E3 2012 Report

E3 2012 took place in Los Angeles,  from June 5 to June 7. Overall 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, journalists, and retailers from 103 countries attended the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2012). E3 resulted in an estimated 30,000 total hotel room nights and generated nearly $40 million in revenue for the city. Approximately 200 exhibitors showcased the latest in computer and video game hardware and software, including the unveiling of the titles that will be the hottest titles among consumers.

We have gathered the crumbs and build an overall picture of what we have to expect from this year’s gaming industry. There are many new video games coming next year, a lot of them sequels to established franchises and many choices regardless of the console you own. If you could not make it to E3, here are some of the biggest highlights below:

Halo 4

“Halo 4” marks the return of Master Chief and the beginning of a new saga in the blockbuster franchise that has shaped entertainment history. E3 2012 marked the worldwide premiere of “Halo Infinity Multiplayer,” including the all-new, story-driven experience known as Spartan Ops. A first of its kind, Spartan Ops is an episodic adventure — playable in single-player or cooperatively with up to four players — that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematics and action-packed gameplay to deliver an unprecedented serialized experience. Spartan Ops will extend the “Halo 4” experience well beyond the game’s launch. “Halo 4” hits store shelves on Nov. 6, 2012, delivering its most epic and explorative campaign yet, together with groundbreaking multiplayer action.

Resident Evil 6

“Resident Evil® 6” features three distinct, yet interwoven, storylines, each with its own pair of protagonists for either solo or co-op play, both offline and online. Leon S. Kennedy is paired with government agent Helena Harper, while Chris Redfield teams up with fellow BSAA member Piers Nivans. Finally, gun- for-hire and son of the infamous Albert Wesker, Jake Muller is joined by series returner Sherry Birkin. All six must face new horrors as they fight to survive the global C-virus outbreak. Blending both action and survival horror, “Resident Evil® 6” promises to be the dramatic horror experience of 2012.

Tomb Raider

Armed with only the raw instincts and physical ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, “Tomb Raider” delivers an intense and gritty story into the origins of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor.

Gears of War: Judgement

“Gears of War: Judgment” takes you back before the events of the original “Gears of War” trilogy to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day — the defining event of the “Gears of War” universe. Follow Kilo Squad, led by Damon Baird and Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole, as they fight to save the city of Halvo Bay from an unstoppable enemy in the most intense “Gears” game yet. “Gears of War: Judgment” introduces a variety of new multiplayer experiences, including OverRun, a thrilling new class-based competitive mode that will pit Locust and COG soldiers in a head-to-head battle unlike anything “Gears” fans have experienced yet. “Gears of War: Judgment” will launch worldwide in early 2013.

Forza Horizon

Combining the legendary “Forza Motorsport” authenticity with a festival atmosphere and the freedom of the open road, “Forza Horizon” is a high-intensity, action-racing game set against the backdrop of the world’s most unique motorsport party. Featuring an expansive landscape, daring driving maneuvers to master, a rousing soundtrack and visceral moment-to-moment gameplay, “Forza Horizon” offers an immersive pick-up-and-play experience while retaining the unrivaled realism, diversity and innovation that are hallmarks of the “Forza Motorsport” franchise.

Fable: The Journey

“Fable: The Journey” offers a whole new way to experience the deep storyline and picturesque world of Albion that fans have come to know and love. Set 50 years after the events of “Fable III,” this new version asks you to come to the aid of the mysterious Theresa, who thrusts you into an action-packed adventure full of dangerous enemies, hair-raising chases and humorous characters. Built from the ground up for Kinect, “Fable: The Journey” gives you the power to wield magic as a deadly weapon, defend yourself in combat and solve puzzles on your journey to becoming a hero.”Fable The Journey” will launch on Oct. 9, 2012, in North America, South America, Asia and Australia and Oct. 12, 2012, in EMEA.

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Origin is the place where all EA games come together

Eager to monetize each of their product in every possible way, EA launched a download platform similar to Steam but bearing only their homemade products. Known as Origin, the product is just another barrier for the player in his attempts of installing and playing a game.

