Ah, E3, the Christmas of the gaming industry. I had a ball attending press conferences, playing demos, and partying the night away with new and old friends. I expected a lot from this year’s E3, because of the Xbox One and PS4 reveal.
So, what did I think?
My first stop was Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, an upcoming third-person combat game from Tecmo Koei. Keiji Inafune, creator of Mega Man, is involved with the project, and it showed. I loved the new art style and the smooth, just plain fun combat mechanic. I didn’t love that the enemies are zombies and the main character is part cyber ninja, but I guess that’s what’s in style right now. I quite enjoyed slinging zombies at other zombies – there’s just something so satisfying about that. The game is in development for PS3, Xbox 360, and iOS and is set for an early 2014 release.
Next up was Transistor. Check out my preview, but the short version is: I loved it.
Saints Row IV is just wacky: I used a dubstep gun, black hole gun, and a lightsaber. That is, until I discovered a few more of my super powers. Then I just stomped on everyone’s face and threw people into cars. The graphics are fine, the gameplay took a little getting used to, but I assume that’s because they started the demo off with more of your abilities and no kind of tutorial. I mentioned before that I love the idea behind this new entry, and I can’t wait to play some more, but it is definitely a meta kind of game.
I also had the opportunity to experience Diablo III on the PS3. All players are on the screen at the same time, so it got a little confusing at times, and checking armor and weapons took over the screen for everyone, meaning this has the potential to be pretty annoying. On the other hand, this game is super fun to play with friends, and I can just imagine everyone on the couch with a beer having a great time murdering monsters together. The graphics looked great, and the gameplay was mostly streamlined. All-in-all, I think it’s a pretty great port. We snagged a Legendary and all got free PS3 skins too! You’ll just need to make sure you never play it with me, because I obsessively check armor and stats…
Next on the list was Tekken Revolution, which came out the day before I got my hands on it at E3, but whatever. The new Tekken game is free-to-play and a PS3 exclusive. There are a total of twelve characters in the game, but only eight are playable from the start: Asuka, Jack 6, Kazuya, King, Lars, Lili, Marshall, and Paul. Heihachi Mishima, Jinpachi Mishima, and Ogre are fought as bosses in the Arcade mode, but aren’t playable. The character models have been streamlined, and everyone looks slightly more sparkly and smooth, but there aren’t any drastic character redesigns. There are also minor tweaks to the combat, leaving me very satisfied as I throw an unblockable move in front of a smooth combo. I anticipate spending a lot of time with this one!
And finally, I played the latest demo for The Last of Us. Check out our review here. While I do appreciate the strong and diverse case of female characters, I also recommend checking out this article for another perspective.
Mobile and social games had a very strong showing, and I actually won a MOGA controller at lunch, which was pretty exciting. I don’t play games on my phone though, so we’ll see whether this gets me into them, or if I decide to hold a giveaway. Leave your opinion in the comments!
As for the Xbox One and the PS4, I had mixed feelings about both. I disliked the lack of female characters shown at the Xbox press conference and the amount of footage shown that was simply trailers in all of the conferences.
While it may be too soon to argue which console is better, the Xbox One did not have a very impressive lineup of exclusive games to back up their lack of customer service with the whole DRM issue. On the other hand, most of the games being featured in the Sony booth were actually PS3 games. On my fifth hand, apparently the Xbox One games were actually being demoed on PCs, but I’ve since heard that’s normal practice.
The new console controllers both felt fine in my hands. The PS4 controller now has triggers and the L1 and R1 functions are now mapped to them, which made a few games hard to play at first until I got used to them. The thumbsticks are now concave in the middle, but since I’ve never had a problem with them being convex, that didn’t really matter to me. The Start button is gone, replaced by the Options button, which I guess makes sense nowadays when you think about it. I didn’t play any games that used the Touchpad, so I can’t share any details about how it works.
The Xbox One still uses batteries. Can we talk about that? Like, seriously…who still uses batteries? It felt lighter than the old controller, but mostly feels completely familiar. The rumble is new, with it actually only affecting specific parts of the controller. I don’t know how I feel about that yet. Instead of Start and Select, it has Menu and View.
Overall, I had a great time, and there was tons to see and do at E3. I particularly loved the focus on indie games, with both IndieCade and the section in Sony’s booth devoted to indie games. There were tons of announcements, talks, presentations, and surprise guests at each of the big booths. I also took a picture in a carriage monster truck, so I feel that E3 2013 was a success.
Check out our Facebook album for more pics from E3 2013!