Beyond

Some of gamings heaviest hitters have already been revealed at E3, with Lara Croft, Assassins CreedGod of War, Star Wars, The Avengers, and exciting IP’s like The Last of Us, Beyond, and Watch Dogs all showing off some kind of footage in the first two days of the event.

Below you’ll find some of trailers. Old characters, new characters, a ton of explosions, and some amazing graphics that all look next gen, even though this cycle seems like it’s going to continue on a little bit longer. At the bottom, tell us which game you’re most looking forward too, if you ask me, right now, it’s Beyond, though seeing Star Wars 1313 has me reconsidering.

Tomb Raider

An origin story, and a reboot, SquareEnix is trying to climb back to its roots with a grittier, bow and arrow carrying Lara Croft who is going on her first adventure. In the trailer, Lara is, frankly, getting the shit kicked out of her and the idea behind these trials and tribulations is, apparently, to humanize a character who has risen to near mythic proportions.

Other points in the game will apparently show Lara killing a person for the first time and it will also show the toll that that takes on her. Developer Karl Stewart repeatedly mentioned Batman Begins when talking about the reboot while on G4 this afternoon, so that gives us, I suppose, some frame of reference for the tone that the creative team is aiming for.

Tomb Raider is headed for release on March 5th 2013, and I’m sure OG Raider fans and even Uncharted fans will surely want to check it out.

Watch Dogs

The trailer starts slow as the main character, hacker Aiden Pearce, walks the impossibly rendered streets of Chicago toward an art show. Once there, Pearce interacts with a contact, purposely fails at being conspicuous, and then exits the club quickly with security on his trail — in seconds, we’re back on the street, but it has turned into a war zone, and Pearce is a target, ducking bullets, jumping over cars, and fighting for his life before he gets his man and sends him a message.

Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs is one of the most buzzed about IPs at E3, with a detailed backstory involving overreaching security measures, the “grid”, and more than a bit of intrigue and tech wizardry. What is it that makes the game standout? Beyond it’s impressive visual presentation (which was slightly juiced, in that it was presented on a high quality PC and not a console in it’s demonstration), Watch Dogs sets a foot on some fresh soil with the main character’s ability to control the environment around him. Pearce doesn’t wait for a walk signal or waste his effort trying to talk his way in past a guard, he messes with traffic lights and people’s cell phones, while also (seemingly) having access to pertinent information about every single NPC and interactable that he walks by. It’s a mind numbing amount of detail and playability, and yet we don’t really know where the ceiling is on this game, and that might be the most exciting part about it.

For trailers of some of the other impressive IPs like The Last of Us and Beyond, check out our rundown of Sony’s E3 presentation here.

Gears of War: Ascension 

A prequel to the first God of War and a bit of an origin story, the gameplay footage on display above shows off some sick combat scenarios, with Kratos (surprise, surprise) fighting a giant hydra, and also battling a massive half elephant, half man. The big news is the added multiplayer which will see players creating their own Spartan to worship one of four Gods (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades or Aries). Obviously, the choice of God dictates the direction of the gameplay.

God of War: Ascension is set for a March 12, 2013 release, and there is talk about a Collectors Edition that will feature, among other things, an 8″ bronze Kratos statue and exclusive DLC. The price point on the CE is said to be $79.99, here’s a link for more details on that.

Star Wars 1313

There are virtually no details about the new Star Wars game 1313, which is a completely in-house effort, in the way that Star Wars Force Unleashed 2 was. All the branches of the Lucas tree, including ILM have a hand in the creation of this game which is in pre-production right now, and nowhere near a release date.

The crumbs of a premise that have dribbled out are that the game takes place between the two Star Wars cinematic trilogies on the 1313 level of Coruscant in the some what less cosmopolitan section of the planet, meaning it is the seedy underworld. The main character is a Bounty Hunter, which has led to some speculation that this could be a Boba Fett game, which if confirmed might shake the whole of geekdom off of it’s cushy perch. The game is 3rd person and those graphics that you’re peeping in the above trailer? That’s the way the game is supposed to look, with a seamless visual transmission from cut scenes to gameplay, though again, high quality computer, not a console demo, so the final package may be slightly less smooth and orgasmic.

Assassin’s Creed 3 

We’ve got 2 separate gameplay videos for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 3, which is showing off a new assassin and a new timeline, with the game taking place before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. Connor, a half British, half Mohawk, hatchet wielding badass killer is the star of the show here, hunting down his prey in a camp in the first video from Ubisoft’s presentation (above) and steering a ship in the second from Sony’s presentation (below).

Assassins Creed 3: Liberation

Not to ignore the handheld market entirely, we thought we’d show you the trailer from the PS Vita exclusive, from the ground up, AC3 game, which will also star a completely different and new assassin in the form of Aveline, whose story takes place in 18th Century in Louisiana.

