My hands-on E3 2012 impressions

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Full disclosure: This was my first time at E3 and I ended up going at the last minute, so I had no game plan whatsoever when I set out for the LA Convention Center yesterday morning.

The only game I knew I had to play was Aliens: Colonial Marines, so as soon as I walked through the main doors I made a beeline for the giant Sega sign. Not a bad way to kick off the day.

Check out the breakdown of all the cool shit I saw after the jump.

Ready. Set. Go!

Aliens: Colonial Marines
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As I said, playing Colonial Marines was my top priority. I figured if I had to wait in line all day just to play that game my E3 experience would be worth it. Luckily, there was a lot of cool shit to look at while waiting in line, like a life sized Power Loader and Xenomorph. You could climb inside of it and take pictures but there was a whole separate line for that so I skipped it.

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While waiting in line I got to watch a lot of matches and both levels that were demoed (one inside and one outside) looked like they fit perfectly in the Aliens universe. Once I actually got to play the game I was thrilled to see that it was everything I wanted it to be. Gearbox had us playing a multiplayer team deathmatch of Colonial Marines vs Xenomorphs. My team was the former.

Things played out like you would imagine. Tensions were high while we checked our motion trackers and waited for the inevitable Xenomorph attack. Once it came our once tightly formed search party scattered and all hell broke loose. Players that worked in small teams fared better during the match until a ‘Crusher’ alien was unleashed. Because of its head-on invulnerability (think the head of a Queen alien on the body of a bull) everyone had to switch tactics – Being grouped together became a liability at that point because the Crusher can kill multiple marines in an instant.

The standard ‘Warrior’ class of Xenomorphs were strong and agile. They would bounce from wall to ceiling in an instant and their thick hides made them tough to kill. There were more than a few moments where I was running backwards and firing, trying to kill the advancing alien with my pulse rifle, only to have him tackle me and kill me. It didn’t feel unbalanced, it felt…accurate.

If you’ve ever played Call of Duty online you’ll be familiar with how the Marine controls. I didn’t get to play as a Xenomorph, so I can’t really say how well the third person controls felt.

Once the match was over, I noticed everyone seemed to walk away with a smile on their faces. It was a fun experience, albeit a short one. I’ve been waiting a long time for Aliens: Colonial Marines and it looks like it’s shaping up to be everything I ever wanted from an Aliens game.

Lollipop Chainsaw
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I originally wasn’t going to check out Lollipop Chainsaw because I’ll be reviewing it for the site, but since it was being demoed next to the Aliens: Colonial Marines booth I said fuck it and walked over there next.

I didn’t get a chance to take Lollipop Chainsaw for a spin, but I did watch other people playing it and it looked fun. Everyone seemed to be having a good time killing zombies with and rescuing Juliet Starling’s fellow classmates. I’m pretty hopeful it’ll turn out to be good, but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

Oh yea, Jessica Nigri looked as hot in person as you’d think. I kept an eye out for James Gunn too (Lollipop Chainsaw’s writer and creator of awesome movies like ‘Slither’ and ‘Super’), but unfortunately I didn’t see him.

Borderlands 2
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Even though I didn’t play the first Borderlands, I am super fucking excited for 2. I’ve been keeping my eye on this game for a while now, and after seeing it live I have to say it looks absolutely amazing. I love the cell-shaded graphics and all the playable characters look cool.

Hitman: Absolution
I didn’t take any pictures of the Hitman booth, but I did get to play Absolution.

The demo tasked you with taking out a high-profile target in Chinatown. Of course, true to previous Hitman games, you can approach the level however you see fit – guns blazing or with a little stealth. I chose the latter only because the target basically walked right past me as I was exploring the area and took a leak in an alley without his bodyguards! It was the last piss he ever took because I beat the shit out of him then put a bullet in his head with my silenced pistol. It didn’t take long for the body to be found, and for the crowd to panic, but by that point I was long gone.

The graphics were impressive and Chinatown’s congested marketplace felt alive. Moving through the crowds of people was a bit easier than in Assassin’s Creed, but Agent 47 felt a bit floatier than Ezio – He didn’t quite navigate between people like you would expect, subtly pushing bystander aside with his hands like Creed’s protagonist does. This was an early build of the game so hopefully we’ll see Agent 47 have a bit more animation when the final version comes out in November.

Aside from that one gripe, I had a good time with Hitman: Absolution. It looks like the players have a lot of options in front of them, and from what I’ve seen (both with my hands-on demo and watching the guy next to me shoot everything that moves) you can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose.

Spec Ops: The Line
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I enjoyed the Spec Ops: The Line demo that was released a couple weeks ago. I think there’s some good ideas there, but the game needed a bit more polish (maybe the developers felt the same thing since the game has been delayed).

I didn’t play the E3 demo, but I did watch the trailer a million times because their booth was directly across from the Gearbox’s Colonial Marines booth. The cool thing is, after seeing the E3 trailer I’m even more intrigued by the ideas and concepts the developers are playing with. Hopefully they won’t water down the final product because Spec Ops: The Line looks like it could force the player to tackle some morally ambiguous problems and then deal with the consequences.

I definitely had a fun time at E3. Hopefully next year I’ll register early enough to get a press pass and then go for multiple days. There were a lot of games I would have waited in line to play – Far Cry 3, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Dead Space 3 – if I had the time.

Just getting to play Aliens: Colonial Marines makes this first experience memorable, but next year I’ll have an actual game plan and I’ll do E3 right.

– Geist01

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