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Posts Tagged ‘E3 2012’

Fun For All Ages To Be Had At "Nintendo Land"

The last thing shown during Nintendo’s Press Conference was something that would bring the core and casual gamers alike together in one fun place: Nintendo Land. Composed of twelve mini-games that can be played by up to five people Nintendo Land features all the classic Nintendo characters under one roof in different styles of gameplay. At E3 I was able to go head-to-head with other players on the five mini-games being shown on the floor.

The first mini-game to be shown was The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, a rail-influenced game where up to four players travel on a Link-like quest to vanquish the village of boss hogs and other evil spirits. Three players will use the Wiimote as their swords, which will be used to slice opposing forces and block on-going attacks. The fourth player, on the other hand, will use the Gamepad as a bow and arrow system to take out enemies too high up for the swordsmen to reach. There is a catch, though: all four players share the same lifeline, so if one dies it’s game over. Players will also collect coins and hearts throughout the level, though the usage for the coins wasn’t revealed during the demo.

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Step Inside "The Cave" Of Puzzling Hilarity

Double Fine is one company to never worry about when it comes to trying something different, whether it’s combining action gaming with RTS elements (Brutal Legend) or making an adventure game starring matryoshka dolls (Stacking). For their next venture Double Fine has hired the legendary Ron Gilbert, whose work in Maniac Mansion and the original Monkey Island series is renowned for its combination of unique gameplay mechanics with highly entertaining storytelling. When the two forces combined they created The Cave, a side-scrolling adventure game that promises to challenge your brain and tickle your funny bone at the same time.

At E3 this year the folks at Double Fine held a closed-doors demonstration of this new game. The Cave will have you be able to take control of seven characters, each with their own unique traits and personality. During your play-through you will have the chance to be three of these characters at a time, as you will be able to switch back and forth between the trio in order to solve puzzles and reach areas that the other characters can’t get to. As you will only control three at a time this will mean that you will be able to go through the storyline at least three times with different characters, but do not let that discourage you. What makes The Cave cool is that the areas of this specific cave you visit will be determined by who you’re playing as, meaning that you’ll be able to visit new places if you play as different characters. The game also has co-op mode, meaning that two of your friends can join in on the fun whenever they want.

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Wario & His Wacky Mini-Games Hit WiiU

Since 2003 the WarioWare games have both entertained and weirded out gamers and critics alike on the Game Boy Advance, DS, 3DS, and the Wii. Now Mario’s evil doppelgänger is looking to invade the WiiU on its launch date with the tentatively titled Game & Wario. At E3 I was able to give two of the […]

SEGA’s Racing Series Looking To Get "Transformed"

In the past year SEGA has been on quite the good streak when it comes to listening to fan feedback. They first took note of what people had issue with in Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode I, and fixed them in the much-improved Episode II in the series. Now SEGA seems to want to do the same for its Sonic racing series with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

Unlike the first game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed not only wants to take you on the road, but also beyond the sea and above the air. Here racers will compete in areas that have terrain both on the ground, around the water, and amongst the clouds. Gone from the game’s title, too, is the “SEGA,” as not only will there be characters from SEGA franchises going head-to-head, but NASCAR driver Danica Patrick will be joining in on the racer. New characters such as Golden Axe‘s Gilius Thunderhead and Skies of Arcadia‘s Vyse also join the roster.

Going head-on with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed I was given the chance to try out two of the tracks that will be featured: Panzer Dragoon (featuring vast watery worlds and caves) and Super Monkey Ball (a non-stop slope that keeps going down until you warp back to the starting line). Playing with Vyse and Beat (of Jet Set Radio fame) I was able to see how the mechanics work in the game. The opposing drivers knew how to give you a proper challenge, as they always seem to be neck-and-neck with you throughout the race. Even as I was driving in first place I had no time to be at ease, as the other racers seemed determined to take the lead from me in a split second. Not since Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine have I come across a game with a type of challenge curve that had me at the edge of my seat, and that’s the type of thing a racing game should do!

The graphics in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed were very detailed, as you could notice little tidbits here and there in the specific game-based level you were playing that gave nod to said titles. As of this writing the transformation aspects of the game (where the vehicle either turns into a boat or plane) looked okay for the most part, but I did notice a bit of weird rendering while it occurred. Steering and maneuvering through the levels felt pretty well-done, although I still had issue with figuring out how to properly drift on the tracks. Using weapons in the game tend to be a hit-or-miss, both in the literal and metaphorical terms, as they looked to be your run-of-the-mill power-ups and you had to aim at the vehicle you wanted to take out in order to hit them precisely. Hopefully there will be weapons that will be more akin to the SEGA universe, as this aspect of kart-racing is in need of something new.

