E3 – The Final Day
Wow, has it been three days already? More pictures were taken, more demos were played and more swag was had. The events that took place seem almost too much for words, but we will try our best for you.
Things started off for us back at the Nintendo booth where we immediately lined up for Zelda: Skyward Sword and it was even the correct line this time. We only had to wait about 50 minutes in line and it proved to be worth the wait. The game requires the Wii-Motion Plus, which also means that Link's sword movement is nearly 1-to-1. This means that they also have made it a bit more strategic to defeat certain enemies, such as the blasted plant monster. Their mouths open vertically or horizontally and you have to slash in the same direction to defeat them when their mouth is open. There was also a puzzle that involved an eye on a door. So what should you do, you should try SHOOTING IT of course!! Yeah, that failed like a fat kid's diet in a cake store. Turns out the eye follows your sword, so you have to rotate the sword around you body to make the eye dizzy, then slash at it. A nice new twist on an old puzzle. Something else that is new is that items are selected in real time. Whether this is a blessing or a curse, we are really not sure yet. The game also feels as if it belongs on the Wii this time around and not a simple Gamecube port. While there are some new changes to the mix, they are not a complete revolution. The game play though is solid, tried and true Zelda and we look forward to its release date sometime in the future.
Next Assimilator stood in a way too long line for Metroid: Other M. The game is a 3D platformer with a 2D look for the most part. It was controlled using only the Wii-Mote. This meant that to move around in a 3D space you use the D-pad. This made things difficult at times, but once you got the hang of it you can get around. In order to enter FPS mode you simple turn the Wii-Mote towards the screen, but you cannot move once you have done this. This creates a moment of risk; you have to turn to FPS to fire at some enemies weak points, such as during the boss battles. This makes you have to think about your strategy and location as this places you in a very vulnerable position. The game looks like it should be good, but BE WARNED: It seems like Team Ninja did the dialog, so it kinda sucks.
While Assimilator was waiting in line for Metroid: Other M, I decided to go out on my own to check out some other games. The first one that I checked out was Dead Rising 2. Nothing really has changed from the first Dead Rising, but that may not be a bad thing. If you don't know anything bout Dead Rising 2, it now takes place in a city like Las Vegas, so expect a lot of flashy lights in casino type settings and be ready to use anything as a weapon. Speaking of weapons, one of the major changes is the addition of one of the greatest materials ever, duct tape. To rack up major combo points, you can now tape weapons together. For example, I was running around with a rake and taped to it was a car battery. This allowed me to essentially have a lawn rake that could electrocute zombies along with poking them with the sharp prongs. I'm hopeful that Capcom will allow players to use their imaginations in creating weapons for zombie massacres. Another thing they changed was the save system. It now looks like you can save the game to multiple slots, a much needed improvement over the previous game. One drawback of the game was the long load times. Loading a new game took upwards of 30 seconds and moving to new areas while in the game took another 30 seconds or so. Overall, if you enjoyed the first Dead Rising you should be in for a treat with a sequel. The zombies look better, move better and taping weapons together gives players the opportunity to turn a harmless teddy bear into a teddy bear o' death when you attach dynamite to it.
The next game I got to check out was Donkey Kong Country Returns. Being a huge fan of the original Donkey Kong Country I was really looking forward to this one. The first thing I noticed when playing it was that there was a mine cart stage, woo hoo! I immediately loaded up that level and was on my way. Stylistically, the game looks a lot like the original Donkey Kong Country. It's your basic 2D side scroller with a few twists. When launching in barrels, you can now launch from the foreground to the background allowing for some new gameplay twists. Donkey Kong Country Returns does implement Wii motion controls; however, it's not just simple waggling, thank goodness. The only time that I needed to use Wii motion control was when I wanted Donkey Kong to pound the ground with his arms. This was easily done by you mimicking the pounding motion that Donkey Kong makes. The most impressive feature that I was excited about was co-op play. Now two players can play at the same time! No longer does player two have to wait for player one to die or switch out to take over Diddy Kong. This time around, both player one (Donkey Kong) and player two (Diddy Kong) play at the same time. So while Donkey Kong is fighting a baddy, Diddy Kong can now help. Overall, I was quite impressed with how well Donkey Kong Country Returns is shaping up. It definitely brings its original roots of Donkey Kong Country while implementing a couple new tweaks that enhance the experience. Look for Donkey Kong Country Returns to hit store shelves this holiday season.
