I apologize that this is late but when I sat down to write it last night I believe god must have noticed I was awake in defiance of all his laws and put me down hard. In all honesty I did attempt the update but I forgot my email password, email, and, I think, everything about everything I’ve ever known ever. Also I seemed to forget where the bed was at some point because I remember my girlfriend saying goodnight and then nothing else until waking up several hours later on the couch. Since you didn’t come here for excuses I am going to stop making them and get into my Day One Summary.
The purpose of this is just as it sounds, to summarize my E3 adventures. Most of the games I talk about here will have their own entries with expanded information but this is just the rundown of what the first day was all about. This includes color commentary about all aspects of my day so just a warning if you don’t care about that then prepare to skip around a bit. I have put the game titles in bold so this is easier to do. Because I love and respect you all, I have left bathroom breaks out of it.
In a first for the Buzz Media, I was invited to Nintendo’s press conference which is a pretty big deal as I have heard that they are famously difficult to get into. In my case, they sent me an email invitation to which I responded that I would be attending and they sent me a registration bar code. So it wasn’t really that hard but we are very fortunate to have been invited and it was awesome to go.
The thing that wasn’t so awesome was that registration check in started at 7:15am and the show started at 9. Since I am staying at my girlfriend’s aunt’s house in Chino Hills as opposed to a hotel in downtown LA (times are tough you know) the drive in was brutal and required getting up at 5:30am. This would have been better had I gone to bed at a decent hour the night before but Hollywood had me and did not give me back until 2:30am. So I did what anyone red blooded American gamer did when faced with such situations and drank enough coffee, Red Bull, NOS, and 5-hour Energy to kill a T-Rex and plunged headlong into the breach.
Nintendo’s press conference was pretty much all about the Wii U, which not only makes sense but was also good from an information standpoint as Riyad and I ignored it last year due to prohibitive lines and I haven’t paid much attention subsequently. Seeing what I did yesterday, I have to say I am fairly impressed and I am going to try to brave the lines for some hands on time today or tomorrow. It depends on my schedule however because I am booked pretty much wall to wall with appointments, like a boss.
The Wii U control pad is a lot bigger than I thought it would be seeing it up close and while it is understandable given the dedicated screen it looks a bit ungainly to use in a practical way. The way it is used, as demonstrated, seems to be fairly novel and offers some unique gaming ideas that could be pretty cool. Utilizing the screen for inventory management and tasks that would normally take you to a subscreen in a standard game, like lock picking or weapon modding, looks to be just the tip of the ice berg with functionality.
Nintendo had a decent number of games to show but the stand outs for me were Zombie U, Batman Arkham City Armored Edition and New Super Mario Bros U. I was also pretty excited to see that Mass Effect 3 would be popping up on the system if only because it shows that the Wii U can handle it. After the Wii being so underpowered, that is a good thing. I will be expanding on the above titles and why they are stand outs in the Press Conference article so keep your eyes out for that.
After Nintendo (and a trip to Denny’s for pancakes and way more bacon than I should have been allowed to have) I queued up for the start of the show proper. When I say I queued up I mean I sat out of the line for 20 minutes waiting for my phone to charge only to find that to my dismay my normal tactic of going up stairs and getting into the front door early would not work as the line was as long as the one for the life boats on the Titanic and roughly about as grim. Most men would have accepted defeat and waited the 30 minutes it was going to take to get in to the hall but I am not most men and as such I made my way to another set of doors off to the side that Riyad discovered last year by accident after coming out of the bathroom. I made my way there and found myself in front of 2K’s Borderlands 2. I wasn’t super into Borderlands but Charles Lynch (of our podcast the Gentlemen Radio) requested I check it out so I jumped in line.
