This year at E3, Nintendo wowed us by releasing a new console that takes the DS's dual screen setup to the next level by slapping one of those screens in the controller, Sony puts forth yet another handheld, and Microsoft showed us that god dammit, we are not giving up on the Kinect! Lines for their respective booths, however, were a bit long, so Rog and I opted to skip them for the most part. Thankfully, there were plenty of other games to demo, maybe even more than last year.
If you were disappointed with how Resident Evil 5 turned out, then prepare to be even more disappointed. Whereas RE5 compromised the scariness of the series in favor of co-op gameplay, Operation Raccoon City completely abandons the idea of being a survival horror game in favor of being a team-based shooter featuring monsters. Thus, what you have here is less like a Resident Evil game, and more like Capcom's take on Left 4 Dead. It could still wind up being a decent game, but it's hard not to be disappointed with the direction the series has gone after RE4.
I'm not sure how many games are in the Magical Drop series, but number five for the PC was on display at one of the booths. There were two controllers setup, so I thought this would be a grand opportunity to teach Rog a lesson about bubble-based puzzle games. Unfortunately, the second controller wasn't working, and with no attendant in sight, I opted to give it a solo shot. I thought I was doing alright, but the CPU player still won in the end. I suppose it's a good game, but it's hard for me to know how good without being able to crush someone in a head-to-head, face-to-face match. Here's hoping the booth for Magical Drop 6 has two working controllers.
Last year, I got to check out Dead Rising 2. This year, Capcom has more Dead Rising 2, in the form of their latest standalone/expansion game, Off the Record. Once again, you play freelance journalist and accomplished zombie smasher Frank West, snapping pictures of zombies while impaling them on broken broom handles. As excited as I was for DR2, I'm kind of burnt out on the series now. Between this year's E3 and last year's, we had the full game, along with two smaller standalone games just like this one. Capcom should consider holding back all these mini versions of the game, these Dead Rising sliders, and just fold them into the next full game in a year or two so the series doesn't end up like Guitar Hero.
What I really took away from the Off the Record demo was that Capcom is still running some of the filthiest booths at E3. Last year, their controllers were covered with a shell of dirt and dried sweat. This year, I put on a pair of headphones at their booth and was surprised to find them soaking wet. Who the hell has sweaty ears? Suffice to say, my playtime with Off the Record was relatively quiet.
I don't know what possessed me to try and play the new online version of 3rd Strike. I've never been any good at fighting games, least of the all the Street Fighter series, but when there's no line for a demo, you'll try pretty much anything. Didn't take long for me to finish, as the guy I was playing against was a bit more familiar with the game. He promptly trounced me, then gave Rog a similar thrashing, and I assume the same happened with whoever came after us, though no one was eager to try at the time. Still, I'm sure that guy had fun running his own impromptu tournament on the demo.
Anyway, it's too bad they couldn't have utilized the widescreen format, apart from putting in a couple stats for grind achievements. They did smooth out the pixels for the remake, so I guess that's something.
While on the lookout for Twisted Metal, we were drawn in by a man in a similarly-scary clown mask to try Payday, a first person bank heist simulator.
Things start off not unlike the Hitman series, with you being able to move about freely without drawing attention to yourself as you try to quickly case the joint before anyone knows what you're doing. Once you've worked everything out to your satisfaction, you don your clown mask and start the heist. You spring into action, opening the vault in stages, taking out cameras, and taking hostages while fighting off the police in waves. It was interesting, but I wonder how much game time you can get out of it given that the full game will feature only 6 maps. It does feature some randomization with how some of the elements (i.e., keys to the vault, security terminals, etc) will spawn in any given map, but it's not as if the vault itself is going to be in a different location every time.
On a side note, the guy showing me through the demo pointed out that one of the hostage models was made with his likeness, adding, "You can shoot him if you want." I can't shoot your guy with you sitting right there! That's weird, right? So I shot someone else, hoping that it wasn't one of the other nearby attendants.
