E3 Hands On Impressions
It’s true that Nintendo may have disappointed us with their E3 Conference, but that doesn’t mean there was nothing to look forward to. In fact, the Wii U and the 3DS will be getting a lot of great games this year and I just happened to have checked them out. These games include Project P-100, ZombieU, Kingdom Hearts 3D and so forth. Before you read on, just keep in mind these are just my own hands-on impressions and our overall opinion of the finished product is subject to change.
Trine 2: Director’s Cut- While the game has been released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, the Wii U is getting a “Director’s Cut.” The game is a puzzle/platforming adventure that has you control either a wizard, a warrior or a thief. In order to get through you have to switch to them on the fly to perform various tasks. The wizard can conjure up boxes as well as planks to get around. However, his greatest power involves manipulating the environment around him as I used the GamePad’s touch screen to direct a waterfall into some plants, causing them to grow. Aside from the physics-based puzzles, I also played as the warrior as he could use either a sword or hammer to break down walls and dispatch enemies. I used the thief to shoot arrows and to grapple with certain obstacles (all used with the touch screen). Getting through the levels requires a combination of all three characters for certain portions, so obviously you won’t want to use the wizard when a horde of enemies are coming at you. The demo I played featured unique puzzles, clever character swapping and some truly fantastic eye candy graphics. Thankfully, the controls were very easy to learn and the characters’ unique abilities open up great gameplay possibilities. Trine 2: Director’s Cut is coming out on the Wii U’s eShop this holiday, so be sure to look for it.
Project P-100- This was an interesting demo as the game had me control an entire group of superheroes who could morph into a huge gun, a giant sword or a large fist to take on robots and other bad guys. The demo featured as isometric viewpoint as I stumbled around a suburb beating up enemies and collecting items, mostly tool-related. With a push of a button you can morph your heroes into a giant blob to protect against enemy attacks. The most memorable moment had to have been the part where my heroes were standing on the arms of a giant mecha and I had to destroy all the flashing bulbs in order to take it down. It wasn’t easy as the mecha kept firing lasers at my heroes and tried to swat them. The game’s characters have a Viewtiful Joe vibe to them, which isn’t surprising since a lot of the people who worked on that game are working on this title. The game looks like it should provide some fun thrills, so look for it when it launches with the Wii U.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two- While they didn’t have the 3DS version, I did get some quality time with the Wii version. Like the previous game you can use Mickey’s magic brush to either thin out your environments or bring things to life. The choices you make will either destroy enemies or befriend foes. Unlike the previous game, this one will have you taking control of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. While he doesn’t use a brush, he does have a remote control handy that is used to either battle enemies or win them over. Unlike Mickey, he can use his ears as a mini helicopter and can detach his feet, just like the cartoons! I played as Mickey during my short tenure while a Disney representative dropped in occasionally to play as Oswald. Some co-op play was present, such as Oswald using his flying abilities to airlift Mickey out of danger. That said representative told me they were fixing all the camera issues from the first game, which is good because there were times when they really annoyed me. As for the demo itself, it was pretty good as I played as Mickey using his magic brush and taking down the enemies of Wasteland. After that I played the 2D side-scrolling section that accompanied the previous game as Oswald gave me a helping hand. Once that was done I found myself facing an epic boss battle with a giant mecha. As said before, I could either use paint or thinner, continuing the previous game’s tradition of making choices. I used thinner and finally took down the bad bot. With all that’s said and done, this is shaping up to be a pretty solid game and one that might be even better than its predecessor. Oh, and did I mention that Oswald is being voiced by Frank Welker? The game is coming out in November 18, so grab a brush and get ready for the next epic adventure!
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate- I have to admit I was never much of a Castlevania fan. Not that I disliked it or anything, it’s just that I never took the time to play the games. The most I know about Simon Belmont was his appearance in the dreadful Captain N: The Game Master cartoon where they portrayed him as an arrogant, effeminate doofus. Chances are that this characterization of Simon Belmont sharply contrasts with the game’s version of him, but I digress. I got a chance to play the game as it was strapped to one of Nintendo’s booth babes and I got some pretty good action. In the demo I got a chance to flash around a huge whip, whip up some spells (via light and shadow magic), fight some pretty nasty ghouls and even swing around. The game is a 3D side-scroller that involves plenty of leaping as well as fighting. The game will have you play as Simon Belmont, Trevor Belmont and Alucard as the story takes place 25 years after the console Lords of Shadow game. The graphics were incredibly lush as they featured some beautiful looking levels. Unfortunately, the convention closed before I got a chance to finish the demo, but based on what I’ve seen it looks like a great way to go vampire hunting.
