Last year at E3 I said that the theme of the show seemed to be showing the same thing as the year before only with better graphics, save for Nintendo actually innovating. This year we haven't hit Nintendo yet but the first part seems pretty much spot on a year later. Halo 4 looked like all the other Halo games, but with better graphics. Tomb Raider went the Uncharted route and let's face it compare those graphics to Underworld and you honestly wouldn't believe we were talking about the same console generation. Assassin's Creed looked like Assassin's Creed with better graphics. The same is true of Far Cry 3, Crysis 3, Dead Space 3, Medal of Honor Warfighter, and God of War: Ascension. Yea all of these games were in a way different and hopefully superior to their previous entries but they were still very much entries in franchises that had been going on for quite a long time. Microsoft mentioned a couple new IPs partway through their conference, but that was pretty much it. We got short 30 second trailers for them but none showed any gameplay. In fact there was only one game shown so far that genuinely made me say, "Huh, haven't seen that before," and that game was Watch Dogs. The game came completely out of the blue, a new IP with absolutely no fanfare and it actually looked pretty cool. I'm not even remotely sure what the hell the game is about, but I can safely say that it is a genuinely interesting idea. Did the end hint at a MP game? Or do you play as a bunch of different characters? I don't know but regardless the idea seemed cool, and yes, it had great graphics.
Easily the graphics champ of the day though wasn't in any press conference. Star Wars 1313 premiered on Spike after Sony's show and let's just say that those are some ridiculously good graphics. The guy being interviewed said he didn't want people to know what was a cutscene and what was being played if they watched someone play the game. I can safely say that they succeeded at least in the parts shown off today. The game easily looked as good as the CG in most other games and put the other great looking games at the show to shame. I'm interested if they were running the demo off of a PC or a console, cause nothing else shown today looked even remotely that good. Plus a Star Wars game that shows a darker, grittier side of the traditionally PG-13 rated series is welcome in my book. I'm honestly surprised neither Sony or Microsoft opted to show the game at their press conferences because the demo shown was easily superior to the Wonderbook or whatever it was called. And I could easily have skipped the lengthy multimedia demonstrations at Microsoft's show.
In the end, first off I am simply amazed at the graphics being shown this year. I'm curious if some of the best looking demos were running on a PC or on a console, but at the very least some of the amazing looking PS3 exclusives must have been running on a PS3. Halo 4 looked beautiful but I felt it was upstaged later in the show. Tomb Raider did look quite good, but the animation was a major sore spot for me. It was okay but not nearly as good as the procedural animation Naughty Dog and Sony Santa Monica are doing on the PS3. Oh and Beyond definitely has my interest. No idea how it actually plays, but it did have the best facial animation of the show and the premise was interesting for a story. Quantic Dream's games are always more enjoyable to watch than to play, but maybe they can prove me wrong and make something that I enjoy playing as much as I enjoy hearing the story.
And that pretty much sums Day One up for me. Amazing graphics, probably mostly running on PC, and a few interesting unique ideas here and there (Beyond, The Last of Us, and Watch Dogs stood out to me) and that Star Wars game is just fucking beautiful.
And final note, was it just me or did Leon really move and shoot at the same time in the RE6 demo? Cause I'm pretty sure he did. Seems like Capcom is truly entering a new generation. Took them long enough.