The PC Games Of E3
16th Jun 2009 | 14:14
It might not have looked it from the press conferences but there was plenty to see on PC at this year's E3.
Over the next 12 months PC gamers will be able to play practically everything shown by the major publishers on their platform of choice, plus - in the words of PC Gamer UK editor Tim Edwards - mouse and keyboard is home to "the two best games at the show"; ambitious and impressive MMO, APB and fellow online giant from BioWare, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
But there were plenty of misses on the show floor too. PC games that we think should have appeared at the show went demo-less, teaser trailer-less and some just didn't turn up at all. How rude.
Here's a rundown of both our hits from the show floor and the titles that for one reason or another, were missing in action.
Hit: Left 4 Dead 2
ETA: November 17, 2009
The original Left 4 Dead was the best multiplayer game of 2008; this is the second campaign. While boycott groups rage over its speedy, full-price release, we think fans should see all Left 4 Dead 2 has to offer before jumping to conclusions.
As well as new environments, survivors and radically different day and weather settings, L4D2's box carries five new campaigns, melee weapon and zombie dismemberment systems, as well as dozens of weapons and special infected variations - not soft changes. Valve's spoilt us rotten in the past and frankly we'd pay 40 quid for more Left 4 Dead right now.
Despite promising "new stuff" at E3 2009, id Software's showing was a fairly underwhelming one at this year's Los Angeles show, barely getting a mention during Rage publisher Electronic Arts' E3 press conference.
We've gone a good two years since Rage's announcement and it's still without a release date - let alone any new footage, and the id fanbase is slowly starting to feel like we'll be lucky to see the id Tech 5 shooter before the end of 2010.
We were also disappointed not to see a teaser trailer for the announced fourth instalment of Doom. It's not all bad news for id fans though; QuakeCon 2009 is planned for August 13 and we're likely to see at least something of the developer's illusive projects. We hope.
Hit: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Those disappointed by the online direction for BioWare's latest Star Wars effort are set to be pleasantly surprised by The Old Republic. It's the first MMO to have all the production values and story of a big-budget single-player release, but in the mould of a massive, content-filled online game.
Every scene in The Old Republic is fully voice-acted and conversations with NPCs are impressive, especially when other players in your party contribute to the chatter. Quests are already sporting astounding polish and like the Xbox games grant light and dark side points depending on the player's actions. Meanwhile Spectacular Sith vs. Jedi combat - as well as Bounty Hunter and Smuggler shooting - look to live up to expectations. Disappointed? This could be the best KoTOR yet.
Miss: Half-Life 2: Episode Three
This autumn will mark two years since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and we're yet to see a single screenshot of what the third episodic instalment will look like.
From Half-Life lore we know that the third episode will likely revolve around the Aperture Science-owned (see Portal) Borealis research ship that crashed in the Arctic, but almost five years after the release of Half-Life 2 we're hungry for something more. Valve boss Gabe Newell said of Episode Three's E3 absence: "I get a ton of email everyday saying why aren't you talking about Episode 3? And there are very good reasons why we're not talking about Episode 3, which I can't talk about yet, but I will." Let's hope they're very good reasons.
Enemy Territory dev Splash Damage has finally branched off and dreamed up its own, both terrifying and exciting game IP. The idea is this; you team up and shoot stuff with your mates online or in co-op in a meaty, cinematic story. But, at the same time other players might be working for the other side, trying to take out or defend your objective.
There's essentially no difference between the single player and multiplayer worlds, which could either make Brink a genius first-person shooter or the worst idea we've ever heard. Read E3 impressions here.
Miss: Dragon Age Origins
Sex mini-games, rockin' rock music... BioWare's going for a clear audience with Dragon Age Origins and it's not necessarily one that would be old enough to attend its E3 demo sessions.
We just can't work the game out. It's fantasy in the most traditional sense; magic, loot, dragons - the lot, but it seems to have lost a lot of what made the RPG developers' games so great in the first place; subtlety and brains.
While the role-playing systems look solid, combat is blood-filled and mindless and what we've seen of the sex sections has been outright cringe-worthy.
APB sounds like a genius game; it's online cops and robbers where player crook heists will initiate an APB (All-Points Bulletin) to player cops, who'll then scream around in their cops cars and kick off the havoc.
Furthermore, rhere's the best looking character customisation system in any game pushing it along, and player matching systems that'll send the right amount of police for how good you are.
You can start a gang, buy property, put up advertising and even play your own music from your MP3 collection - and other players will hear it. In summary, APB is the MMO GTA fans have been waiting for. Read the E3 impressions here.
Miss: Diablo III
We love you Blizzard, but stop being so bloody secretive! Granted, BlizzCon is just around the corner but it would've been nice to have received some new Diablo III images to gawk at, let alone a viewable demo or any sort of word regarding a release date at all.
BlizzCon again seems to be the venue for Diablo news, though StarCraft II at least got confirmation of an aimed release this year at the show.
Over to you PC gamers. What were your highlights (and lowlights) of this year's show? If we get enough sensible responses, we'll knock them together and do a follow-up.