I still need to get through Ninja Gaiden 2, but Ninja Gaiden 3 is on the horizon. For some reason, the demo opens with an extremely long, unskippable cutscene. What's worse, this particular kiosk was setup without headphones, so you can't hear any of what's being said in regards to the no doubt labyrinthine plot (it involves ninjas and killing). The demo included blood, a feature strangely absent from the PS3 version of the last game, but no dismemberment. The producer explained that, "Ninja Gaiden 2 was about gore. Ninja Gaiden 3 is about violence." He also insisted that this game would feature Ryu Hayabusa fighting humans rather than demons, and facing the consequences of all the killing he's done. Like what, jail time? The man has died and been brought back to life, and he's fought his way into and out of hell. What possible consequence could there be for him?
Maybe he'll finally have to settle down with a nice kunoichi and start repopulating the Hayabusa clan.
One of our favorite titles from last year's E3 was the new Twisted Metal title, although I was hoping that I'd already own a copy by now. The good news was that Sony had another huge setup for large group matches. The bad news was that instead of a straight team deathmatch, they had some sort of variation on Capture the Flag wherein you captured VIPs and used them to fire giant cannons while the other team had to shoot down missiles or something like that. Rog and I weren't really sure 100% on how that stuff worked, and neither was anyone else playing the demo. Sadly, the attendants this year were not particularly interested in helping out. Even so, I'm still anxious for the game to come out. I just hope I won't have to write about it again in our coverage of E3 2012.
The Silent Hill series has not had it easy in the last few years. Each subsequent title has been a desperate struggle to reach the lofty heights attained by Silent Hill 2, with mixed results. Silent Hill Downpour is more of the same formula, with the added bonus of being in 3D. It was hard enough to be scared by the demo in a noisy hall surrounded by thousands of other people, let alone while distracted by thoughts of the latest visual media fad. What's more, the game ran noticeably slower when in 3D mode. The attendant assured us that the game was still in development, and that this would be taken care of by the time it was finished. That might true, but then again, the whole idea of E3 is to make a demo/trailer with all your hard work focused on making a short, seamless experience for media people with short attention spans (like me). Given the importance of showing off, why would the devs bring out a demo in that state, and what are the chances that they might leave the full game in the same state? I certainly know the cynical answer to that question.
Though not a direct sequel to Demon's Souls, Dark Souls is practically Demon's Souls 2. As I saw in the demo, the controls and layout are damn near identical, as is the tense atmosphere and glut of exceedingly dangerous enemies that love getting cheap shots on you. The developer claims that the game will be "significantly harder" than Demon's Souls, and I don't have any trouble believing that, as I lasted about three minutes in the demo before being flanked and killed by a group of skeletons. And I nearly died at the start of the demo because I appeared right next to a giant wyvern that practically wiped me out with its fiery breath! But that wasn't the main thing I took away from the demo.
In the demo, you come across a giant armored boar that, like most of the enemies, can kill you in two or three hits. The only way to beat him is to attack his only unarmored spot: his backside. So you sneak up behind him and...
I believe this is what the Japanese call "corn-holing". I shoved a very large polearm up this boar's medieval bunghole, and that just made him mad. I had to do it once more to put him down for good. There was other stuff to see in the demo, but this is all I can really remember.
In spite of its rough launch, Magicka has been one of favorite games to come out this year. For the uninitiated, the basic premise is that you're a wizard and you make spells by combining eight different elements in almost any order to produce a variety of effects, some helpful, some harmful, some downright suicidal, along with actual spells like Thunderbolt and Meteor Storm (protip: DON'T use Meteor Storm!). Paradox Interactive bought some floor space to both promote the original game, and to advertise the upcoming PvP addon, which is going to be coming out for free in a month or so. And they gave me a free copy of the game just for taking a look! What aren't these guys going to give away?
If you haven't tried it already, I highly recommend getting the demo. Also, even though their E3 demo had us using a controller, your best bet for dialing in and firing off spells quickly is a keyboard and mouse. At least, that's the excuse I'm giving for why the attendant blasted my guy to pieces with a flaming rock.
