June 17, 2012

Lazy Sunday – E3 Leftovers

E3 2012
Posting about all the games I spent time with at E3 has been an incredibe experience, which I remain entirely thankful for while winding down the task this weekend.

I hope you’ve dug our attempt at E3 coverage this year by the way, which owes a thankful shout-out to Shaun Hatton for providing some essential help during the typically crazy ride.

While it’s time to put E3 2012 to bed and get back to the business of more immediate releases, there were a few titles that warranted some words, and unfortunately many more that I haven’t caught up with as of yet.

In the spirit of lazy Sunday, I’ve rounded up a few more games I spent some time with at E3, which you can catch up with below.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Events like PAX and E3 really help the multiplayer side of Colonial Marines shine – climbing into a chair alongside your fellow marines lends a bit of camaraderie to one of the few multiplayer sessions where I was inspired not to attempt going it alone. It was advice offered to me right before I sat down and picked up the controller, and I wasn’t long for wanting to stick as close to my team as possible as we moved through a stage resembling the ruined buildings of LV-426.

Getting separated from my squad was an invitation to the opposing aliens to shred my body, which they did, repeatedly and without mercy.

The most immediate observation to be made while nervously poking around corners is the authenticity of the Aliens experience being offered here. The distinct sounds of communication chatter and firing ammunition weren’t long for taking me back to a film I watched so many times prior to the advent of DVD that the tape disintegrated. If I had a nagging concern, which I do, it is that the mechanics of the game feed such a strong multiplayer experience that the single-player aspects of the game may suffer for the absence of company. With that said, Sega wasn’t offering a chance to see what Gearbox has in store for single-player, so speculation on that front is all I have to offer.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

While Activision’s annual instalment in the Call of Duty franchise occupied a different time slot during Microsoft’s Press Conference, a familiar pattern emerged in the gameplay shown. I naively wondered if the futuristic setting would change the formula, but watched as a level played out by the numbers, with the chaos of an attack on the United States leading to street warfare against opposing soldiers and mini-tanks – breaking for a flight session that allows players to ride on a rail whilst filling enemy aircraft with lead.

For those wondering what is new pussy-cat, Activision later offered a look at Strike Force, an additional mode of play being introduced for Black Ops II that offers players the chance to tackle missions outside of the single-player campaign. The fresh angle on this mode is that as players take on sandbox missions, they can swap the unit they control.

The battle can be directed from the Overwatch birds-eye view, directing troops to waypoints, and players can also jump into soldiers or ground and aerial drones like a poltergeist with A.D.D.

In the absence of resource management, this addition may serve as only a temporary distraction even while offering the chance for numerous experiences from a singular mission, but it’s something different in the familiar recipe, and certainly worth a mention here.

Skylanders Giants

Spyro enters phase two of its five hundred year reign, bringing a healthy serving of new faces and returning characters in series 2 form to your existing portal from Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.

Activision’s linking of toys with videogames often leaves me feeling like I should be raising an eyebrow, but it’s hard to deny the appeal to children when seeing new figures light up on the portal grabs the attention of the kid within me. There’s something to be said about the imagination toys used to require, but also something to be impressed by as these toys offer children an experience I could only imagine as a child.

Incremental changes see the level cap raise from 10 to 15 for new and existing characters, with glowing light core characters joined by giants and more to tackle the various environmental areas of Spyro’s expanding universe. Skylanders Giants also features selectible difficulty levels for us older kids.

Of course, it’s easy for me to be positive, because I won’t be the one fighting other parents at stores for the new characters – have fun with that one Sugarparents!

The Last Story

While I happily joined the chorus of voices clamouring for The Last Story to make a North American appearance on the Wii, what I didn’t know about the game could have filled a warehouse.

Where I was expecting an expansive but familiar JRPG, Xseed Games introduced me to a game that sought to shift the focus away from grinding, offering a shorter and more narrative-minded title from Hironobu Sakaguchi and Mistwalker.

The Last Story features many areas where players will actually seek cover from the action, and use the environment to attack enemies – one area I was shown offered the chance to drop a healthy serving of rock on opponents. It was also apparent that a strong focus is on drawing attacks away from fellow party members.

With Wii U on the immediate horizon, this will likely prove to literally serve as the last story for RPG players on the Wii, but the game seems poised to surprise us one last time before retiring the hardware.

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