E3 2013 is over! But don’t worry, I still have lots of stuff to tell you about from the final day. Sorry I passed out at like 10 p.m. then had to travel. It was a long week.
Day 3 was all about finding those last few games that I missed, and – even then – there are still so many now that are as much of a mystery to me as they are to you, my precious readers. The Division, The Order 1886, Knack, Project Spark, Titanfall, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, every racing game… there were a lot of cool looking things that I just didn’t have time for. But let’s talk about what I did, shall we?
Elder Scrolls Online
I started my day off right with a solid hour in Elder Scrolls Online, and all the fears I had about it have completely dissipated. It doesn’t feel like an MMO; it feels like the latest Elder Scrolls game. The single player content is exactly what you’d expect if the word “Online” wasn’t in the title, and that’s a very good thing, in my opinion. The interface is cleaner than every MMO I’ve ever seen, too, and cleaner even than other Elder Scrolls games.
They haven’t figured out how they’re going to do stealing yet – everything in the build I played was lootable with no consequences. But if the rest they promise is true, like the 200-person sieges? This is going to be the only MMO I ever beat. Somehow. Now if they could just figure out a solid release date and a pricing structure… I’m hoping it goes Guild Wars II style: $60 set game price with no monthly fee. Because that’s what we pay for new Elder Scrolls games, and this is way too high-quality to be free-to-play. Elder Scrolls Online is coming to PC/Mac (which play on the same servers), PS4, and Xbox One… someday.
Killer Is Dead
Suda51 made Killer7 and No More Heroes. So when I tell you that his latest title, Killer Is Dead, has a “Gigolo Mode” where your X-ray goggles let you ogle a sexy lady’s unmentionables to fill your
Wiener Meter Guts Gauge, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The look is unique too, with many levels having a sort of monochromatic color scheme with dashes of other hues. The fighting itself seems pretty standard, if highly stylized – slash, heavy slash, dodge, block, shoot – but the actual game itself is anything but (standard, I mean – it’s still crazy stylized).
Batman Arkham Origins
One thing I really didn’t expect at this year’s E3 was to come away feeling much, much more excited about the WB Montreal-produced Batman: Arkham Origins than the Armature-developed-but-Rocksteady-supervised handheld game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. Sure, the gameplay is very, VERY similar to Arkham City, but the speed has been dialed up, everything looks tighter overall, and the new Case File System cranks Detective Mode up to 11. Also, the new gadgets will give you tons of new ways to mess with mooks, and that’s important. The hour I had to wait in line to see this because they were out of appointments means that the Batman games are getting their own post soon.
OH MAN DIVEKICK! It’s a two-button fighting game with one-hit kills. Honestly, though, that literal description doesn’t do the game justice. The idea around Divekick is that the most exciting part of a match is that last hit, when both opponents are sitting at critical damage and the first one to make a mistake is dead in the most dramatic manner possible. So why not make that the whole match? The two buttons are “Dive” (jump button; hold down longer to jump higher) and “Kick” (this button does a kick). Kick while on the ground to take a quick step backwards. Do enough kicks, and you’ll fill a special gauge that can be unleashed by pushing both buttons at the same time. First to five wins.
It’s remarkably deep, like there’s some EVO-tier stuff going on here. Each character has its own quirks; for example, one guy can’t jump as far but he’s faster, another character can float in midair, and a third can do a double-kick. And there are power-ups and double KOs and a tiebreaker mode. It’s just great. The special two-button controller they had on display is too costly to produce without a significant number of pre-orders, however.
This was the prettiest game of E3, no joke. But it’s just an NES game with a new coat of paint. We’ve come a long way in the level design department in the last 20 years. You know what it really made me think of, though? Why hasn’t this been done with Mega Man? Instead of the retro look but with new levels Mega Man 9/10, why not Rayman Origins it? PSOne iterations like Mega Man X4 were BEAUTIFUL, especially for their time. Now imagine those in HD, with new levels/powers/characters? Weeeoww. I mean, DuckTales will probably be okay, too. There can never be too many… retro… platformers…
This PSN title reminded me a lot of the Wii’s Lost in Shadow, but instead of being a shadow all the time, you’re able to phase into and out of the walls and walk on the shadows to solve puzzles and reach new areas. It had this cool early 1900s carnival style which I dug, and the production value seemed pretty high for what will probably be a $15 downloadable game. The silent(?) protagonist, though, had a great design but seemed a little lacking in personality. Say something, would ya!
The best way to describe the combat and gameplay of Supergiant Games’ latest, Transistor, is “Bastion with V.A.T.S.” It has the isometric view and narrator of Bastion (although this voice is different and great in its own right), but the real-time combat can occasionally be paused to set up a string of attacks that will activate as soon as the time turns back on. Of every game at E3, nothing had the sheer atmosphere dripping from Transistor, and I’d have a hard time imagining the kind of mistakes that would have to be made between now and the launch date for it not to be a day one purchase.
The new Thief was developed by the same team that did Deus Ex: Human Revolution, so of course it’s all about choices. You have to find your way into houses using any of a number of paths, sneakily or not, lethally or not. The actual gameplay seemed nearly identical to last year’s Dishonored, however. Even at this early stage, it appears to be a game that does a lot of things well, but not a lot of things new. There is a part where you have to escape from a burning house, however, and I’ve never seen a game pull off the tension of that situation as well as this one did. Instead of, “Oh, I guess I can just hang out for a bit,” it was more, “I need to move fast because I am already dying.” So that’s neat.
It’s Halo with the occasional large-scale multiplayer battle in the middle of the solo campaign. Evolutionary. Not revolutionary.
That was it for Day 3, but don’t go away! The next week or so will be more in-depth, game-specific posts and some overall impressions of the show, the atmosphere, and where we go from here. First stop, though: IndieCade!