact I don’t see them anywhere else.


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