1) Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. A rampage through the enemies of mankind. One of my favorite aspects of this game was the seamless transition between ranged and melee combat. That and it’s over the top, gore infused, non-stop action. They were handing out scratch off cards to people waiting in line for a chance to win t-shirts or a real life sized chainsword. Sadly, I won neither.
2) Duke Nukem Forever. This game is going to get bashed in reviews across the board, I just know it. But you kind of have to go into playing this game with that mindset. It’s a completely balls out FPS with corny, outdated humor, but I knew that already and that’s exactly what I wanted. Is it as good as Gears of War, Bulletstorm, or even Quake 4? Not really, but that’s ok. If you crossed together maybe Bullstorm and Eat Lead, I guess that’s kind of what Duke Nukem forever is like. And as long as you go into it knowing this, you might enjoy yourself. It’s kind of like those hot dog carts in the city. The food’s great, but you know it’s not gourmet. Anyway, the line to play this was a bit longer than expected, especially since the game was coming out a week later anyway. Once at the front of the line, they put you into this room filled with Duke iconography, give you a beer or red bull inside a nifty little Duke Nukem cup cooler, and set you down to play multiplayer. I played a session of Capture the Babe; an interesting spoof of the capture the flag classic where you have to return the enemies babe to your base and you even get to spank her if she gets unruly.
3) Trenched. This was a fun spin on the tower defense formula. Instead of just blithely placing towers and watching them take down the endless onslaught of mindless invaders from an overhead perspective, you are actively engaged in eliminating your enemies from a third person shooter view. You pilot one of three mechs: light, medium, and heavy, with light being fastest with least firepower but with the best towers and heavy with most firepower but weakest towers. Towers remain common to the genre however, with anti-air, ground, air/ground, etc. Coming out this summer for XBLA and it will support online multiplayer.
4) Street Fighter X Tekken. I didn’t get to play this nearly as much as I wanted to. There was constantly a large crowd surrounding the booth, much akin to the crowds surrounding the Street Fighter II cabinets from the days of yore when arcades ruled our collective video game consciousness. For those who were able to beat 3 opponents in a row, Capcom was handing out character themed bobble heads. I lost. It was a noble defeat however. The opponent who felled me had his difficulty setting at just about my level. Neither were able to land a finishing blow, instead all of our rounds ended in a time out. So I can at least walk away knowing I had a good match. The game plays mostly like Street Fighter IV but with a little MVC and Tekken Tag thrown in there.
5)Star Wars: The Old Republic. OMG! YES PLEASE! I didn’t get a chance to play this, though believe me, I wanted to. This had one of the longest lines at E3 and I really just didn’t have time to wait on another 2+ hour line. I did get to watch it a great deal though. This booth was adjacent to the Space Marine drop pod, so I got to watch an hour of so of other people playing it on several oversized displays. Looks very good, as any game made by Bioware is bound to be. It has their proprietary dialogue system, which should lend a great deal of narrative to this MMO, something that the genre sorely lacks. No official release date yet, but Mass Effect 3 has been pushed back to March so hopefully that means we’ll see a release sometime this year. *crosses fingers*
A few other interesting tidbits:
They had a full retro video game history museum set up, complete with two dozen or so full arcade cabinets from the 70s – early 90s, all with free play activated! Not a single quarter was wasted this day. Some of my favorites on site were: Punch-Out!!, Raiden II (love me some bullet hell), and Altered Beast. Shaolin Road was absent unfortunately, and as the self proclaimed master of that game, I would have liked to show off my skills.
I was surprised yet pleased to see so many people working well under the honor system; There was nothing holding the memorabilia down, no cameras, and no one standing guard. Their website is www.vghmuseum.org. 8 Bit Weapon, a chiptune group, and Descendants of Erdrick, a video game tribute band that includes a flute player, supplied crowds with live music.
A few people in cosplay, but nothing like going to a comic-con. Here we have Renegade Commander Shepherd to the left and Zero Suit Samus on the right.
