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SimCity Shows Off the Good Stuff at E3

posted Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

<i>SimCity</i> Shows Off the Good Stuff at E3

One thing we were all looking forward to this year at E3 was SimCity. We've been following it for a while and got to listen in on a Producer Broadcast with SimCity lead producer Kip Katsarelis. We got to hear 30 minutes of questions and answers, along with insight on several aspects of the game, including the sim engine, look and feel and some gameplay aspects.

Of course, we will dive right into the details after the break and will even have a feed of the broadcast for you. Join us, won't you?

One of the first questions Kip was asked was, "Why did Maxis and EA bring back SimCity?" He said that with this game, they wanted to bring back the possibilities of creating a world on PCs that can now handle the engine they wanted to create. The new game is a complete reboot of the franchise and Maxis looked at every feature from top to bottom to reinvent the game to make it the best ever. There is a new simulation engine in place, which we knew about, called the GlassBox engine. With GlassBox, every Sim has a place to live, work and shop.

Glassbox is huge and is the foundation for the simulation. It allows everything you see in the world to be simulated. Crime happens in realtime, traffic is amazing, every Sim is actively tracked and managed. If work is close, they will walk or take rail or bus stops, or they may even drive. You can then act on that (those problems) and see the impact of the changes you make.

A big enhancement in the street realm is curvy roads, allowing city planning to be more different than ever before. You also get things like new roads, avenues and even avenues with light rails. SimCity is "doubling down" in the area of transportation.

GlassBox also helps with things as small as brakelights. Cars have headlights, traffic signals actually work with a simulation that realistically and logically controls all actions happening on the roads. We were told that the things we saw in the trailer were all "real and possible" in the game.

The game also features new multiplayer so you city-plan with friends and connect friends and cities together in a region so every choice you make has a rippling effect across the region. When players create a game, you can create a region or city either public or private, so you do also have the ability to play by yourself. You can play as one city, multiple cities or multiple regions if you want. You can even select "Quickplay" and be randomly inserted into a random game with other players and get started right away.

The idea is that everyone is playing in different cities and you can even control multiple cities in the region. Players collaborate in the region but still have individual goals, allowing you to make unique cities. They made the example that they are showing off both a tourism city and a dirty industrial city on the show floor at the convention. Players still need to work together to achieve common goals as well with projects like Great Works, which are big airports or museums that need to be worked on collaboratively to build and then they benefit the entire region.

Inside those cities you can now control each building, including unlocks and customizables, using the editor from the Spore game to make them look and behave differently. You can automate the buildings after customizing them or fine-tune the settings and have full control.

Zoning was also stressed as still a very important piece of SimCity. Certain things you plop down around the zones influence the zones. The difference is that now there is only one type of zone and the traffic and roads will influence the density of the zone. The impact is dependent on what you plop down.

On ploppable things, this year the developers wanted to offer lots of power options. Coal, oil, wind, solar and nuclear are all available in the game but there are trade-offs that exist with each one. For example, there is an actual wind map, due to having the GlassBox engine, so placing a windmill may not work in the area you want. There are also now resources in the game, so things like a coal power plant actually require coal and you need to acquire the resource to make it function.

All your shops require goods from your factories, too. If you don't have factories, the shops will go out of business. You need shoppers to shop at your stores and your delivery trucks in your factories will ship goods to those stores and other ploppable buildings. You can also work with your friends to deliver goods to your city or even build unique "factory cities" or whatever you can imagine in order to provide those goods to the region.

New attractions have been added as well like a large sports arena and a small civic center. Landmarks are now interactive and provide Sims with jobs and attract them to the area. Casinos now also provide work and fun for the Sims in and out of the city. You will have to "peak inside the buildings" to see what's going on in them.

There's a lot of storytelling also added in SimCity with things like special characters. Robbers and arsonists, for instance, are in the game and need to be combated with the proper law enforcement or fire department in the right place. It's all in the game to capture the humor of Maxis, which hasn't left this game even after 12 years.

All in all, some very exciting stuff coming out of the SimCity camp. I cannot wait to start an F5 region and set fire to Jon's city!

