I’m at E3 2013 and I’ll be telling my impressions of what I played my first day there. Also a bit about Dead Rising 3.
Knack was fun but I wanted something a bit more creative. The demo opens with you as a big bulky version of Knack and you’re immediately fighting these robot enemies shooting this purple goo at you. It was a typical video game encounter. It would have helped to open with something better.
The combat options are punching and a jumping roll similar to a group pound. While this combat works and is fairly satisfying, it’s the same type of combat that has been in these 3rd person platformers. This bulky version of Knack has special moves like a hurricane attack. You need to fill up a bar to use these attacks and I felt like I couldn't use them enough. These powers were fun to use and helped make the combat interesting. So I guess That’s why I wanted to use them more.
The transformations in the game were not showcased especially well. The only time you need to transform into a little invisible version of Knack is when you need to pass through those red lasers you see in heist movies. I see potential there but it was not shown in the demo. There was an ice level but it really didn’t add much, although it did change Knack’s specials moves a bit. The game played like a well made 3D platformer but it lacked a spark that makes games stick out.
A game that did have that spark was Beyond: Two Souls. In the demo I played the action sequence they showed a bit at the press conference. The one where she’s in that dry desert area and Jodie's helping that kid to safety.
In the first part, you are going behind cover and using her entity power to choke the enemies in her way. Using these powers feels great. It’s the combination of how each quick time event takes you step by step of the process and how good the character models look. The detail in the characters really help you feel the impact of each stab and choke.
The demo was filled with moments that showed this off. The best ones of these is when you take over the enemy truck by taking an enemy over and stabbing the other guy. I said out loud “this is awesome” as it was happening.
Those character models and the overall look and feel of the game also really bring you into the emotion of the story. When Jodie says goodbye to the kid it affects the emotions. For that to happen in the noisy environment of E3 means something.
There has been some puzzled reaction to the more action focused side of Beyond being shown. But this action fits the close-up filled, Cinema influenced style of David Cage’s games really well. It just makes the action more intense.
I saw a hands-off demo for Dead Rising 3 and as a fan of Dead Rising I liked what I saw.
The game is trying the fix the frustrating problems of the first game. The Xbox One makes the load times invisible between areas. You can build your weapons anywhere. At your safehouse, you have a weapons locker that stores weapons you’ve already discovered. The leveling system allows you to build combinations easier.
The combat kept the same pace but seemed smoother. Although the frame rate still was choppy in spots. There are a lot more zombies and ways to clear them. Cars and missile strikes have been added to the game and the way they clear zombies is fun and funny to look with guts flying everywhere. But those additions did seem a bit at odds of the up against too much survival feeling the the previous games had.
Another game I played, Ryse: Son of Rome, looks really, really great, from the way the buildings burn, the scale of the battle and the way the combat looks. It may be gruesome but when the swords hits shield and flesh it looks really good. Ryse is on Xbox One and the game makes clear that the new system is a huge step up graphically from the 360.
The gameplay was only ok. The combat didn’t flow well since the poor implemented quick time events interrupted the flow. The combat just felt clunky in general. Plus the sequence where you’re blocking arrows and throwing spears was a great showcase for how good a game can look but it wasn't very fun to play.
Of my time at the Nintendo booth, my favorite game was the new Donkey Kong Country game: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. It was a familiar experience that I enjoyed. They're designed new enemy characters and they're colorful and fun. The tropical theme is really embraced and the game looks filled with life with water, and the like. Even the cart level seemed more vibrant.
The gameplay was what you want from Donkey Kong. Just you collecting bananas in secret rooms, jumping on baddies and firing barrels between hazards. I’m not sure what else about it was so great. It just felt really fun. I was smiling the whole time.
I played Super Mario 3D World and and I picked Peach since she’s a new character. I picked a pipe stage where those black spikey things for the Snes Mario World game were flowing through the pipe. So you had to time your jumps into the pipe as not to hit them. That really was the gimmick of the stage and there wasn’t much else. So I really didn’t have a chance to see how the platforming was or how Peach affected the jumping. Other than to say she floats like in Mario 2.
Mario Kart 8 looked great in HD. Like Donkey Kong, the art design really shines. Other than that it played like Mario Kart does nothing more, nothing less. I will say that the track I raced on seemed creative with a lot more jumps and shortcuts that are sometimes in Mario Kart.