Then we headed back to the South Hall. We watched the presentation for The Sims 3 coming to consoles October 26th. For those of you that have not tried The Sims before this may be a good opportunity to get your feet wet. The overall interface is the same, but it seemed simpler to control with a controller versus mouse and keyboard or it could be the presenters had a lot of practice with it. You are able to build houses that are up to 4 stories tall and you are still in the same interactive world as the PC version. A new feature the developers added for the console version was the Karma system. Here you have a number of karma points that you can spend to help or hinder your Sims. The example they used was a miserable Sim, let's call him Alex. He was grumpy, tired, bored and just having a bad day. They used the Karma system to instantly fulfill all of Alex's wishes. Then they decided Alex would hook up with a lady that was at a party being held at his house. First this meant taking care of the competition (how does Bob sound for him?). Using Karma they gave Bob some, I guess stomach problems is a good word for it, and a stink cloud started following him. This allowed Alex to sweep in and start wooing our lovely lady. Then one thing led to another and they went upstairs for some quality time under the covers. At this point the demo guys got bored and used the Karma system to start an earthquake and a firestorm. The earthquake had everyone rattled and the firestorm randomly set fire to items in the house. In this case it was the dining room table. All good fun overall. We were warned though, at the end of the Sim's day, you are judged. If you helped your Sim more then hurt you get 100 Karmic points to use the next day. If you were evil (he he he) then you would be punished, but they said it would be in a fun humorous way.
Next up on our list of games was Dead Space 2. Did you enjoy the original Dead Space? Did you like being scared shitless as you walked into what seemed to be a a nice safe room (like such a thing existed in this game). No, you didn't? What is wrong with you? Then you are not going to enjoy this game at all. Dead Space 2 appears to continue following the now voiced Issac as he (speculation starts here) attempts to find information to bring down the Church of Unitology (end speculation). The game takes place on an asteroid that has a an entire city within it. By having an entire city, the developers wanted to give the gamers a bigger environment to play around in than just the small space station of the first. In the demo the developers have us breaking into a Unitology chapel where you are immediately attacked by a very large Necromorph. Very fast paced, very adrenaline filled and it looked like a lot of fun. They showed off a new spear gun that allows Issac to pin enemies to walls and who wouldn't enjoy pinning enemies to walls? It also has a secondary fire that electrocutes all enemies near where it hits. Irishpride thinks he has found his new favorite game weapon. They proceeded to send Issac into descending depths under the church to a place that looks like a cryogenic stasis lab. While on the course as well, Necromorphs keep popping out from pods. All in all the game looks like more of what made the original game great. Look for it to drop January 25, 2011.
Keeping the EA train rolling we then saw a preview for Crysis 2. Get ready for another game meant to bring computers to their knees as this game looks great, although a bit frantic. The locale has changed from actual jungle setting to urban jungle setting, like New York, for this installment. In the demo the presenters are trying to bring down a building to stop enemy forces from getting to a subway station that is being used as an evacuation point. They show off your suits cloaking ability along with the fact that the hero has quite the armory and can take a ton of damage. This demo was pretty much non-stop action except for two or three cut scenes; one at the start of the demo, one between you knocking a building down and moving into the train station where you then get attacked by a huge mecha and one at the end when you are escaping the train station after the enemy decides to use your same tactic of dropping buildings. The game looks good and we can expect to hear more on it soon.
The final thing we investigated was the new OnLive service that is supposed to revolutionize how you receive your games. At this point all you need is a PC, a broadband (5 Mbps) wired network connection, and being located within a few thousand miles of one of their servers. You don't need a super computer since all the processing is done from their servers and then sent you. The games OnLive had running at their booth were all coming from the servers that regular users will connect to. I choose Batman: Arkam Asylum, as I already knew what to expect from its controls. It was as responsive as if playing it directly from the console.
However, the service does have a few downsides to it. There is a subscription cost of $4.95 a month to use OnLive. Then you have the cost of games on top of that, so this is no GameFly in which you can access the entire catalog at your leisure. Finally, if you decide to stop your subscription you no longer have access to the games you've purchased. So why would you go for a system like this if you can no longer play single player games you have purchased in the past once you stop subscribing? Well for one, a netbook should be able to run the games, so you do not have to buy a console or a $2000 computer to play titles at their best. Also, patching for the games is done on their servers. This means when you want to play the game, there is no waiting for XBOX Live or the PSN to update, it just starts the game.
If you don't want to buy game a they do have plans for 3 and 5 day rentals along with demos that should run for approximately 30 minutes. This looks like it could be a game changer, if done correctly, and should be live now, but I'm having troubles finding the page to actually start a subscription to confirm and test it.
And that is it for E3 2010. The Gameslave's first venture to this majestic holy ground of gaming was a success and a whole lot of fun.