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Medal of Honor Returns With International Elites

posted Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 by Scott Ertz

<i>Medal of Honor</i> Returns With International Elites

Seemingly everyone on the planet knows who the Navy Seals are but did you know that most militarized nations have a "tier 1" elite squad? If you had no idea, then Medal of Honor: Warfighter is here to enlighten you. Danger Close, the studio behind this new title, will be bringing together the best of the best - 12 elite squadrons from 10 nations, to play in a modern, realistic shooter.

Unlike other modern shooters, this one takes all of its scenes and scenarios from real-life events and situations. In multiplayer mode, you are given the ability to choose which country, and by default, which unit you want to play as. Then, you are partnered with another player on your team to form a 2-man "fireteam." These pairs are given special abilities, such as the ability to see each other on the map at any time from any distance. You also have the ability to revive a fallen partner by killing his killer. If that doesn't happen, you serve as a mobile respawn point for your partner.

This pairing concept adds an interesting dynamic to the already existing teamwork foundation for any multiplayer. That isn't the only reason to give the game a chance though. Hit the break for more details.

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Madden 13 Looks Like Football is Fun Again, EA SPORTS Gets it Right

posted Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

<i>Madden 13</i> Looks Like Football is Fun Again, EA SPORTS Gets it Right

EA SPORTS Madden 13 Senior Designer Josh Looman took the stage at ADEA'ss press event to tell us something very profound:

Franchise mode is dead. Online franchise mode is dead. Superstar mode is dead. It's really the first true sports RPG.

For the first time in four years, I am actually excited about Madden and, for the first time in three years, it may end up in my game collection. How? From the presentation, to the gameplay, to the mechanics, to the audio, to Madden's new Connected Careers, Ultimate Team rehaul and Madden Social, this year's football franchise could be the best one yet.

We have the details and video after the break.

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God Save the Queen! ZombiU is Coming to WiiU

posted Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 by Jon Wurm

God Save the Queen! <i>ZombiU</i> is Coming to WiiU

The WiiU's premiere zombie game made it into Ubisoft's E3 2012 Press Conference and at first glance it might bring some new life to the genre for Nintendo fans. We weren't fortunate enough to see live game play so it's difficult to speak about the graphics but the preview we were given looked polished for what ever that's worth. The setting is England, which has always been a bit scary to me even without a zombie apocalypse so they seem to be off to a good start there. Since ZombiU is an exclusive WiiU title what really shines about this game is the integration with the WiiU Pro Controller and we'll discuss that in greater detail after the break.

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Battlefield 3 Gets Premium with Actual Exclusive Content for Only $49.99

posted Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

<i>Battlefield 3</i> Gets Premium with Actual Exclusive Content for Only $49.99

This year at E3, EA and DICE announced an expansion to Battlefield 3. When I say expansion, I mean they decided to stick with the game that brought them to the dance and enhance it like never before. Plus, it's not just another map pack with no other exclusives and no added benefits, like their competitor.

With Battlefield Premium, you get a ton of new features and a bunch of spread-out expansion packs that include more things than just a map pack. $49.99 may seem like an expensive pricepoint, but here's what you get:

All Five Expansion Packs with Early Access

Stand out with Exclusive in-game items

Powerful New Features

Exclusive Online Double XP Events

Insider Tactics from DICE

In total, you get access to 20 new maps, 20 new weapons, 10+ new vehicles, 4+ new game modes, 30+ assignments and 20+ dog tags. Is that more enticing now? We dive into the details of those points after the break.

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ShootMania Storm Surprises With Fun Gameplay

posted Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 by Scott Ertz

<i>ShootMania Storm</i> Surprises With Fun Gameplay

One of the heights of the Ubisoft presser this year was the gameplay shown off for the goofy-named ShootMania Storm. The title is part of Nadeo's Mania series, like TrackMania, which we got excited about last year. The title is a heavily-moddable FPS that implements the same modding engine employed in their highly addictive racing game. The engine, called ManiaScript, allows for almost full customization of all aspects of the game.

For example, if you want to speed up a character, create a map, the size of a team or even what weapons are available in certain parts of a map, it is all possible. Project manager Edouard Beauchemin describes it as working with virtual Logo pieces.

Beauchemin believes that the PC-only title will not only be a fun consumer game, he also believes it has a place in the eSports world as well. Hit the break to find out why and to see the trailer.

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