We've had a week to digest E3 2012 (and some typically terrible Los Angeles cuisine) and the staff has come away with a general attitude of apathy. E3 2012 will probably be remembered as the E3 you didn't remember. With Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo offering dull keynotes and most other companies conservatively playing this console transition period, this year's show was missing that level of excitement that usually makes E3 feel larger than it is.
But there weren't only disappointments. There were gems to be found at E3 2012, and DamnLag's staff is here to show you the highs and lows of this year's show floor:
High: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Bayonetta is one of my favorite games to come out of the last half-decade, so when I heard that Platinum Games was chosen to take over Metal Gear Rising, I was quite intrigued. After I played the game at E3, I was absolutely blown away.
Action games are susceptible to being broken, glitchy experiences. Bayonetta had its share of glitches, but it also had smooth controls and flowing visuals. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is very similar. There were times in our brief demo where a glitch or two would occur. However, I simply didn't care. The game's controls and animations were tight and crisp enough that it made up for a few scant blemishes.
The game's quick action and frenetic paced is augmented by the game's core feature: blade mode. Essentially, Raiden (the game's main character) has the ability to slow time and cut apart objects at will. I don't think I have ever enjoyed a single combat mechanic as much as I enjoyed Rising's blade mode. Yes, those are strong words but they are completely warranted. Being able to make precise cuts with the analog stick felt perfect, and watching body parts fly through the air in harmony with my swings was incredibly entertaining. Blade mode probably originated from a very simple idea, but the care that clearly went into its execution elevates the mechanics to something truly special.
That's precisely what Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is: a very special game. It doesn't feel like a Metal Gear Solid game at all, and while that may disappoint some, it shouldn't. You'll soon be playing a fresh, wonderful experience. It's worth your excitement.
Low: Nintendo's Wii U Showcase
Nintendo's E3 was really rough this year. With a new console months away from its launch, Nintendo needed to make sure the Wii U had a strong showcase this year. It didn't.
Outside of Pikmin 3 and New Super Mario Bros. U, two games that barely used the Wii U's gamepad, there was very little to see at Nintendo's Wii U section. Ubisoft's ZombieU had the graphical prowess of Left 4 Dead (a game that came out four years ago) and a gimmicky set of gameplay mechanics. Wii Fit U seemed to add little to the moderately helpful exercise game, with the gamepad servicing little in the games that played. And every single mini-game at “NintendoLand” was embarrassing.
In fact, there wasn't a single game that utilized the Wii U's touch screen in an impressive way. Every game that integrated the gamepad's unique features seemed better off without them. Remember, Nintendo didn't invest in processing power in exchange for the Wii U's “revolutionary” controller. Perhaps Nintendo left the revolution in Japan?
Low: No Last Guardian.
It’s been 3 years since we’ve soon footage of Team Ico’s The Last Guardian. Since then, extracting information from them or Sony has felt like pushing a string, but I at least kept my hopes up for a surprise. Maybe that’s the issue: at this point there is nothing unexpected, especially if you keep up to date with any game-related news.
Sony did, however, provided an update, saying that there were “some technical issues being addressed. There’s not much to show what it looks like. At this period of time we are unable to give an update, but the game is still in development.”
Fingers crossed that this doesn’t slip through the cracks; it’s about time we had a worthy sequel to Shadow of the Colossus (even if it is just a spiritual one).
High: Far Cry 3.
I hated Far Cry 2, even more so after forcing myself to return to it twice, convinced that I was missing out on something great. But no – it was just a lot of checkpoints and frustration on my way to selling it on eBay for a heavy loss. Ubisoft seems to have learned its lesson, providing a demo that might have easily stolen the show were it not for an impressive outing from Halo 4.
The gunplay is tight, the story plenty intriguing, and the adjustments the team has made to the CryEngine 3 do the artistic direction they’ve taken more than enough justice. In fact, it’s one of the crisper looking games of recent memory, though playing it on PC in its intended glory certainly helped. Here’s to hoping that the multiplayer is as fluid as the campaign.
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