I managed to get into E3 this year (yes there was crying and pleading). The energy there never changes as everyone packs into lines with anticipation, hoping to get a taste of what the greatest gaming industry leaders have to offer in the coming Fall and 2013. In typical fashion I made my way to Nintendo, where this year the Wii U finally made its mark with a dozen mini games and the slightly new title: Nintendo Land. This also marked a first hands-on experience with the new Wii U Game Pad.
Nintendo Land was entertaining, to say the least. I got to play each game starting off with Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, which wasn’t mind blowing, but still had the Wiimote sword swinging mechanics, which is always fun. The Wii U Gamepad function represented a bow and arrow and allowed the player to help the group open passages or provide support against the opposing ranged antagonist. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion was the first five vs. one game and I had the most trouble with this because my teammates kept getting captured by the Ghost. The idea was to use your flashlight to reduce the Ghosts health while the Ghost was invisible to the other players. Thankfully I was there to carry the rest of my teammates to victory.
Donkey Kong’s Crash Course wasn’t too impressive, but it tried showing off the “accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor”. Moving my hips and shoulders in order to get the Mii down an obstacle was a pain in the ass, as I just ended up just moving my wrist, which pissed off the nice Nintendo slu.. I mean, representative. Animal Crossing: Sweet Day was by far my favorite demo from Nintendo – it was Hungry Hungry Hippos meets Catch Me If You Can. The Wii U Gamepad was crazy hard, trying to stop the other players from getting candy by scooping out the whole map using both analog sticks to control two separate town guards. Finally, the last game was Takamaru’s Ninja Castle, which was kind of disappointing (especially since I waited in line for about half an hour). Flicking the Gamepad screen to toss ninja stars at cardboard ninjas and avoiding enemy ninja stars and bombs didn’t take any real skill; holding the Wii U Gamepad one handed and trying to aim at the enemies was definitely a test of stamina.
Microsoft had its crazy flair and buzz and I didn’t know which game to try out first. I made the mistake of waiting in line for Gears of Wars: Judgement. Nothing about the franchise has been impressive after the first game, but everyone I talk to about it says that the multiplayer is very engaging. Protecting the generator in a new multiplayer mode called Overrun was hell, where you alternate between COG soldiers and Locust in a class-based strategy using Engineers, Soldiers, Medics, and Scouts versus Locust units which you evolve into better mobs. After that nightmare I checked out the upcoming Summer of Arcade, which was also a mess to deal with, but I was able to play the first game to be released: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, which was a nice nostalgic throwback to junior high. Deadlight was pretty intense for a survival horror platformer, but I couldn’t enjoy it very much with all the bright lights and Dance Central 3 blasting in the background.
With a few hours remaining, I dashed over to the Sony booth and got right into God of War: Ascension, which to me wasn’t anything exciting because it felt like the same one trick pony beaten into the ground yet again, plus I hate the idea of multiplayer in a single player game. I do have to admit though, that the brutality was intensified this time around; a moment of silence for Elephant Man.
Dust 514 was something I was goaded into by my former boss, which to be honest, I joked about when it was first announced back in 2010, but it played and ran really well. The idea that this FPS runs simultaneously with the Eve MMO is bizarre, plus it’s not going to require a subscription fee – I can’t wait. Kudos to the guys at CCP for throwing an amazing after party and letting me grill them about the World of Darkness MMO. Dead or Alive 5 was an awesome technical fighter, but my opponent did point out that they added sweat physics now! Finally I got to test out Playstation All Stars, which was a nice alternative fighter but I couldn’t get past the idea of it being a Smash Bros clone. The thing that stood out to me was the level progression in special finishers.
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