Enjoy our wrap up and see you next year!
EC: Fable III. Rock Band 3. Nintendo 3DS. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. So I guess it was a spectacularly girly year for me at E3. I played just about everything I could get my hands on, and of those playable experiences, I took the aforementioned four away as my favorites of the convention.
Muse: Fable III, Rock Band 3, Nintendo 3DS, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Green Day Rock Band (yes I know it's out already), Your Shape for the Kinect
Hottie female hero
EC: [This section will be cross-posted over at GameRant.com, with more footage and in-depth review of gameplay!] Fable III takes the solid interaction ideas and progression of character abilities established in Fables II and makes them organic and tactile. No longer is there a three foot buffer, a magic force field between your hero and the world. Everything from fighting to hugging to playing with your dog has become an exercise in direct contact. Like a combination of The Sims and Red Dead Redemption, suddenly your fabled hero can directly manipulate the world as they come into contact with it, instead of being a kind of warping force that passes by and generates a reaction. This major step forward in gameplay is going to be enhanced by the fact that your hero is fully voiced, something a certain Star Wars game is also- rightfully- getting much press for. The models have been reworked so your hero isn't quite as hulking and genderless. The world is as bright, vibrant and carefully animated as Fable II, but looks even more lush. Your quest and end goal, also, are better defined. At the end of Fable II, you must make a personal choice, but the end result is ultimately that you can continue gallivanting about, hero-ing or villain-ing as is your want, extorting people for money by jacking up real estate prices or killing waves of balverines til your blue in the face. The goal for Fable III is more personal, and the way you get there will have as much effect on the outcome as your arriving. The voice talent is also RIDICULOUS. I am so excited.
Muse: I too loved Fable 3 and probably terrified the lovely British Lionhead producers who had to deal with 45 minutes of non-stop questions from myself & Eruditechick. BUT THERE WERE THINGS I HAD TO KNOW, OKAY?!?!?! I wrote about everything we learned here, but wish I had gone back on Day 3 to chat some more. In Fable 2, you could marry anyone who wanted to marry you, regardless of gender, and subsequently sex them as often as you wanted (...well...as long as said spouse is in the mood, of course.), but the sweet sweet love makin in Fable 2 happened entirely through sound - the screen always went black when anything dirty took place. I wanted to ask and make sure that nothing has changed in terms of same sex love & marriage. I saw plenty of the demo's hot female hero kissing decidedly less hot men, but will she get to kiss women as well? Does the kiss/touch feature play a role in bedroom seduction or does the screen still go completely blank? Am I total weirdo for wondering these things?!?! Would it have been totally awkward for me to ask the producers a slew of avatar-sex questions?!!? Probably. But don't act like you aren't curious also. Punk.
Awesome new drum set
EC: Pro Gameplay. In the words of Brodie Bruce, holy shit. Nevermind that the game looks beautiful, nevermind that all of your Rockband content dating back to the first game and including all DLCs, expansions and band-specific releases are exportable into Rockband 3, leaving you with a library of almost 2,000 songs, nevermind that the intricacies of gameplay- harmonies, difficulty levels- have been made exponentially more interesting- one of the controllers if a freaking Fender guitar.
Let me say that again. One of the controllers you can buy for the game is a Fender guitar, that plugs into an amp, and is a guitar. It's a guitar. It's an electric freaking guitar. And not just an electric freaking guitar. It's a goddamn Fender, and it's beautiful. This freaking electric Fender guitar also happens to be a game controller. In Pro gameplay, you are presented essentially with scrolling tablature. It teaches you how to hold chords, how to pick lines. It shows you what string to strum and what fret to hold. You play actual guitar. If you unplugged it from your console and plugged it into your amp and followed along on the screen, you would still be playing the song. Because IT'S A REAL GUITAR, ARE YOU PICKING UP WHAT I'M PUTTING DOWN? JFC, WHAT? WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT? WHAT IS THIS, THE FUTURE?! WHAT?!