Although there were a couple flaws found during my time with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, there was plenty more to like about it compared to its predecessor. The game will be out later this year on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, 3DS, Vita, and the WiiU (with touch-screen control aspects not yet revealed), so keep your eyes on the path ahead for more info on it as these next few months go by.

ESH Podcast Episode # 297: I’m In It For the Gadgets — Health Is Just a Bonus

Go Go Gadget Gym membership?! Monday has tuned come full circle and has brought a new morsel of awesomeness with it. That’s right a brand new ESH Podcast. Ninja and Panda are on some the “health wellness” tip these days, talking about incorporating more health related activities into their gaming lives. Panda attempts quasi visits […]

“Dishonored” Is Revenge Best Served Bloody

Bethesda was all the hype when it came to the upcoming release of Eldar Scrolls Online, but there is one other title they are releasing later this year that might deserve your attention. Called Dishonored, the first-person title has you playing an assassin with some unique powers.

Before going hands-on with it, the developers shared with us a small demonstration on how the game works. For it they brought up a mission where your character Corvo Atano has to take out two brothers in the town’s brothel. They showed us the two ways you could handle your missions: the undetected approach and the blaze of glory approach.

They first showed us how to be a sneaky assassin in Dishonored. Unlike other assassin games Atano possesses some very unique abilities to help in eliminating his targets. You could do a dash-styled warp to help get to areas out of reach, although you cannot do it through walls. Players can also take control of characters in the area, and then simply warp out of them when they were no longer necessary.

To sneak into the brothel Atano warped into a fish, and then proceeds to swim through the sewer system and into the building. Once there he silently took out a couple guards via summoning a plague of rats, which eats them bones and all so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up afterwards. You then headed downstairs where the first brother is. There you will warp into the room next door, turn the steam wheel all the way up, and then watch as the brother is cooked alive.

The next target looked to be a bit trickier. You first have to quietly steal a key from one of the brothel owners, and then proceed to the room where he is with a maiden of the night. This particular brother has a drinking problem, so you take advantage of that situation and warp outside, and get close enough so you can take control of his body. Once you do you walk the brother out onto the balcony, warp out of him, and then use a wind power to push him off the building. You then quickly have to warp out of sight, so the prostitute will think he fell from a drunken stupor.

They then showed what happens if you went about the same mission with all guns blazing. Unfortunately it’s a lot tougher than it sounds, as the guards that come out when you are spotted outnumber you greatly. You will be able to take them out no problem, but it will probably waste your bullets and a lot of your power. Sure enough the developer found himself dying a minute into this attempt.

In the Bethesda booth I was given mission that had Atano kidnapping a well-known scientist and taking him to a boat below the town’s bridge. After taking out the guards via throat-slashing I found myself in the mood to experiment with the powers given to me. As soon as I found myself inside the scientist’s headquarters I tried taking out the guards by summoning the plague. While one guard did go down quickly from the attack, I had to use my pistol and dagger to take out the others.

Once the guards were handled I warped into a rat and crawled through a small opening on the second floor. The opening led me to where the scientist was, who I snuck up behind and subdued. Now the tough part: escaping with the conked-out hostage on my shoulder. While warping down to the ground was easy enough, it was when I came across one of the electric stilt guards that had me stuck. I tried to him out with what I had left for ammo, but alas I found myself demising untimely.

So far the world of Dishonored has me intrigued. Taking place in a steampunk world that runs on whale oil the game has a sheer amount of character, and the abilities you are given as the game progresses are out of this world. Think what would happen if Assassin’s Creed and Bioshock were combined, and you will have somewhat of a good idea of what to expect from this game.

Dishonored is due for release October 9th on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. While there will be quite a few assassin titles coming out this year on all the consoles, this game has a unique personality that will surely stand out amongst the other ones.

Ubisoft’s “ZombiU” To Redefine Survival Horror

When it comes to video games involving zombies, the scenarios regarding being bitten never follow canon. It’s either your character being immune to the zombie infection, or there’s some sort of magical plant that can heal you back to perfect health. Ubisoft wants to change that in their upcoming WiiU-exclusive survival horror game ZombiU.

In ZombiU players run around a ruined London landscape. The infection has spread to 28 Days Later-levels, and there are only a few survivors. You need to search for supplies, ammo, and other things that will help you in your journey. Players also must be on the lookout for the undead, and do everything they can to kill them. Here’s the tricky part: one bite will kill you, and when it does you will lose everything that you had earned up to that point. There is good news, however: you can go find your previous self zombified, kill him or her, and take back the inventory you previously had from their lifeless bodies.

