With Day 2 in full swing, we finally got in the rhythm and managed to really flush out some of the major booths here and all the games they had to offer. We’re among the big dogs here: no joking around. This is serious heat these developers are packing. The booths we managed to hit to their entirety today were Capcom, Square Enix, Disney and Bandai Namco. Sorry if we didn’t hit all of the big ones: reviewing all these booths takes a lot of time and manpower. Especially patience–waiting in lines that can last for hours.
Capcom comes rolling into the scene with a giant and mysterious black room set-up, all hush-hush gameplay demos that took place behind closed doors. We managed to sneak close-up looks with two of the major titles they were promoting here: DmC: Devil May Cry and Resident Evil 6 (we JUST missed being able to look at Lost Planet 3 and the Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken). Both DmC and RE6 look to be incredibly promising games, with their stunningly dark worlds and renowned style and flair. DmC’s demo has you controlling a teenage Dante, whose trademark bold and brash personality stays intact. Controlling Dante’s many moves is as simple as mashing buttons and you feel extremely powerful just slashing through enemies with your sword or shooting them with your guns. You can spiral into the air with almost limitless combos mashing the commands for sword strikes and Angel/Devil pulls that reel enemies in even after you’ve smashed them away. You just can’t get tired of the half-demon’s power. DmC’s looking to make a splash in 2013.
Capcom’s other dark powerhouse, RE6, looks just as strong as well with three demos that put you into the shoes of the three protagonists in the game (as well as each of their respective partners). You’ve got Leon shooting down the President who’s been turned into a zombie, Chris fighting off bioterrorists in China, and newcomer Jake Mueller (who’s been revealed to be Wesker’s son) fighting off a huge zombie giant. Gameplay is better than ever with the ability to run AND shoot, as well as a dodge function. Herbs now come in the form of pills and recovering life is as easy as pressing a button while running. This is the game all Resident Evil veterans have been waiting for. Fans can expect the game to come out on October 2.
Square Enix shows up at E3 with a open-air booth that feels fresh and inviting. We got to play with Sleeping Dogs yesterday, whose review you can find here, so today we played with Kingdom Hearts 3D, Final Fantasy Theatrhythm and Hitman: Absolution. Kingdom Hearts 3D looks as beautiful as ever, sporting the same style fans have come to know and love since the beginning. With the 3DS’s upgraded graphics, fans will feel right at home with the same kind of gameplay as Kingdom Hearts II. With Kingdom Hearts 3DS, you can play as Sora and Riku as they test for the Mark of Mastery. New enemies and allies come in the form of dreams, with your allies called Spirits and your enemies called Nightmares. The designs are cute and colorful, graphically creative as we all know Square Enix to be.
Final Fantasy Theatrhythm is a music game sure to please FF fans who’ve set FF music as their ringtones (I know I have at one point). The game has you taking FF characters from all over its rich history and guiding them musically through their quests. Gameplay varies between side-scrolling levels that have you tapping, holding and flicking your stylus to keep in tune with the selected song and with boss battles that have you controlling all four character’s musical gauges. A fun casual game that looks beautiful and pays excellent tribute to a series well-known for its strong musical qualities.
Hitman: Absolution has you controlling Agent 47 again as he takes on professional killing. Its unique stealth gameplay is better than ever with upgraded graphics and controls. The demo we played tough had us sniping out a reclusive CEO and lurking through crowds to take out a politician. Full of suspense and requiring excellent coordination, Hitman: Absolution is another great addition to a series that sets itself apart from other shooters.
The Disney Booth was charming and attracted tons of attention for the giveaway of personalized Oswald hats commemorating the release of Epic Mickey 2. Epic Mickey 2 brings back the paint brush style and platforming mayhem many fans loved in the first incarnation. The demo had you controlling Mickey as he discovers the power of the brush in Yen Sid’s lair (people familiar with Fantasia will be excited with the appearance of the distinctive hats and animated brooms). The unique controls of erasing and generating the world with thinner and paint makes this platformer a game class in its own. Creative and playful, Epic Mickey is worth the try.
Finally, the last thing we got to take a good look at was the Bandai Namco booth. Most of the games were anime and cartoon related like One Piece: Pirate Warriors and Dragonball Z Kinect, but the game we really got into was Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. This game hasn’t gotten a lot of coverage in the U.S., being a primarily Japanese-appeal RPG, but it looks to be a sleeper hit from what we saw. Ni no Kuni is a cooperative effort from Level-5, the game publisher who makes the Professor Layton games, and Studio Ghibli, Japanese animation studio famous for films like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. Ni no Kuni combines gaming and animation to new levels, offering high-definition and vividly designed cut-scenes (as an anime fan, I felt like I was watching an anime playing Ni no Kuni, which was really exciting). The gameplay is an interesting real-time battle system, which has you running around, sending beasts to fight, and executing attacks at the right time and running away in time for your beast to recharge. It’s exciting to see a game like Ni no Kuni to come out as it offers a vision for the future of gaming. Will movie studios and gaming developers unite more often? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes, please!
We only got to get glimpses of the huge giants like Activision and Ubisoft, but man, the trailers for everything from Call of Duty II and Assassin’s Creed III made us squeal like little girls. We can’t wait to get our last looks at some more major titles. Lots to play, so little time! Why can’t these games be available now? We’ll be waiting with bated breath.