Lastly and leastly, this is the best Square Enix had to offer. On display were all of the toys and collectables you can get from their web store. Some of you may argue that they were showcasing Final Fantasy XIII-2 but I would have to assume that’s a joke, because no one really cares about the garbage Square Enix produces anymore. Aside from the remake of Final Fantasy IV and the Dragon Quest games on the DS, and those don’t even really count because they’re not technically NEW, Square Enix hasn’t had any good original IPs since PSX.
Anyway, I do have tons more to say about my first ever E3 trip, but what can I say that you haven’t already heard watching G4, or hasn’t already been covered by any of the bigger websites, bloggers, or game mags.
I do appreciate your comments though, so PLEASE feel free to leave one. Don’t forget to read yesterdays post!
And I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think of the Wii U.
Thanks for reading!
Being that this is my first official posting, allow me to explain what the intended purpose of this blog is going to be.
At the very least, a weekly (hopefully) posting of indie games from wherever I can find them, though they will primarily come from XBLA (xbox live arcade).
Sure most of you that are gamers on the 360 have at least checked out a few games from XBLA, but have you ever checked out the indie games tab? I find most of my friends, or just anyone I’ve talked to about it for that matter, don’t bother, and since they’re indie, there really isn’t any advertising for them. Aside from word of mouth, knowledge of these games really doesn’t get out there. And maybe this is going to be a redundant blog, and I’m sure other people could probably do it better, but I haven’t seen more than a handful of blogs out there honoring these works of passion. Probably because there’s no money to be had in it. And sure indie means that there’s really not much of a budget to speak of, but lack of budget doesn’t mean lack of quality. Yeah, a lot of them are complete stinkpiles, but there quite a few gems out there. So that’s my plan, get some groundswell going for these unknown and potentially rockin’ indie games. Oh yeah, best of all, most of the indie games you find are less than 5 bucks!
Also you may have noticed I started with issue #0. And if not, then you did now. So yeah, that’s how I’m gonna do this. I like comics and I’m going to number my blogs as if they were comic book issues. Games and comics seem to go well together. The nerd communities generally intermingle and are often one in the same anyway, usually some Magic the Gathering thrown in there as well, but we’ll be leaving that out of these posts as much as possible. (evil, deadly, addition….) I have no intention of actually reviewing an indie game in this inaugural post. It’s really just more of a prequel and info-packet if you will. So that’s mostly why I decided to label is issue #0, kind of like how comics get an issue #0 just to showcase some art or some such.
And now for the showcase! So I just got back from E3. One of my lifelong goals has finally been achieved. You can’t imagine how many points I feel I’ve just unlocked. This industry only event has been just out of my reach for years and I’ve always wanted to go ever since I first remember reading about it in the early days of Game Informer. It was more amazing than my fondest memories of Disney World as a child, though waiting in the lines seems about the same. Everyone’s been asking me how it was and what I thought of all the upcoming splendor we shall see this holiday season and early next year. Well here are my thoughts as organized as I can get them, but in no particular order.
Holy dicks. Nintendo… WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Look, we all love Nintendo, and I’m sure they will continue to produce absolutely amazing 1st party content, but Nintendo, you are making it really, really difficult to appreciate your direction. Nintendo is pretty much shitting all over my fondest childhood memories. Ok, so maybe this is a little hyperbolic, but there are a million better ideas that were probably floating around the Nintendo offices and this was the best they could come up with?! First off, the name. Wii U? Out of what I’m sure were a plethora of other splendid console names gathered during extensive brainstorming sessions, someone at corporate Nintendo actually decided that Wii U was the best choice. What happened to the Nintendo HD? That was a fine title. It’s straight to the point and lets us know EXACTLY what they intend out of the system. Even the revolution (the codename the Wii had before it’s release) would have been a better choice. Hell, even the Dolphin! Didn’t anyone else heart break when they heard Nintendo announce their new system? From a strictly retail point, customers had a hard enough time asking for and pronouncing the Wii accurately for the first few years it was out. I wonder what kind of verbal abortions will be imagined this turn around.
