E3 Awesomeness: A List

June 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

So I’ve been writing E3 news posts in lieu of articles this month, which has led to a dearth of material over here.  So in the interest of remedying that, here’s a quick rundown of the games of this E3 season that have me stoked.

The Big Ones

Portal 2: The first game was awesome sauce.  You know this.  And while it would have been easy for Valve to follow the same template as before and cash in, that isn’t what they’re doing.  The setting and story look great so far (I especially like the idea of game sections corresponding to different facets of GlaDOS’s segmented personality), and I can only imagine the sorts of mind-bending shenanigans that will arise with two players and two portal guns.  The fact that it’s being released for PS3 with Steamworks support is icing on the infamous cake.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Here’s a game that most people never thought would ever get made.  The SF4-style visuals, great background sets, and colorful text give this installment more of a comic-book feel than any other in the series, and it looks great.  While the roster is going to be smaller than its predecessor’s, it’s still appreciable at 30ish characters.  If the developers are to be believed, this is a result of making each of those characters more developed (though graphic constraints undoubtedly played a part).  It’s still too early to assess the gameplay, but from the videos it looks like the basic structure and hectic feel of MvC2 have been preserved.  Here’s hoping it’s a bit more balanced…or maybe that was part of the fun.

Epic Mickey: Alright, so I’m not completely sold on the 3D segments (though the paint / thinner mechanics have some promise) or what seems to be a rudimentary morality system (it’s Mickey for f***’s sake – I’m not going to play him like an asshole), but what we’ve seen of the 2D platformer sections looks great.  I also like that the developers are drawing from the super-retro cartoons and theme parks.  There’s a lot of charm in those settings and it looks to translate well to a (hopefully) light-hearted game.  Oh, and stop overusing the word “epic.”

Zelda: Skyward Sword: I’m not sure how I feel about the art style of this game, which seems to meld Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, two games with very disparate visualizations of Link and Hyrule.  Initially I was a bit put off by it, but I could see it growing on me as long as it has a unique personality and isn’t just a faceless mash-up (I’m not too worried – It’s Zelda, after all).  However, tales of precise sword play that works and gameplay that strays from the formulaic mold of past installments really have me excited and optimistic about the game.

Metroid: Other M: Nintendo and Team Ninja is an odd pairing, but from initial reactions it looks like the two have successfully combined action platformer and FPS into something cohesive and fun to play.  That said, I’m not too thrilled about the emphasis on story.  Metroid is at its best when you’re exploring a strange world free of dialogue or context – when people started talking or guiding me in Metroid Fusion it was jarring, and it ruined the atmosphere.  On the other hand, it wasn’t so bad in Prime 3 because it was kept to a minimum, and never cropped up in the middle of a level.  Hopefully Other M will make the right move and keep the story and gameplay seperate.

Kirby: Epic Yarn: Let’s move past the silly pun of the title for a moment.  It’s been a while since Kirby’s shown up on a console (the under-rated Kirby 64 to be precise), and it’s nice to see something completely different in terms of style and mechanics.  Some people didn’t like it, and I’ll admit that seeing Kirby as a string outline takes some getting used to, but I think the visuals look good and fit with the innocent, childish theme of Kirby.  What really makes the game for me is the fact that the art style isn’t just a gimmick, but rather forms the basis of the gameplay.  Kirby uses his newfound yarn composition to lasso enemies and parts of the scenery, and to tie himself into different shapes like a parachute or a car.  It’s a clever twist, and one that looks really fun to play with.

GoldenEye 007: Oh hells yes.  GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, and Super Smash Bros: My friends and I wasted our childhoods together on these three games, and GoldenEye is the only member of that trifecta that hasn’t gotten a follow-up.  The original hasn’t aged particularly gracefully, so a remake is welcome – and new material is always a plus.  Here’s hoping Activision can capture what made the original so fun.

Donkey Kong Country Returns: Speaking of classic Rare games, there’s a new DKC coming out!  While it’s great to see another side-scrolling DK platformer after all these years, I worry that the developers may be borrowing too heavily from DK64 for inspiration.  Aside from Diddy’s jetpack, the graphics are a colorful 3D rendering that I feel falls short of the original.  Though the technology of the time was inferior, Rare used it to greater effect: graininess, warm textures, great lighting and a superb soundtrack all coming together to really pull you into the game world.  Rocket Knight did the same thing recently: its 3D models looked okay, but lacked a lot of the charm of the original sprites (are sprites strictly regulated to flash and DLC games now?).  But then again, maybe this is just nostalgic whining.  Mark me down as cautiously optimistic.  …Oh yeah, and two hearts per ape?  C’mon, guys.

Some Quickies

Skulls of the Shogun: A speedy, pared down, competitive SRPG with some comical style.  I wish I had an XBox.

Hard Corps: Uprising: A Contra game developed by Arc System Works?  Yes please.

Lost in Shadow: A platformer where your character exists only as a shadow, and you have to manipulate 3D objects in the foreground in order to change the shadows they cast to get around.  Looks like visually pleasing, cerebral fun.

Child of Eden: A trippy, synesthetic on-rails shooter from the guy who made Rez and Lumines.  Not sure about Kinect or its implementation here, though.

Journey: From thatgamecompany (of Flower and flOw fame), it features expansive deserts – not to mention painstakingly realized sand physics to play with – that you wander through to…well…some sort of goal.  Details are sparse, but it looks gorgeous.

So yeah.  I wasn’t sure how much there was to be excited about for this E3, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I probably won’t have the time or money to play all of these, but they’re all games I’m keeping an eye on.


Entry filed under: gaming.

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