Day two has come and gone. One again there is a good list of games, including what could quite possibly be my favorite game of E3. What game could possibly earn this sacred title? Read more to find out!
Far Cry 3
I tried this game three times today. I was a pretty big fan of Far Cry 2 (wrote my thesis on part of it, after all), so I had pretty high expectations for Far Cry 3. I started out with one of the cooperative missions. The cooperative missions will feature 4 player co-op with unique characters and a unique storyline. While I didn’t really get time to get acquainted with the characters, the overall feel of the co-op missions was good.
Players had to go through a linear area and complete a series of tasks in order to forward the overall mission objective. Weapon loadouts could be arranged and selected prior to the mission start and each weapon had its ups and downs. I’m not an expert with the controllers, but on the PS3 controller I found the gameplay to be smooth, much smoother than the combat of the previous title (which could seem a bit laggy at times). Unlike the enemies in Far Cry 2, those in Far Cry 3 reacted the instant they were injured or killed, which helped a lot.
There were only a few negatives to the co-op. First, I had some serious control issues with the Xbox 360. It may have just been the sensitivity of my controller, but trying to use the sniper rifle was almost impossible (especially in one of the sniping-based “competitions” of the mission). I also was surprised at how low-quality the graphics were on both consoles. Keep in mind the version of the game that I played was on consoles (which are getting old by now) and was also likely a beta version at best, but I felt that the graphics should have been better than what they were. If you know me and how forgiving I can be of a game’s graphics, you’ll understand the weight a statement like that has.
The single player is definitely the highlight of this game. It should last about 35 hours with all of the collectibles. This may not seem like a long time, but I was assured that Far Cry 3 had much more content than Far Cry 2. The developers put a lot of time and effort into creating detailed characters with intricate backgrounds. The hallucinations will almost certainly mess with your head. You’ll be left wondering whether certain characters, the main character, and even the islands themselves are real. It’s a seriously trippy ride that will be much, much better than the poorly hashed “story” that was included in Far Cry 2.
Assassin’s Creed 3
I only got to test out the multiplayer for this game, so unfortunately my opinion will not reflect any elements of the single-player campaign. I would say that the multiplayer was disappointing, but that implies that my expectations were high enough to begin with to be let down in some way. I expected this multiplayer to look and feel similar to what was laid down in Brotherhood and repeated in Revelations and that’s exactly what AC3 delivers. It’s almost shot for shot the exact same multiplayer as what was in the previous titles. So, in a way, it met my every expectation.
Yes you will see some new game modes, new weapons, and new characters, but the amount of new content clearly reflects what little can be done in a year’s time. Unless you’re a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer game mode, I wouldn’t get excited about what it has to offer.
X-Com: Enemy Unknown
I never had the pleasure of playing the original X-Com title, but from what I have heard it was a lot of fun but extremely difficult. X-Com: Enemy Unknown follows in the footsteps of the original title while improving greatly on the graphics and gameplay. X-Com is a turn-based strategy game where the player must lead a squad of human soldiers in combat against an enemy superior in strength and numbers. The type and rank of your units will greatly affect their effectiveness in combat, so a player unfamiliar with the strengths and weaknesses of each unit type will quickly find themselves overwhelmed.
I asked the developers how difficult they felt the “normal” difficulty level was on a scale of 1 to 10, where 11 were the impossible maps on Halo: Reach or some other similarly absurd level of difficulty. They considered X-Com to be a 7 or 8, which I took to mean you’re going to have to know what you’re doing. One of the developers I talked to said that they were trying to design the game to be “hard but fair”. They also said that one of the developers was currently trying to beat the game on “Insane” mode, but even he was struggling at it. Basically, if you don’t like a challenge, you’ll probably want to avoid this game.
Epic Mickey 2
I had a special request to check out this game, and considering what the original game attempted to do (which was make Mickey work for a more mature audience), I convinced myself that I had to at least take a look into Epic Mickey 2. While the first game completely failed at tailoring Mickey for a more hardcore audience, it was arguably the best Mickey game ever made.
Epic Mickey 2 continues with the advantages of the first, so fans of Epic Mickey will definitely want to pick this up. The biggest draw for EM2 is the drop-in/drop-out cooperative gameplay. The entire campaign is cooperative, so a friend can hop in at any time and help the player out. Some secrets can only be obtained with a cooperative partner, so that’s definitely a plus. The game also allows for split-screen gameplay, so no need to find a friend online.