We stumbled upon this manager when we wanted to get our hands on the Mass Effect 3 demo. It was required in order to run the free demo on our computer. I have nothing against exclusivity, but Origin is an annoying service.

If you wondered where EA Download Manager has disappeared to, you’ll be happy to know that it is now known as Origin. For any new EA release, Origin is the place where you should stop at, as it acts as a catalogue and store for their new titles. Sadly, older games are not always available, which is a bit of a missed mark on EAs part. If you are looking for deals you might want to go elsewhere, as pricing is usually the same as in retail stores, although there are occasionally bargains to be found.

In terms of functionality, the service is slower than Steam and it suffers from an unfinished interface which makes the user facing problems in browsing the service. One great feature is the ability to play some streaming demos in your web browser through the GaiKai service, so you can try before you buy. But forget the big titles.

If you only care about finding EA games then Origin is all you could wish for. While streaming demos are very convenient, Origin is far from a one-stop shop, even for EA’s catalogue, as older games are not always available. Origin is certainly good at what it does, but doesn’t do enough to be the only game manager you will ever need due to its forced exclusivity only on EA games.

read full review | download Origin

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Mass Effect 3 Preview

Mass Effect 3 is a sci-fi action-RPG released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360; marking the final entry in one of the most critically-acclaimed and best-selling video game series of the last decade. The title has already been generating a lot of positive buzz in the gaming community, but the release of a demo has given players their first hands-on experience outside the leaked beta last year.

The demo itself consists of two levels that give you a good sense of both the new and improved gameplay, as well as the sheer scope and emotional drama of the story. The first level begins on Earth in the middle of a reaper attack and ends with Shepard being handed his mission: enlist other species in the fight against the Reaper threat. Mass Effect has always excelled in its level design, and the visuals are predictably stunning as Shepard fights his way across a living and breathing futuristic city being ripped to shreds by Reaper attacks. There’s not been a drastic step-up from Mass Effect 2, but the graphics definitely look much more polished and slick.

In the second level Mass Effect 3 really gets a chance to show off its third-person shooter chops. Rife with gunplay, this “defend a Krogan” mission gives you a good sense of what changes Bioware have made to Mass Effect 3’s combat. The controls feel a bit tighter and more intuitive than in Mass Effect 2, and the addition of a basic dodge roll feels so essential that you won’t believe that previous entries missed something so simple. One small gripe would be that the cover system seems a little “sticky”, meaning you’ll find yourself ducking down for shelter when you’re really trying to run past something. Still, it’s a small issue. And with new editions like the omni-blade melee attacks giving combat a rougher, more visceral edge, the overall impression is positive.

If you really want to get a sense of Mass Effect 3’s combat though, you’ll need to head over to the multiplayer mode. This is a new addition to the series and Bioware have stated that achievements in multiplayer will positively affect your single player campaign. When you start multiplayer you’ll choose a class and a race, and then partner with up to 3 other players to fight off increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Each kill earns you XP to upgrade your character, while completing objectives earns you credits to buy items and new character classes.

It’s in multiplayer that the improved AI of Mass Effect 3 becomes noticeable; enemies might arrive in waves, but they’ll dodge, flank and use cover intelligently to avoid fire. Really excelling at multiplayer requires a surprising depth of teamwork and tactics, and with loads of new classes and items to unlock there’s a decent amount of lifespan once your single-player campaign is finished. Overall, both multiplayer and the single player campaign look to have impressive replay value.

Reassuringly, early reviews from the American release are showing Mass Effect 3 to be the most critically acclaimed entry in the trilogy, as well as a leading contender for game of the year 2012. And with Bioware hinting at future releases set in the Mass Effect universe, hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of the Alliance, even if Commander Shepard takes some well-earned retirement from the leading role. But for now, make sure you’ve got your Mass Effect 3 demo downloaded and your copy of the main game on pre-order. Mass Effect 3 is panning out to be this console generation’s essential action-RPG.

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