You know that companies pour lots of money into their E3 presentations and booths, but really I had no idea. I began hearing bagpipes, while I stood outside the south hall waiting for the show floor to open on day two. As it turned out, Disney had hired a bagpipe trio to play at the foot of the stairs of the South hall as a promotion for the game and upcoming Pixar film Brave. Which was an awesome surprise to start off the day.
When the show opened, I thought my luck had run out when I was unable to get a time to see the Resident Evil 6 theater presentation. After this, I decided to head over to the West hall to check out Sony and Microsoft and see what they had to offer.
After entering the west hall, the first Sony game I got my hands on was Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale. Surprisingly there was not a very long line considering that the demo consisted of three, three minute matches with two human players and two computer controlled characters. Of the six playable characters, I tried Parappa Da Rappa, Kratos and Sweet Tooth. As expected, this game plays similar to the Super Smash Brothers series of games. What is different, is that as you incur damage on other players, orbs are released, which in turn, raises your power meter to allow you to execute special moves. Some of the higher level special movies will incapacitate all other players on the screen, to some extent. The character Big Daddy, can fill the play field with water, making it near impossible to move. I had an enjoyable time playing this game as will fighting game, and Playstation fans. Here’s hoping that Lara Croft, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, will be in the final version of the game.
The next game over was, God of War: Ascension, a prequel to the previous three games in the series, and what was playable at E3 consisted of the new multiplayer game mode. This new multiplayer pits teams of players against each other as either the Spartans or Trojans. The objective of each match is for one team to reach 5,000 point first. This is done by either killing opposing players, collecting jewels or conquering an area by standing and safeguarding designated areas. Also, when a player unlocks the special spear, the team who gets to it first, will not only destroy the cyclops, but gain 1,000 points. I really enjoyed the magic powers and the use of traps on the playfield. Adding multiplayer is great way to expand the unique elements of the franchise.
I next headed over to the Microsoft booth to check out, Fable the Journey for the Kinect. This is a unique gesture based fantasy game in the Fable franchise. Unlike most kinect games, the player is able to sit while playing. The controls just require movement from the hands, arms and upper body. When learning a new control, there will be on screen prompts to help the player master the gameplay. These prompts appeared often for me because there are many enemies whose purpose is to help show off the different control and gesture styles. Once these are mastered, the game becomes more fun and exciting. Because the demo of the game is only a build version, there were times when the Kinect camera had trouble registering my movements and accuracy, thus taking more time to destroy the enemies. Having to hone in the accuracy of the gesture controls and spending time figuring out the proper aim, might turn off some players. This is what I had the most trouble with when playing the demo. Aside from that, I hope it to be very engaging and once this is all figured out and the game is released, I am sure it will be enjoyed by many people.
After leaving the west hall, and to start off the afternoon for, I went to a scheduled appointment up in the Gaikai meeting room. I am keeping this short because I plan on writing a full article detailing the Gaikai presentation. Just to give a brief overview, in the simplest explanation, Gaikai, is a cloud based gaming platform, not unlike its competitor OnLive. The service allows players to demo and play full games without the hassle of having to install any files or the need for discs or updates. For example, a person can try World of Warcraft, which includes all expansions in a matter of minutes within minutes on almost any desktop, notebook or tablet computing device. This may very well become the future of digital distribution and overall gaming, that is when high speed internet connections become ubiquitous across the US and around the world.
I went back into the south halI just for a short bit. The one game I did play there was the Assassins Creed 3 demo. The main takeaway is that what I was able to play was a multiplayer area takeover mode. For the most part, I just spent my time exploring the map, not really knowing how to complete the objective. Each team was to sneak into the opposing team controlled areas, take them out and then keep control. Can’t really say that I had too much fun playing this demo.
For the end of the day, I decided to see what else Nintendo had to offer on the Wii U, besides Nintendoland. I decided to play New Super Mario Brothers: U, which is the logical progression of New Super Mario Brothers Wii. It’s the game you know and love, adding new features and a fifth player via the GamePad. Though adding a fifth player does little to enhance the gameplay. Using the Gamepad just allows the player to touch the screen creating platforms for the main players to jump on, as a lifesaver helping them complete the stage. That was about all I played of the demo. Playing using the Wiimote, seems to be no different than the way the controls work on the Wii game.
Zen Pinball 2 is just about the only PS Vita game I played at E3. The two tables that I played were Ghost Rider and Street Fighter themed and makes good use of the given property. This is a very good software translation of the physical pinball experience, especially for handheld gaming. That was all of the game I got to play because the show floor closed for the day.
Day two for me was just as exciting and packed as day one. I got to see and do much more, because I finally knew where I wanted to go and where that booth was. I basically did the things that interested me and those that did not have extremely long lines that would take massive chunks of the day, just to get hands on playtime with, except for Halo 4, which I played first thing on day three. I tried playing many different games on several varying platforms. I wanted to see what each of the major players had to offer, despite me being an old school Nintendo fanboy. As alluded to earlier, once my day three article has been posted, I plan on writing a separate and longer piece about the Gaiki presentation. My day three story will be up on the site soon.