So another E3 has been and gone, and while the majority of games and hardware on show were already public knowledge, there is plenty to be excited about. The following games are my highlights of E3. From zombies, thugs and fantastical beasts, there are several titles coming over the next 12 months or so that should definitely be on your radar.
First of all, we see a return to the Konami’s creepy town on PS3 and 360. Silent Hill Downpour is a brand new addition to the series, this time following convict Murphy Pendleton, who becomes stranded in the woods on the outskirts of town following a crash involving the prison bus he was on. The trademark eerie fog is present as well as more expansive, highly detailed environments and hopefully will see a return to the psychological horror of the original games. The game will be in full 3D on the PS3 version. We’ll be seeing Silent Hill Downpour hit the 360 and PS3 in time for the holidays.
As well as an original story, we will also see a return to Silent Hill 2 and 3. These games have been given a graphical polish and a shiny HD upgrade. Not only that, the voice acting has been completely re-recorded. However, this is a PS3 exclusive, available Q4 2011.
Another series to receive the HD jazzmatazz treatment is Metal Gear Solid. Both PS3 and 360 users are treated to an upgrade of MGS 2, 3 and Peace Walker. If rumour is to be believed, PS3 users will also get the original Metal Gear Solid to download from the PS store.
This next game makes the highlights list through sheer curiosity. From developer Atlus, Catherine is a very different action/adventure puzzle game. Taking control of Vincent, a commitment phobic 30-something involved with the titular character, you see 2 different scenarios, daytime and nightmares. In the daytime, things run fine and you interact with your friends etc, whereas when night falls, Vincent enters nightmare mode, which is where the bulk of the game play takes place. One description I have read is erotic horror! Coupled with the below screen shots, this is one weird looking game which I will certainly keep my eye on! Catherine is released in the US and UK in July on PS3 and 360.
Gaming’s original heroine, Lara Croft, has received the reboot treatment in the forthcoming Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics have gone down the gritty realism route, with a vulnerable Miss Croft, in her first adventure. The screen shots look very good and the game play shown at E3 was quite uncomfortable viewing at times.We can expect to see Lara’s new adventure hit the shelves this winter.
E3 also showcased the return of Agent 47, in Hitman Absolution. Betrayed by those closest to him, things get personal for the barcoded baldy, as he gets caught up in a conspiracy. IO Interactive have not let much out of the bag yet, but we won’t be getting to grips with 47 until next year.
Also heading our way, but much sooner is the hugely anticipated final chapter of the Gears of War trilogy. Epic’s gory, muscle bound action game concludes in Marcus Fenix’s most epic battle yet, to prevent the extinction of humanity. Gears of War 3 is released worldwide on September 20th 2011.
Capcom had plenty to show off this year, with more than one zombie filled title on the horizon, including the return of Frank West in the Dead Rising 2 alternative time line, Off the Record. Frank is caught up in the events at Fortune City, but it is more than just Frank in Chuck Greene’s shoes, this is in an all new story line.
Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City is an all new squad based action shooter coming to the PC, PS3 and 360 in winter 2011. Set during the events of Resident Evil 2, you are part of a squad sent by Umbrella to clean up any evidence tying them to the mess that has hit Raccoon City. As well as being over run with the walking dead and the B.O.W’s fan’s will be familiar with, you also have to contend with government commando’s intent on stopping Umbrealla themselves. Operation Raccoon City sees the action play out in a 4 player co-op storyline, that will take in some familiar places and faces. While more of an action centric game, this looks a damn sight better than the disappointing Resident Evil 5.
Staying with Resident Evil, an all new terrifying adventure is due for release later in the year on the 3DS. Resident Evil Revelations sees players once again take control of Jill Valentine. Taking place between RE4 and 5, Jill is searching for Chris Redfield and is lead to a supposedly abandoned cruise liner in the Mediterranean. As you’d suspect, things aren’t quite as they seem and soon you are face to face with the un-dead. This new title sees a new perspective take hold as players have the option between first and third person views. Revelations will be released later in the year.
As well as dealing with the un-dead, Capcom will be bringing us fantasy action RPG, Dragon’s Dogma. This is a visually stunning open world adventure that looks as though it’s trying something different with the genre. Battles are open and are designed by the same people that brought you Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry 4. It has a release date of early 2012 and appears to be shaping up nicely.
Sega had some great looking games on show. Their Kinect horror title, Rise Of Nightmares certainly looks interesting. While there isn’t too much information on storyline other than the protagonist searching for their missing wife, it looks like a Kinect version of House of the Dead. So lots of limbs flailing!
And speaking of House of the Dead, here’s some screens from the PS Move version of HotD: Overkill!
Alright sweethearts, this next one is a game that’s been coming out for the past couple of years. Aliens: Colonial Marines, for 360, PS3 and eventually Wii U, is finally getting a release early 2012. A direct sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens, we see a team of ultimate badasses head the USS Sulaco and LV-426. Blasting through hoards of Xenomorphs with a few friends with pulse rifles and harsh language sounds absolutely brilliant and will hopefully make for one of the games of 2012.
Techland’s Dead Island is shaping up nicely. The zombie holocaust goes tropical in this un-dead slaying FPS, which is due for release in September. With more info on the game being released, such as co-op mode, this is something to get even more excited about. What’s better than killing zombies with friends?
For our very own Bat, here’s a screen shot from the new Harvest Moon game, The Tale of Two Towns! Coming to DS and 3DS this summer.
Finally we have possibly the most anticipated game of the year, sequel to the superb Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City. Catwoman joins the Dark Knight as a playable character in the exciting follow up to 2009’s smash hit. Arkham City is the new maximum security facility for the criminally insane. Gotham City’s mayor has sectioned off an area of the city to replace Arkham, but things soon go wrong and the caped crusader has to intervene once again. As well as appearences from Catwoman, Batman has to face Hugo Strange, The Penguin and Two-Face. As well as these new enemies, Batman will be armed with new gadgets and an improved free flow fighting system. The voice talents of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill return as Batman and the Joker respectively, however this is reported to be Hamill’s final performance as the Joker. Due for release in October on PS3, 360 and PC, this is shaping up to be one of the games of the year. This will also make an appearance on the Wii U.
It looks like the next year is going to be a good one for horror and cult game fans, and HCF will be following the progress of these games, bringing you more previews and reviews, so keep an eye out.
Update: It has since been revealed by Hamill himself that he is not stepping down as the clown prince of crime. He said via Twitter “Only said Arkham Asylum would be hard to top, not that I was quitting”. It appears he had been misquoted, which is great, because he makes a fantastic Joker.