E3 2011 Show Floor Part One: Let the madness begin

Mark Gibson

Day one of the world premiere video game expo started on Tuesday June 7th, after the big Nintendo conference, at the Los Angeles convention center in California. Three companies were the highlight of the UP’s day: Paramount, Paradox Interactive and Bethesda.

Paramount

After fighting my way through an extremely packed crowd full of journalists, exhibitors and the video game industries finest, I got to watch a demo of two awesome new games from Paramount Entertainment.

Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to tell you about them until next week. I am bound by a secret oath to keep the details secret until further notice. However, what I can tell you is that one of them was Star Trek, the new game that was featured in the Sony press conference on Monday, June 6th. All I can say about the game at this time is that it looks just as amazing as the trailer that was shown. More info will be given next week.

Paradox Interactive

After getting distracted by all the models that seemed to appear at every major video game company’s booth, the Swedish PC gaming powerhouse, Paradox Interactive, was next on the list. There, I got a hands on demo of five new games for PC.

PC adventure game, Magicka, is getting a facelift. If you’ve never heard of or played the game before, it’s a social game. You and three friends assume the roles of wizards and go on quests to stop an evil sorcerer who has thrown the world into complete turmoil. The system update that is coming will allow for PVP (player vs player) action. This means that you can now have death matches between you and three friends.

“This was something that our fans have been asking to have for a long time,” said Robin Cederholm of Arrowhead Games.

What makes the new PVP a fun experience is the fact that you can combine spells to have different effects on people. For example: If you get someone wet with a water spell and then fire electricity at them, it does double damage.

If you are a fan of the free-to-play online tower defense game, League of Legends, this September you can take tower defense on the go with Defenders of Ardania, which is coming to both PC and iPad. The game features a campaign that will get you in the swing of how to play a tower defense game. When you feel comfortable enough, you can challenge the computer or your friends in a match. On the iPad, the game looks amazing and crisp with bright colors and smooth game play.

If RTS (real time strategy) is more your style, Paradox’s most popular title returns in King Arthur II. What’s impressive is that the battlefield can now hold up to 4,000 soldiers at one time. If you have a good enough computer, it runs very smoothly and looks awesome. The maps, landscapes and aesthetics have all improved and look beautiful. But more important, there are now flying creatures! Why? “Why not” was basically the answer I got from the developer.

Another really cool looking RTS is Crusader of Kings II. For history buffs, this game is a dream come true. Taking place during medieval times, you assume the role of a ruler who actually existed in history. If you happen to pick one that you know nothing about, there is a direct link to Wikipedia for each person in the game. Things that actually happened to that ruler in history happen to you in the game. The game is so detailed that you even have to go as far as to pick a suitor for your daughter and hope she has an heir to continue your bloodline. It’s a cool mix of RPG with real time turn based strategy.

For you sci-fi junkies out there, Sword of the Stars II will be making its way to your PC. The first installment of the game had a very small fan base, but the creators of the sequel are hoping that will change. The game plays like a command and conquer style, where you control a race of beings colonizing planets and fighting other races for territory or fun. The game is appealing to both new and experienced players, as the level of customizing detail and battle tactics change as you become more familiar with the game. If this sounds appealing to you, look for a limited beta, which will be available towards the end of the summer.

Bethesda Softworks

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is probably one of the most anticipated games of E3 – and the demo did not disappoint. The graphics have greatly improved and the concept of an open world game was obviously something important to the developers. There are over 150 dungeons to explore throughout the game’s world.

Your character can fight with a sword and shield, magic and a sword, double swords or double magic. Using magic spells in both hands allows you to combine a spell to make a more powerful one. For example: if you put a heal spell in both hands and activate them together, you will get double the power.

The combat system has also been improved. Developers added cut scenes of finishing moves to break up the action and make it less routine. They also added the feature of using yelling powers such as dragon’s breath, which allows you to breathe fire like a dragon.

Another game coming from Bethesda is Prey 2. The game looks like a mix between Mass Effect and Firefly. You play a bounty hunter running through streets that seem like they came right out of Blade Runner. For Sci-Fi fans, this game looks extremely promising. Improved graphics, improved game play and an improved decision maker system make this a game worth picking up. Every decision has an effect on how the game plays out. If you choose to cheat your employers you might get more money, but then you become someone who can’t be trusted. If you decide to interrogate people you capture, you might get clues to new missions, but you might also kill the prisoner in the process, which would result in a failed mission. It’s a game that you can play over and over, getting different results each time.

What’s in store for Part 2

I get to look at some gaming hardware like headphones and controllers. Also, I will investigate hand held gaming and look at some awesome new games coming to the 3DS.