With the first day of this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo behind us, it's time to make sense of what the three console manufacturers showed at their annual media briefings. What was shown is just as important as what wasn't and reading between the lines is key.
One of the key directives brought up during Sony's media conference at the Electronics Entertainment Expo this year was the company's desire to drive home their commitment to 3D gaming. They've focused on dismantling one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of mass consumer adoption: the price of the TVs themselves.
Without a doubt, Alice: Madness Returns has the most beautiful and well-realized aesthetic of any game I’ve seen in ages. But, I’m begging you to never play it. Why? Because it’s heartbreaking that a world rife with so many imaginative possibilities ends up feeling so empty, so dull, and so soulless.
Brink (Splash Damage/Bethesda) Xbox 360 (also for PS3/PC)
Everything about Brink feels like a missed opportunity. I wanted to like it because I'm a sucker for objective-based shooters, and I was jonesing for something new. Instead, it feels too much like other shooters, not to mention the fact that it recycles its own few new ideas ad nauseum.
Dirt 3 (Codemasters Racing Studio) Xbox 360 (also for PC, PS3)
It took a while for Dirt 3 to click for me. At first, I loved bombing around the beautifully rendered tracks with all of the driving assists turned on, racking up easy gold medals. Then I got bored because everything felt so automatic, and progressing didn't require any skill. So, I turned the aids off. That was a wake-up call; I'd never I worked so hard for a last-place finish before.
While movie pundits squabble over whether or not 3D does anything besides eke out a few extra bucks per ticket at the box office, gamers have been reaping stereoscopic rewards for the past couple of months. Sony 3D games started making their way to market this past fall, and there have already been enough high-profile releases to keep those expensive glasses stuck on your face for the rest of the year.
Dead Island came out of nowhere earlier this year; its announcement trailer - the scariest set of reverse-chronology vacation snapshots you've seen in a while - went viral and now has more than 4.7 million hits on YouTube. And then for months we heard nothing. What was it, exactly?
Well, I played it the other week at E3 and can tell you exactly what it is: A first-person action-RPG with a focus on melee combat and weapon crafting. Oh, and you can play it online with three buddies, with drop-in/drop-out co-op.
The Resistance series has never had it easy. The original title launched alongside the PS3 back in 2006, and remained largely overlooked in the furor surrounding Sony’s $600 asking price for their new console.
Surround sound headsets are for gamers what soundbars are for the average consumer: no-hassle, "good enough" alternatives to a full home-theater system. The hurdle all gaming headsets have to overcome is successfully tricking your brain into thinking it's hearing five to seven discrete channels around the "room." Some do this better than others, but simulating spatial separation with a few drivers located less than an inch from your ear is a tall order - too tall, I'd thought.
Then I took several pairs for extended test drives, and what I found surprised me.
When I reviewed the Astro A40 MLG edition headset and wireless mixamp late last year, my complaints were minor. Since then, they've become my go-to cans; I even use them for transcribing interviews. It's overkill, I know. I've used them exclusively for the past eight months because I haven't heard another gaming headset that sounds anywhere near as good. That is until I spent quality time with Astro's new model, the A50.