So I liked that.
Muse: Again, I'm right there with Eruditechick. HOLY FUCKING SHIT YOU GUYS. WE HAVE TO USE CAPITAL LETTERS FOR A REASON. THAT REASON BEING THAT PRO GAMEPLAY IS SO EFFING COOL YOU DONT EVEN KNOW TIL YOU SEE IT WHAT THE FUCK EFF.
We have similar ways of expressing our excitement, Eruditechick and I.
For the specifics we discovered regarding Rock Band 3 - head here and prepare for your head to explode.
In terms of gameplay, I only tried out the keyboard and the drums, but I can tell you this much - with the addition of the symbols to the drum kit, drumming just got A WHOLE LOT MORE FUN. When you see a red, yellow or orange, I believe, you have the option of hitting its cooresponding symbol instead of the drum. This allows for a bit more flexibility & interaction and also makes you feel really cool. The keyboard was incredibly difficult for me at first, but by the end of the song, I had the hang of it. I'm looking forward to mastering the technique. I felt like I was in Josie and the Pussycats playing a keyboard up there and I LIKED IT.
Only PART of the line for Nintendo 3DS
EC: Oh, that's right, it IS the future. It MUST be the future, because I'm holding what's one step away from a freaking holographic projection in my hands and using it to play with a puppy. While waiting in line at the Nintendo booth for my turn with the gadget that had been having its virtues be so vocally extolled since the press conference the day prior, I had a lot of time to think about what glasses-less 3D meant to me. In my head, I could see it. I could see a shiny square with a screen that had 3D images on it. I know what 3D looks like, this wasn't difficult. I had remarkable ease, during the waiting, conjuring a mental image of what the technology should look like. Should. Not necessarily would. Then they put it in my hands and it did. My mind was sufficiently blown. Other than the severe ghosting on even the gentlest of 3D settings for the Resident Evil non-interactive trailer, the technology was insanely effective. It's like peering into a diorama, and every once in a while something is thrust up out of it, into your face. Truly impressive, also, were the 3D camera capabilities which freaked me right the hell out and made me cackle in a rather unlady-like manner (quelle surprise!, cry those of you who know me and also happen to speak French), and the movie trailers. Tangled, in particular, the next 3D animated princess-centric fair from Disney looks almost painfully enjoyable, and even more so on the 3DS. Everything is probably going to be more enjoyable on the 3DS out of sheer principle.
Muse: Yes, we had to wait in line for about an hour and a fifteen minutes to get our hands on a 3DS, but it was worth every minute. It didn't hurt that Nintendo's booth was carpeted with white, plush happiness that was quite pleasant to sit on. I'd been dying to check out this new innovation, as, unlike Eruditechick, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it could POSSIBLY look like. The idea didn't make sense in the head and I could not conceive of an image. When I finally looked at the 3DS screen, I was overcome with a sense of awe. Yes, you have to hold it a certain distance away to acheive the full effect, but a small price to may for utter brilliance. The first game I tried out was a Samurai fighting game, and all I found myself being able to say were things like "HOW THE FUCK" "WHAT THE FUCK" "HOLY FUCK"...you get the idea. I also tried a driving game (looked amazing, but I don't like driving games), watched some 3D trailers (How to Train Your Dragon) and gameplay footage (Kingdom of Hearts), took a 3D picture (I'm obsessed with it), took a photo of myself, which automatically modeled a 3DS Sims 3 character after me (fucking cool), and possibly my favorite bit - PLAYED WITH A 3D PUPPY. I was sad to have to say goodbye. Cause it looked like an actual puppy was stuck inside and it made me sad. Upon exiting the 3DS arena, my cohorts and I looked at each other and screamed loudly "SO. WORTH. IT." Cause it was.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
EC: I'm not saying it's okay to go around surreptitiously stabbing people in real life, or not-so-surreptitiously jumping off of rooftops and stabbing people as you fall upon them from great heights in real life, but I am saying that doing these things to people over XBox Live is going to make my life substantially more awesome. The environments are the same we loved so dearly in ACII, the character models are compelling and fun, and the system of who is killing whom and who is marked for death is satisfyingly complex, but presented in a straightforward manner. Do want.
