FEAR 3: ConManly took the opportunity to sit in on a Fear 3 presentation. Fear continues the tradition of its horror FPS style with Fear 3. Fear 3 looks similar to Fear 2 in gameplay and graphics. In Fear 2 the main character impregnates Alma, and this game takes place nine months later. The story, however, follows two brothers: Paxton Fettel and “Point Man.” Point Man is a run and gun soldier with slo-mo capability. Fettel is a super-natural fighter that can see more of the environment and has better night-vision. There is a single player story that surrounds the brothers who have trust issues. The drama that surrounds them probably will lead to a betrayal (we have a feeling). The gameplay doesn’t look phenomenal or brand new, but it looks enjoyable to fans of the franchise. It still has two types of baddies: demonic things and soldiers. Oh yeah, and its co-op! One player can play as Fettel and the other as Point Man. Maybe the player’s counter-part can serve as a companion in the dark… or a bullet sponge. The co-op looks fun, but how scary can it be with a friend? I’m sure Fear 3 will answer that question soon.
Halo: Reach: ConManly played the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta this spring and was impressed. It was definitely fun with friends and pretty well polished. He witnessed a presentation of the Halo: Reach single player and the firefight mode. The single player in the Halo series has always been good; this is no exception. It is a prequel to the Halo series and takes place on Reach, which is being attacked by the Covenant (aliens). The combat consisted of the usual Halo style, but this time with a small competent team. The fighting took place on a beach near a breath-takingly large industrial base. The squad of spartans fought aliens, and then flew into space to combat the incoming space ships. Firefight was present in the game Halo: ODST; now it is new and improved. Firefight is when waves of enemies are thrown against the barrels of the player and three of his friends. It was quite enjoyable then and will be enjoyable this fall.
Gears of War 3: Gears of War 3 was a big hit at E3. ConManly saw a presentation of the single player and a new game mode called “Beast Mode”. The Lambent is a new species of enemy that mutates and kills the Locust (baddies from previous Gears of War games) and COG (humans) alike. The story is sure to be good, and the 3rd-person, cover-based gameplay is even gorier than before. When ConManly walked into the presentation room, and two minutes later saw a Locust rip the arm off a human and beat him to death with it (in game, not a cut scene), he knew the good ol’ Gears of War was back with a vengeance. The beast mode consists of a five-player co-op against the AI. The players control enemies found in the single player game. The game is definitely rated mature, but that’s a good thing. With all the motion sensing simple games saturating E3, it is nice to see images of brutality and violence — the world of Gears of War.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier: Magnum and ConManly decided to visit Ubisoft to check out their main title, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, to see if it is a worthy addition to the Land Combat sim genre. The old Ghost Recons (GR) were shooter simulations. Now, however, the series has diverged from that path and gone to a more action-oriented approach. Magnum and ConManly sat in on a presentation that illustrated one of the single player missions. It was mainly in third person, but switched to first person for stationary firing. The mission opens with silencers, assassination moves, and cloaking. The player’s invisibility clothing feature (yep) makes stealth way too easy. The AI probably couldn’t see the player even if he were jumping up and down and had a kazoo in his mouth. The events were cool, for example the killing moves and silenced headshots were definitely fun, but seemed like they were geared towards a child. The Ubisoft representative also did a mission without a silencer which was showy and had nice scripted events, but the feeling of freedom was not there. The player had numerous enemies around, popped out of cover, and was unharmed. This is not a sim anymore. Even Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter resulted in death with a shot or two, but this is different. Yes it has 4 player co-op, but it didn’t seem challenging enough to need a buddy. The sim we knew and loved appears to be gone and buried.
Battlefield Bad Company 2: Magnum played the new co-op onslaught mode in Battlefield Bad Company 2, and it was great. Gameplay is like Gears of War 2 horde-type gameplay, but on the modern battlefield. It should be a lot of fun for many of us.
Company of Heroes Online: Magnum also stopped by the Company of Heroes Online game. A developer explained how it’s a downloadable game, and the basic gameplay of the original Company of Heroes is still the same. It’s still an RTS with the goal of capturing points and keeping areas. What is different, besides the fact that the game is free, is that you create a character from the get go, and the more you play the more experience points you get. Those points can be used to buy upgraded forces, special abilities, and “hero” units.
The obvious question for this free release title is how the developer plans to make money. The dubious answer is that, instead of progressing through the game to unlock all of the forces, abilities, and heroes, one can instead part with their cold hard cash and gain this access instantly. We don’t think there are enough lazy gamers to fulfill this business model, but we’ve been wrong before.
GAEMS: Magnum found GAEMS showing a unique product for the Xbox 360. It’s a “portable console gaming and entertainment system”, which is a custom designed portable plug and play case that is padded and holds your Xbox 360 securely. Inside is a built-in 15-inch 720p HD display, with two speakers or a headphone jack. It has an integrated HDMI cable for a no-fuss connection. Just think of the possibilities; it’s like a 360 laptop (It would be great in Magnum’s patrol car for our soldiers to take overseas so that they could bring their own portable 360 with them). Magnum met with the designer and mentioned how a lot of SimHQ readers are military men and women, and how great this would be for morale. We talked about upgrading it to a little thicker protection, and maybe painting it OD green. We also talked about a possibility of a 21 inch version coming soon.
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