Well, the prelude to E3 has come and gone, and featured press conferences from Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft. So, what of note, genre wise came from this events?

Microsoft

We got our first look at gameplay in Gears of War 3. In particular, we got a look at the game’s four-player simultaneous co-op. In addition to all the stuff from two-player co-op in earlier versions, players can hand-off extra weapons to their team-mates. For example, if for some reason you drop your Lancer and are in need of a rifle, one of your colleagues can hand one to you.

Hideo Kojima also demonstrated Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The game features Raiden, as we saw him in Metal Gear Solid IV instead of II – as a cyborg ninja. The game is also much more of an action game, with strategic cutting and dismemberment. The game includes an attack mode which allows the player to get much more precise in his cuts and the angle of the cuts, and the game lets you cut through just about anything. One snippet of game-play during a quiet portion of the game showed Raiden cutting a watermelon into chunks perfect for serving at a picnic. This wasn’t a mini-game, it was the player doing it just because he could.

We also got a look at Halo: Reach’s single player campaign, showing off the first-person-shooter segments, as well as giving us a couple of seconds at a space shooter stage.

Also, we got a look at Project Natal, now called “Kinect”, as well as the new slimmer Xbox 360. Not only is the new design ready for production, it’s already on the way to stores and should be on shelves by this Friday (which should lead to stores cutting the price on older model Elites to clear up space) – and they gave everyone at the event one of the new model Elites, and many of the sites who got these Elites are planning to give them away – so there’s also a possibility that you could win one from one of those sites. Not this one though – I had to rely on internet streaming, and I’d probably keep mine as I don’t own a 360, and by owning one I’d finally be able to review 360 games.

(As an aside, if someone wants to give me a 360, I wouldn’t complain.) ;-)

Electronic Arts

They showed off some game-play from Dead Space 2, including some of the new enemies – some of which look like creepy zombie children. Under the EA Partners section, we also got a look at Crysis 2, including a big boss fight against an enemy mech in Grand Central Station, as well as a cut-scene following that fight, were an alien ship brought down the Met Life Building, and the player fled in a Humvee as the Met Life building crashed onto the historic landmark behind you.

There was also a look at Epic Games and People Can Fly’s Bulletstorm – a very over-the-top third person shooter on an alien planet. How over-the-top is it? Well, the game has a combo system, and you can string elements of kills together to get extra points. For example, the main character has a sort of energy tether, which can be used to throw enemies around, or cause an explosion that sends enemies up into the air. If you use the explosion effect, the enemy is in a bit of stasis while they’re in the air, so you can pick them off. To my knowledge, the points don’t serve any purpose outside of leader-boards. Finally, we got a little morsel of information about Star Wars: The Old Republic – every player will get a starship, and that there will be designated PvP battlegrounds.

Ubisoft

This was a semi-train wreck. On the bright side, we got a look at a new game from the creator of Rez & Lumines, called Child of Eden, which is controlled entirely with Kinect. That game looked really fun. We also saw some game-play from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood that looked interesting. We also got a new trailer which gave some information about how the new multi-player might work. Finally, we got a look at Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, which was closer to Metal Gear than Rainbow Six, like earlier games in the series were – even including an actual personal cloaking device for each member of your squad. It looked interesting, but the thing with the Tom Clancy Franchise that provided consistency for me was the fact that it was always 30 seconds in the future. This game, on the other hand, feels like it’s 30 years in the future – being closer to Ghost in the Shell than anything else.

On the minus side, they spent an impressive amount of time on collections of Wii-like mini-games for the Kinect, including their own Vitality Sensor and software to go with it (which, admittedly, is more than Nintendo demonstrated last year). They also demonstrated a laser-tag system that would connect to your PC or console for online leader-boards (which I feel would work better at CES). Patrick Klepick of G4 joked on his Twitter that someone involved with his project must have had pictures on Ubisoft management, in order for this to be included in the E3 press briefing. Finally, we got a look at a Michael Jackson themed dance game, but they never really bothered telling us that they were hyping a Michael Jackson game, leading me, and others in the press, to wonder what the point of that was.

All in all, between the “Vitality Sensor” demo, and the way they introduced the Laser Tag system (people coming into the theater with a game in process, without any introduction explaining what’s going on), I’m putting Ubisoft as the #1 Contender for Most Embarrassing Moment in their E3 Press Conference. Nintendo will have to work really hard to top them.