And breath. E3 2011 is history and Mr Caffeine has in all likelihood drank himself into a state of permanent stupor by now. Plenty more happened besides Ubisoft’s PR faux pas though. Nintendo managed to unveil an entirely new home console without providing an actual image of the console, Microsoft gave the go-ahead for Star Wars Kinect to make another appearance in a conference that lasted just 90 minutes (a stinging testimony to the health of its current catalogue of IP) and Sony revealed the luscious Playstation Vita. In between that there was the usual bounty of trailers, so many that I wouldn’t possibly know where to begin trying to choose favourites. So I clicked on the first 14 in my drop-down and here we are: The Belated But Bumper E3 2011 Edition.
The Old Republic
It almost, almost doesn’t matter that any gameplay footage of The Old Republic fills me with woe because while no one in the world appears capable of making fully fledged Star Wars films anymore, Bioware know exactly how to make remarkable 6 minute versions. Another E3 then and another smouldering rendition of Star Wars. Here’s the thing though, why is anyone still peddling the dual lightsaber? As an invention is makes about as much sense as condoms with a breathing hole. Remember in Return of the Jedi when Luke wails on a collapsed Vader before lopping his hand clean off: all in a downward swipe motion. Well try doing that with a dual lightsaber and you’ve got yourself a cost-effective vasectomy.
Clearly, to anyone with a childhood, this opening cinematic is borrowing heavily from the original trilogy – we’ve got a Jedi with horns moonlighting as Obi Wan, Han Solo by way of Clint Eastwood, an escape followed by a shooty sequence in an asteroid field and just about everything else that makes Star Wars Star Wars (incest aside) condensed down into a 6 minute salvo. But Bioware does it so well. The least sexy game since World of Warcraft gets the sexiest trailer treatment and despite the burgeoning disparity between gameplay and trailer, it’s still a little bit rousing, right?
Saints Row: The Third
Man, you know you’ve made it in life when you have sultry brunette twins in pencil skirts at hand 24/7 to hold your cigarette while you take another man’s life. The best thing about this trailer is it actually captures Saints Row: it’s crass, crude and confident and as a franchise it’s never apologised for that. Okay so there are as many dead bodies stacked up by the end as in any good trailer, but not before a frisky camera has had a peek up some CGI damsel’s skirt and captured in slow motion all the exoticism and romance associated with being part of a gang of ignorant, fraudulent, drug-peddling, sex-pest, murderers.
It was also the trailer that gave birth to this.
Can you patent rewinding? It’s borderline synonymous with Dead Island now. Much like the lionized reveal trailer with the munchkin being killed by zombies backwards or whatever, this latest snippet of video begins in the future. But it’s gauche here and everything preceding the zombie-bloodletting would work better as a drinkaware ad.
I like Dead Island so far though, it looks like a grab bag of zombie games released over the last few years played out across the backdrop of Just Cause 2’s tropical paradise. It would do well to er on the side of Dead Rising because it’s hard to muster up the emotion required to find the “I love you daddy” part poignant when it’s sandwiched between someone hurling machetes at zombies and a slew of comedy decapitations. And the silly twat misses the daddy-killing shot anyway! Unbelievable.
The highlight comes at 1:36. That scream is plucked right out of Timesplitters which, of course, has the best zombie mode of all time: Mansion map – zombie fistfight.
Crystal Dynamics may be bequeathing the Lara Croft of quondam years in favour of a Lara who was potentially still wetting the bed when Lara 1 was first duking it out with a Tyrannosaurus-Rex, but they know that no matter how many years they rewind the clock and no matter how many trillions of dollars they pump into lavish not-representative-of-actual-gameplay trailers, Tomb Raider just isn’t Tomb Raider without Lara’s voluptuousness. So a low cut top, the raging sea and a few opportunist cameras ensure the ratio of tits to everything else in this trailer rests comfortably within the acceptable zone for the franchise.
It’s a good thing that the “everything else” is so completely sensational. One of the few trailers at E3 this year that managed to be both dramatic and a touch surprising.
Aliens Colonial Marines
The great thing about teaser trailers is they can make any fetid swamp of bollocks look sterling. A bit of escalation, the foghorn sound from Inception and a sprinkling of quick cuts and you may as well be teasing the gaming equivalent of fellatio. So it’s staggering that Gearbox has managed to screw up the teaser trailer for a game based on James Cameron’s Aliens, of all things. For those tuning in from Planet Nonce, Aliens is a quasi-horror film set in space. It follows a cackle of silly soldiers as they’re hunted by big, angry aliens and one-by-one made to severely regret their decision to join the marines. If that doesn’t lend itself to being abridged into 80 seconds of taut, toxic excitement then there is nothing left in the world that does.
Yet somehow we have 40 seconds of text being entered into a computer. And that text is so inconsequential that Gearbox have hired two cretins to speak over the top of it. Should I be reading this jive about “Command input” or listening? Neither, really. There’s babble about someone called Ripley, whoever that could be, and a synthetic, whatever that is, and then the trailer concludes by showing an alien do a jump and then stand up. Trepidation instilled.
(As a direct comparison, look at what Visceral conjured up with their tantalising teaser for Dead Space.)