E3 2013 Day One: Nintendo, Vita, and Square-Enix

Game of the Show or at least Day 1.

I have decided that the best way to do my one-man E3 coverage is a huge list of games I played each day with a short impression of each. I’ll do bigger pieces on the ones I found particularly interesting/important and maybe even some you ask for in the comments. It’s like a reality show or something! Anyway. It’s 10:00 p.m. and I’m already sleepy so let’s do this.

Super Mario 3D World

You know how Mario Galaxy felt like a huge change/improvement for the series? It had already been in 3D for a while, but the underwhelming Super Mario Sunshine didn’t exactly blow people away. And then when Nintendo switched back to 2D for New Super Mario Bros. on the DS and, later, the Wii, it was refreshing. Exciting. New.

Making a Wii U version of the 3DS’s Super Mario 3D Land isn’t really working for me this time. You can play as Princess Peach and she has the float jump from Super Mario Bros. 2, and there is a new “cat suit” that does little more than remind me of the time Lynch dressed up as a cat for Halloween on Home Movies and tried to lick McGuirk. Other than that, it’s Mario. Mario games are always Mario. High-quality but samey, and the lack of innovation is doing exactly zero for my enthusiasm level. I doubt I will buy this one.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

It feels like the SNES original except that the new wall-cling ability can make for some tricky new puzzle combinations (and even that is very similar to a Paper Mario ability). The familiar world is good for nostalgia, but living in the past doesn’t allow for a lot of room to do something new or take advantage of all the level design and gameplay advances that have been made in the last 20 years. Still, there’s hasn’t been a new top-down Zelda in a much longer time than our last 3D Mario showed up, so it’s easier to overlook the fact that Zelda is guilty of the same problems as Mario.

Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails

This one is getting its own story because these guys talked my ear off about this Wii U exclusive, so stay tuned for some in-depth coverage later.

Game and Wario

This game is coming out in just a week or two, but the Pictionary-esque game I got to play with two other people seems fun enough. The guy showing us the game loved my incorrect guesses like “top hat” for “mechanical pencil” and “Oprah” for “afro.” I guess the secret to really enjoying mini-games is to play with me!

The Wonderful 101

As a single-player game, it’s like a more complicated Pikmin. With multiple people, it’s a cluttered mess with so many characters onscreen at once that I wasn’t sure who to hit or even who I was playing as. I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect out of it before trying, as I had only seen a few short trailers. But I didn’t really expect a riot rivaling State of Emergency.

Batman: Blackgate

This one is going to get its own story, too. The bit I got to play, though, could probably be described best as “a bit clunky.” Uh oh.

Tearaway

It’s all the charm of LittleBigPlanet in a platformer with more than its fair share of surprises. The rear touchpad stuff is interesting! This one is on track to be one of the Vita’s best games. Fun sidenote: the lady showing it to me got REALLY mad when I mentioned how few games the Vita has.

Pinball Arcade (PS4)

So apparently, the PS3 isn’t powerful enough to completely emulate the hyper-physics and light sourcing of an arcade-perfect pinball machine. The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, has no such issues. This old bearded pinball enthusiast/game designer (I didn’t get his name because I’m a bad person) told us all about the little details that are finally possible with new hardware, the PS3’s wimpiness, how hard it would be to patch out that Vita TILT issue I pointed out a few days ago, and how they’ve learned from the mistakes they made and cheats they had to perform while working on The Williams Collection. Interesting stuff. Who would’ve thought that a pinball machine would be one of those things that the PS3 just can’t handle?

Deus Ex Human Revolution Director’s Cut

The Wii U GamePad is obviously not made for this game, because the controls feel really, really… off. The blurry, downscaled graphics are doing it no favors, either. And now that it’s no longer even a Wii U exclusive, well… I guess there’s no reason to get this now, is there? If I could compare the feel of DXHRDC to one other game, it would be the original Deus Ex… on the PlayStation 2.

Saint’s Row IV

You can run really fast and jump really high in this installment. And you get to shoot aliens!

Murdered: Soul Suspect

This game I’d never heard of blew me away. You’re a GHOST DETECTIVE. Definitely stay tuned for a full article on how it’s my Game of the Show so far. Can it stay on top over the next two days?

Oh, I also saw a 12-minute tech demo movie by quanticdream (The Dark Sorcerer) which was possibly the most beautiful, detailed thing ever created for a video game console. Too bad it was also the least-funny-while-trying-to-be-funny thing ever committed to a real-time engine from the future, proving once again that it’s the storytelling – not the technology – that creates a memorable game. I wish David Cage would learn this.

Preview of tomorrow: IndieCade! Rocksmith! Bethesda! EA maybe! And a bioscience game that might blow both me and you away.

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