The UpStream

E3 2011 - FIFA 12: The Beautiful Game Now Also Plays Beautifully

posted Monday Jun 6, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

E3 2011 - FIFA 12: The Beautiful Game Now Also Plays Beautifully

Coming off of a wonderful year in 2010, with over 51 game awards and over 42 million copies of FIFA 11 sold, it was almost a sure thing that FIFA 12 was going to be impressive and even more ground-breaking. It also doesn't hurt that EA has had unimpressive press briefings at E3 for the past few years, so the anticipation for select titles was heightened.

So what's new in FIFA 12? A whole lot of stuff, including the mission to make FIFA available everywhere. Because soccer is one of the world's most popular sports, EA wanted to connect every gamer to the world's sport and vice versa.

First, a couple of new features to help the game along. We'll start with Tactical Defending, which allows you to not only control when and how you go in for a challenge or tackle, but also control where your body is in relation to the ball to make sure you are always goalside on defense. There was an issue in FIFA 11 where you sometimes just couldn't get in the right position to make a play on the ball, even though last year's game was miles (or kilometers) ahead of the year before it. Along with that came Precision Dribbling. Tired of taking a touch too far forward and the defense immediately takes it? This year you can control exactly where and how hard each touch on the ball will be, so you can remain more in control and slip past defenders with ease just like the pros. The last enhancement added was the Player Impact Engine. Gone are the canned animations regardless of how a tackle appeared, but the good news is that they didn't go straight to rag-doll physics. Instead, a patented EA system will allow players to react realistically to where contact is made, which will allow for less arcade style playing and more accurate response. Soccer (football) is all about "feeling" the game, and these enhancements truly make you feel like you're in the game.

There is one more thing that perfectly connects every FIFA fan in the 2012 version, though. Want to know what it is? We have the scoop after the break.

E3 2011 - Why do EA Keynotes Always Feel Like Battlefield 3?

posted Monday Jun 6, 2011 by Jon Wurm

E3 2011 - Why do EA Keynotes Always Feel Like Battlefield 3?

EA's E3 events have traditionally been a little difficult for me for various reasons over the years but I feel like they delivered some interesting things this time around. Of course FIFA 12 and Madden 12 were on the roster along with SIMS Social. If a new title for anyone of these wasn't released, it just wouldn't be an EA event and the universe would be torn asunder. There were some other things they showed us like Overstrike which is a witty combat game but I'm going to focus on my personal favorite of the keynote, Battlefield 3.

I guess there are a couple of reasons why this looks cool. Pretty much everything in the environment can be destroyed. Why is this important you ask? Because sometimes just killing people doesn't cut it. Been there, done that, a million times before. Not that it isn't fun but killing someone with a 40 story office building is new and exciting. It also adds an element of strategy to firefights when you can't bank on your cover to take mortar strikes and RPG fire like a champ. The massive scales also adds to the realism. When your freedom to move is restricted only by the things trying to kill you and not so much space limitations, the amount of people and intensity of events can only increase. This pretty much turns what would be a small firefight in other games into a large scale engagement for Battlefield 3. Karl Magnus did mention a huge variety of vehicles that would be available but the one they focused on for the demo was the tank.

They embarked on a full out tank assault whose goal was to annihilate an enemy base and encountered a lot of resistance along the way which made for a couple close calls. It was easy to see what I meant about the gameplay elements I talked about previously. We did get to see an air strike called in on some artillery that was making it rain and I don't mean the dolla dolla bills kind. This alludes to their claim of a wide variety of weapons and vehicles. Overall the graphics were smooth as I would expect and they even introduced Battle Log, a free service that allows you to connect more easily with other players and keep up on your stats, even across platforms. Battlefield 3 is set to release on October 25th this year and I'm guessing they meant for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. As far as multiplayer is concerned, it will go into beta September of this year.

Am I just nuts or is anyone else excited to get their hands on this?

E3 2011 - More Kinect Games than Your Body Can Handle

posted Monday Jun 6, 2011 by Jon Wurm

E3 2011 - More Kinect Games than Your Body Can Handle

The Microsoft Keynote at E3 this year was a bit different than last years. Not as exciting but still packed a punch with some sweet Xbox Live announcements and a ton of game related announcements, almost all of which were designed for the Kinect. This really is the year of the Kinect so I'm going to take a moment and highlight some of the most exciting ones.

I suppose Microsoft had it right by starting off with the one major title which wasn't specifically designed for Kinect. That of course is the new Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamics. Basically, Laura is shipwrecked on an island and has to use her skills to escape. The game seems very gritty and starts off with Laura getting impaled by a sharp bone fragment after falling 30 ft. The interactions at first are at key moments of the opening scene as most of this sequence played out like a movie. Her "survival instincts" light up pieces of the environment that you can use, kind of like in Mirror's Edge but not as obvious. The scenes are very intense and there is a boulder chase that is reminiscent of Indiana Jones. At the end she makes it out of the caves to an ocean view of shipwrecks. There isn't a lot more to say at this point but the availability is set for fall 2012.

Get more on the newly revealed Kinect titles by hitting the break, because you know you want to.

E3 2011 - The Xbox 360 Really Does Equal Entertainment

posted Monday Jun 6, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

E3 2011 - The Xbox 360 Really Does Equal Entertainment

Last week when Microsoft posted that the "Xbox = entertainment" they really weren't lying. Today's E3 2011 Microsoft Event proved just that as they dove in to all of the media, social and Kinect aspects of the Xbox 360 that will definitely keep the console in the living room for years to come.

Microsoft's Marc Whitten took the stage to make it known that the television needed a new voice: yours. The goal was to keep the technology out of the way while still being able to enjoy the content you want. To help the cause, the Xbox 360 will feature a New Xbox Experience dashboard that looks absolutely stunning and explains why the small refresh a few months back had the tiles looking clunky. Instead of a shuffling of menus to navigate through, you can simply use your voice to pull up Games, Music, Movies and TV with ease.

For more on what's going to keep you entertained well into next year, click the break.

Soon-to-be Apple Store Gets Some Window Pains

posted Sunday Jun 5, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Soon-to-be Apple Store Gets Some Window Pains

What can you do if you wear an orange construction worker vest? Apparently anything you want to! The world's soon-to-be largest Apple Store in Hamburg, Germany fell victim to a team called the .WAV Collective.

The group went to the construction site, with the storefront draped in the customary black covers, set up a safety fence, propped up a ladder and drilled pre-made Windows logo panels to the exterior wall of the store. Oh, by the way, it was in the middle of the day.

You call it vandalism, I call it working for a cure. The cure to rid the world of anything Apple, including its potential customers, at least temporarily. I would also call it creativity at its finest. A piece that could even rival Da Vinci himself. Okay, I could also call it vandalism.

Whatever color you want to paint it (hopefully Windows blue, yellow, red and green and not metallic Apple silver), we have the video after the break.

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