The lights are on
Power Member - Level 8
Isn't it crazy how much can happen in the game world in only a few days? It has been an awesome E3 so far, with some crazy trailers and big reveals. I have spent all morning catching up on all the news, watching trailers, and reading hands on impressions. Now that I have seen all there is to be seen (I think) I would like to take some time to talk about what I saw, and what games I thought stood out.
Rayman Legends - Wii U
Let's begin with the sequel to one of my favorite games of last year, and one of my contenders for game of show this year. Rayman Origins was one of the best platformers of last year, and when the trailer for the sequel was leaked I couldn't have been happier to hear that more was on the way. That trailer showed how the Wii U Gamepad's screen could be used to change how the game is played, but it seemed like it was shoehorned in and might slow down the fast paced gameplay. The E3 demo showed us that that was not the case, and has sold me on the idea of Gamepad interactivity. Progress is dependent on the Gamepad player, who has to juggle many different environmental effects all at once. The Ubisoft demo showed this was possible, and that when done right the gameplay doesn't have to slow down at all. Legends looks like it might be even better than Origins, and I will definitely be picking it up at launch.
What I Want: Multiplayer races. Cooperative platforming is fun, but I want a little head to head action as well.
New Super Mario Bros. U / 2 - Wii U / 3DS
Nintendo had two new Mario games to show off during their press conference, both of which are new entries in the New Super Mario Bros. series. I played both of the previous New Super Mario Bros. games to completion, and I am happy to see that 2D Mario is here to stay. The HD graphics in NSMBU look great, and the new power ups like the Squirrel Suit and Baby Yoshis look like great additions. However, I see that players still bump into each other rather than passing through on impact (like they do in Rayman). This was my biggest issue with NSMB Wii's multiplayer, as all of the bumping made precision platforming impossible. As for NSMB2, the graphics don't look like they have improved much since the DS. The game is said to be all about collecting coins, but for what purpose? Hopefully this will be explained during the 3DS conference tomorrow. Perhaps we will see a grading system like Rayman Origins. Regardless, I'm hoping that Nintendo keeps a few surprises for the game's release. I'm hoping for some new powers, and maybe characters.
What I Want: More challenge maps. NSMB Wii had challenge maps that could be unlocked with the Star Medals. Hopefully both of these new games will have similar levels, and that they will be easier to unlock.
Project P-100 - Wii U
What in the world is this? Bayonetta developer Platinum Games has created one of the strangest titles I have seen so far, but also one of the most interesting. Project P-100 seems to be an arcade style brawler with Pikmin elements mixed in. Your hero collects citizens to help him battle giant alien robots that are attacking Earth. Groups of citizens can combine into weapons like swords and fists, but can also become structures like ladders. This feature reminds me of the N64 game Blast Corps. You have to find the right vehicle for the job at hand (we see a giant hand turn a giant wheel to lower a bridge). The game features a goofy cartoonish art style that fits extremely well with the over the top brawler feel. I am sold on the idea so far, but I would really like to learn more in the coming months. Multiplayer? How complex is the combat? Only time will tell.
What I Want: I don't know much about the game so I don't know what to say. Multiplayer and complex combat I guess?
Watch Dogs - Multiplatform
Watch Dogs is another surprise reveal that has caught my interest, possibly more than any game I've seen so far. It's hard to say what this game will even be like, but based off of the short trailer it looks like a mix between the movie Eagle Eye and Assassin's Creed. It starts off with our mysterious protagonist walking around a city street in a very Grand Theft Auto esque environment. But things quickly take a turn, and we see him hacking phones and cutting off communications to sneak into a charity event. He is tracking a target, and after some quick electronic espionage he is listening to a phone call between the target and his assistant. We get a glimpse of combat, which is quick and doesn't seem to be very interactive, and then we see our hero(?) altering traffic lights, which leads to the target getting into a car crash. The trailer ends with a long gunfight, in which we see a time slowing mechanic for precision aiming. The target is eliminated, and then we see our protagonist escape in a stolen car. The game's graphics were beautiful, and interaction with civilians was surprisingly deep. Ubisoft has a potential mega hit on their hands, so let's hope they can deliver.