Marvel’s Avengers: Battle for Earth

Another Ubisoft title, we know next to nothing about this one and all we have is a cinematic trailer, so “Yay! Avengers game!” and that’s all we can really say because we don’t know what it will look like or be about — hence the worthlessness of most cinematic trailers.

Random News Bit: Destructoid reported that a Dead Island sequel, called Dead Island” Riptide, is in development.

I honestly thought that Microsoft’s presentation couldn’t be topped, but while their technical ambition has yet to be beat, Sony brought the thunder in terms of their gaming slate — showing off a God of War prequel, a sort of zombieless, yet fantastic looking zombie game, and the visual stunner of the convention (so far) in the form of Beyond: Two Souls. Of course, being Sony, there were missteps.

One of those missteps was Sony’s big Move announcement, the Wonderbook. A piece of DLC that seems like it was designed with kids in mind. What is it? Well, the Wonderbook asks kids (or adults) to sit in front of the Eye Camera and watch the screen as Wonderbooks come to life. Spells can be cast by employing the Move Wand as an actual wand while using JK Rowling‘s exclusive Book of Spells, or a map and characters can come flying off the page and onto the screen thanks to something that is over enthusiastically called, Augmented Reality. The trouble with all of this is, the non HD Eye Camera saps the majesty of the effect thanks to its low video quality. Something that was obvious during the demonstration.

Sony’s other big tech news revolved around the Vita, with the company announcing crossplay ability between the PS3 and the Vita, and the ability to use the Vita as a PS3 controller. There were also PSN and Playstation Plus upgrades, with new content promised (Youtube and Crackle for the Vita), but these don’t come close to the full Internet Explorer internet browser and loads of content from Paramount, ESPN, professional basketball and hockey, that Microsoft promised for Xbox Live. Sony also announced the expansion of their mobile gaming interests, with an announced partnership with HTC (personal yay!) to develop Playstation certified games for Playstation mobile.

Alright, enough of the tech stuff, lets move on to the games!

Perhaps the most ambitions, and creative game revealed so far, Beyond: Two Souls comes from the developers of Heavy Rain, (Quantic Dreams) and seemingly aspires to be more than a game — frankly, it looks like it aspires to be art.

Focusing on a woman with seemingly supernatural abilities, the game follows, essentially Ellen Page (honest to blog!) through her life for 15 years and hints at an exploration of the afterlife if you make the right choices. I won’t mince words, the trailer was a cinematic, so I desperately crave gameplay footage, but the concept blew my hair back.

The Ubisoft presentation earlier in the day showed off ample Assassin’s Creed 3 footage, with a kickass conclusion to the gameplay footage showing the new assassin, Connor, soaring through the air. During the Sony presentation though, Ubisoft trucked out more AC, announcing a “from the ground up” Assassin’s title, Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, starring a female assassin. They also showed a lengthy bit of gameplay footage, with Connor steering a ship through the Caribbean seas while engaging other ships in cannon combat.

Ubisoft also brought out more Farcry 3, though this clip featured less nipples than the Farcry portion of the Ubisoft presentation from earlier in the day… there was 4 way co-op and promises of a map maker and exclusive Sony DLC though, which might just trump nipples.

Sony also showed off Playstation All Stars Battle Royale and announced that Big Daddy from Bio Shock and Nathan Drake from Uncharted, would join the game as playable characters. Battle Royale came off as a classic button masher, and the lineup is a bit odd, with Drake now set play alongside Fat Princess, but the crossplay capability was demonstrated during this demonstration, and seemed to go off without a hitch.

Speaking of classic Playstation characters, Kratos is back with God of War: Ascension, a sort of prequel/origin story with the usual dose of fierce GOW gameplay, with epic battles showed off in the footage. People, there is an Elephant-man that is half man, half elephant, (and all punk ass bitch) that Kratos dispatches with ease. The whole thing is thrilling, and had me itching to see more. Sadly, the game won’t be out until next March.

The Last of Us is the previously mentioned maybe, sort of near zombieless zombie game, and this footage focuses more heavily on the struggle and battle between the survivors of some kind of pandemic event. The storyline is reminiscent of some of the best parts of The Walking Dead, with the “survival mode” human posing a real danger thanks to desperation and fear. Really, it’s exploring a world where mankind is thrust back into the wild and forced to view everyone as a potential predator. I love the brutality, the impressive hand-to-hand combat, and interplay between characters. “Joel” isn’t badass, he’s doing everything he needs to survive. Notice the lack of quips, the absence of swagger, this humanizes an end world event and also de-humanizes the protagonist and turns him into an animal. The Last of Us doesn’t have the lofty goals of Beyond, and it isn’t, you know, art, but it is a lot more interesting than a lot of the other zombie games that we’ve seen in recent years.