Pages: 1 2 3
The longest week in games journalism came to an end today as this year’s edition of the Electronic Entertainment Expo closed the books on another year in gaming. My last day featured new games from some big-time publishers, some promising items from some distinguished indies, and my first games of the week for the Nintendo Wii and DS.
Today’s journey began with a look at Lucha Libre, a Mexican wrestling simulation. A delay in the start of the demonstration forced me to move on before it started, but indie developer Slang gets high marks for their booth design: a full-sized wrestling ring, which was supposed to host some actual luchadores putting each other through their paces. My Avault comrades stayed for the demo, and I suspect there will be some discussion of it during their final E3 podcast. I did, however, stay long enough to score a wrestling mask that I’ll no doubt use to scare the kiddies in my neighborhood this Halloween.
My first real work time of the day was spent at the Sega booth, where I got the heads-up on three promising new games. Vanquish is set in an energy-scarce future in which the U.S. and Russia are the only remaining global powers. The Russians have commandeered the last energy-generating satellite in orbit, so the Americans send up some military force to retake it. Your character is equipped with the Augmented Reality Suit (similar to the nanosuit), which you use to help your Yankee buddies expel the Red Scourge from the satellite. Vanquish is a single-player-only sci-fi action shooter that will provide 10 to 12 hours of twitch-gaming goodness for owners of the Xbox 360 and the PS3 this October.
Next was a more-refined but still engaging fighter that incorporated both RPG and exploration elements. Yakuza 4 gives you a look at Japanese culture through an anime visual style, and adds a combat system that lets you use anything you can find in a scene as a weapon. The campaign unfolds Rashomon-style, with four characters and their viewpoints of the same events leading to each of their plot lines connecting near the end. Yakuza 4 will be released exclusively for the PS3 in the spring of 2011.
The final Sega game on my program was also my first Wii game of the week: Conduit 2. I had the chance to play the original Conduit at a Sega event in New York City (before aliens blew up the city in Crysis 2), and it was the first game that I bought for my Wii just about a month ago. Conduit 2 picks up just where the original game left off, but has shifted its setting from Washington, DC, to jungles and mountain regions. Developer High Voltage Software has paid heed to the comments made after the first game’s release and has revamped the gameplay, adding more variety, turrets and flying sequences. The new game will also include the usual selection of multiplayer modes when it debuts only for the Wii this winter.
Casual-game company D3 next gave me hands-on time with Puzzle Quest 2, the sequel to the popular 2007 match-three game. I played the original on the Nintendo DS, and I remember being frustrated for a long time by an AI system that seemed to get just the right collection of gems at just the right time to thwart me. But I was assured that there was no cheating going on behind the scenes. In fact, attempts to dumb down the random-number generator that runs the puzzle portion of the game actually made it too easy to win, which can be just as annoying as playing against an AI that seems to have all the luck in the world. The new game has more of a story component this time; it features local, online and tournament multiplayer; and is available now for the DS, with versions for the Xbox 360, PC, and Apple products coming soon.
2K Games caused something of an uproar in classic gaming circles when it announced that PC squad-based strategy legend X-COM: UFO Defense was being turned into a first-person shooter for the upcoming XCOM. Not being tainted by any of that talk (I never played the original game), I found the reimagining to be a combination of a 1950s-style art aesthetic and some engaging shooter gameplay. For the uninitiated, you are part of a secret mid-20th-century American intelligence unit tasked with investigating the unknown after a mysterious artifact is discovered and is later identified as alien in origin. Not only do you hit the road with two AI teammates to eliminate the alien threat, but you also take pictures of unusual objects and creatures so that the boffins back at HQ can devise a way to use them to defeat the invaders. PC gaming loyalists should put away their torches and pitchforks and check out this combination of fear, strategy and shooter elements when XCOM is released in 2011 for the PC and the Xbox 360.
Pages: 1 2 3