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E3 Overview: Day Three

Sean’s Overview: We ended E3 on a high note. I got to play a lot of games that I had been looking forward to all week, but still managed to fit in some unknowns that I might have overlooked.

We started the day looking at the new iterations of the MOGA mobile game controller. I’ve always liked the idea of the MOGA, even though I have also been an advocate of the GameKlip/DualShock combo. The new generation of MOGAs looks pretty solid, and I’m looking forward to ditching the AAA batteries in my MOGA pocket for a new unit that can also double as a backup battery for my phone.

Next we went to Atlus, where Robert and I had a difference of opinion on pretty much everything we saw. We played through a demo of the highly controversial Vanillaware title, Dragon’s Crown which left Rob wanting more, and me wanting a break. The arcade-style beat-em-up is beautifully rendered (taste in art notwithstanding) and there are a lot of great ideas, from the character building and treasure mechanics to the variety of unique moves and strategies that each character brings to the game. Unfortunately, the characters take up a lot of screen real estate, and with 4 players, it gets a little claustrophobic, and becomes hard to tell what you’re doing. Luckily, I was able to make it through both the PS3 and Vita demos by mashing the O button and holding right. It might be something I just need to get used to. If I pick it up, I’ll definitely lean toward the Vita, as the item collection mechanic feels a lot more natural with the touchscreen rather than the bizarre cursor system that the console version relies on.

Dragon's Crown

We also saw Shin Megami Tensai 4, and before you say “oh that NOLA, and his hatred of JRPGs,” I want you to know that I really enjoyed what I played. No caveat, it was just entertaining. The setting seemed really cool and the combat system was fun – very reminiscent of Phantasy Star. Between this and Sonic: The Lost World, I might have to pick up a 3DSXL in the near future.

We also saw a pair of NIS games. I’ll assume that Rob will have something to say about them, because all I remember was the candy bowl in front of the demo system.

After my harrowing encounter with OtakuRobert, I made my way to SEGA to check out Sonic: The Lost World. As a certified Genesis kid, I always try to stop by the SEGA booth, I always play the Sonic game, and I always say “that’s nice. I might get that at some point, I guess,” and I only follow though 50% of the time. This year was different: Sonic: The Lost World on WiiU was fantastic! I can’t think of a time since Sonic 3 that I was really wowed by a Sonic game, but The Lost World made me feel like I was 10 years old again. Lost World is loosely based on the concept for the ill-fated Sonic Xtreme, which was never formally released for the Sega Saturn. Lost World takes the warped landscape idea, takes away the fisheye lens, and updates it with lessons learned from Mario Galaxy to make what could be the first great 3D Sonic game. I couldn’t rouse my cynicism, even for a moment. It was colorful, engaging, challenging, and I loved every minute of it. Nintendo managing to tie up exclusivity on Lost World might be the most devious move ever.

Sonic The Lost World

Coming down from my Sonic high, I made a trip to Konomi. Our host took us around the booth to look at their mobile wares, the Metal Gear Legacy Collection and PES2014, but all of that was just filler until we got to the main event: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. Podcast fans might not know this, since I started playing around the same time that I fell off the face of the earth, but I loved the first Lords of Shadow, and the sequel was my most anticipated game of the show. I waited in line behind internet-sensation, Smooth McGroove, and finally got my hands on a controller. The demo was tutorial-heavy, but once I got to hold the reins, I was right back where I left off months ago. The new game adds a lot of depth to combat by replacing the light and dark magic with a light sword and dark claw weapons, each with their own sets of combos. It feels much more dynamic than simply changing the color of the whip. The demo ends with one of the colossal battles that defined the first game – battling on top of a giant mech as it tries to destroy Dracula’s Castle. If you haven’t tried the first one, you really should. It’s a blast.

Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2

After Konomi, I broke away from the group and muscled my way into SCEE’s meeting room. I had seen exhibitors wearing Invizimals shirts throughout the conference, but couldn’t find it on the show floor. I knew it was developed by a European studio, so I had to get behind closed-doors to check it out (readers may remember that I was pretty smitten with the first game). The next generation of Invizimals is coming to Vita and PS3 in the form of 2 separate storylines with a shared collection of Invizimals. The PS3 version plays as a 3D platforming adventure with a story reminiscent of Ben10. The main character is sucked into the world of the Invizimals, and finds that he has the power to transform into a variety of different creatures. You’re presented with a variety of puzzles that you will have to solve by utilizing the different powers of each creature. The Vita game covers more of the meta-story surrounding the events of the PS3 game. Since the Vita has a lot more tech in it than the PSP had, the augmented reality gameplay has improved a lot. Most features no longer require the AR card, but rather use data from the camera to construct an environment for the Invizimals to inhabit. It’s easy to imagine playing the game in a tall building, and being able to see your monsters duke it out as giants. When the game launches, there will be a set of cards and possibly even a TV show that will interact with the game, allowing you to fill out your library of creatures by completing a collection of cards. I only wish I had a child, so I would have a more legitimate reason to be excited…maybe I’ll just use Jeremy’s kids as an excuse.

