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E3 2013: Day 3 Recap

June 19th, 2013 by Crowbar Comments

The final day of E3 is always the easiest, much like a convention people tend to leave on the final day so lines are slightly smaller. On this day I got to see what Activision, Square Enix, and Nintendo had in store for me. After my appointments, I went swag hunting, but that is something no one wants to hear about.

Right when the door opened I rushed to get in line for the appointment check in. Activision was showcasing four games this year, CoD Ghosts, Diablo 3, Destiny, and Skylanders Swap Force. While I’m not the biggest fan of Bungie and Halo, I was interested in seeing what Destiny was all about. The same goes for Diablo 3. My first presentation was Call of Duty: Ghosts.

There was a trailer at the start the three levels of live gameplay. I was more interested in the gameplay because I wanted to see this “next gen” technology that is supposed to be revolutionizing the franchise. Well, they wanted to get that out of the way first because there ended up being a presentation about the new graphics they were running because that seems to be all what gamers care about. Nonetheless, I have seen higher quality on PC so I was  not very impressed.

The gameplay started and the first one was showcasing Riley, the dog. You can take control of Riley to execute kills in a somewhat quiet manner. In reality, the dog makes tons of noise and because of the atrocious CoD AI they don’t notice the loud growling or screams of their allies. Playing as the dog is like playing as the RC car in multiplayer. So I was not even close to being impressed. The next gameplay demo was an underwater level, oh boy we get these now? I always harbor (lol) a hatred for underwater levels. Blame Mario and Mega Man for that. But that super next gen technology of the fish swimming away was barely noticeable. Not to mention this kind of thing has been around since Super Mario 64 but many of the fish were static and part of the environment.

The final level was some half stealth mission to blow up some servers. While the stealth was not to bad, I still prefer the spy stealth in Rainbow Six. The building then falls and it’s a big spectacle and it would make Michael Bay cream his panties. My overall impression was lacking in a wow factor because they showcased what I have seen in every other CoD game in terms of level progression.  Everything felt too scripted.

I moved onto the Destiny showing where they played the game live. I have to say I was surprised by Bungie. I was expecting some kind of Halo knockoff but they created a unique gameplay experience. It felt like a larger scale Borderlands but actually good with some Planetside 2 stuff worked in there. The art direction is alright but the alien designs still kind of suck.

Destiny was over and I got my t-shirt thus I went to see the Skylanders presentation. I have always wanted to get into Skylanders but my wallet always ran away when the thought came to mind. The gameplay is surprisingly solid and the lore isn’t too bad either. He’ll, the art direction is pretty good too. Swap Force is the new expansion to the game giving players 32 new figures to collect and use.  The different combinations of Skylanders hits the 250 mark I believe. Which is pretty impressive, they made the latest addition to Skylanders also affect how you play t brought the new campaign. There are dual element doors that you must use your Swapables to open, or play with a friend. There are also special minigames that utilize the new bottom halves of the Swapables. The figures are well made and are magnetized to kee the two halves firmly in place but are still easy to remove.

Diablo 3 was next, not being the biggest fan of the PC version due to the new one being just a shadow of s former self I have curbed by need for ARPGs with Torchlight. I was interested to see how Blizzard was able to make he game work on a console because controllers don’t agree with these kinds of games. The result was responsive tight controls that are mapped well. I was surprised how natural it felt. The game played well and it is a game that people would look into. Those. Wo do not have a computer to play this game should try it out.

Out of the games from Activision this year, I was only disappointed with he new Call of Duty game. I left pleasantly surprised and satisfied. I have to move to the Square Enix booth to check out the latest in Final Fantasy news and some of their new IPs. Murdered Souls Suspect and Thief are two games that. Was interested in. Thief because I love the original series so I as hoping they didn’t Hitman Absolution it, and Murdered because I love crime thrillers.

Sadly the Thief presentation was just what I expected, linear map design, action driven combat and no real punishment for charging head on. They took the best aspect of Thief out of the game and put in unbalanced combat. While there are some aspects about the game that are nice it is overshadowed by the crippling of a great franchise.

Murdered Soul Suspect is about solving your own murder while being a ghost. I live the idea and the restrictions you have due to being in the town of Salem Massachusetts. It did a great job meshing story elements and gameplay progression and this is a game I would really want to see more of. The detective work is really well done and the environments are well designed.

Onto the Final Fantasy stuff. I got to play a boss fight on the PS3 version of Ff14 A Realm Reborn and I was surprised with how much it worked. It feels more natural than DCUO. The controls are easy to learn and accessible. It looks pretty too, that’s a bonus.

I am sick of seeing Final Fantasy 13 stuff. I liked the first game despite the faults, I was ok with the second game despite me growing to hate it with each passing day, but Lightning returns takes it too far. I found a hilarious trend. In the first 13 game, you had access to a full party of three people, the second game you had two people and a monster, now you have just lightning. Enix keeps scaling back their party size in this spinoff series. The game is now a button masher. You use all your class AP in a paradigm, then switch o another one and expend all of those points, rinse repeat. The game feels as though there is no skill and you just use as many attacks as possible.

It was nice to some games from my late childhood in full HD, yes I am talking about Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 remix and Final Fantasy X/X-2 for the PS3. As a young adult I played but loads of these games and to see them in full HD with some control tweaks to make them better to play it was quite a site to see.  While I question why Kingdom Hearts 2 isn’t on the collection I will take what I can get.

I got to end the day with a booth tour from Nintendo. I got to see some games the Wii U currently offers and I got to say, I am becoming more of a believer. I played New Super Luigi U, Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, and Wonderful 101. I enjoyed all of these games. I played Super Luigi U first to see why Nintendo was making kind if a big deal about it. While it still had the standard formula of being a Mario game, I was surprised about how different the game was. The different characters to play as had different abilities and Luigi had his own way to move about. The environments were really well designed and there was a lot of secrets and fan service through the game. It felt really solid and it. Was the first time I genuinely enjoyed a Mario game in a long time.

I moved onto Bayonetta 2, I didn’t enjoy the first one much due to the obnoxious fan service, wonky controls, and inconsistent gameplay. The second game felt nice on the gamepad and the combat was tighter and polished. I also like the new style of Bayonetta. She had this odd tower of hair thing that made her look silly in the previous game, but now her style just looks better.

Moving on from Bayonetta 2 I got my hands on Mario Kart 8. While the series has remained mostly the same, they are doing what they can to keep the game fresh. The previous installment added underwater and air mechanics to races, these stay in Mario Kart 8 and now we have anti gravity. During certain moments of races there will be spirals and curved walls you can move onto. Seemingly a small addition, it makes races slightly less predictable and straightforward. It is the kind of addition that keeps this franchise alive.

The last game I played was Wonderful 101. Apparently a cult hit before it was fully announced Wonderful 101 is one of those games that really shows the kind of originality I want in games. You gather citizens and heroes then turn them into weapons. The bigger the weapon, the better the damage. There are multiple weapon types and there is even co op. this is just a fun action game, it has challenge, a unique gameplay mechanic, and likeable art style. It has the makings to be a great game and a must have for Wii U owners.

Day 3 was a fantastic way to end the E3 scramble. I saw plenty of things I liked and wanted, I got to hang out with some great people, and meet new friends. The tail end of E3 and beginning of 2014 is going to be a very interesting time period for games. That was my E3 2013 experience and recap. Hope you enjoyed and keep gaming.

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Crowbar is an angry young man, but he knows his games. We all have our passions and his come alive when his digital self is hammering baddies, solving puzzles or flying. He also has a penchant for dressing like giant penguins, but we promised him we wouldn't mention it.