I didn't know much about Dragon's Dogma, but there was an interesting trailer out there featuring a bunch of people bringing down a griffin. That's no dragon, I thought, so an investigation was in order.
There's really not much to say here. The demo played out like a typical third-person action game, with light attacks, heavy attacks, and blocking, along with a few special moves to break things up a little. You have three other companions running around with you, so I assume there will be multiplayer, though there wasn't any at the demo I played. I was looking for some kind of hook to differentiate the game from the host of other games like it, but I couldn't find any in my short time with it.
Incidentally, I took up the controller after the guy ahead of me in line dropped it and declared, "I hate this game." Full disclosure: he was wearing a Square Enix shirt.
In just a couple months, we're due to receive a remake of Burgertime on XBLA and PSN called Burgertime World Tour. The basic formula remains the same: you navigate a 2D (now 2.5D) world running over huge slabs of burger ingredients to make them fall together and make a giant burger. The addition of more varied level designs and powerups (jetpacks, spatulas, freezing power, etc) give a little more variation to the classic formula without rendering it unrecognizable. The demo wasn't too shabby, but I had to get Rog's opinion to know for sure. As a bona fide Burgertime burgermeistro, he assured me that it was quite good.
Burgertime isn't the only classic game getting a facelift. Warlords, a game best described as a sort of vicious, four-sided Pong, is being remade as well. If you ever happen to see Warlords in a cocktail-style cabinet in an arcade one day, rest assured you and your friends will be hooked. Rog and I have spent many an hour on it at SC3 each year, pretending to be focusing on the other two players while secretly waiting to grab one of the bouncing fireballs and fire it off at each other. As with Burgertime World Tour, it's the same game but with more stuff, with "stuff" being the opportune word in this case.
In addition to your paddle and castle, you also have a knight on the field that you can move around to gain powerups. It sounds neat on paper, but in practice this just means more things to look at while you're trying to concentrate on the fireballs careening around the screen. Between those things and the visual effects of the aforementioned powerups, things tended to get a little murky.
To me, Neverdead sounded like a cynical description of the lax difficulty factor in so many of today's games. In reality, it's a new third-person shooter from Konami featuring an immortal man. All the basic contemporary shooter elements are there (picking up ammo, avoiding damage for a few seconds to recover, etc), but the hook comes as an extension of the main character, Bryce's immortality: he can remove his own limbs.
Whereas dismemberment is a permanent life-altering event for you and me, it's merely inevitable and inconvenient for Bryce. In fact, you are introduced to this feature when the game instructs you to rip off your own arm and toss it to distract a group of dog-like demons. Once you finish them off, you can either pick up your severed limb, or sprout a new one. The same goes for all your limbs, as well as your torso should you be decapitated. In fact, the only way to die is to be reduced to a head and be consumed by one of the special head-devouring monsters skittering about. Thankfully, your rolling head can pick up limbs like a gruesome Katamari, and you can kill enemies using a cranial spindash attack.
The demo was fun, but you get the distinct impression that many of the game's selling points will wear thin after a while. Losing limbs, for example, seems to happen fairly often, and time spent retrieving/regrowing them adds up in a hurry. Worse yet, you're partnered with a non-immortal woman whom you have to look after and revive when she dies/falls on the floor. The attendant explained that said partner is with you the whole game through, no less. Hands up if you're a fan of babysitting braindead AI companions.
I had never even heard of Blades of Time prior to seeing it pop up amidst the sea of sequels and remakes at Konami's booth. Then I learned that it was some sort of pseudo-sequel to X-Blades, a game best remembered for being totally forgotten. Blades of Time seems to be moving in that direction, taking many of the established tropes of the third-person action game and not really adding anything of value to the formula. The game's main hook is that you can rewind time and make a double of yourself in the process. For some reason, I couldn't get this effect to work in the way they intended, and with the washed-out color scheme rapidly wearing down my interest, I decided to abandon this one in search of more interesting fare.
