OK, so IrishPride and I are back in our sardine can of a hotel and ready to recount our adventures (with pictures) in the South Hall of the LA Convention Center. Dear Lord, we were so unprepared for this. Where to start? I guess at the beginning would make sense. First thing we saw when we walked in was a Nazgul on horseback for the two new LOTR games; one of which features Aragorn for the Wii and the other was War in the North.
We moved from the LOTR display to LEGO Universe. Imagination has become corrupt in the LEGO universe and it is up to you to restore imagination and make things right, or at least I assume. The character creator is as deep as you can imagine it to be for a LEGO game. You can choose different mouths and eyes for the face, different hair styles, different decals for the chest along with different colors for the chest and pants. Yes, you are reliving your life of building LEGO people from childhood in the digital realm. To help you re-live this childhood memory, they had bins with LEGO people parts next to the demo laptops, letting you build your own custom lego man. But let us get back to the game. You enter the game in a space station that is not doing well and you need to escape. The first thing you are tasked with doing is getting your imagination back. Once you get your imagination back you can build a platform to get to the parts you need to complete a rocket ship to escape and head to the surface. The game is coming along very nicely and can be expected in stores this October. I look forward to it as the guys at NetDevil are doing a great job on it.
From there we moved to the Microsoft booth. We looked at Kinect (formally known as Natal) for a moment, but since there were many displays and more stuff to see, we knew we would get a chance to mess with it later. We looked at the new XBOX 360 Slim, a nice looking machine. We also played a new game from SEGA called Vanquish. You are in a futuristic world playing as a soldier or a freedom fighter, not sure on that point yet. The demo we played started with us in an arena setting getting attacked by some red guys. It always seems you're fighting the red guys, but in my defense, they shot first. After we took out those filthy red guys a giant mech came from the center of the arena and we started a massive boss battle which did include a rather simple quick time event of rotating the control stick one way or the other. This ended in grabbing a missile the mech fired and tossing it back down the launch tube. The demo ended for us once IrishPride ran out of ammo, but up to that point it was a really fun game.
Then we saw the Assassins Creed: Brotherhood Demo. The single player mode was what we saw first. The city you had built in the first game is under attack and the Brotherhood is defending it with a few canons, firing upon the Templars that felt they had the right to visit you with out asking, quite rude if you ask me. Once you finish defending the city, the game switches to a cut scene of your new arch villain with your uncle and the Apple of Eden. The Apple of Eden apparently gives whomever controls it certain powers, thus being the object of great desire we presume for the game. He then kills your uncle and you have a nice new vengeance mission to work on. The game play is faster now and you can throw weapons taken from your opponents. A good example we saw was when the presenter took a battle ax from a well armored foe, killed him with it and then threw it at another foe. It was a very nice attack. Expect the game to be out on November 16th of this year.
The next venue was the Trion Booth. They had two interesting games on display. The first was Rift: Plane of Telara; another MMO placed in a fantasy world where you play a character that has been brought back to life with the souls of previous heroes. These heroes are where you get your "talents" from. You can have up to three souls assisting you and can change your choices later if you so desire. The main goal in this game is to stop the "Rifts" from opening up and causing more problems in the world. The Gods had originally separated the physical world from the planes, but now that barrier is falling apart and the Gods are not here to help, so it is up to you. This game also has instances (what is an MMO without a dungeon to run 30 times a day, huh?) that level with the player. Go in at level 10 and you will have a different experience and story from a person at level 25.
They also had a MMORTS game called End of Nations. This game allows you to build up a HQ with whatever units you would like to use (in the demo the guy was a tank commander, so he had awesome tanks). Your HQ houses your units along with your super weapons. These weapons are things such as air and napalm strikes, which nicely took out an unit of enemy tanks when assaulting a new and improved Wall of China. The Wall of China we all know and love is made of stone and mortar and could easily be destroyed by tanks. The wall was originally made to keep the Mongol hordes out, not tanks, but the new wall is A) in America, B) made of solid steel, titanium, adamantium, or whatever sci-fi metal you would like to insert here and C) has a gun that would make Rambo feel inadequate. I mean the shells are the size of tanks for crying out loud. The good news is that the shells are not shooting at you, they are firing at another map. So your goal is to take out one of these guns, which will create a hole in this wall allowing you access to new technology and can allow your friends to move forward in the game as well. Overall the game has a lot of potential and we are looking forward to seeing more of it.
