The Three E show is officially over. It didn’t end without me getting to check out some interesting things on the last day. I spent most of the day running around to different meeting halls. At one point during the day I made it out to the promotional food truck for Gauntlet, which had been spending the week giving out free turkey legs and candy apples. The line had closed because they ran out of turkey, but the man turning people away said I could wait in line for an apple. When I got to the front I told the chef “I would like all of the candy apples that I can carry please.” He proceeded to hand me a box of 40 peanut rolled, candy dipped apples. Best E3 giveaway ever.
Fenix Rage is a fast paced platformer with tight controls. Death only keeps you out of the game for a fraction of a second. I had a great time playing through the demo at the Microsoft booth. It felt like I was playing a sequel to Super Meat Boy. Each level has a hard to reach cookie that can be used to unlock different things in the game. Fenix Rage does have a couple of differences from Meat Boy. The character has the ability to jump infinitely, dash and elemental status changes. In order to progress through ice blocks, the player must wall slide on a flaming wall to catch fire, then proceed to melt the ice. The indie scene might be over saturating itself with 2D platformers, but this is still a game I am looking forward to playing more.
The Witcher 3
Open world, mature story, great voice acting and beautiful environments. The folks over at CD Projekt RED were giving hands off gameplay demos. In a crowded theater they showed the beautiful world of the Witcher 3, where everything you can see you can go visit. The world is so vast that using the fastest mode of transit would take something like 15 minutes of real world time to cross. The combat looked fluid and easy to switch from sword attacks to a variety of magic. During one battle in the swamps a fire spell was used to ignite some lingering gas to cause greater damage in a larger area, The Witcher 3 is said to be filled with different environmental combat opportunities. I have not played any of the other Witcher games, but after seeing this one, I have the urge to play the other two. The demo had some technical hicups in the form of image tearing and some stuttering, but they are showing an early build of the game. It’s likely everything will be running smooth by the time it launches in Feb. of 2015.
The Evil Within
A new survival horror game from the creator of the Resident Evil series. I saw a hands off presentation of The Evil Within last year and loved how it seemed to focus on atmosphere and tension over action and combat. The new extended trailer Bethesda was showing at their booth gave me a glimpse at how disturbing the game looks. The main character appears to be suffering from hallucinations, making a terrifying location crazier and creepier. At one point I saw a torrent of blood sweep through a hallway as if it was water rushing into a sinking ship. They had two levels playable on the show floor, as long as you had an appointment in Bethesda’s booth. Unfortunately it was still packed, and I didn’t have time to wait. Probably for the best. When I eventually get to play The Evil Within I want to play in a nice cool room, with only the television providing light. I want to be comfortable and vulnerable. I won’t have to wait too long, The Evil Within will be out in Oct.
Ubisoft continues their giant open world online multiplier theme from last year. Car doors still close. I was worried that the details of the premiere gameplay footage from E3 2013 was embellished to the point of where some of the details (like bullet holes and closing car doors) wouldn’t remain the next time we saw the game. I am glad to say I saw two car doors closed during Ubisoft’s stage presentation. Four team members played a mission in Madison Square Garden in a plague ridden New York. The enemies have health bars, and the game is modeled after other shooter RPG games. Perhaps the strangest thing in their demo was how a player was using a tablet to control a flying drone. The drone is used mostly as a support unit, to spot enemies and flush them out with tear gas. I want to see more of this game, and I want to know how the shooting feels. I like the idea of rolling around a run down NYC with a few other friends, and then encountering other squads of real world players competing with me for resources. I hope the next time The Division is shown we get to see more of the competitive side of the game.
Assassin’s Creed Unity
I am so excited to play Assassin’s Creed Unity. I had a one on one demo with a member of the development team playing the game in front of me while telling me everything about it. The first thing I noticed was how many people are in the crowds. It’s staggering. I was told they are pushing for 5,000 active crowd members at a time, each with their own AI routines and abilities to interact with the other crowd members around them. As an example of this a thief type crowd member was placed near a wealthy woman, this triggers a theft. Other things like fighting factions and even seemingly random stabbings can occur in the new crowds of Unity. Another huge improvement I noticed was the overhauling of how the free running mechanic works. In previous AC games I always had trouble controlling where my character would jump, climb and grab. In AC Unity just holding the right trigger and running will keep the assassin at the same vertical plane, only jumping on stepping to objects on the same level. To traverse downwards just hold B in addition to RT and to go up just hold A. Everything looked smooth and calculated, instead of the bumbling and botched jumps that were frequent in previous titles. This is the first Assassin’s game to be built from the ground up with these new consoles in mind and it shows. Now that I have a good idea of what to expect from Unity, I am even more curious about the title that previous generation consoles will be getting. We are getting two AC games this fall. Unity takes place during the French Revolution. We have zero information on the other one, except we will be getting it this fall.