Because I am a straight ninja and can bypass huge entrance lines in a single bound, I was 13th in line to play. Sadly, there were 10 stations so I ended up in the second batch for a 20 minute c0-op play session. That I had to wait 20 minutes to play didn’t really bother me if only because I knew the poor bastards who showed up later would be waiting a hell of a lot longer. As it turns out, it was well worth the wait and one of my first activities arriving home will be to pre-order the hell out of this game. Pretty much everything about it was top notch. The graphics were super sharp and detailed with the cell shaded art style from the last game but improved a lot. The action was smooth and easy to follow with excellent control and targeting. The character had a bunch of skill points available so I was able to play with the customization which changed the way my character performed noticeably and guaranteed that my build was different than my partner who was playing the same character. This is nothing new to the franchise, or RPG style games in general, but it speaks to the completeness of the game and the solid implementation. Again, this will be expanded upon in a full article about the game but suffice it to say here that it was impressive. That is the last time I give that caveat, I promise.
After Borderlands I made a circuit of the South Hall just to get the lay of the land and see what is up this year. I had already looked at the map but E3 is so dense and packed with booths and exhibits a map doesn’t do it justice. The layout of the two halls was a bit different this year with Microsoft being moved over to the West Hall with Sony and Nintendo and Capcom moved over to the South Hall. That might not sound like a big deal but given how much real estate Microsoft takes up, it made a big difference.
After getting a feel for where everything was, I headed over to my first appointment of the day Sony Online Entertainment. At SOE I sat in on a theater presentation of Planetside 2 and then checked out Wizardry Online. I am not going to get into them much here because there is a lot of information on them but they both looked pretty impressive and I am interested in checking them both out upon release.
Next up was With a sticker on the badge I was spirited over to the front of the line to see the theater presentation of Hitman Absolution. I always feel sort of weird getting put in front of the line when other people have been waiting but given the number of times it has happened to me (and continues to happen) I think it all evens out. I’ve never really played a lot of Hitman but the graphical fidelity and variety of gameplay looks really impressive. The game gives you a lot of options for how to carry out assassinations and supplies a point system to reward you for doing creative things above and beyond just wandering over and killing people. The points don’t do much for you aside from putting you on the leaderboards but it is nice to have a little incentive for careful and creative gameplay aside from the fact that guards and police will fuck you up three ways from Sunday if you make a spectacle of yourself. After the theater demo I got my hands on the game myself and I found out first hand just what happens when you walk up to a dude in the middle of the crowd and pop him in the head. It isn’t like it is a surprise that you shouldn’t do that but things get pretty intense pretty quick when you do. That being said, the controls were responsive and intuitive.
After Hitman I checked out Tomb Raider. This was a behind closed doors registration that was so behind closed doors that it was in the press/business area of Square-Enix’s booth (which is huge, the word booth doesn’t do it justice). I had to be escorted back by one of the public relations people which made me feel much more important than I actually am. Tomb Raider is a reboot of the series giving us a younger Laura who is not the hardened bad ass she has been in the past. The bit they showed us followed a crash into a forested area that was damp, cold and crawling with hostility. Laura had to hunt, find warmth and fend off wildlife and marauders alike. The game looks fantastic with the cut scenes and in game graphics looking pretty seamless. The gameplay looked very similar to Uncharted, particularly in terms of climbing and moving throughout the environment. This isn’t a bad thing and if the controls are of that caliber, we are looking at a pretty great Tomb Raider experience.
I had a little time left after Square-Enix so I went over to check out the theater show for Injustice: Gods Among Us. This is the new Justice League fighting game from the creators of Mortal Kombat. It looks fantastic. It is very much in the same vein as the latest Mortal Kombat installment but with even more interactive backgrounds and crazier moves and super moves. The graphics and flow of the action look like they are right where they should be.
I finished out the day with some hands on with Defiance and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, which was a nice way to close out the short day one even if I didn’t get to spend much time with either. Defiance is a game I know very little about but it look decent and the controls handled well. Tranformers is the sequel to War for Cybertron which was pretty awesome and this game looks like it is going to be just as cool. The handling and action was pretty much the same as in that one which generally didn’t need much changing. I am looking forward to this one if for no other reason than because it has Grimlock.
So that was day one. Day 2 is next and expanded articles to follow!