I left SCEE just in time to play EVR on the Oculus Rift with Sage. EVR is a space combat sim, in the vain of TIE Fighter which  takes place in the EVE Online universe. The demo allows two teams of three to duke it out in space while wearing VR headsets. It uses the Oculus Rift headset as a targeting system, so you have to point your nose at what you are trying to lock onto. I don’t want to toot our horns, but Sage and I were pretty good at it. We stuck around for a long time to have drinks with the guys from CCP and watched dozens of people strap in to try a dogfight. We only saw a handful of players come out with comparable scores – most ended with negative scores. I guess if we start training now, we might have a lucrative future in the MLG if X-Wing ever makes a comeback.

After that, the LACC closed down. I was tipsy, so we grabbed some coffee and I hopped on a train to get home. Hopefully next year, the LACC will still be there, and we can go at it again!

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

53 comments

  1. Good write up, all!

    I’m really looking forward to some of this new tech. (ok, maybe everything but the Xbone).

  2. Recently tweeted that pre-orders for the PS4 through his site have outsold those for the Xbox One by 69%.

    I can’t believe that figure. It’s got to be much higher than that. Who says “I’ll take DRM and pay $100 for the privilege?”

    • I believe the number was 47% on Tuesday. If it’s jumped that much in just a couple of days, the margin must be growing by the hour.

      • Out of ALL my gamer friends, I don’t know a single one who wants to get Xboned. Even the guys who owns Xbox and 360’s and never bought a PS3 are going for a PS4.

  3. Did OtakuRobert post his NISA impressions yet?!?

  4. I’ve been really excited for Oculus Rift. Hopefully, Sean’s hand is ok.

  5. Where’s the Steampunk interview Sage? BTW: the amberstreet site isn’t loading for me.

    Great to bear your impressions. Sounds like you guys had a great time.

  6. Not really interested in the weird jrpgs, but most definitely in the Octulus Rift.

  7. Not really too much info on NISA’s game that I didn’t know already. Do you know what new classes are in DD2?

  8. @Blue “For Big N, I felt their pre-recorded Nintendo Direct was a train wreck. Not based on the games themselves, mind you, but the fact that their “event” was the only one of the top three where the company-supplied streams were literally unwatchable.” Good to know I wasn’t the only one, I had a hard time for like 10 minutes trying to find a decent stream. Eventually I ended up watching it all via YouTube after it was done, I could catch up on everything I didn’t know I had missed.

    • I couldn’t watch it either. I tried different websites that advertising that they were streaming it but the source was the same. Lucky me, I caught it on replay.

      sadpikachu.gif here

      • What was sup with all the glitches this year? No sound for two MS games? Pulling the plug on Assassin’s Creed 4? Even Nintendo Direct failed.

        • Seems clear that none of the big 3 were ready for E3.

          Personally I see the new consoles doing a Wii U and not having games for a while after launch. Also: expect shitty ports.

  9. Witcher 3 won 52 best in show awards? Wow, I didn’t even know that many outlets gave awards.

    • I’m sure every outlet has awards, wait…where there T-G awards?

      Best loli game? Best Monster Hunter game that isn’t Monster Hunter.

  10. Am I the only one who feels I haven’t seen/heard/read enough about the new generation to make the jump.

    I see video, but it’s hard to see the improvement in visuals. Games still putting out 1080p, just with a few more polygons. To be this feels like a 32X kind of leap.

    • I was pretty excited about how this E3 came together but fact is – it does feel like there has got to be more to the next generation hype than we have seen so far.

      • I hope so. Because right now, theres no need to upgrade. The games dont look all that much better or play different.

  11. Can I just tell you, I really like reading through 4 pages and not having to sort through like 30-50 articles?

    Of course, you guys are probably doing yourselves a disservice.

