E3 battlefield: Gamers can expect massive invasion of military titles
July 27, 2008
Whether they prefer creeping through South Pacific jungles or flying super-sophisticated fighters, gamers will have plenty of opportunities to wage digital war in coming months.
The E3 Media & Business Summit, which ran from July 14 to 17 in Los Angeles, showcased numerous military titles. World War II continued to be well represented, but conflicts set in the near future — supposedly when today’s coolest experimental weaponry will reach the field — have gained ground.
Following are upcoming military titles that should be worth keeping an eye on. Most are scheduled to be released for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Some also will be available for personal computers or the Wii.
• "Battlestations: Pacific," by Eidos. This sequel to "Battlestations: Midway" follows the course of the naval war in the Pacific through to the Battle of Okinawa. In addition to commanding your fleet, you can jump into any ship, sub or aircraft to take personal control of its actions. In campaign mode, you can play as the U.S. and follow the course of the war pretty much as it really unfolded or you can take command of the Japanese navy and redirect the course of World War II. Many gamers found the original game’s controls a bit too complex, so developers are tweaking the interface and lowering the learning curve. No release date has been set.
• "Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway," by Ubisoft. This World War II shooter puts you in the shoes of a U.S. paratrooper during Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. Squad-based tactics, destructable environments and historical accuracy are key elements. Due in September.
• "Call of Duty: World at War," by Activision. In re-creating World War II combat, developers are using the same engine that propelled "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" to great success. Even though Activision didn’t participate in E3, Nintendo was happy to showcase the game during its press briefing — an indication of the game’s expected impact. Due this fall.
• "Crysis: Warhead," by Electronic Arts. Take on the North Koreans in this shooter set in 2019. Developers say they wanted to make it faster and more explosive than the original "Crysis," so they provided "more stuff to blow up and plenty of tools to do it with." Due this fall on the PC.
• "Far Cry 2," by Ubisoft. You play as a covert operative assigned to take down the Jackal, who’s stirring up trouble in Africa. You can roam a 50-square-kilometer map where you can go anywhere any time and accomplish your missions in any way you see fit. This is a game that proves sniping with a tranquilizer dart can be very cool. Due this fall.
• "MAG – Massive Action Game," by Zipper Interactive. This online shooter for the PlayStation 3 will feature combat by up to 256 players. It will feature an ongoing campaign, character growth, squad-based tactics and a merit-based chain of command consisting of players. No release date has been set.
• "SOCOM Confrontation," by Sony Computer Entertainment America. This online multi-player shooter will take the best maps from previous editions of "SOCOM" and give them a graphical boost for the franchise’s debut on the PlayStation 3. Due in November.
• "Tom Clancy’s End War," by Ubisoft. This strategy game is set in 2020 during a three-way conflict involving the United States, Europe and Russia. You play as a battalion commander with a ground-level view of the combat. The game looks great and the action is very engaging. However, it’s the game play that makes it unusual. If you choose, you can play the entire game using nothing but voice commands. Unfortunately, the demo version at E3 couldn’t understand my voice — even though it responded perfectly well to the French-accented commands delivered by the Ubisoft rep. Due this fall.
• "Tom Clancy’s HAWX," by Ubisoft. This aviation game is set in 2014, the same time period as Ubi’s "Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter" franchise. In fact, your first task is to provide the air support that’s called in during one of the "GRAW" missions. The game features more than 50 current aircraft and maps based on satellite imagery. Developers are aiming to create a "shooter in the sky," and achieve a good deal of success. One of the best parts is a "dogfight camera" that lets you step outside the cockpit and still control your aircraft with ease. Due in 2009.