E3 2012 Recap: Nintendo’s Wii U Unveiled, Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Expands & Sony Goes Old School!
First up, the gold star of this year’s E3 should surely be awarded to Nintendo – who unveiled their finished Wii U home console promising a “Living Room Revolution” – and introducing us once more to the HD touchscreen GamePad that left us with so many questions after the 2011 show.
The new Wii U GamePad, which accompanies the console when its launched sometime before Christmas, will provide gamers with a second screen which can be used to play games such as graphically improved New Super Mario Bros U both on our TV screen – or in our hands through the gadget’s own integrated 6.2 inch display.
More hard core gaming titles such as Batman Arkham City and Zombi U were used to demonstrate the GamePad’s versatility. Allowing gamers to bring up real time maps, weapons inventories and advanced combat controls by touch, without the need to pause the game in the middle of all the action – and this keeps the game play slick and realistic.
Nintendo also presented a first look at its Mii-verse – a socially connected online community which will allow interactions between friends and family, as well as Wii U and 3DS owners worldwide. In a kind of Facebook for our personalised Mii characters, Nintendo says we’ll be able to use the Mii-verse to brag about high scores as well as share screenshots and secrets which might help other players complete difficult challenges.
Many new Wii U games will also incorporate the Mii-verse in unique and individual ways and the online community is set to go live a short time after the new Nintendo console goes on public sale.
Sony was also in attendance at the E3 Expo this week, but sadly nothing fruitful came for those waiting for news of the Playstation 4. Instead Sony took its time on the main stage to show off some new additions to its software range.
Some exciting footage came from Sony’s upcoming Playstation All-Star Battle Royale game, which features a wide choice of popular Playstation icons in a free-for-all rumble – much like Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers.
The gameplay demonstrated featured Uncharted’s explorer Nathan Drake, an armoured Big Daddy suit from the Bioshock series as well as Kratos from God of War and even Parappa the Rapper engaging in fast and furious combat – and this game is shaping up to be one to watch for Sony gaming fans.
Sony also revealed that a number of its classic PSOne titles will get a revival on the current PS Vita console, which had its first appearance at last year’s E3 Expo. Time-tested classics such as Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy 7 will soon become available to buy and download directly to your Vita from the PlayStation Store.
Along the way Sony introduced us to a new Racing Wheel accessory which affixes to the Playstation Move controller allowing gamers more realism with their racing games, and also announced Wonderbook – a new reading software aimed at bringing children’s books such as the Harry Potter stories to life through the PS3.
Completing the Big 3 of the E3 was Microsoft, who also arrived offering no new console hardware, but did offer a selection of upgrades to existing Xbox 360 services.
As promised Microsoft announced a pair of expansions on its entertainment content, following a year in which multimedia use on the Xbox LIVE network overtook multiplayer gaming. Firstly Xbox Video, which will further the premium entertainment provided by the platform and allow users to browse, purchase and watch video content such as movies and TV shows, not only through the Xbox console – but also on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 supporting gadgets.
Xbox Music will be introduced for the same duties, and you guessed it – this one’s all about the tunes. And if you’re familiar with the Spotify streaming music service you’ll have a rough idea of what Microsoft’s offering might be like. Both Xbox Video and Xbox Music will be complimented by a new feature called SmartGlass which allows users to connect content from their pocket devices to their Xbox 360 console and vice versa, wirelessly. We cover the new entertainment services and Smartglass in more detail in our previous article – Here.
Finally, we’ll recap just a few of the gaming titles that have been wowing the crowds over in Los Angeles this week.
Impressive reboots of popular franchises such as Tomb Raider and Doom have been demoed alongside the new future-based Call of Duty game Black Ops 2, Star Wars 1313, a dark new take on the Galaxy, and the anticipated HALO 4. Capcom have been giving gamers a history lesson with its special Street Fighter 25th Anniversary booth and French publisher Ubisoft have really been setting the standard at this year’s expo, showing off new footage and playable content from Rayman Legends, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Zombi U.
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