Also on display at Konami's booth was a new side-scrolling shooter called Otomedius Excellent. The best way I can describe the game would be to say that it's like Gradius, but with character designs that will make you seem like a sexual predator. Under normal circumstances, I would have asked Rog to get another shot from the game other than the above one, but I think it pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
I've been wondering about Dead Island ever since Capcom turned out that really remarkable trailer for so many months ago. My biggest concern was that it might turn out to be a game that doesn't live up to its hype, especially when its hype is a trailer that seems more like a short film than an actual trailer. It's too early to say for sure, but the demo for Dead Island did quite a bit to assuage my fears.
There's a zombie outbreak on a resort island. There's probably more to it than that, but the bottom line is that you have to pick up whatever you can and use it to crack a zombie over the head. It made me think of a first-person Dead Rising set on an island, what with the emphasis on melee combat and weapon durability. The five-minute demo didn't give me time to see a whole lot, but I did get to see the leveling up skill tree, along with work benches where you can repair weapons in your possession. There's also a lot of loose cash floating around, so I assume there will be some sort of store setup somewhere on the island. All I know is that I'm glad to see a first-person action game on the 360 that isn't a new Kinect title.
Sega had a surprisingly good showing this year. In particular, I was entranced by this demo of a new game called "Toejam and Earl". Plot-wise, it's nothing we haven't seen before: two hip hop-loving aliens wreck their ship on Earth and have to gather up all the missing pieces, all while opening presents and avoiding the usual assortment of earthling bad guys like boogiemen and nerd herds. In execution, it's a lot of fun, and I particularly appreciated the old school art style, along with the extremely old school decision to release the game in cartridge format for the Sega Genesis. That company is really thinking outside the box!
Of all the titles to be shown at this year's E3, the one I was most looking forward to was Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. As you've no doubt read in my review of EDF 2017, the game was great old school shooter fun, but there was plenty of room for improvement. Tedious powerup gathering, lack of online multiplayer, and vehicles that functioned more like mobile coffins for starters. Thankfully, and surprisingly, the developers seem to have addressed most, if not all, of these problems.
The demo only featured the tank as a drivable vehicle, but the new tank can now take a decent amount of damage before exploding, and you have a targeting reticule! No more eyeballing it as you fire shells into hordes of rampaging spiders! They've also mostly done away with the weapon drop system in favor of earning credits to purchase new weapons. Purists may long for the days of gathering up dozens and dozens of potentially worthless weapon pickups, but think of how hard work will be translated into better weapons, rather than mere luck. Plus, the producer informed me that certain elite enemies will still drop weapons, so there you go.
Your fellow EDF members have gotten an upgrade too, and not just in terms of the cheesy dialogue they spew out. The one tagging along as Rog and I tried the demo was actually helping out, and when he was injured, I actually wanted to help him out. This is in sharp contrast to EDF 2017, where I would often blast my fellow soldiers to bits just to get them out of my way.
And the best news of all: the game's release date has been revised from July 24th to July 5th! All I can say is "Happy belated birthday, America!"
This year, Microsoft seemed focused on proving that the Kinect is not just a sophisticated gimmick. Mostly, they intended to prove it with more dancing games and rail shooters, but they also showed off a new title called Rise of Nightmares. I'm not sure what the exact premise is, but it starts off with a Hostel-like sequence where you're tied to a chair and a scary doctor-type guy comes in and chops up another guy in a similar situation. Then an old man breaks you out and you're fighting zombies with whatever you can find. I had intended to try the demo myself to find out what was up, but that's the thing about the Kinect: it requires a lot of space to work. So much so that they only had a single demo running, with everyone else having to watch dual screens featuring the game and the person playing it.
Moving forward is done by putting one leg forward and holding it there (but not too forward, or you'll get a warning from the Kinect's camera), while turning is handled by twisting your shoulders one way or another, and weapons are used by swinging your arms. Few people had trouble with the latter, but tying together all the other motions seemed much more problematic, with the game getting particularly tense when the player accidentally races past an enemy and then has to slowly turn around. It still looks like a better Kinect game than most, but that isn't saying much.
