2 June 2009

E3: The Startening...

So E3 has kicked off and it's already more exciting, more disappointing and overall just more than last year's smaller conference - at least in the online reporting department.

Things that i think are of note:

  • Splinter Cell Conviction - more action but looks like good fun, less frustrating stealth.
  • Crackdown 2 - AWESOME!! Though i wish they'd have stuck with the original style of cell shaded graphics than go for 'full, gritty realism'.
  • Alan Wake - release - 2010. Looks more actiony than previous coverage would have hinted at. Resi-frame (because the light seems to be a mechanic of weakening the enemies) or maybe more accurately "Silent Frame" because i think you can still move when you're firing. I think it'll be a solid rental but i'm not sure about its moodiness quality.
  • Shadow Complex - Looks awesome... a 'free roaming' metroid style 2D platformer.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - seriously?! WTF?!! Released on Nov 17th for 360 and PC.
It's this last item that i'll spend the rest of the post ranting about. First off, it seems like a ridiculously short time period for a sequel from the meticulous Valve for one of their games. Secondly, it's only been a year since the first game was released - without a large portion of the promised content which has been rectified but the few maps available and the survival mode don't necessarily add up to the full price i paid for entry.
The most annoying information to come out of the event (actually over at the rock, paper, shotgun site) is that the Left 4 Dead campaigns will work in L4D2. Why not vice versa? Why isn't this new content (which really isn't much more of an upgrade to the game any more than the Half Life Episodes are to Half Life) compatible with Left 4 Dead?

The engine doesn't have a huge upgrade, in fact the only upgrades are to the AI director and the randomisation of mesh entities (map elements) since melee coding is already in the Source engine and could easily be applied to Left 4 Dead in a content update or via a paid download. In fact that's what i believe this content should be.... The options on release should be cut price for the content for people who already own Left 4 Dead and a download to include it within Left 4 Dead. The second option would be to buy L4D2 on its own at full retail price which already includes the content of Left 4 Dead (and this is the one that's been announced) - one executable, one menu. It should be a content platform like Rock Band, not a sequel.

Update: I've added more thoughts here about the Left 4 Dead situation

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