E3 2010 Recap: The Best War and Military Simulations Coming to a Game Near You
The annual trade show known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) descends on Los Angeles with enough focus and energy to overthrow a small South American dictatorship. But this is no hostile takeover, instead it is a cold and calculated attempt by the biggest names in the video game industry to introduce gamers to the latest technology and to give a sneak peak of what they be soon (or in some cases not so soon) playing. And as big names such as Nintendo and Disney Interactive were on hand to show their wares (hard and soft) there were plenty of Mickey Mouse titles – but for the wargamer and (pardon the pun) armchair generals out there, the big news was in the war games. Here is a sneak peak of the virtual wars you’ll be fighting in the months to come.
Medal of Honor (Electronic Arts)
One of the premiere World War II shooter franchises has gotten an update and an upgrade, as well as a completely new setting. This time the action heads takes place in the modern-day in Afghanistan, with the focus on Tier-1 Operations, those that exist above and beyond the typical Special Operations forces. Interestingly, this latest Medal of Honor, which will be available in October for the PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360, was developed by DICE, the creators of the Battlefield series. The resulting game promises to give Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series a run for the money, both with a robust single player story and with intense online multiplayer gameplay. Gamers who pre-order Medal of Honor will get a chance to get in on the action early, and take part in a beta that launches on June 21st. this will open two multiplayer beta maps.
Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam Expansion Pack (Electronic Arts)
While not as popular with fans as the original Battlefield 1942, DICE’s follow-up Battlefield Vietnam was a solid shooter set in the jungles and urban centers of South East Asia. Now Electronic Arts is heading back with Bad Company 2 Vietnam, a multiplayer only expansion, which will feature four new maps – likely based on the original BF: Vietnam. The add-on pack, which will arrive later this year for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, will include enhanced persistence, so you can earn your rank with your online tour of duty, plus provide new period weapoins and vehicles. This is just the blast from the past that you’ve been waiting for, time to rock and roll and lock and load.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
In the past games you played as an assassin who worked best alone, but in this follow-up to Assassin’s Creed 2 you learn that you can use a little help from your friends. As Ezio, an Italian killer in the early 16th century, your greatest enemies are the Templars – and at the end of the day (or rather game) only one power is going to be left standing. While a bit anachronistic – the Templar order was long gone by the time this game takes part and probably never actually allied with the Borgia family – and more than a bit over-the-top, this one is about more intense direct combat than stealthy missions and sneaking about. But as this one adds the multiplayer experience into the mix what more could you expect? You’ll get to play as the assassins or Templars, and each will have their respective weapons and combat techniques. And while the previous games were set in a variety of Middle Eastern and Italian cities, this one is set entirely in and around Rome, making for a world that is three times bigger, which should offer plenty for the players to explore. The final showdown will begin in November for the PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360.
The Nintendo Wii gets its fair share of "kiddie" games, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more bite you’re in luck. The greatest secret agent is back, and while not exactly an "original" adventure, who can complain when it is James Bond in GoldenEye. First released a decade ago exclusively for the Nintendo 64, this was one of the best console shooters of its day. Now it will be heading exclusively back to Nintendo, this time for the Wii. The game will offer a fresh take on the classic version, but with a few twists, notably that Daniel Craig – the current Bond – will step in for the likeness and voice acting duties, while Bond’s gadgets are truly 21st century such as a mobile smartphone. But with the same basic missions and solid gameplay this one proves to be golden when it arrives this fall.
SOCOM 4: US Navy SEALs (Sony)
Think you have what it takes to be a Navy SEAL? If you spend most of your time on a couch you’re probably not going to cut it, but this game might actually help you tone up just a bit. This PlayStation 3 exclusive third person shooter is PlayStation Move compatible. Thus you can use this with the console’s new motion sensing controllers, which allows you to be further immersed into the action as you lead a five-man squad in a mission to determine what’s behind the annihilation of a NATO Spec Ops team in Southeast Asia. This one features 14 single-player missions that take place over an intense six-day battle. You’ll want the seventh day to rest when this one arrives this fall.
Spec Ops: The Line (Take 2 Interactive)
A line has been drawn in the sand, and after a devastating serious of storms hits the picturesque coastal city of Dubai returning much of the land to the desert you’ll have to lead a highly trained team of Delta Force soldiers to rescue a U.S. Army Colonel. What begins as a simple extraction mission soon ends up as a nightmare as various factions fight for control of the city. This third-person shooter is also more than just a run-and-gun action game, and focuses heavily on realistic squad-based tactics, where it is up to you as the team leader to make sure no one gets left behind. Get in line for this PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 shooter, which arrives next year.
Imagine – if even for a second – that Al Gore is right and global warming is real? What if the seas rise and the a floating city known as The Ark was mankind’s only hope of survival? In this far-fetched, but still interesting looking game, this is the back-story. The problem is that The Ark was an idealistic vision meant to support 5,000 residents. But when the population grows to 50,000 the situation verges on the "brink" of a civil war. But what really makes this first-person shooter, which is scheduled for release on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, so interesting is that it is offers a unique form of cooperative gameplay that merges the best elements of a single-player storyline with that of an open multiplayer match. Players must actually work together, with each having specific tasks to accomplish, while working through a linear adventure. With multiple classes, such as engineer and medic, players will also have unique jobs to do. This one could really change the way co-op games evolve. We could be on the brink of a whole new type of gameplay.
Imagine if the wars we all too often see on TV weren’t fought across the oceans. Imagine if the occupied land was our own? It is a dark, and unthinkable possibility but in Homefront it sounds all too believable. Part of this is that writer John Milius, who worked on Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn, penned this upcoming shooter for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 – so he knows something about crafting semi-believable war tales. The story here is that North Korea successfully unites with South Korea and manages to successfully invade the United States. Now as part of the resistance you have to take back what is ours. And unlike in other shooters, where you’re fighting for money or are highly trained, this time you’re an average Joe trying to defend America from an invader worse than any sci-fi alien!
Company of Heroes Online (THQ)
Most online roleplaying games are set in science fiction futures or some fantasy world. If you’re not interested in playing a guy in robes or fighting against green monsters but still want the RPG experience, sign up for the upcoming Company of Heroes Online. This military action game, which is set in a quasi World War II era, lets players take command of one of six divisions including "German Blitzkrieg" or "Allied Airborne" and lead these armies into battle. The free online game will offer a "micro transaction" business model – meaning that you can use real world money to upgrade your virtual army. Think of it as toy soldiers on the computer, but whether you have the best toys doesn’t matter. It is how you use them that will win the day. This free PC only game will arrive this fall.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision)
It started out in World War II, went to the modern day and now the latest Call of Duty title is getting chilly as it is set entirely in the Cold War. Think of this one covering those missions you never heard about, and that keep conspiracy theories going. Players take the role of so-called black ops operators in missions set behind enemy lines. Part of James Bond, part traditional military shooter, this one offers SOG type missions in the Ural Mountains, Vietnam and other Cold War hotspots. Your job is to kill the bad guys while keeping the peace and from turning a Cold War hot. This shooter will arrive this November for the PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii. It should be a blast from the past in more ways than one, and possibly the only kind of flashback worth having.