Games I’m Looking Forward To: “The Last Of Us”

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic survival game The Last Of Us previously, but E3 brings us a new trailer that just set my drool glands off once again:

It looks like they cranked the engine used for the Uncharted series up to 11. Considering Uncharted is damned impressive looking already, that’s pretty impressive. We should see it hit shelves sometime early next year.

Games I’m Looking Forward To: “Watch Dogs”

It’s E3 week and, even though the show hasn’t officially started yet, there’s already a ton of new game announcements and trailers. All the usual big names are there, but this year feels a little underwhelming in terms of big surprises.

That is until I saw the trailer for the GTA-ish open world game Watch Dogs. I don’t have a firm grasp of the plot yet, but what they’ve shown definitely piqued my interest. Apparently you play a guy who has the ability to manipulate computer networks allowing him to look up information on anyone and everyone including their public records, who they work for, what connections they have to other people in the game, etc. and you can also manipulate any network connected system. It also appears to be a period piece set during the Great Blackout of 2003.

Check it:

I want to play this right now. If the final game holds up to the promise this small taste provides then it’s going to eat up a lot of my spare time. No word on a release date, but I hope it’ll be soon.

Update: Found another video that gives a brief intro to the world of Watch Dogs:

Games I’m looking forward to: “The Last Guardian.”

I’ll make this the last video game related post I do for awhile, but it was too incredible to pass up. Two of my favorite PS2 games were Ico and Shadow of the Colossus both of which were minimalist in their approach, epic in their scope, and stunningly beautiful experiences to play. Shadow was particularly amazing because you played a young man on a quest to save his true love from death by tracking down and slaying 16 giant colossi. There was no Heads Up Display showing your health or where to go next. There were no characters to interact with outside of your loyal horse. The only “enemies” to speak of were the colossi themselves and it becomes clear as you progress that they aren’t really enemies at all. In fact by the end of the game, if you’re anything like me, you may have some feelings of regret over what you had to destroy in order to save the woman you love. That’s part of what made SotC so amazing.

Now the team is back with a new game for the PS3 called The Last Guardian. The teaser trailer follows and it is amazing what they’ve done with the power of the PS3. It features a boy and a giant dragon/kitty/monster thing that looks believably real. Check it:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit I got somewhat emotional watching that trailer and do so every time I see it. This looks like it’s going to be incredible and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Games I’m looking forward to: “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”

I just finished the first game – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – and loved every minute of it so I’ve been looking forward to word on a sequel. The first game was amazing in how the fights played out, especially melee, and the environments that you explored. It was everything that the past few Tomb Raider games should have been, but weren’t. It set the bar for what an action/platformer game should be and now the sequel looks like it’ll set the bar even higher. Here’s the E3 trailer for the game:

After the jump be sure to check out some footage of the actual game play featuring a our heroes being chased through several buildings by a large military helicopter while fighting off gun-toting henchmen. Hell, this is what the last Indiana Jones move should have been.

This is one of the reasons I bought a PS3.

Sony also plans to out-Wii the Wii.

Not content to be the only console system that doesn’t have people jumping around in front of it flailing their arms about like idiots risking potentially expensive television damage, Sony announced it’s own Wii-like motion controller for the PS3 today. Interestingly enough it appears to be taking cues from both Microsoft and Nintendo in that it’s a wand with positioning sensors in it that interacts with the PS3’s Playstation Eye webcam that’s already available. This setup means that the resulting controller is likely to be a lot less expensive than Microsoft’s Project Natal and it will offer a much greater degree of precision – true 1-to-1 sensing – than the Wii-mote. If you already own a Playstation Eye then you’re already halfway toward a new control scheme.

It appears Sony’s system makes use of a colored ball on the end of the wand which the camera locks in on as a control point. The color of the ball can be changed so that more than one wand can be used at the same time. All they had to show today was some tech demos that demonstrated the possible ways one or two wands could be used together. Here’s the first part of the demo with the second part after the jump:

In a way it’s a major compliment to Nintendo that both Microsoft and Sony have felt the need to add some form of Wii-like motion control mechanics to their systems as it’s a tacit acknowledgment of the impact the Wii has had on the industry. What’s interesting is how Microsoft appears to be trying to make their control system much more comprehensive where as Sony is taking the basic Wii functionality and improving it greatly. Ultimately it looks like you’re going to have the option for getting out of your chair and waggling about regardless of which system you own. Sony plans to have their new controller on the market early next year. Don’t forget to watch the second part after the jump.

Lionhead’s “Project Milo” is damned impressive.