The controller: I don’t know entirely how I feel about this. I’m torn at the moment. My limited engagement with the device left me intrigued, yet highly concerned. For starters, this could easily be another gimmick and there have already been far too many gimmicky games for the Wii. I do like the idea of a touch screen on my controller, but I don’t like the idea of a tablet-like device. It’s about the size of an iPad and I think the iPad and iTouch, and all that other apple crap is terrible for gaming. Yes there are tons of games you can get from iTunes and tons of people play them, but they’re mostly garbage. People that play games on an iPad aren’t gamers. The iPad makes a poor gaming device and would be an even worse gaming controller. The first game I ran to when I got my chance to play the new Wii U after my nearly 3 hour wait in line, was Ghost Recon Online. I was more excited about the controller than anything considering it’s the only part of the system that I would really consider new hardware. The size itself isn’t a problem; I was a fan of the original Xbox controllers after all. The problem is that it’s not contour friendly to hands and it’s analog sticks are terrible. It’s nice and lightweight and there is a ledge (for lack of a better word) on the back that rests on your fingers so you don’t feel like you’re holding it up, but it’s a square. They may have worked 25 years ago with the original NES, but the controller then was a fraction of the size. Some contoured grips on the side would have been nice. As far as the analog sticks, they feel like the analog sticks on the PSP or 3Ds. They don’t move as smoothly as as a PS3, 360, or even an N64 controller. If they were going for the flat look, then they got it, but if they were going for dual analog sticks that felt natural, then they fell flat on their asses and failed. There are many things I like about this controller, but the crappy analog sticks make it worthless for real gaming. Lastly, turning to retail again; how much is this thing gonna cost? Seriously, a Wii remote/nunchuck combo it 70 bucks. I can’t see this thing costing under 100. And how’s that gonna fly with parents? And obviously kids are gonna break this thing. I can see an irate parents face already when they have to replace one of these because of a cracked screen.
I think they revealed the Wii U too soon. I don’t think they had enough to show and they shot their wad before it was time. On display were 2 separate tech demos, one of which had an exciting looking Link vs. a giant spider fight scene. But that’s all it was for: looking. The best piece of eye candy they had and all you could do was move the camera around. They had this absolute rubbish game called Measure Up, which could have easily been on the DS since all it was was drawing lines and shapes more accurately than your opponent. The best things they had to show were another Mario Bros. game, Battle Mii, and Chase Mii. The Mario game would have been great, but it’s really nothing different so far. I’m not even sure if it was any different than the one from Wii, but maybe with some new features. I dunno, I really didn’t pay attention to that one. Battle Mii and Chase Mii were the best they had to show, but they were both mini games! It’s a slap in the face. If Nintendo really wanted to excite people about their new system, after much of the gaming community has already completely turned their backs to the Wii, they shouldn’t have shown up with a couple of mini games! Granted they were really fun, but when Nintendo posed the question to themselves, “What would we like for people to take away with them after playing the Wii U?” The answer shouldn’t have been a couple of mini games! In Chase Mii one person plays are Mario using the tablet where the screen displays the location of all the players on the map and the other 4 players use the regular remotes to find and chase him down; basically it’s a glorified version of hide and seek. Battle Mii had a little bit more merit. One person pilots Samus’ ship while the others are on the ground and from then on its pretty much a standard death match. No new concepts really except the cross-style gameplay, yet still not enough to showcase a new console. Bottom line Nintendo, with a release date and pricepoint both still TBA and no discernible line-up yet, the announcement of this console should have waited.
All right, the Wii U has got me a little agitated right now. I’ve got more to say about E3 and I’m sure maybe 3 or 4 of you are interested, but you’ll have to wait. More to come tomorrow.
Thanks for reading!