What I Want: A Wii U release. Imagine a multiplayer mode in which 4 players using regular controllers are chasing the hacker, whose gameplay is entirely on the Wii U Gamepad. Using the touch screen, the hacker can alter the game world to his advantage, picking off his pursuers one by one. This could be done locally with splitscreen, and would make for an awesome game mode.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star - 3DS
I just finished Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door this morning after staying up all night playing it, and I am more excited than ever for a new Paper Mario game. Paper Mario: Sticker Star returns to the series turn based roots, but changes up the combat by tying all of your attacks to stickers that you find throughout the game. The idea of ditching the badge system may seem a little strange, but depending on the number of stickers in the game it may allow for more varied combat. The stickers shown off in the short demo all looked very cool, and the paper graphics look as sharp as ever. The game is set for a holiday release, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's 3DS showcase where we will hopefully get more info on what is now my most anticipated 3DS release.
What I Want: Don't fully ditch the badge system. Hopefully they still allow me to augment my Mario with badges, and maybe badges can alter the way certain stickers act.
Lego City Undercover - Wii U
If I remember correctly, Lego City Stories (now Undercover) was one of the first Wii U games shown off at last year's E3. I have always enjoyed the Lego games quirky style and goofy gameplay, and the idea of an open world GTA style Lego game had me excited, but it had to be done right. If the new trailer shown off at E3 is any indication, we are in for one heck of a ride (and one amazing game). The game takes some queues from Just Cause 2, allowing the player tons of freedom in their navigation of the game world. We see vehicles like helicopters and cars, but we also see our Lego man wall jumping and leaping between lamp posts like a fusion between Mario and Nathan Drake. Much like Lego Star Wars, you can change your character using different disguises to gain new skills. The Wii U Gamepad has a few notable uses, such as scanning for criminals, communicating with other characters, or as a placeholder for your map. The city appears to be huge, and full of goofy characters and interesting places to explore. If the game can match the scope of Grand Theft Auto while keeping the Lego series goofiness it will be a stand out in the Wii U lineup.
What I Want: Tons of side missions. With a giant open world, and the endless possibilities of Legos, I'm sure Traveller's Tales can come up with plenty of inventive activities to keep the player busy.
The Last Of Us - PS3
The Last Of Us demo was possibly the most impressive E3 showing I have ever seen. The lights went out in the conference hall, leaving the audience in a hushed silence. After a few seconds the game audio filled the air, and we hear Joel and Ellie talking to each other. The video popped and we seem them wandering a destroyed city. The environment is beautiful, possibly the best graphics I saw in any game at the conference so far. For a few minutes they are just wandering. They enter a hotel, and start ascending it's stairs, all while having a conversation about the world before it was destroyed. Halfway through the trailer the action starts when Joel hears voices. He sneaks around as we listen to these voices talk about ransacking the hotel. Joel silently kills one of the men by choking him, but shortly after he is spotted and a gun battle ensues. Ammo is scarce, and Joel is outnumbered. He is shot a few times, but manages to take out his attackers. The melee combat looks awesome, and we see Joel brutally smash a man's face into the corner of a table. We also see him take a hostage, who struggles causing Joel's aim to be thrown off. Joel runs out of ammo, but Ellie comes to the rescue by throwing a brick at an attacker. Desperate, Joel reaches into his backpack and we see a creation menu where the player makes a molotov cocktail. He uses this to burn one man alive, much to Ellie's disgust. The trailer ends with Joel taking the final attacker's shotgun, and using it blow his face off just as the title pops up.
After watching this trailer, I believe that The Last Of Us has the potential to be the greatest game Naughty Dog has ever made. I hope that none of this demo was scripted, and that the battle could have gone many different ways depending on how the player and AI (including Ellie) reacted. I only had one small complaint, and that was that the consequence for getting shot seemed to be very low. The game is going for some extreme realism, but even after being shot 3 times Joel still has plenty of health. This is an extremely minor complaint, and regardless I think The Last Of Us will probably be the best game we see all week.
What I Want: Naughty Dog to finish this game. I give them 100% of my trust.
So that's it. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this years E3 (so far). Do you agree of disagree? What were your favorites? Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think of my writing. Hope to see you back for my next blog.