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E3 2011: Three Things I Am Most Excited For
June 6, 2011 06:17 AM

In case you were not already aware, E3’s press conferences start tomorrow with the official event beginning on Tuesday. The LA-based convention is the place to be for some of the year’s biggest video game announcements and revelations. We already know that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will be holding press events, but plenty of video game developers will also debut their lineups for next year at hotels and conference rooms around the area. Plus, there is the massive exhibit hall that opens on Tuesday where hundreds of different games and accessories will be available for use—some for the first time. However, there are only so many hours in a day, and I am just one man. With that in mind, here are the three things I will definitely check out before the convention is over:

Sony PlayStation Press Conference

This past month was not too kind to Sony. Coming off of the April 20th network blackout, the company needs to apologize for their security disaster and give people a reason to support them again. Although the “Welcome Back” gift was a pleasant start, I hope that Kazuo Hirai or whoever ends up taking the stage will announce more rewards as a way to thank fans for their continued support. It might sound like greed, but I think we, as customers, deserve more than just two free games and a month of PSN plus. Especially considering that our personal information and credit card data were so easy for hackers to obtain.

Along with a lengthy apology, I am eager to hear what new information E3 will have for the NGP. I was one of the first supporters of the PSP going so far as to fly to Japan to buy the original PSP-1000 when it launched. However, I was supremely let down when that console was not utilized to the best of its ability. Thankfully, it looks like Sony is ready to make a legitimate presence in the portable market, and they are doing it with a machine that could rival most consoles. A Quad Core ARM Cortex A9 processor and SGX543MP4+ dedicated graphics processor define the internal specs that make porting PS3 games onto the handheld a very real possibility. However, as I pointed out before, it will need to have exceptional launch titles, a standardized storage format, and a competitive price tag if they want their device to adequately compete against the 3DS and smart phones. Only Sony really knows what will be announced, but I expect the pricing and release date will be revealed tomorrow at their 5 P.M. press event. Make sure to check our live blog tomorrow to see the answers to these crucial questions.

Street Fighter x Tekken

Almost a year ago, Street Fighter x Tekken was teased at San Diego Comic-Con 2010, and information has slowly trickled out. Now that E3 is upon us, the fighting game crossover seems to be attacking Los Angeles with full force. All around the Convention Center, posters promoting the game are hung up, and it looks like Capcom and Namco—the developers of Street Fighter and Tekken, respectively—are hoping to make a big splash at this year’s show.

However, some of my old concerns still exist. How will Tekken players—and their characters—adapt to Street Fighter’s two-dimensional world? Recent gameplay footage seems to answer my question with a “pretty well”. All of the Namco Bandai characters appear to have a locked move list, and you input them to create combos like their Capcom brethren. Although the pre-alpha footage is promising, some questions still remain. Considering that Capcom is taking the developmental lead on this game, I wonder if Kazuya, Nina, and the rest of the family will use the same control system that popularized the Tekken franchise or will players need to use dragon-punches and half-circles to execute their moves? Also, what about ten-hit combos, level destruction, and the bouncing mechanic that became crucial in building the competitive nature of the sixth iteration of the franchise? Although my question list constantly grows, I am certain I will find my answers on the E3 exhibit floor so be sure to stay tuned for my hands-on first impression.

Batman: Arkham City

Comics and video games are two of my favorite hobbies, but more often than not, the two do not mix well. Rocksteady was able to change that trend when they released Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009. Emphasizing strong character development, story, and a dedication to the mythos that DC Comics continues to create, this game showed that it is possible to make a comic book video game that is better than the sum of its parts.

Going into E3, Arkham City already has a strong amount of buzz working for it. It will build on the existing engine that made its predecessor a solid detective game, but instead of being trapped in the asylum, Batman will now roam the street of Gotham. According to Dax Ginn, Marketing and Manager at Rocksteady, gamers will now be able to fight crime in an environment more than five times the size of the original. Although this sandbox gameplay could side track players from the main narrative, Ginn pointed out that  Batman would not go on the “frivolous collection missions” that populate other open world games and the player should not have to either. The game will “have a tight core narration with clear paths”, but the possible side missions will “always [be] character driven” and contribute to the story.

Along with a fully accessible Gotham City, the above video shows that Catwoman will not only appear in the game, but she will be playable. This will not only diversify the game with a different model to look at, but it seems that this is more than just a simple skin swap. Selina Kyle possesses her own unique moves and counter moves as well as a specific missions that progress her story and the caped crusader’s simultaneously. Plus, it looks like she will have gadgets of her own, which means the gadget discovery aspect that I enjoyed in the first game will be back.

Although hype is always great, Arkham City could also learn the negative effects of such a massive fan base. The surprise success of the first game means players will be looking for the same “wow” factor they found in the original. Although the sandbox gameplay and Catwoman announcement are great ways to bring a new perspective on the franchise, Rocksteady will have to do more if they want to captivate fans for a second time. Rest assured, we will have a full length first impression after I play the game on the E3 floor. For now, it remains to be seen if the City can top the Asylum.

Bottom Line

This is my first time at E3, and I am naturally excited to see exclusive information on the franchises I love. But enough about what I want to see. What games do you want to hear about? What games do you want us to write about? Who do you predict will win the battle between Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo? Sound off in the comments section.

Links: PlayStation | Capcom | Namco Bandai | Rocksteady

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