E3 2013 Day 2: Konami, Fantasia, and Vita Indies

OlliOlli!

Day two was longer than the first by two hours, and I have no idea how that is decided. The biggest news of today was probably the better swag. This was most likely a result of an increased number of booth tours and appointments which, due to the fact that I didn’t know I’d even be attending E3 before last week, I made yesterday. Let’s see what happened today, shall we?

Halo: Spartan Assault

This game is actually a twin-stick shooter for tablet computers. It reminded me a lot of Killzone Liberation on the PSP, except with a tower defense angle. Unfortunately, I jumped in on the wrong side of the table and ended up in a tournament, which I promptly lost because I ran out of ammo and could not for the life of me figure out how to get more. Apparently you have to find some in the level and just pick it up. Oh well. I didn’t even think my ammo was limited.

The part I played before losing my tower felt pretty good, though! It doesn’t do anything markedely different than the stuff already on the market, but it’s obviously a quality game that could do wonders for legitimizing tablets like the Surface as a “legitimate” gaming device. We shall see.

LocoCycle

So far, this is my biggest disappointment of the show. Twisted Pixel have made something that feels a lot like Devil May Cry except that you’re a motorcycle. However, it also seems incredibly shallow and button mash-y. It’s possible to look away from the screen for a solid 30 seconds without dropping your combo if you just continue to slam on the buttons. And the driving feels very “What’s the point?” Where am I going? Why do I care? Will I get any upgrades? These are the important questions that need to be answered by the time this game launches with the Xbox One this winter.

Rocksmith 2014 Session Mode

Instead of merely forcing you to play to a metronome, Ubisoft has pretty much revolutionized practicing guitar by yourself, what with the adaptive AI drum machine and incredibly sophisticated volume- and style-matching options. I’m going to delve into this into a dedicated post later, but it’s safe to say that anyone with even a passing interest in guitar will be able to find something to love in Rocksmith 2014.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

A masterclass in how not to demo a game, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes had unskippable story segments, no subtitles, and no headphones. Worse, the actual gameplay must have delivered some instructions through audio, because finding out exactly what I was supposed to be doing was tough. It’s the typical LEGO gameplay we’ve come to expect over the last decade or so, but with more specialized obstacles that require a certain character or power to pass. I just wanted to be Deadpool all the time, though.

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection

Consisting of eight games, an art book, and some graphic novels for only $50, MGS:TLC is the new Orange Box of the gaming world. I own every one of these games except VR Missions and I still want to buy it. I have problems.

Slot Revolution: A Hero’s Journey

Konami showed some truly underwhelming mobile games, such as the Doodle Jump knock-off (or spin-off?) Domo Jump, as well as a fantasy baseball simulator and a bells-and-whistles-free poker game. But then they showed Slot Revolution, which is basically the Puzzle Quest of slot machine games. Spin the wheel, collect XP. This will suck up all the time I was going to use to write up that Rocksmith 2014 post. Good thing it won’t be out for a few months. It can ruin my winter instead of my summer!

Fantasia: Music Evolved

Harmonix has not made a bad game and this one appears to be no different. It’s getting its own post within the next few days or so.

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure

They added 2,300 DC comics things to this game, including pretty much every super hero and villain from throughout comic book history. Just be careful not to put them in the same room! Classic Scribblenauts gameplay returns to the Wii U and 3DS this year, but now we’ve finally got some licensed words to use! Remember two words if things aren’t turning out too well: Lazarus Pit.

Open Me!

This is an augmented reality box opening game for the Vita. Apparently the 3DS had a similar AR game included in the cards that launched with the system…? I don’t know about that, but I do know that Open Me! is a thing that kind of blows my mind. You put this card on the table then point your Vita camera at it. Like magic, a box appears in 3D space and you have to figure out how to open it. You do this by moving the Vita all around, looking at the box from different sides, pushing buttons on your touchscreen, and pulling/sliding/tweaking parts of the box until you reach the magic goodness inside. You’re scored on how fast you open the box and how few times you get your fingers cut off by spinning blades and the like. It seems like such a silly concept but the tech behind it (and really the Vita in general) never ceases to amaze me.

Cloudberry Kingdom

It’s sort of a mix between VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy, but with the interesting quirk that your jumping abilities change from level to level (at least on the demo levels I played). On one stage, the jump button flips the gravity. On the next, you have a floaty super jump, completely with Superman cape costume change. Maybe the next stage has a double jump. Or a random leap trajectory. It keeps the game fresh with what seems like a pretty simple gameplay quirk. Also: 4-player simultaneous multiplayer.

OlliOlli

It’s Tony Hawk meets Canabalt, where you play as a skateboarder who can jump and grind with a simple flick of the left stick (more complex stick movements activate better grind tricks). Also: it’s a Vita exclusive, at least for a long while until the PS3 version gets ported. It’s super minimalist but also challenging, and I just love seeing the Vita get some love. Bonus: the British developer guys were there and super nice! Plus, they felt the same way I do about the Vita: great hardware that deserves better than the paltry dribble of software it’s been given.

Ibb and Obb

Ibb and Obb is a 2D sidescrolling platformer where the left stick controls one little guy and the right stick controls the other, kind of like The Adventures of Cookie & Cream way back on the PS2. There are color-coded barriers that only one or the other can cross, and it’ll take some major right/left brain thinking and coordination to get through. Sure, there’s a multiplayer mode where each person controls only of the two characters, but what fun is that? I dug this silly little game LIKE CRAZY and will probably pick it up on launch day when it hits the PS3 (it’s been delayed almost a year from its originally planned release date!). It looks like the wait will be worth it.

Hohokum

Kind of a PixelJunk Eden/flOw type of game from the makers of Frobisher Says! where you fly around in the flowers as a multicolor snake, picking up passenger people and planting seeds. The goals are secondary to the actual meditative experience of flight and flowers. It’s reassuring to know that not all games are about shooting people. The 2D visuals are super unique, too, and the animation details are just charming (the waving little arms!).

That’s about it for today, but tomorrow we’ve got Bethesda, Thief, Destiny, and hopefully some Dragon Age: Inquisition and Dark Souls II! No promises on the Dark Souls, though. It might be appointment only and I’m not quite famous enough to get one (yet).

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