Muse: I also loved this demo. Eight people got to play at once, two sessions in a row, one to learn the controls and one to actually go for it, doing your best to assassinate your target - one of the 7 people beside you. This mode was instantly more enjoyable than most Xbox Live games I've partaken in. Sure, I still got pwned by the dude who clearly plays a lot of Assassin's Creed or just stabs people a lot, but I also got one really badass aerial kill, for which I was awarded 400 points! The concept is this - Pick your assassin, pick your special ability. A photo of the person you must kill pops up in the upper right hand corner. There is a blue indicator that gets more full, the closer to get to your target. When you see your target, kill him (or her - YES, there is a playable female character!). Of course, it's never as easy as it sounds. You are not only a predetor, but prey yourself. As you are stalking your target, someone is stalking you, and more than once I found myself dead JUST as I was about to make a kill. Also, if you start running after your target, he is alerted and will in turn run away and find a place to hide. You also get points for successfully evading your predator once the chase is on. Special abilities include throwing knives, smoke bombs, changing your appearence, creating clones of yourself and more. I gotta say, it was also wonderful to revisit that universe, the controls, and the gameplay. I've missed you, Assassin's Creed, and it's only been about two months!
A whole lot more after the jump!
Attendees and Harmonix employees rocking out before we TOOK. OVER.
Green Day Rock Band
Muse: This may seem like an odd choice as it is out already, but we must have performed at least 8 Green Day songs over the course of an hour and a half and that shit DID NOT get old. Green Day is fun to sing, play & harmonize to and I'm figuring out the best way to get it without paying full price AS WE SPEAK. Plus the Rock Band demo area of the South Hall was all the way in back so apparently no one knew about it? Or maybe the people who attend E3 aren't also the type of people who like to get on stage and sing? But Eruditechick and I couldn't get enough. You've sold me with that demo, Harmonix. I'm buying it.
Your Shape for Kinect
Muse: I waited so effing long to play this but I'm SO glad I did. The moment this was introduced at the Microsoft pressy, I knew I had to demo it and would most likely purchase it. And yes, I will be purchasing it. I will be saving up my moneys and purchasing it. It scans your whole body. Your whole body! And then you see yourself as a colorful shape or YOUR ACTUAL SELF, standing next to a digitized instructer who you are supposed to mirror. It was painful to see my pathetic knee-bends in relation to perfect-fake-computer-woman, but it also gives me something to work towards in an easy to measure and understand kind of way. When I hit the yoga poses correctly, the system told me so and the system was RIGHT. You can't cheat here - it sees your whole body. My favorite category was the Gym Exercise, for which they had kickboxing available to try. You punch and kick the green boxes and it's sofuckingcool I could do it all day. Plus, again, YOU SEE YOURSELF, so you know if you are doing it correctly or looking like a complete moron. Fun fact! The producer in the room with me said I had the highest score in kickboxing all day. SUCK IT. The only thing I didn't love right away was the controls menu. Unlike the other Kinect games, where you just hold your hand out like you're using the force, here you have to contort your arm & hand into strange positions to get the desired result. Hopefully that kink will be worked out, and then I can work out. Get it?!
Things We Liked Bunches But Don't Need To Own Immediately:
EC: Kinect. Sims 3. PS Move.
