Wow it’s been an exhilarating and exhausting first day here at E3! My feet are killing me; please chop them off. All kidding aside, everywhere you look are huge displays featuring awesome games one gamer alone couldn’t play in a year. While most of us were doing our thing representing Hyperkin to the gaming industry, we got to take a up-close look at a few choice games that stuck out to us.
The first game we took a look at was Persona 4 Arena Why? For the free T-shirt that was advertised on our badges of course! Persona 4 Arena is a fighting game based of the cult-hit JRPG, Persona 4, which has seen a resurgence in the media (with a recently finished anime, a re-released PS Vita version and a fighting game) despite the game being over three years old now. Persona 4 Arena was made by Arc System Works, the same folks who made the cult hit fighting games Guilty Gear and Blazblue. Like those fighting games, Persona 4 features a 2-D fighting screen with a lot of character-specific combos to discover. If you’re familiar with the Persona series, you’ll find your fandom itch scratched with the furiously kicking Chie to the machine-gun android Aigis. This isn’t the kind of fighting game that Street Fighter veterans will totally understand; there’s a lot of odd mixtures between zoning and rush down to the game that set this game apart from the slow-steady types like Street Fighter and insanely fast ones like Marvel vs. Capcom. In a nutshell, Persona 4 Arena feels like a Guilty Gear or Blazblue game. However, the game is a lot more friendly to beginners, as simple combos can be executed with by just mashing the light attack button repeatedly. I’m a big believer in the fighting game community and I always think a unique title that sports interesting characters and a compelling game engine are always welcome (much like the splash Skullgirls is making). The artwork sports sharp colors and the animations are wonderful. There’s a short story mode with voice acting that lets fans relive some of their favorite characters’ personalities (though the voice actors have changed for certain characters). Overall, this is a great fighting game just to pick up and mess around with: throw some punches, shoot some guns, slash some swords, and summon humanoid creatures from your mind to battle with.
The next game we took a look at is one of Square Enix’s newest acquisition, Sleeping Dogs. Originally known as True Crime: Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs takes its concept from Activision’s True Crime series, which included games like True Crime: Streets of LA and True Crime: New York. Due to budgeting problems, Activision cancelled the game before it was released. However, Square Enix picked up the game and renamed it. The demo we played had us taking control of the main character Wei, a detective who has infiltrated the Triads. To keep up with appearances, he had to shake down a shady character named Ming. Wei has to chase down Ming through a crowded night market, jump over signs and walls, and fight numerous thugs. Overall, the game looks promising with stunningly vivid graphics, compelling voice acting (I understood a lot of the Cantonese peppered throughout the speech of several NPC’s) and slick controls. The fighting mechanics are simple but fun, much like Batman: Arkham City. Taking out hordes of thugs is no problem when you know how to counter and grapple. The world looks promising and its depth looks to rival that of newest incarnations of Grand Theft Auto. Fans of the crime world adventure genre will be extremely pleased at this latest entry.
The last game we got to take a hard look at was the doozy everyone’s been debating: the Wii U, specially ZombiU. There’s been a lot of chatter over Nintendo’s announcement of its next-gen console and its unorthodox tablet-style controller that sent many to wonder if Nintendo was just trying too hard. However, getting hands-on with the Wii U was a pretty fluid and compelling experience. ZombiU is a horror first-person shooter with shades reminiscent of Silent Hill. The gameplay is incredibly immersive with the upgraded graphics (finally!) and unique control scheme. ZombiU has you using the tablet controller like a scanner sometimes, surveying the landscape for possible items in the dark. It also acts as a scope when you’re using long-distance firearms like a crossbow. ZombiU’s gameplay is slow and steady as it has you ominously exploring an eerily quiet nursery bloodied up by an obvious outbreak. The game is unique in that, at least from what we got from the demo, the character dies immediately if he or she is ever bitten just once by a zombie. It introduces a true terror not found in many horror games today: holding the Wii U controller, I had to tread carefully around every corner and make sure my gun’s aim was accurate. If your character dies, you have the chance of a second try-through as a different character that is forced to find the original character, who has now been turned into a zombie, and retrieve his items and resume the mission. The game draws you in with its suspenseful and unique controls. The Wii U tablet feels surprisingly light and you can move around with the intuitively placed joystick and buttons without realizing a screen sits right between it (though you have to use the touch screen frequently in order to scan, pick up items, aim long-distance weapons, and pick locks). Overall, ZombiU looks to be a compelling original game that takes advantage of the already-popular zombie genre and gives players new controls to mess around with.
There were so many other games we passed by we wish we could have gotten our hands on: everything big is here and the crowds for trying out the hottest games are huge. We hope to get back to you guys on day 2 with more upcoming gameplay! Until then, hang tight, we’re amping up for a new day!