Microsoft’s Project Natal, the 3D sensing camera for the Xbox 360 I mentioned last night, is already resulting in some interesting applications. Lionhead’s Peter Molyneux shows off what they’ve been working on in the few months they’ve had access to Microsoft’s new toy. A fully interactive computer generated character called Milo:

Peter’s a legend among gamers for having invented several genres as well as some of the most beloved games of all time, but he tends to over-hype things just a bit. No doubt the demo is impressive, but when you consider the limitations of the Xbox’s processing power and storage you have to wonder if this is little more than a novelty. It’s one thing to simulate, say, a racing game. It’s another to simulate spending an afternoon with a virtual best friend. He’s certainly incorrect in stating that no science fiction writer has ever dreamed of this possibility as I’ve read several books that have proposed similar ideas. Hell, this isn’t even the first attempt at providing a virtual interactive friend on a computer. There have been dozens of such programs over the years stretching all the way back to Little Computer People on the Commodore 64. All of them were fun for a few hours and then the limitations of their programming became apparent. I have little doubt Milo would be the same though, again, it’s certainly the most immersive of the simulations I’ve seen so far.

I also find it somewhat ironic that Project Milo attempts to simulate exactly what a kid would be missing out on by sitting in front of the TV playing with their Xbox 360. Specifically the chance to go outside and play with a real live friend. I’m no Luddite by any stretch of the imagination, but for all the gaming I did growing up I also spent a fair amount of time outside with friends exploring the neighborhood and getting dirty. Whatever amount of interactivity Milo may have will always pale in comparison to the real thing. At least for the foreseeable future. Still, Milo does present a tantalizing glimpse of what the future may hold.

Games I’m looking forward to: “The Beatles: Rock Band”

I have so far managed to avoid spending the money on any of the popular music rhythm games. In part this is because of the rather expensive nature of the games due to the custom guitar/drum/microphone controllers they use. I’ve only really had experience with Rock Band here at work so I’m inclined to go with that game just from familiarity, but all the deals being offered are on Guitar Hero which has made that game tempting. It’s resulted in a stalemate of sorts that has kept me from spending any money at all, which is probably for the best. Alas the folks at Harmonix, makers of Rock Band, have come up with a release that will likely be just the thing to finally push me over the edge into a purchase of their game: A version featuring The Beatles!

Following is the opening cinematic for the game and it’s so freakin’ cool I wish the whole game was done in this style. Don’t know who did the animation, but I’d love to see a full-length animated feature done like this:

To save some cash, because I’m probably the only person in the house that’ll play it, I’ll probably pick up the game disc by itself and then buy a separate guitar controller to go with it as opposed to dropping the couple hundred the deluxe edition with all the instruments is likely to cost.

Games I’m looking forward to: “Left 4 Dead 2.”

Valve’s Left 4 Dead first person shooter was a major surprise in how much it felt like being stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse worthy of any summer blockbuster movie. It seems like it came out only yesterday (it was actually last November) and already they’ve announced a sequel due to hit this coming November. Here’s the teaser trailer:

OMFG we get to use melee weapons including A FREAKIN’ CHAINSAW?!?!? Count me in on some zombie killing action come next November! I may have to break my rule about not buying myself games so close to Krismas this year!

“Star Wars: The Old Republic” MMO trailer from Bioware.

It’s E3 week so I’ll probably be talking about video games quite a bit over the next few days as there are lots of announcements and first-showings taking place. Stuff like the official trailer for Bioware’s MMO based on the Star Wars license:

It looks cool as hell, but I’m not going to allow myself to get excited about it at all for several reasons. First, I remember how excited I got over Sony’s attempt to turn the original Star Wars trilogy into a MMORPG and what a major disappointment it turned out to be. It seems like it would be a great fit, but in reality the standard mission types found in an MMO just seem silly and stupid when wrapped in SW imagery. Second, there’s no way in hell the gameplay is going be to anything close to what the trailer depicts. That’s probably asking a bit much, but I’d love to play a game capable of stuff like that. Thirdly, I never got into Bioware’s other Old Republic games. I only own one and I’ve never gotten more than 20 minutes into before growing bored with the mechanics and giving up.

So the trailer looks pretty cool and I would love to have a great Star Wars game to play, but I won’t be holding my breath for it. Still, I’d love to be proven wrong in my prejudices on this count.

Microsoft plans to out-Wii the Wii.

This year’s E3 kicked off today and Microsoft was the first to hold their keynote event wherein they made it clear they plan to expand the Xbox 360 in ways that may draw in some of the folks who find Nintendo’s Wii so appealing. They introduced a new 3D motion sensing/voice/facial recognition add-on for the 360 that they claim will make you into the controller. In essence it provides the same full body interaction the Nintendo Wii does and more without the need for any controller at all. Check it:

If the final product does half of what they’re promising in that video it may very well give the Wii a run for its money. That’ll be especially true if they package it in as a bundle with some systems. If it manages to pull off everything in that video it’ll be an amazing bit of technology.

Personally I don’t find that system of control all that appealing for the same reasons I don’t enjoy the Wii all that much. I do look forward to hearing many stories of how Xbox 360 owners—in a repeat of what new Wii owners went through—ending up with a lot of broken TV sets from jumping around and kicking at them. With the Wii it was a matter of people losing their grip on their Wiimotes and chucking them through the screen. With this new controller for the Xbox it’ll undoubtedly be shoes flung off while kicking soccer balls or some such thing.

Found via Boing Boing Offworld.