  12. You guys here about this: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Microsoft-Sends-Employees-to-Wii-U-Best-Buy-Events-to-Promote-Xbox-One-Report-361089.shtml

    MS was crashing Nintendo’s events. DESPERATION will make you do that.

    • I read about it yesterday too, I guess it’s just as you say – desperation will push them to that.

    • Thats just stupid. With cameras everywhere youre asking to get caught. It just make MS look worse. Another reason to hate them.

  13. Id love to see a Turtle Beach giveaway. Their headsets are the best.

  14. Needs more Xbone game impressions.

  15. Any picks for game of show?

  16. Sean is the first casualty in the VR wars.

    Hope the walls were padded.

  17. RIPD and the game look like a double dose of diarrhea. Protip: Avoid anything with Ryan Reynolds at all costs.

  18. So the notion hit me during E3 that I may stop gaming soon.

    Microsoft’s “We’ll do what we want” attitude is total crap. Some of their statements and seeing Major Nelson grab microphones from people is douchiness I can’t support. (“Backwards compatibility is for backwards people” drove me nuts.) Everyone is getting behind Sony, but when they cancel interviews and don’t want to talk about DRM, I worry about them as well. Which leaves Nintendo, which goes on making the same games I played when I was five. In a way, their Wii U is the Japanese version of the Xbox one: We’ll make this and you’ll love it. I don’t feel any connection with the people that are making the hardware and I feel software is heading in the same direction.

    • The thing that drives me nuts is when you make a statement like “Backwards compatibility is for backwards people” while you sell Xbox original games on your service. Way to make fun of your own audience Microsoft. I’m sure they’re going to try to sell you old TV shows, movies, and music. Does that make people backwards for not wanting the latest media?

      Seriously, fuck them. If they think they’re going to call me names AND get my $500, they are in for a rude awakening.

    • Right and after Sony sent PSASBR and Little Big Karting to die (because like some have said Sony didn’t have money) I wonder if they will be able to compete this generation.

      I’d like to give my money to them but Killzone, Infamous, and some indie games aren’t convincing me to drop $399. I have a feeling the software glut is going to be bad again this generation.

      • Microsoft is pushing the boundary, the others are not. I know where my money is going.

        • Dude, I’ve seen your posts. You’re a known Xbox shill that probably should be banned.

          Either that or you’ve been brainwashed and need to get your head out of the “cloud”.

        • They seem to be pushing the price boundary.

  19. Man, this site has some of the some jaded, grumpy-ass people I’ve seen on the internet. It’s video games people. Remember, something to have fun with. You guys are thinking way too much.

  20. Smooth McGroove may well me a great guy. He’s certainly a good musician. But as far as I know the guy hasn’t written or recorded a word on games or developed any. This year, E3 had way too many many YouTube people who were only tangentially affiliated with gaming. If that continues, E3 is going to be the same as PAX, which will piss off people like you and I who actually write about games.

    • I actually thought this year was better than years past. I didn’t see any outlets offering contests to get in, so the cosplayer/swag-collector demographic was a lot lower than it was last year. I also noticed a lot less goofy video crap from bigger sites (Polygon’s weird scavenger hunt being the eye-rolling exception). I don’t really mind the YouTube crowd getting in as long as they stay professional. I know Smooth McGroove is not the press, but he IS still media, and he has something to gain from the contacts he could make at an industry event. For example: Konami might want to hire him to help with the marketing of the Metal Gear Legacy Collection, or perhaps commission a Castlevania album to offer as a preorder bonus with Lords of Shadow 2. Those are legitimate reasons for someone on the entertainment side of things to be there.
      The thing that we as “traditional media” need to remember about E3 is that it isn’t a press event, it’s an INDUSTRY event. In fact, its REAL purpose is for manufacturers to show wholesale buyers what is being offered so that they know what to stock their shelves with in the coming years. There was a time when writers were considered the outsiders, so I’m not opposed to welcoming our new-media brethren, as long as they don’t make E3 more of a spectacle than it already is. McGroove was very professional, and I respect that. What I didn’t like last year was all they Jackass-Style prank/stunt shows that filmed on the show floor. E3 is not the venue for that. Save that for the fan conventions.

      • devildakimakura

        Someone has as Smooth man-crush. Haha. He’s better than than the girl who sings the Pokemon song on the podcast.

        I heard from other sites that it was super crowded with swag hunters and friends of developers, though. Didn’t hear about the stunts? