Whew, things were finally wrapping up as the final day went on, just as we were really getting into our groove. As we prepared to pack our bags and head home, we decided to really sit down and reflect on some of the major things we saw. And what’s more major than the big three giants here at E3? We explored as much as we could at the Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo trying to get the latest hands-on scoops of the hottest games soon to be released.
Microsoft went all-out with pumping the hype about Halo 4. Fans were willing to wait hours just for the chance to get their hands on the demo, which took place behind closed doors. In a tournament-style melee, fans got to shoot their hearts out with another edition into a shooter favorite. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the time to wait out the Halo 4 line (big lines whose average wait times went over two hours were Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Borderlands 2), but we did get a peek inside the tourney-style set up. Plugged in and ready to fire, Halo fans got completely sucked in. Halo 4 looks to please fans who just wouldn’t accept the end of a majestic trilogy.
Besides the hype about Halo 4, Microsoft pushed on their latest Kinect titles like Just Dance 4. What really struck us was the Avengers game being made for the Kinect. Players got to stand in front of the Kinect and pretend to be some favorite superheros like Thor and Hulk as they threw punches in an all-out brawl. It felt silly to be pretend-fighting in front of an audience, but watching Wolverine as he slashed with his claws with a flick of my arm was pretty sick. Microsoft’s planning on going big with the Kinect–they’re pulling out all the stops with these novel titles, appealing to the immersive experience of flailing your body to control your characters.
The Sony booth was filled with lines of PS3′s and PS Vitas just begging to be played. Sony unveiled demos of the latest entries into some of their biggest properties like God of War, Sly Cooper, and Little Big Planet Racing. We took a crack at Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale and boy were we salty when our turns ended. What looks to be Sony’s attempt at competing with Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale looks really gimmicky at first. Featuring Sony characters like Nathan Drake, Kratos, Sly Cooper, Big Daddy and Parappa the Rapper, Playstation All-Stars is a multiplayer fighting game that has you jumping around trying to chip away at a character’s health until they fly of the screen. The controls are unique and our basic Smash Bros. knowledge didn’t help too much with figuring the game out. We took turns playing as Nathan Drake and Kratos and we enjoyed the silliness of watching characters like Fat Princess get their butts handed to them. Gameplay feels different enough from Smash Bros. to merit this upcoming title a fair chance. Characters can punch light combos and shoot projectiles and even perform supers (we never quite figured out how that worked, but some people managed to pull them off and the mechanics of certain supers, like Sly Cooper’s fly-away-and-snipe super, look really impressive). Look forward to how Sony intends to splash into the party fighting scene.
The PS Vitas were featuring several games meant to show off how Sony intends to develop games taking advantage of all its features. Rhythm-based games like Hatsune Miku and Orgarhythm had you swiping your finger and pressing buttons in tune to sufficiently challenging lengths. Casual games like Frobisher Says! offer fun mini games very much like Rhythm Heaven and Warioware. Our personal favorite was Jet Grind Radio, which finally got the revival it so desperately deserved with faithfully preserved art style and control schemes. The PS Vita made not have made the splash that it wanted to upon initial release, but the future looks promising if keeps up its creative streak (we spied a PSOne classics on a PS Vita, with FFVII!). Only time will tell!
Nintendo definitely took the cake in terms of new hardware by flooding the hall with Wii U’s. Attendees got to take the fabled tablet control into the gameplay of games like Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Pikmin 3, ZombiU (which we reviewed on Day 1), Wii FitU, and New Super Mario Bros. U. What charmed attendees the most by far though was Nintendoland, which was a themepark-style series of Mii-based mini-games featuring some of Nintendo’s biggest titles. We saw our Miis take on Link outfits in The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, run around in Mario & Luigi outfits in Luigi’s Ghost Mansion and don huge animal hats in Animal Crossing: Sweet Day. These latter two mini-games offer four-player support, four players on regular Wii-motes and one on the tablet. Animal Crossing: Sweet Day and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion require the tablet players to take on the role of pursuers chasing down the four others as they try to collect candy or shine light. In the style of family-friendly group play much like Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, Nintendoland looks to expand upon the casual-gamer market with the flair of familiar brands and compelling mini games. We’re definitely watching out for Nintendoland–who knows? We know we haven’t touched Wii Sports in the longest time, but Nintendoland just might innovate the way we think about casual gaming on consoles.
Not much was announced or demo’d with the Nintendo 3DS at the Nintendo booth, but a lot of fans could be seen busting out their handheld consoles and turning on Street Pass. Nintendo may not be trying to appeal to the hardcore gamers who’d prefer something like Halo 4, but their distinctive styles are here to stay, especially with their focus on offering games that anyone can jump right into, even your grandma.
Wow, E3 certainly blew our minds and we’re swelling up with ideas for new products to anticipate the needs of all the new stuff coming out soon. We’re tired, but inspired! Getting the first tastes of all these games only increased our appetite, and the wait to the latter end of the year feels like an eternity. Stay strong and wait it out with us! We’ll be coming back again with more gameplay reviews as we come across them. Until next time!