Until next year, E3.
The last day seemed to have the most breaks, but it actually turned out to be the busiest day of the week. I got hands-on with a TON of games, and sat in a few more demos of some pretty big games. I also ended up missing some big time games, and I’m kicking myself for it. Here we go!
-10AM saw me in Telltale’s booth for some Tales of the Borderlands action. It’s amazing how that game is so Telltale, but at the same time SO Borderlands. The humor is there, the action is there, and the new additions to the Telltale formula make it even more Borderlands. At one point Rhys (one of the two characters you control) needs to summon a Loader Bot, but we get to decide what kind of bot it is. The game will also follow two sides of the same story, and we’ll have to wade through the bullshit for the truth. It’s a really neat concept, and it shot up my list big time. Also, there was a little pinball machine for Walking Dead Pinball, and any Pinball FX 2 fans will LOVE that table.
-Next I traveled over to Atlus to try out Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. It feels exactly the same as the other games, and while I’m sure there are changes, it’s been so long since I played the other game that I didn’t really notice. I’m still gonna try it out when it launches, but right now it seemed like more P4A.
-That appointment was an hour long and I was only there for 15 minutes, so I seized the opportunity and tried something I had hoped I’d get to see: the Oculus Rift. For those unaware, the Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that is currently in development (it was recently bought by Facebook for $2 billion). I played a spaceship shooter called EVE Valkyrie, and the minute I strapped that thing onto my head I saw the power of this device. I was instantly in the cockpit of a fighter jet in space, waiting to go into battle. I could look around the cockpit and see every little detail, even those at my sides. I looked down at MY BODY WAS THE PILOT’S BODY. Playing the game is even cooler, as I was doing barrel rolls (tee hee) and soaring around space as if I was sitting right there. It’s the coolest damn thing in the world, I can’t praise it enough,
-How do I follow that up? Well I still had a little more time, so I thought some 1886 was in Order. I got hands-on with the third chapter of the game, fighting rebels in the streets. The game is incredibly dependent on staying in cover; you will be punished for staying out in the open. The Thermite rifle I was using is an interesting concept: R2 fires ash-like thermite into the field, and R1 then fires a tiny flare that ignites the cloud, incinerating any poor enemy bastard in its path. Most of all, I can’t describe how incredible that game’s graphics are. Everything is seamlessly running in real time, and the character models are so damn realistic. The uncanny valley awaits.
-I finally bridged the gap to my next appointment, where I was back at Activision for two interviews, one for Call of Duty and one for Destiny. Yes, I interviewed with DESTINY. Look for those once I transcribe them, which will be very soon.
-I had a lull in my schedule planned after my interviews, but one of my appointments wanted to move up to 1PM, so I was headed back to Sony’s booth to see how PlanetSide 2 for PS4 is shaping up. The console crowd is getting one hell of no shooter from the PC world. The game is slick and fun with a lot of variety in its classes and loadouts. Best of all it’s free to play, so there will be no cost when it launches later this year. It’s definitely worth a shot.
-After those I rushed to the private meeting room area to get a hands-off demo of The Witcher 3. Good Lord that game is crazy. The demo started in a city, then they fast traveled to a swamp. At one point Geralt stands on a cliff and the guy running the demo says “See that mountain in the far distance? You can go there, but it’s really far away. That city we were in before? It’s FOURTEEN TIMES the distance from here that the mountain is, and none of these landmarks are even close to the borders of the map.” That game is going to be gigantic. Combat and everything else looked smooth, and the dialogue is sharply written, but that map size really stuck out.
-After that I headed to my Nintendo appointment, where I got hands-on with five games. I started with Yoshi’s Woolly World, which is so damn cute it’s intoxicating. The wool graphics are beautiful, the platforming is more original Yoshi’s Island than any current games (without the baby, mind you) and the co-op is really fun.
Next I tried Hyrule Warriors, which is BATSHIT INSANE. It’s amazing how well Zelda fits into the Dynasty Warriors format, with tons of enemies and giant over-the-top attacks. I was really surprised at how awesome playing it was.
Next was a game I’d be waiting to play for an entire year, and you better believe I got my Smash fill. I tried every new character, I fought in every available stage, I fought against other humans, I fought against level 9 CPU, I fought against level 3 CPU, I did EVERYTHING. I wasn’t quite as thorough with the 3DS version, but I got my hands on that for a few matches too. Let me be blunt, because I could talk about it all day: I had really high hopes for this new Smash, and playing it soared above even those lofty dreams. It’s really damn good.
Finally I got my hands on Splatoon, the new multiplayer shooter, and if you think it’s not a viable shooter than you are sadly mistaken. I couldn’t believe how fun it is. Focusing on filling the arena with paint instead of shooting other players is really refreshing, and turning into a squid for added mobility is weird but fun. Granted you can still shoot other players, but it’s more to get them out of the way than anything else.
-Once Nintendo was over, I was off to my last appointment of E3 2014 with 505 Games and Terraria for PS4. I haven’t really played Terraria before, so this was my first experience with it, but that game is HUGE. It’s essentially 2D Minecraft in its core approach, but I feel like this world has so much more to offer in the way of customization. Also, every world a player creates will be different from other players’ worlds, so no two games are the same. I really enjoyed the little demo, and I might give it a shot when it hits the new consoles.
-With that out of the way, I had an hour of a half to squeeze in everything I missed. I started by running to EA and FINALLY seeing the Sims 4 demo. There’s a lot of awesome stuff to talk about there, with the expanded systems and insane customization detail, but you’ll have to wait until I write it up. After that I ran back to Xbox to get some hands-on with Sunset Overdrive, and I am so glad I did. We played a mode where waves of enemies are trying to destroy generators that we have to defend, and man was it fun. I got to use weapons like High Fidelity which shoots vinyl records, a standard assault rifle called the AK-FU, and a shotgun that shoots fire blasts whose name eludes me at the moment. The action was hectic and the enemies were numerous, and every second was pretty sweet.
-Finally, I had a half hour left, nothing else in West Hall I wanted to see, and not enough time to head back to South Hall, so I went back to the Nintendo press area and played Smash until the clock hit zero. I started with Smash, I ended with Smash, and that’s totally appropriate, right?
This was an amazing E3, maybe the best one I’ve ever been to. I saw a ton a great games and I missed even more great games (the fact that I missed out on Batman and Assassin’s Creed Unity burns my ass). At the end of the day, the future looks insanely bright for the industry I love so much.
I’ll write an official wrap-up later on with my personal favorite games and other cool moments, but for now I hope yon enjoyed the three roundups, and feel free to comment or Tweet me with any questions you have. Thanks for reading!