On the E3 floor I was able to go hands-on with both the single and multiplayer modes of ZombiU. In my single player experience, I found myself scrounging for supplies and weaponry. With the WiiU Gamepad I could find these supplies by lifting the controller up and scanning the perimeters with the touch screen. I could organize my weapons and see on the map where I was located, along with other points I needed to be on the lookout for. Because bullets were scarce I decided to try my luck with the cricket bat when it came to tackling the zombies. Big mistake, it turns out, as the undead swarmed around me in a blink of an eye. I survived roughly five minutes of the single player mode.

Multiplayer was a different story. One of the modes they showed off was a sort of capture-the-flag style of gameplay, where you had to conquer as many areas on the map to get enough points to win the game. Player one, either controlling the WiiU Pro Controller or a Wiimote, will have to capture the flag while fending off the zombies. Player two, with the Gamepad, can drop off zombies in a specific areas to attack the players and surround the flag areas with undead Royal Guard members to capture the posts. Playing as either side has both their advantages and disadvantages. Player one can pick up many weapons and serums to take out the zombies, but can be outnumbered very quickly by the opposing force. Meanwhile player two can send out up to ten zombies at a time to take out player one, but you can only drop them out in specific areas that are not in “the red zone.” There’s a lot of strategy to be found in this mode, and could very well be a fine sneak peek of how a good RTS game would play on the WiiU.

So far ZombiU is looking to be the game to draw the hardcore gamers towards the WiiU, and for good reason. The controls act swiftly, the graphics are fantastic, and the game knows how to keep your heartbeat pounding fast & your butt at the edge of your seat. It gives you a truer scenario as to what would happen in a zombie apocalypse, and how you would fare if you were to roam the perimeters looking for survivors, food, and other necessities. While it might be a few months down the road before we know which zombie game this year will be the all-out best, ZombiU is looking to take its competitors down with just one bite.

A “Tank!” Game So Nice They Named It Thrice!

One of the newest games announced at the Nintendo Press Conference was Tank! Tank! Tank!, a cel-shaded shooter arcade port that will have up to five players battling against many threats to the planet. Over at the Namco Bandai booth I was given the chance to take these war machines out for a test drive. […]

Agent 47′s Actions Need No “Absolution”

It’s been over six years since we last saw Agent 47. For awhile we’ve begun to think he had hung up his black gloves for good. Fortunately Square Enix has made the call to the man with the barcode tattoo, and he answered back with Hitman: Absolution.

The demo at E3 had you walking through a Chinatown area searching for your mustachioed target. During the tutorial the game encouraged you to be either silent, loud, or somewhere in-between when it came to killing your target. I decided for my turn that I would take the stealth initiative, and that wound up taking lots of patience.

For this task I had to first blend in the crowd, and wait for the target to leave his gazebo area. Next I followed him to a back alley where two cops were hanging out. As the target started emptying his bladder the two cops left, which is when I snuck up behind the target, and killed him with my piano wire. I finished the job by dumping his body ina nearby dumpster and exiting Chinatown. The demo ended with giving you another chance to try and kill the target in a different way.

While it was obvious that there were still a couple bugs to work out in the game (as it crashed on me twice during gameplay), I could tell that the heart and soul of Hitman was still intact here in Absolution. The controls felt polished, as did the graphics. Its soundtrack also knew how to set the mood, as the classical music that played during Agent 47’s entrance through Chinatown set off a sort of forboding that was about to be revealed.

Due out on November 20th on Xbox 360 and PS3 Hitman: Absolution is looking to take out another assassin with a specific creed. No one is certain who will come out on top, but one thing has always been true: Agent 47 is never the type to get himself eliminated by anyone.

Rabbids Bring Theme Park Madness To WiiU

Those lovable fuzzy bastards have returned, only this time they’ve taken over their own theme park. Rabbids Land will have players take control of those furry bunny freaks as you compete in mini-games of various tasks, all with its trademark humor in full force.

For the demo at E3 two players compete in a music-based roller coaster ride, this time with fireballs. The person with the Wiimote will have to throw down their controls in a drum-like motion to the proper beat of the song, with each right note causing fireballs to be shot out of the coaster’s back side. Meanwhile, the person with the WiiU controller will be controlling another Rabbid as they board behind the coaster. While doing so they have to avoid the fireballs that are being shot at them by turning the WiiU controller in a steering fashion.

So far the WiiU controls moved flawlessly, measuring my turns with relative ease. While the difficulty of avoiding these fireballs rose as the song reached its mid-point I didn’t feel any sort of frustration while I was being burnt alive by the other Rabbids. The same cannot be said about the Wiimote controls, however. Many times I hit the right note with the Nunchuk, but the system wasn’t reading this movement.

While there were a couple flaws to be found with the demo, I could not really stay mad at those goofy Rabbids after gameplay. I know that by the time Rabbids Land is released as a WiiU launch title that these kinks will be worked out in the long run. At this time there is no word as to what other mini-games people will be able to play, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more info as the months progress toward release day.