Muse: Kinect Games (other than Your Shape), PS Move, Wii Goldeneye
EC: So, Kinect is pretty awesome. The concept is so fantastical that it's difficult to conceive of it permeating the industry and being something you can use for games that aren't dancing, working out or Wii party games on an XBox. That said, I desperately want Dance Central. DESPERATELY. And Your Shape looks amazing, although Muse will have to speak further to that, as she demoed it and I was too busy playing MvC3 to bother with that exercise shit. However, I will wait to get a Kinect until there is a Star Wars/Spider-Man/I Am A Super Hero and I Kick Your Ass/Respawn 1st Person Shooter for me to play on it. So plz hurry Microsoft omfg.
Muse: I definitely enjoyed this demo, even down the menus, that, as I mentioned earlier, require you to hold your hand out and keep it there, much like you are using the force and commanding someone to do something. It's fucking badass. The biggest thing I walked away from Kinect with was the feeling that suddenly my dream had true & I had acquired super powers. It makes you feel like all the power is in your own hands and I think people are really going to enjoy it. I totally get why Willow went power-mad, you guys. I got addicted after 5 minutes of gameplay. So much so that on the way out, I sneakily picked something on the menu again, because I HAD to. I just had to. We made friends with a dude from Microsoft outside of Kinect who told us about some...ways of using Kinect...with other games...that are in development...and some that are NOT in development..... but we're not sure we're supposed to repeat them, so hell no is this info going on the Internet. But keep an eye on Kinect.
EC: The Sims 3 for console basically trades the user's ability to create custom meshes and game mods for Karma Powers. This is... actually pretty reasonable, as one of the Karma Powers is, I shit you not, METEORAIN. I think I would rather have Sims3 for PC, but it would cost me lots more money, cuz first I'd have to buy a computer that could play it, and then the game, whereas I already have a 360 so buying it for console would therefore be cheaper. Either way, I'm getting it, I'm just going to get other things first.
Muse: I've never played a Sims game, but I'm sure I'd like it, especially after seeing the 15 minute demo presentation at the EA booth. I'll get it once it's discounted and have some lazy summer afternoons with nothing to do.
Erudite Chick's own hands demonstrating the PS Move.
EC: PS Move is like Wii for grown ups, not that you could tell after waiting in line for forty minutes and being put into a room with Britney Spears karaoke. Muse and I sort of stared at the PS escort guy for a minute until he was like "Oh, did you want to play.... real games?" at which point Muse was like "YOU WILL GIVE ME SOCOM4 OR PERISH" and we were promptly walked to the correct room. After watching her play through the demo level, it was my turn, and I have to say I quite liked the mechanics of it. First off, the game is great. Nice cinematics, ambiance, the bloodspray was pleasing. Utilizing the aim/fire in one hand and the move/traverse with the other took me about ten seconds to get a hold on, and then it was away we go.
The gentleman walking us through the demo nervously remarked on how vocal I was, moreso than anyone he'd had play the game in the last two days, particularly with the obscenities, and also that I had picked up on the mechanics of the game- the fact that it's best to only tap the trigger in three second bursts to combat the gun's recoil, the targeting systems- with alarming speed. I took it as the compliment it was. Verdict: Me likey, but would rather play MW2 with the Kinect.
Muse: Things you need to do in your lifetime - play a game with Eruditechick that involves her shooting people. You will not be disappointed. Somehow, Eruditechick magically picked up the controls to SOCOM4 with the PS Move in about 30 seconds. I barely got a hang of it after 5 minutes. But I still walked away wanting to play more. The controls didn't frustrate me, like the Wii controls often do - they challenged and excited me. I'm not sure what the future of shooters really is with a 'mote of any kind, but it's definitely more fun, intuitive and full of potential with the PS Move then shooters have ever been on the Wii. Also, Little Big Planet 2 was super fun and if I get a PS3 bundle with a Move, hells yeah am I getting LBP2 as my first Move game.
Muse: This was super fun and definitely took me back to a very specific time and place, but it's for the Wii and the graphics bother me and I'm just not adept at wiimote first person shooters. I still think people with a Wii, who also have fond memories of [getting killed a lot in] Goldeneye are going to love this.
