Previews: 4 Hours @ E3
Having reached the LA Convention Center at 1:00 P.M., there wasn’t much time to explore and watch many demonstrations. So how were the measly 4 hours spent until closing time at 5 P.M.? Playing as many demos at the open stations as possible of course!
Saints Row 4
Having not played the Saints Row games before, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. But seeing as how the series was already on its fourth title, it ought to be good right? Turns out it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. The game felt very similar to Grand Theft Auto, and having never been much of a fan for that type of gameplay, I didn’t enjoy it much. I will admit that giving you super powers did add a fairly cool element to the game, but I tended to have more fun using the powers to traverse the environment quickly than I did wrecking havoc on the city with them.
While I didn’t have too much fun with game, if you like games like GTA but have always felt like you needed a little more super-powered bad assery, then this is the game for you.
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix
Always having been a big fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, I had to play this as soon as I saw it. Visually, although subtle, you can tell that the graphics are better than the original version on the Playstation 2. While normally all you really expect from a re-mastered version is better graphics and maybe some additional bosses and side-stories (except in this case a whole other game as well as the cutscenes from another), Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix actually changes some of the original gameplay.
One thing that was always frustrating about the original Kingdom Hearts was the difficulty to perform “special moves” that you would learn throughout the game, having to scroll through your action bar to reach it because it couldn’t be hot-keyed to any other input. In 1.5 HD Remix they changed it so that by simply pressing triangle you could perform the attack in a way similar to the action commands introduced in Kingdom Hearts 2.
While the title won’t offer anything very new to people who have played the original versions of the games in 1.5 HD Remix, it will certainly be a good buy for anyone wanting to get into the series. And if you just want to get rid of your old disks/cartridges to save space, but still want to be able to play the games, then this will be a definite buy when it’s released.
Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Returns
Having not played any of the previous FF XIII games, and only having heard bad things, I was slightly worried when I began playing this demo. Upon playing the game, my feelings were mixed. To put it simply, the combat had some of the simplest, most un-interactive mechanics I have ever experienced. Despite having the appearance of an action game, the concept of dodging enemy attacks was almost non-existent. The combat consisted of simply spamming as many attacks as possible until you ran out of command points in her current form. After that you would switch to a new combat form and keep on attacking till the enemy died. While you could dodge to an extent by using moves that made you jump backwards, half the time you couldn’t jump far enough to dodge an incoming attack. While the game implements a block feature, it almost feels unnecessary since as long as you keep spamming you have a good chance of making the enemy become dizzy from your attacks before it even gets a chance to attack you.
Despite all this though, I still somehow had fun. There was something about not having to think in any way, shape or form that was entertaining. While I can’t say the game is good, it was a lot of fun just watching Lightning look pretty as she bashed in the heads of her enemies.
Sonic: Lost World
Having been a long time fan of the Sonic series, and being immensely happy with Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors after Sega’s long run of terrible Sonic games, I came into Sonic: Lost World expecting a game I would enjoy. Unfortunately that wasn’t what I got. Lost World decided to implement some new features into the Sonic genre that I just couldn’t enjoy.
The first addition to the game was a hold-button-to-run feature like the classic Mario and Donkey Kong games, one of the last things I wanted in a Sonic title. When I think of Sonic, I think of a game where I try and go as fast as I can with as little effort as possible. Yes, even holding down a button to run is too complicated for me.
While this bugged me, it wasn’t my biggest problem. Most of my problems with Lost World came from the double jump command that was added into the game. While adding a double jump normally wouldn’t sound like a negative addition, it becomes one when its controls overlap with those for performing the homing attack. In the 3DS version of the game this wasn’t much of a problem, since it would correctly implement the homing attack whenever capable. In the Wii U version this wasn’t the case. More than half the time I tried to homing attack, I would double jump instead and die as a result. Completing a level on the Wii U version felt more like a relief than a rewarding experience. I hope that my experience was just a result of the game not being complete, but I definitely won’t be buying the Wii U version of Lost World until I read some reviews after its release.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
My last game of the day, and one that I ended up just playing on a whim, Yaiba was very possibly the best game I played at E3. Unlike the other Ninja Gaiden games, Yaiba adopted a comic-book esque art style that felt very fitting for the game. The game centers around the character Yaiba, who was resurrected as a cyborg after being killed by the protagonist of the main series. On your goal for revenge, you end up having to do some dirty work for the organization that revived you.
Quite frankly I was sold as soon as I found out I was playing as a cyborg ninja. However, the developers at Tecmo Koei decided to take this awesomeness to a new level and pit you against zombies. Lots of them. To make it even better, you could execute said zombies by ripping off their body parts, and then use said body parts as weapons. My favorite weapon was probably the zombie arm nun-chucks.
The combat itself is nothing special, just your typical hack-n-slash, but it felt smooth and responsive. The story also had numerous little dialogues and scenes that were quite amusing. Based on my experience, I’ll definitely be looking forward to when this game is released.
Well, that pretty much sums up most of my day at E3. Aside from playing demos I only had time to go watch one promotional demonstration of Assasin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (which I actually watched on accident since I somehow mistook the symbol for Assasin’s Creed for that of Destiny. Silly me). While I wasn’t able to do much, and missed out on getting sneak peaks on new footage for games like Watch Dogs or Destiny, I would have to say I very much enjoyed my 4 short hours at E3 2013.