E3 2012: Day one thoughts.

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Well, after calling around, trying to figure out if going home would fix anything. (it won’t, I’m completely out of a job…)  and after calling the Airline to try and get my ticket changed without having to pay a bunch more. (I would have.)  I’m stuck here… I was set to just sit in my hotel room and wait for the 17th to come.  My heart still isn’t entirely in this.. and I’m thinking of maybe just going home tomorrow.  It’s kind of that bad.

But, I went through the whole day at E3, played a lot of things and took a lot of pictures of videos, trying to keep my spirits up.  Here as some of the results.  First up.

Rock Band 3:

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They opened up playing the keyboard, bass, guitar, drums, and 3 singers.  That is 7 people.  They explained that when more than 4 people are playing, vocals switch to just a karaoke mode to get passed the limit of having more than 4 controllers hooked up at a time (something the 360 can’t do.)  The mics sync up, but don’t use controllers, they are joined in automatically when they are present.

They also demonstrated “drop in and drop out”.  Something they thankfully got from Guitar Hero 5.  With this ability, when you’re in the middle of a game and someone else wants to join, they can jump right in.  then later, if you have to leave, like go to the bathroom or get something to eat, you can drop right out without messing up the rest of the guys.  Also, you can change handedness, difficulty, etc right no the fly without missing a beat, the track will rewind a little bit even.. very cool feature.  Of course, the big guns, where the new Keytar peripheral.  a 27 button keyboard that doubles as a REAL midi board.  While in Pro mode (something I’ll get more into it a little later.) there are Easy thru Expert difficulty.  Yes, so this means, Rock Band now has a theoretic 8 difficulty settings.  In Regular easy, you will only use one octave of the keyboard.  Medium is two, Hard and you’ll start playing chords (more than one key at a time.) while Expert uses the the full visible on screen “Track” with chords.. then we go on the “Pro” easy.  where you start off using 2 1/2 octaves, medium you’ll use those octaves with chords.  Hard.. I believe is the FULL keyboard, and expert is full with chords and WAY more buttons.. you are essential playing what the music plays 1-to-1.

The way it works with full keyboard might be a bit confusing as you’ll see in the video.  When a higher or lower octave that isn’t on screen comings along, the screen will display flashing cues that the Track is about to shift higher or lower, from there, you move up or down the keyboard to stay on “track”.  Obviously, that is going to be crazy.

Whats more? The live demo on the Full Pro Guitar…with a REAL guitar. essentially, when you press down on a chord, the game will pick it up.  The Track for this mode is much different then the typical track you see when playing with a “toy” guitar.  You are playing the song 1-to-1 with this mode.  on top of that, if you have it plugged into a amp, you can just play the song, hear what you are playing, and you won’t hear the game music.  so you can listen to yourself play actual music.

I personally believe this is a game changer which leaves Guitar Hero far behind.  While the live demo seemed to lag with what was coming out of the amp in response to what is shown on the screen, I’m guessing they’ll either have time to tweak this, or it’s just something that can’t be tweaked, as it’s going from the game to the amp and there is a delay?.  not sure.. it was very impressive.

update: Ok, umm… I can’t post the hi-def videos of the guitar on Pro until I get home.. the Camera I brought doesn’t have a typical USB plug, so… I gotta wait til I get home to post.  Sorry.

Here is the live videos, not the best quality, but there something.  Select the Harmonix stuff from the list.

Webcam chat at Ustream

 

Kane and Lynch 2:

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I was able to play a Multiplayer game of Heist for Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days.  The graphical direction they choice to go with this game is very unique.  it’s not clean, crisp, and “stunning”.  What is is though, is interesting, a little jarring, and perfectly expectable for the way the game is played.  When running, the game will shift WIDLY and sway a LOT!.  making running more of an effort, which is good.  insteadd of getting tired, you have to deal with a terrible camera.  Like there is a camera running behind you trying to keep up.  The game pixilates randomly, like it’s being streamed and the stream is interrupted. If someone is shot in the head, when they hit the ground and bleed out, the head will be pixilated over, as if it’s on an episode of Cops.  It was very interesting.

Control wise, it feels much quicker and tighter than the first game, which is great.  I loved the first game, but the controls took a lot to get use to.  These are much more responsive.  taking cover was easier, aiming as simple, and moving around felt much better.  Overall, I think K&L2 is going to rock.  But, It may be a hard sale after what the original went through.. even though I thought it was great.

OnLive:

I also tried out OnLive, the completely server based gaming service.  What this service allows is PC and TV users to play any game they want from the “cloud” (a server that is always on, and constantly streaming.)  While the idea is very intriguing, there are ALOT of obstacles to overpass in order for this to work out just like a home console.

First off is bandwidth, you are REQUIRED at least a steady 5mb downstream in order to even order.  On the PC, you can download a simple application that will open and stream your games.  For TV, they will be selling a little box they are calling the “MicroConsole”.  it really is tiny, only big enough for one USB, HDMI, Power plug, and Ethernet connection.  The price of this little box is not yet available, I was told repeatedly. “cheap, very cheap”.. So.. if “Very Cheap” is $50 bucks?.. thats not a bad deal in my book.  The service was a little muddied.  They only mentioned what they where offering us at the show.  a free year, with 4.95 a month after that.  Also, game “rentals”.  Let’s get into the niddy griddy. how it feels and looks.

In terms of graphics.  Each game has been toned down, some more-so than others, While Borderlands looked pretty good, Unreal 3 was muddy, not terrible, but obviously the stream resolution was less than the actual game setting on the backbone server.. it had that compressed look.  again, it wasn’t bad, just noticable.  Splinter Cell: Conviction had it’s textures turned down, not terribly, but again, you could tell.

Gameplay, Bordlands played pretty good, didn’t sense too much lag, it was a little choppy, but definately playable and fun.  Same went with Unreal 3..

….Dirt 2 on the other hand.  Personally, that was almost unplayable.  it hitched frequently and had too much lag to keep the corners tight.  What’s worse, the lag wasn’t consistent.  it changed, meaning, if I tried turning sooner than I did before, I would either hit the wall into the turn, and once, even turning sooner than usual, I hit the outer wall.  It wasn’t fun. So, obviously, racing games on the service, right now, isn’t a good idea. in my opinion.

Those where really the only games I had a good amount of time with, but I took many pictures.  Here are a few, and I’ll add write ups of my impressions when I get more play time with them.

 

Dead Rising 2:


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Marvel vs. Capcom 3:

 

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Zelda: Skyward Sword

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Donkey Kong Returns:

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Random Pictures of Cool stuff:


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