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E3 ‘09: Post E3 Thoughts From DW

If you ever had the opportunity I would highly recommend that you go to E3. While the cost of attending can be steep, I think that it would well worth it for anyone who plays and loves video games.  If you go their to work though, I’m sure you may look at the experience a little differently.  For those of us who don’t have to work when we attend, it’s can be a great experience.

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I really enjoyed God of War 3. Wasn’t that expected?  Well being the last game in the series, Sony needs to out do themselves in every wa yet again.  With the way things look, it looks like they may just accomplish a three-peat.  I don’t think the game will any one “specific” desire of a gamer but it may do a good job of satisfying you mostly.  It was easy to play and fun maintaining everything you know about the series and adding some new gameplay mechanics here and there.  It may not have the visual fidelity of Heavy Rain but it is still impressive looking; especially when you consider the camera work and other visual tones added to the game.  Sony seemed to have been in full force this year and they had way more titles to show off compared to the last two E3 Shows.  If you haven’t seen the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves live demo during the E3 press conference, I highly recommend that you do.  Naughty Dog will go down in history as being one the greatest developers for Sony of all time.

MAG, another Sony title, was not visually impressive to me at all. While the game looked descent enough, where it shined for me was in the mere fact that we played alongside some 200+ gamers around the country and about half of that being on your team. Since you’re divided up into squads, there seems to be some organization applied to the gameplay. You take orders from your commander, so it seems like the commander rank will be sort after rank. I’m afraid for this game because of those Rambo playing gamers out there who love making co-0p experiences bad for everyone else.  However, gamers who want to take this approach and avoid commander orders will forced to a re-spawn screen.

Darksiders was also very surprising and while Joe Mad himself admitted that the game bites off God of War, he doesn’t have to mention that the game takes its own approach in terms of its plot and visuals.  The characters you interact with are quite funny and the way the story plays out reminds me of an Anime.  Easy to control and play, it may very well turn out being popular .  Splinter Cell Conviction for the 360 was also very surprising. I never liked the series to begin with but this game may hit a cord with non xbox owners out there.  Maybe it’s because the developers had to re-think the hide and seek gameplay mechanics of the series since the main character is no longer tied to chains of a government general.

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I got a chance to play King of Fighters XII but I couldn’t enjoy it one bit.  The main reasons being Yori has been totally reworked.  I got my “ass handed to me on a silver platter” and I can’t say that that’s a bad thing but it was a little frustrating that they changed him so much.  Why not just make a new character?  I’m not sure.  It’s something I always disliked in fighting games.  I feel like when developers run out of ideas, they do this.  Anyways, it was very impressive to look at, especially when the hardcore fighting fans that played it showcased a lot of the counter moves, specials, counters-into-specials, and over the top finishing moves.  After that, it was easy to conclude that this game will be part of library.

Another game that immediately became part of library was PixelJunk Shooter. I can’t stop thinking about it.  Perhaps I’m expecting too much from it but perhaps that’s what happens when you find a title that’s just so cool.  Though its’ easy to play, destroy enemies, save workers, avoid the lava, and get out alive, the game can be very challenging as it requires that “think before you act” mentality.  Never has the flow of a liquid been so important.

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I sat through all of the SquareEnix presentation on that mega LCD wall that they had on the show floor and I have to say that they are coming out in full force.  There’s a new intellectual property in the mix called Nier; an action game.  There’s also a new online based final fantasy for PS3; Final Fantasy XIV (fourteen).  Though only cut scenes were shown for this Final Fantasy XIV, it reminded me of FF XI from its character design. I think there was a strong demand for an online version of this game but I’m wondering if SquareEnix will charge for playing it online. This may not sit well with PS3 owners.

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No game play was shown though, so whether it inherits the same game play as FFXI remains to be seen. They also showed and extended clip of the FFXIII trailer that included more game play footage and summons (Shiva and Odin).  I think every PS3 owner is waiting for this also. There are no plans to do subtitles for the game though but the game is done with British and American voice actors.  I think that SquareEnix got the point after FFXII. The voice acting in that game was on point and perhaps a good enough job will be done this time around.  From the Japanese demo I played, the gameplay is reminiscent of FFVII but with continuous action.

Venturing over to Capcom I got a chance to play Lost Planet 2 also.  Since its another team based game, the only thing you have to worry about is online gamers not really trying to play Co-Op.  Nevertheless, there are still some cool things in there and if everyone focuses on the task at hand.  I say this because the 4 man/lady groups that played before me kept loosing the round because they just weren’t working together.  The entire demo centered around defeating a giant Akrid salamander.  You can destroy its’ legs and subsequently enter its stomach via its mouth to kill it even faster.  While patroling its innards, you destroy its internal organs and the smaller Akrids that live inside its stomach.  Insert “Wow” expression here.  If you make your way too deeply into the beast … it proceeds to shit you out.  Sadly my team lost the round to Akrid but I’m looking forward to this title.

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I got a chance to play the PS3 build of Tekken 6. While I’m not that excited about Tekken 6, or Tekken, anymore, I was happy to see that it was easier to pick up in comparison to its Arcade cousin.  What wasn’t easy was picking from the whopping 40 character list.  Playing this game in the Arcades was impossible for me but for some reason playing it on the PS3 came natural and perhaps I may have some space for it in my library after all.  Like KOF XII, moves where changed yet again, a few new characters here and there, and you know the rest.  I can’t help but wonder if Namco will start a new fighting series after this one.  I mean, the game has been release over six times already.

The one thing about E3, besides all the games, are the people you get the chance to meet. For example on lunch break on Tuesday, I got the chance to sit with the sound designer for God of War 3.  Developers, producers, and designers are really easy to talk to, then again people are easy to talk to, if you approach them nicely.  The next day while I was standing in line at Starbucks, I spoke with one of the concept artist for That Game Company (Cloud, Flower, Flow) and we ended up having a coffee break together and had a unique conversation about the motivating factors for playing video games. I think that anyone with the time, and money, should make it to out to California for E3 at least once in their life. Even more so if you love video games.  Next stop, TGS … and maybe Leipzig.

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