We followed these demos with a visit to Nexon. They had two games that we played, both of them online and Free To Play. The first was a 4-player (at least that is what we had on the team) co-op game called Vindictus. It is a simple hack'n slash game, but was pretty fun for being so simple. The other game was Dungeon Fighter Online. This was more of an old school side scrolling brawler game. It had many special moves and proved to be fun, at least for the time I spent playing it.
Next we found ourselves back at the Warner Brothers Booth and in line for a live demo of Mortal Kombat: Mortal Kombat - Mortal Kombat (that is a quote mind you from the demo presenter of the tentative E3 title). This is a true return to the old school version of what we grew up playing and caused the formation of the ESRB. The characters' costumes take damage and show vast amounts of blood from the brutal battle. The game is fully rendered in 3D, but is actually played in a 2D environment, thank God. They kept referring to this game as the fan service game, everything people asked for they finally got. This means that a past staple of MK games has returned: FATALITIES! That's right, once again Scorpion will remove hearts, Raiden will cut people in half with his hat and Sub Zero demolishes people frozen through.
The developers have also added a new power bar to the game. This bar can be used to create more powerful special moves, combo breakers, or for x-ray attacks. Oh yes, the x-ray attacks. Everyone will cringe when you use it, especially the first time, the second, maybe even the third, forth and fifth times. The X-ray attack, if it hits, will go to a special mode where you see a very detailed interior view of your opponent and what bones you are presently shattering. This can be skulls, ribs, spinal cords, and even parts that as a guy I really don't want to think about. Needless to say this game so far looks to be the Mortal Kombat game we are waiting for.
We followed MK with a game of brotherly love. In this game, you can play as the two brothers cooperatively as they fight to find their dear pregnant mother. I talk of no other game then F.3.A.R.. Yes, you are playing the original protagonist Pointman (what a great name) and his dearly departed brother, Fettel, whom you killed in the first game. This means that the two play very differently. Pointman is very much a run and gun as he is alive, we think. It is a Fear game after all and he was at the epicenter of a massive explosion in a previous installment. Fettel can grab and hold opponents and fire energy (for a lack of a better word) at them. He can also possess people, use their bodies and then return the body in its original condition granted that it isn't splattered on the floor or walls. The brothers' mission is to get to Alma, whom is 9 months pregnant thanks to the "help" of the second game's protagonist. The game is shaping up to be a great game so far.
From WB we moved to Konami and played a game that literally plays with shadows called Lost in Shadow for the Nintendo Wii. You play as a shadow and can only navigate in shadows. This means you are actually playing in the background of the game, which takes getting use to as you normally play in the foreground of a game. You have a fairy companion that allows you to interact with items in the foreground, to make new paths accessible to you. We were told later in the game you will have places that will have a single light source and you will need to work around that light source. This game makes great use of the Wii-Mote. Keep a look out for Lost in Shadow coming soon we hope.
The last game of the night for us was, Adrenaline Misfits. This was our first interactive experience with Microsoft's Kinect. It is a hover board game in which we played on two tracks. One track has you screaming down a raging river with three waterfalls and attempting to get as much air as possible. On this track, you have to jump before you get to the edge of the waterfall for maximum air and perform tricks for maximum points. Kinect seemed really responsive to my movements while on the tracks. To jump in the game I physically had to leave the ground and turning was done by leaning left and right. It worked real well and actually allowed for some pretty precise movements, which was seen by getting on to a relatively small secret path from one of the massive jumps. The system worked surprisingly well, so I will be getting Kinect once it comes out November 4th.
And this is the conclusion of Day 1. Look forward to our Day 2 report.