EC: I payed as Odd Job. I killed people with my hat. V.nice would play again.
Things We Wish Had Been Awesome But Weren't:
Muse: Tron: Legacy. Rise of the Six String.
EC: Disney Sing-A-Long.
Muse: Meh. Got bored after a minute.
Rise of the Six String
Muse: May win for best swag (I got like 8 guitar picks and Pacman ran out of lanyards, AND I DIDNT GET A GUYBRUSH DOLL CAUSE LUCASARTS WAS ALL PRIVATE ROOMY, STUPID LUCASARTS) and playing actual strings was definitely fun, but the drums made so little sense - a sensor picks up what you are doing so you dont have to actually hit the drums - that I just became frustrated and wanted to stop early. A valiant effort, but ultimately, nothing can touch Rock Band 3 and those Harmonix sexpots.
EC: I am completely serious. Anyone who doesn't like to get wasted with their friends and sing A Whole New World isn't a human. The problem is, they've designed the game like four year olds are going to be using it, which, sure, they are, but not without supervision. The microphone did a shoddy job of picking up notes, and the after-effects- Alvin and the Chipmunk-ing your voice, turning it into a weird toneless roar, making you sound like a robot (not GLaDOS, just... just a weird unintelligible mush of electronic noise)- all suck. The technology exists to make this stuff neat, silly, fun, cool, whatever, but they don't do it here. One would hope Disney could expend a fraction of the same creativity, ingenuity and eye for aesthetic beauty to something that uses the catalog of their best movies and greatest songs that they did on the Toy Story 3 game or Epic Mickey. But they didn't. Boo.
Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang!
The Given: Marvel vs Capcom 3, duh.
EC: It's an upgrade. That's literally all it is. And that's pretty much all one could want it to be. Though I have a particular fondness for the character design in MvC2, dating back to X-Men vs Street Fighter, the new '3D' renders are slick and fun, the special attack screens are eye popping and well animated, the combos are the same as you remember them. Deadpool is there, so you know life is awesome. He beats people to death with his life bar. I mean... yes. YES. So, clearly I will own this. It gets its own category, though, because from the moment it was announced, I knew this to be the case. Mmmn. Marvel vs Capcom. Mmmmmn.
Games We Considered Trying/Seeing, But Didn't
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Muse: Treyarch. Meh. Will try it out if someone else buys it. But I'm good.
EC: I'd rather play CoD4.
Muse: Not big on Halo
EC: I'd rather watch Red vs Blue.
Fallout: New Vegas
Muse: I've never played a Fallout game, though I do hear I would love it. As we were exiting the West Hall on Thursday, I glanced over, noticed the giant Bethesda booth and realized I had completely forgotten about the damn game. Oops.
EC: Fallout 3 was an exercise in patience for me. Which I failed. So... I dunno, I have to think about it.
Dead Space 2
Muse: I don't like terrifying, claustrophic games. There's only so much my soul can handle, people.
EC: I DO! I want it, but didn't get a chance to play.
Muse: Meant to try it out, but kept forgetting it existed. I've never played Twisted Metal so wanted to see first hand if this was something I'd be interested in buying. Oh well.
EC: I used to play this game! I'm sure I'll play it again. I'm not gonna buy it, though.
The Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword
Muse: I wanted to try this because Ocarina of Time was one of those self-defining experiences that solidified my love of gaming in the first place. But. Wii. I don't know, man.
EC: Sadly, the more I see of what's next, the less impressed I become with the Wii. I can handle childish renderings, I'm all for style, but the blocky, chunky, pixel-y stuff... can't deal.
Donkey Kong Country 2
Muse: Really wanted to play this and convince my family to buy it for their Wii so I can go over there from time to time and play when I feel like wasting time. I LOVED the original Donkey Kong Country when I was a kid. Alas. Kinect was calling.
EC: It's on like, well, like it's predecessor, but I'm not compelled to purchase it.