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E3 Wrap Up – PC

As the ocean of press releases slowly sinks into the earth, four PC video game journalists stand alone in the aftermath of the Electronic Entertainment Expo.  Join Charles Battersby, Ari Runanin Telle, Jonathan Gann and Fergus Halliday as these battle-scarred correspondents recount the brutal battle of hype that nearly destroyed LA this week.

What Was The Best PC Game?

AriBattlefield 3. Say what you will about how much PCs can cost sometimes, but this is what can be achieved with the platform. Sure, Battlefield 3 will come to the current generation of consoles, but how good will those look and how well will they run? Battlefield 3 is a PC game through and through, and so far it looks incredible. Right now, I can't imagine this game being anything other than spectacular. 

Jonathan: Battlefield 3. By far. There are plenty of other games that are catching my eye, but I'm hoping Battlefield's back-to-basics approach ends up going far.

CharlesThe Old Republic.  I’ve been hot for this game since I first heard rumors about it.  The only unexpected news I got from E3 was that I’ll have to use EA’s new Origin service to play it.  If anything can ruin this game, it will be this sort of meddling from the publisher.

Fergus: While it's not a PC exclusive I'm really looking forward to Kingdoms of Alamur: Reckoning. I've been closely watching to see what comes out of 38 Studios for quite a while now and they certainly delivered. I haven't been looking forward to a fantasy RPG like this for quite some time, in fact I'm probably looking forward to it more than I am Skyrim.

Most Over-hyped thing?

Fergus: The Wii-U. I really felt the whole thing was over-hyped. It was good to see that Nintendo was moving onto a more graphically powerful console but it felt really bizzare to me and didn't excite me like a new console probably should. I felt really underwhelmed by it despite the hype behind it.

Ari:  Motion gaming is probably the most over-hyped thing at E3. It was in 2010, and it still is in 2011. The reason motion controls work on the Wii is because Nintendo lowers the bar for entry into gaming, which is what Sony and Microsoft are attempting to do. However, since Kinect and Move use more advanced motion technology, they require more calibration and fiddling than a normal Dualshock or Gamepad or keyboard. Kinect outright doesn't work many times, and Move has lengthy calibration times. The Wii? You plug it in and play it, and you've started playing a game in about 3 minutes. Sony and Microsoft are raising the bar for entry to new gamers, and making their old, hardcore gamers feel nervous in the process.

Charles:  Kinect.  I’m glad the Zumba fans have their thingy, but nothing unveiled about the product this week actually makes me want to buy the thing.

Jonathan: I don't know about over-hyped, but I think Microsoft may have spent a little too much time showcasing Kinect features and not enough time actually showing games.

Least Impressive PC Game

Charles: Brothers in Arms Furious 4.  I really enjoyed the first two Brothers In Arms games, along with the mobile versions of the series.  They were realistic, tactical WWII games.  This new one is full of campy, silly humor, staring a troupe of quirky antiheroes full of “Attitude”.  A game that should be “Band of Brothers” has become “Inglorious Basterds”.

AriGhost Recon Future Soldier has been in development purgatory since 2010, and it shows. It doesn't have the near legendary wait time that Duke Nukem Forever has, but it does have a strange sense of pity around it whenever I see it. Now Ubisoft is throwing in Kinect features for the Xbox 360 version, which comes off as little more than a gimmick. Every time it's shown at E3, it looks worse, so it might be time for Ubisoft to throw in the towel, cut their losses, and release the game. Maybe the next Ghost Recon game will be good? 

Jonathan:  I'm probably going to get punched in the face for this, but I was heavily disappointed in the presentation of Modern Warfare 3 (but then again, Activision always manages to disappoint me in some way or another). There appears to be a Spec-Ops focused survival mode, though, and cooperative modes are always on my radar.

Fergus: Gotham City Imposters- I can't understand the point of this game. I like the idea of a multiplayer FPS that incorporates superhero tropes and gadgets but I thought the graphics were downright terrible and that it was terrible use of the Batman license overall. It's a shame because there are so many possibilites that you could follow up on with a Batman multiplayer focused game. 

Console Exclusive we want

Jonathan: Man, that's a tough one, but as a jerk answer, I'll say Rhythm Heaven. No, really. I absolutely loved it on DS, and the inclusion of a Wii version is seriously making me regret not having one right now.

AriUncharted 3 looks incredible, and I wish it were coming to PC. I really wish that the technical geniuses over at Naughty Dog would flex their muscles on the PC, because I can't imagine what they could achieve. At the same time, I wish that Uncharted 3 would be released on the PC, just because I want to play it so much after the trailers that have been shown. Uncharted 3 will definitely be one of the year's best, and it's a shame it's exclusive to the PS3. 

Charles: Halo Anniversary Edition.  PC gamers got a port of the original Halo, and it was OK, but I’d damn well like to play this new HD version on a proper gaming rig.

FergusOverstrike - I used to love playing the Ratchet and Clank games back when I had a PS2 and the trailer for Insomniac's new co-op game had my spine tingling. I really wish that was coming to PC. Oh and DUST 514, having recently got into EVE Online, I wish that that game was coming to PC.

Is E3 Too Console Focused?

Jonathan: One could say so, but for each of the big three, that's what they sell, and it's not easy to showcase PC features specifically, so it's not like any of the PC manufacturers out there are going to come to the show. Valve's lack of presence was disappointing, but I think that they've learned that E3 is for tangible products more than the digital downloaders.

Ari: Yes. Part of the problem is the fact that the PC doesn't really have a main manufacturer such as Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo. Therefore, if you're on the convention floor, you can't just stroll over to the "PC" booth. There are no "first-party" PC games. All the games that are demoed tend to be shown on the PS3 or Xbox 360, even if there is a PC version. The only game this year that I can remember being demoed on the PC would be Battlefield 3. Right now the games on PC are being held back by their console counterparts, and I'm always reminded of that at E3. Even Rage, the next Id shooter, is being shown on consoles. There's something inherently wrong with that. 

Fergus E3 is always going to be more console focused than PC Gamers would like but even though PC gamers have events like Blizzcon and Quakecon to hear from big PC developers it would still be nice to see more PC games shown and announced at E3, I thought EA and DICE did a great job of pushing the PC version of Battlefield 3.

Charles: You betcha.  Hardcore PC gamers have our own conventions, and most of the PC exclusives are MMO’s, casual games and indies. Smaller developers aren’t going to get much of a return on their investment in a giant flashy E3 booth. Then there’s the PC’s focus on digital distribution; why go for a mainstream media blitz when most of your customers are coming from online advertising and social networking?


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