One word of caution though. I tried this game on the Xbox 360 and, while the gameplay was overall smooth, the game was clearly designed for the Wii. The camera did have some issues, especially when corners and walls were involved, but the controls were definitely meant to use the Wii-mote and not a console controller. Keep that in mind when considering this game.
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line has flown under my radar up until E3. Evidently it does have a decent following, or at the very least has the general public intrigued. What I played was decent but not extremely impressive, but to be fair I only played a very short portion of the game. It’s a standard cover-based third person shooter. The gameplay was smooth and the cover mechanics were almost always perfect.
The one thing that I found to be a huge black mark on this game’s otherwise spotless record is the fact that the campaign will not be cooperative. Considering the cover (and most of the posters) picture two soldiers, I assumed that this game would be much like Army of Two. I expected to pick a good partner and work with that player in order to complete the game. However, the campaign is entirely single player. Those that I talked to said that there may be possible cooperative missions coming later as DLC, but that the game would not ship with any cooperative missions.
Still, the storyline seemed decent and the characters were, at the very least, interesting. This is something I’d consider picking up on sale a year or so after it came out, but it’s definitely not on my preorder list.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Splinter Cell: Blacklist looked quite a bit like Conviction, the previous title in the series. The executions are back as is the ability to choose how to approach different situations. For those who want to go in guns blazing, this is a possibility. It is equally possible to go through the vast majority of the game undetected, which would definitely be a plus for fans of the older Splinter Cell titles.
The developers made sure to highlight some elements that hardcore fans of the series may enjoy. The knife is back, which makes executions even more brutal than before. While the developers said that the “guns blazing” approach would work, I could tell that the game was designed for players to go through at least semi-stealthily. The game rewards the players for using stealth and performing executions, so while it doesn’t directly penalize the player for going in loud, it definitely encourages a quieter approach.
Blacklist will feature some new elements and new sections, such as one section where the player will control some sort of UAV in order to take out anti-aircraft turrets. The game will also feature the ability to use simple voice commands via Kinect. I was unable to confirm if those voice commands would also be available on the PS3 or PC.
Remember the reason you bought and played Crysis and Crysis 2? In case you don’t, it was for the awesome graphics. You’ll get Crysis 3 for the exact same reason. There are definitely a lot of interesting additions that have been made to this game, but the overall look and feel is almost exactly the same as the previous titles. You’re still wearing the nanosuit, you’ll still be a one-man army, and you’ll still have to use a small arsenal of customizable weapons in order to take down your opponents. The one extra in Crysis 3 is the composite bow, which will be a heavy-duty primary weapon in the game. Players will be able to use a small range of arrowhead types (i.e. explosive, electric, standard) and one of three “bow strength” options (which affect the speed and power of the arrow) to take down enemies with relative stealth. It was actually a pretty cool element.
As far as the story goes, the player plays as Prophet. If you recognize that name, you might remember that Prophet killed himself in the previous title. Well, surprise! He didn’t. And now you’re him. His little infection problem from the previous game didn’t really get 100% cured, so now he’s able to pick up and use alien weaponry. That can change the way certain sections of the game are played, but that will be up to each player to decide.
The game takes place 20 years after the events of Crysis 2, so New York has been completely overgrown in the intermission. The developers said there would be at least 7 different environments that the player would be working through, so that should be interesting to check out. Look at the gameplay demo on youtube and you’ll get a decent idea of how this game works. If you’ve played and enjoyed Crysis 2, you’ll feel the same way about Crysis 3.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
While I have played games like Soulcalibur and Tekken 3, my familiarity with fighting games is very limited. So, to me, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was pretty much the exact same game as Tekken 3. You fight against a human or computer opponent, punch and kick each other around, and whoever takes the least amount of damage wins. The “tag” element comes where you can select two players to tag each other out, virtually doubling the amount of life each player has and adding a bit of strategy to the game.
I only had a brief demonstration of the game, but overall things seemed fairly standard. The graphics looked good for a fighter game, the environments were detailed but seemed a bit standard for games of this type, and the controls were smooth and responsive. Sometimes the tag throws could be a bit difficult to pull off, but this may have been due more to my unfamiliarity with the genre and not the fault of the game.
Snoop Dogg made an appearance in the game. Evidently he recorded a song specifically for the Tekken series (and this game in particular). One of the arenas was even called “Snoop Dogg” and featured the Doggy Dogg in the background.