Scribblenauts Unlimited- The original Scribblenauts turned out to be one of the most original games to ever be introduced on the DS. It had the refreshing idea of using a virtual keyboard to create any object imaginable. With your choice of nouns, anything could be created, be it a chair, a bee, a rocket, a car-you name it! The Wii U sequel will take advantage of this system by allowing you to add adjectives to your objects. For instance, you can type the adjective “weightless” to enable the protagonist Maxwell to float up. The game takes place in a large, open world where you can use your extensive vocabulary to drum up objects to help the citizens. The goal of the game is to collect starites by creating objects to complete various challenges. In the demo I played I helped NPCs by giving them the stuff they needed. For instance, one character claimed he needed a tool to chop down a tree, so naturally I gave him an axe. Of course this didn’t sit well with the hippie right next to me, so I attacked her. I also typed on the Wii U’s GamePad to bring objects to life such as a platypus, a helicopter, a car, an octopus and even a gun. Scribblenauts Unlimited is the sort of game that really knows how to promote creativity and the possibilities are just endless. The game is coming this holiday season and will support up to two players, so don’t miss it!
ZombiU- One of the big games at this year’s E3 was Ubisoft’s latest game, ZombiU. ZombiU is essentially a reboot of Zombi, an adventure game released by UbiSoft in 1986. It was the company’s first ever published title and it seems that UbiSoft will be banking on the Wii U’s unique controller to provide some really thrilling gameplay. At first glance ZombiU may just seem like a typical zombie shooter that contains your basic game of “Capture the Flag.” However, the game puts the Wii U’s GamePad to clever use as you can use it scan the area, check your inventory and access a map instantly. In multiplayer mode you can also use it to place zombies tactically on its screen while you try to keep the other player from getting the flag. As long as your opponent isn’t equipped with syringes, one zombie bite should be enough to finish him. The zombies are all controlled by A.I. and you only have a limited amount, so you’ll have to place them carefully as they gravitate towards your opponent. Even better, you can place various types of zombies in certain locations. For instance, some zombies will be faster than others while others will act as guards. Or if you’re trigger-happy, you can always play with the Wii U’s Pro Controller to take out the zombies and steal the flag. I tried the game with both controllers and it felt very tight. From what I’ve seen, this game could be the hardcore game the Wii U needed. The graphics were pretty, at least as pretty as a dark and gruesome game like this can get. ZombiU is part of the Wii U’s launch window, so be sure to get them before they get you!
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance- Having had the chance to enter the Square Enix booth, I had a good time with their latest Kingdom Hearts game. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance allows you to play as Sora and Riku as you capture Dream Eaters and meet up with classic Disney characters such as Mickey, Donald, Pinocchio, Quasimodo and many more! I played as Sora and the demo featured a level where Mickey, Donald and Goofy posed as musketeers (or should I say “mouseketeers?”). For those of you who don’t know, the level was based on the Mickey Mouse Musketeer video that came out in 2004. The demo allowed me to jump, block, dodge and use Dream Eaters for incredible combos! In true Square Enix form, the game was very cinematic, featuring great music, wonderful voice work and excellent cut scenes. The demo featured a cool mix of solid action with terrific cinematics. If the final game is as good as what I’ve seen here, then this will be one action RPG to pick up this July.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Definitely one of the strangest games to show on the 3DS, this rhythm-based Final Fantasy game was a blast to play! The game has you take control of four Final Fantasy characters as you select one of thirteen Final Fantasy game worlds to play in. For instance, you can jam to the music in Final Fantasy VII or play with the beats in Final Fantasy XIII. You use the stylus to tap, drag and slide across the touch screen while the appropriate icons come your way. For instance, one icon will require you to merely tap on it while another will require you to just click and drag the stylus in a long line. Arrow-shaped icons require you to slide the stylus in the direction they’re facing, so if you do it fast enough you’ll be rewarded with a higher score. The game has several modes to play like Field Music where your characters move and jump to the end of the level. Hit the wrong note and your character will stumble. Battle Music takes place in a battle field where doin’ those funky rhythms are the key to taking down enemies and familiar bosses. If that weren’t enough, there’s also Event Music as players will also be given the opportunity to view scenes from past Final Fantasy games as they’re tapping the notes. I should also mention there’s also the Opening and Ending Theme segments where the notes move into the center of the screen where you can see a crystal. Interestingly enough, you can even get experience points for every event completed. Having been given time to play with it, the demo was a wonderful mix of nostalgia and rhythm-based goodness. If you’re familiar with rhythm games this shouldn’t take you too long to master as the controls are spot-on. If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, you’re going to love all the wonderful homages this game throws at you. If you’re not a fan of Final Fantasy, but love rhythm games, this should satisfy you just fine as Square Enix has a reputation for crafting great music. The game is coming out this July, so be sure to play it.