E3: A Few Of Our Favourite Things

Over the last few days TSA Towers has been home to an odd, contemplative kind of mood as we digest the happenings at this year’s E3.  More than one of our discussions, accompanied by liberal helpings of the obligatory tea and biscuits, has focused on what we thought the best and worst bits of the show were.

Sitting around, giving our blistered fingertips a break from all the typing, a handful of us that were stuck here at the U.K. end of all the news feeds have sifted through the large drifts of press releases left in the wake of the PR blizzard and determined our single favourite E3 ‘things’.

There was a moment during Sony’s E3 presser when I worried that we might witness a lack-of-content-induced rage incident as we were huddled around the televisual device showing the video stream.  That moment was when Sly Cooper replaced Starhawk on the big screen after we had seen nothing but a trailer for the latter.  Luckily there was sufficient Starhawk content during the show’s remaining days to more than satisfy Chris and leave the game as his E3 highlight of 2011:

Starhawk, although it only featured as a quick trailer in Sony’s keynote, it did feature heavily on the show floor and with the numerous TV crews who interviewed Jobe whilst streaming gameplay online. As a huge Warhawk fan I have been indifferent to the single-player concept added to the game, fearing it would be shoe-horned in as an after-thought. However, after only two minutes of the streamed half an hour of footage, I now can’t wait for the single player as well as the multi-player which I just know will be amazing.

When TSA made its overt jump to covering multi-platform gaming to maintain balance we needed to add a dedicated Xbox 360 gamer to the ranks.  That gamer was Kris and he brought with him a deep knowledge of not only comics but also Halo lore.  Seriously, if you’re going to a pub quiz and expecting a Halo round, this is the guy you want on your team.  So Kris’ E3 highlight is probably as unsurprising as his sound-a-like’s:

I know I’m going to come across as a huge fanboy, but the Halo announcements made me incredibly excited. Even though they both leaked before Microsoft’s conference, they still got me excited. In particular the news that’s come out about the Anniversary Edition has me pretty hyped up, it’s really looking like they’ve made it true to the original.

As he is normally kept as close to his keyboard as possible in the Towers to keep the news and reviews flowing at his prodigious rate, Dan is not normally the one to be found hoovering up all the biscuit crumbs.  Now that we have found out that running around a dark building with a vacuum cleaner is something he is looking forward to though that may soon change…

Biggest hit was Luigi’s Mansion 2. The first was outstanding, yet extremely short. Nintendo adding “several mansions” makes me a very happy panda.

Go back a decade and video gaming’s biggest adventuring franchise was undoubtedly Lara Croft’s various exploits.  A few years back a naughty dog grabbed that crown and ran with it; then vaulted over some convenient cover, took out a few (okay hundreds of) pirates, narrowly avoided death in a number of combusting and crashing vehicles and made a home on PlayStation 3.  Now the third instalment has Toby all excited:

Uncharted 3 – because it’s an addition to my favourite videogaming series ever, and although Lara looked brilliant, she will have to do much more than clamber under a few rocks to win me back.

There is another Uncharted heading into virgin, unmapped territory and it has helped kindle the fires of desire for shiny technological treasure that lurk deep within the souls of many gamers.  It is Sony’s latest shiny black gold that has wrapped its tendrils around Jim‘s VITAls to tug at his heart strings:

It’s not often that I get all giddy about handheld consoles, but when Sony demonstrated the PlayStation Vita running Uncharted: Golden Abyss, I was already scouring for the best pre-order deal. Dual thumbsticks, touch controls, 3G connectivity, and PSN integration are just a handful of the features I dreamt of whilst awkwardly twiddling my way through Monster Hunter Freedom some years ago.

If you flick back through the TSA archives you would probably find that the majority of my posts have been at least tangentially, if not explicitly, related to gaming hardware more than the games themselves.  As a result my own E3 favourite may come as little surprise:

I think Nintendo might have pulled a blinder with the, admittedly appallingly named, Wii U.  To all those they have introduced to gaming with the Wii they have provided the easiest of upgrade paths; little more than swap out your little white box and keep everything else.  While PS3 + PS VITA might be similarly capable, the fact that every Wii U will have a controller with a second screen really empowers the devs.  The use of the Wii U controller on a zapper as a sniper scope (shown during the conference) is inspired and the fact that the Aliens: Colonial Marines “prototype” for the Wii U lets you use it as the motion tracker is a dream come true.

There you have a few of our favourite things from this year’s E3.  We’ll be back tomorrow with our least favourites.

What was the single thing that got you most excited during E3? (Something that happened at the show that is, we do not need to hear how amazingly skilled your significant other is…)



  1. I think it’s got to be Uncharted 3 for me. The gameplay was great but the trailer afterwards was amazing.

    Loads of good stuff though, some other things I really enjoyed were the Tomb Raider & Far Cry 3 gameplay demos, and of course, the VITA.

  2. Highlights for me was the MW3 and Tomb Raider gameplay from the MS conference. Both games look incredible. Assassins Creed also looked brilliant, as did BF3, although I would have liked to of seen some on-foot action, it looked exactly the same as BFBC, just prettier on an amazing PC.

  3. BF3, UC3, PS Vita are mine.

  4. Psvita got me excited but i couldn’t care less about the WiiU

  5. “the fact that every Wii U will have a controller with a second screen really empowers the devs.” .. I hadn’t thought about that but of course it makes sense and probably partially why PSP Remote Play wasn’t utilised more.

    Highlight for me was the Vita and hearing about it’s cross play potential, also Jack Trettons tie was fairly bright.

  6. PSVita was the stand out thing for me, in particular Gravity Daze/Gravity/Project: Gravity or whatever they decide to call it, as well as LBP Vita and Sound Shapes. It was also nice to see some more stuff from Journey as well.

  7. Skyrimskyrimskyrim for me.

  8. I missed the announcement of Luigi’s Mansion 2! I loved the first, it was the very first thing I played on my shiny new Gamecube, great little game.

  9. The big highlights for me were the great list of upcoming 3ds titles (LM2 and RE:Revelations especially), Tomb Raider and Battlefield3. Uncharted 3 looked great, though I’m very bored of the gameplay and am just interested in the storyline, so I’ll probably watch a mate play through that one.
    The big lowlight for me was the Microsoft conference and their complete obsession with the Kinect.
    Good year overall though.

  10. I loved Halo Reach but I never got to experience the original trilogy, so Halo Anniversary got a big smile from me :) Sony didn’t really have anything that caught me off guard…just the fact that Starhawk is coming is enough for me, though.

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