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Leviathyn At E3 2012: Lightning Previews Lock and Load Edition Part 1

Welcome to Leviathyn at E3 2012: The Lightning Previews! During my time on the show floor, I saw a TON of games (over 40), and I didn’t think I’d be able to share my experiences with this fast enough. With Lightning Previews, I can do just that.

Today I’m focusing on the most prolific genre of this console generation: the first-person shooters. Eight games stormed out of the E3 gates guns blazing, each one bringing unique gameplay and plenty of reasons to get excited for them. Some of these games I went hands-on, others I merely watched a demo, but all eight of them are absolutely worthy of your time. Let’s get shootin’ with Part 1.

 

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 was the last game I played at this year’s show. Did I save one of the best for last? Yeah, I’ll say I did.

The demo I played was a 15-minute mission called “Statuesque,” where I had to hack into an enemy mech, then protect it as it cut down statues of the main bad guy, Handsome Jack. I played as Salvador, the Gunzerker, because I thought he’d be the perfect class for me when the game finally comes out. I wasn’t wrong, as Salvador is perfect for my play style: lots of ammo, run-and-gun, and the excellent dual-wielding skill only available to the Gunzerker.

This was a co-op demo, and the guy playing with me decided to try his hand at Zer0, the sword-toting lone wolf characters. (What’s with guys with swords being named Zero, anyway?) Zer0’s special ability both deployed a digital decoy of himself AND cloaked him in invisibility, allowing him to move freely around the arena undetected. I may have to try him out when I get the chance.

The mission carried out as most first-person shooter missions do: find an objective, fight for it, rinse, and repeat. The battles did get hectic pretty quickly, and both of us found ourselves needing revival numerous times. Speaking of revival, whoever decided that getting a kill while down would lead to instant revival is a genius and should instantly be promoted (yes, I know this was available in the original game too, I just love it that much). Gearbox and 2K are preparing one hell of a shootout for this September, so don’t be surprised if Borderlands 2 takes over consoles when it finally drops.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Activision’s shooter juggernaut offered more of the same action-fueled segments that we’ve come to expect from Call of Duty, but Black Ops 2 is throwing a few new wrinkles into the formula that may breathe some fresh air into the series.

The near-futuristic setting allows for some new weaponry, like the Farsight X-20…I mean, new sniper rifle that can shoot clean through a highway girder or the drones that can be programmed to shoot anything in front of the camera. The choice of Los Angeles as the city destroyed was perfect; words can’t describe how weird it was to see the same areas I had been walking the whole week in shambles on the screen.

Most importantly is the introduction of choices into CoD’s narrative. During the mission, the player was given the choice to either rappel down to the road below and cover the President, or to use the sniper rifle to offer covering fire from above while the president tried to escape. I wonder if there will be more impactful choices later in the campaign, but the fact that Treyarch is even giving players choices is a welcome addition.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will wage war on Los Angeles on November 13th.

Crysis 3

If there was an award for beautiful shooters, Crysis 3 would take the cake.

During the “Dam Busters” level I was shown at EA’s booth, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beautiful environments the game boasts. Every single area made me want to look away from the action and just enjoy the view. Unfortunately, the tranquility rarely lasted long before new enemies attacked Prophet.

Crysis 3 gives Prophet more abilities to use while keeping the perks from Crysis 2. Cloaking and super armor are still around, but the ability to hack turrets and electronics that Prophet finds is a welcome addition. This particular mission allowed Prophet to remove obstacles in his way and find new opportunities for stealth action using his newfound hacking abilities. They should prove useful very quickly.

The best part of the demo, though, was watching the player use the bow, now the marquee weapon for Crysis 3. The bow was impressive in stealth situations, taking enemies out with perfect accuracy and precision. Of course, this demo wasn’t all about stealth, and we soon watched Prophet use electric arrows to zap enemies standing in a puddle and a frag arrow to blow up another bad guy. I wasn’t sure before, but I may make the bow my weapon of choice.

Crysis 3 will bring the future home in February 2013, a month that is quickly getting crowded.

 

Far Cry 3

If Crysis 3 was the beautiful shooter, then Far Cry 3 is the WTF shooter.

The demo included all of the following: tribal relations, first-person cliff-diving, flamethrowers, tigers, poison knives, and the craziest hallucinations I think I’ve ever seen. Stacks of televisions, a person sometimes Vaas, sometimes the player’s character Brody putting a gun to his head, Vaas pole-dancing…what is going on here? Then we approach Vaas himself, where he implores us to SHOOT HIM IN THE HEAD. He then utters “I am you, and you are me” and the demo ends.

HUH?!

Could Far Cry 3 be tapping into a Fight Club-esque tale of a fragile psyche? What will Ubisoft be throwing our way next? Why isn’t September 4th here yet? Those are some of my questions, but they all lack answers, and I love that. Far Cry 3 has the potential to surpass both Far Cry games before and vault the franchise into a highly successful name. If what I’ve seen so far is any indication, I am only expecting the best from this trippy shooter.

 

Look for Part 2 of the Lock N’ Load Edition previews tomorrow!



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