Among the new downloadable titles is an isometric shooter based in the Warhammer 40k universe called Warhammer 40k: Kill Team. Frankly, I have no idea about anything in the WH40k universe. All I know is that there was a game called Space Hulk where you fought purple aliens called Genestealers. Beyond that, it's just men dressed as space marines before space marines were cool. I'm not sure what the plot is, but it involves said space marines pairing up and wading through hordes of creatures with guns blazing. Rog went with a guy with a big gun, while I decided to use the "Librarian". He (she?) was the toughest librarian I'd ever seen, but book smarts are no match for laying down a curtain of lead.
It was fun for a while, but moving slowly forward while mowing down waves of Orks got pretty tiresome toward the end of the demo. The attendant assured us that our characters were equipped with much deadlier weapons than you'd normally have at that point in the game, but that just worried me more. We were bored moving through the game at that pace, how bored would we have been if things had been going slower?
Kill Team wasn't the only new actiony Warhammer game on display. About twenty feet away, setup on and around a big blue dropship from the 40k universe, was a demo for Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. It seemed to be the same idea as in Kill Team, only with one gigantic space marine and a third-person perspective. The developers have been selling the game as a shooter without anything as pedestrian as cover to get behind, and rightly so, seeing as your man in his armor is about the size of a minivan. The melee combat was touted as well, though from what I saw, you just mash the attack button whenever enemies get too close. When you filled up a certain meter, you could stamp your big boot down to knock everyone away, but it's not what I would call a deep combat system. In any case, I'm more interested in this game than I am in the tabletop game.
Rather than getting space on the main floor, Atlus opted to setup their booth in one of the convention center's meeting rooms. As a result, I didn't get a whole lot of time to sample their lineup. Rock of Ages has nothing to do with the songs of the same name, but it is about the rock. I'm not sure of the best way to describe it. It has elements of everything from Marble Madness to Super Monkeyball. Pretty much any game with a rolling ball. The demo gave a taste of the "War" mode, wherein you roll the giant rock across the map, destroying as much as you can and making your way to smash the enemy's gate. At the end of your roll, you use the money you made from smashing and crushing to make newer, more powerful boulders to improve your mayhem and ward off attempts to destroy your boulder. It should be a fun little downloadable game for XBLA/PSN.
I was glad to see that Trine is getting a sequel. The demo showed off a lot of the same physics-based puzzle solving seen in the original, which is good news. At the same time, I didn't really notice anything new in the demo. The three characters all seem to have their same abilities from the original (the thief has a grappling hook, the wizard can summon blocks and planks, and the warrior is a great fighter). The only real addition seems to be more levels. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but you'd assume there would be something new in a sequel. The attendant was kind enough to show me through the demo, but everything he described in terms of features was present in the original. Still looking forward to it, though.
All in all, not a lot of new stuff at this year's E3. Nearly every title up for display was either a sequel or a remake. I guess it's a sign that the economy is still in the toilet that no one really wants to put out anything all that different. Still, if you like the Kinect (I don't, but someone out there must like it), the coming months hold a veritable bonanza for you.
Anyway, Rog has captured more of the unusual side of E3, including one vendor's very descriptive sign, the world's creepiest bouncy castle and much more. I'll let him explain...
There's still much more to see from
I-Mockery's coverage of E3 2011!
Click here to continue onward to page 2!
Your not really saying it is at all but its worth noting that Operation Raccoon City isn't a sequel to Resident Evil, its more of a alternate reality Left 4 Dead-ish (like you mentioned) side thing. And the only reason I'm saying its alternate reality is because of the prospect of doing certain things that will make other things in the RE Universe never happen (But I won't spoil the event for anyone who may not know).
|I don't believe Capcom's ever had anything to do with Dead Island and I can't find anything off hand that says they ever did. That said, Square-Enix will be publishing this one for Deep Silver.|
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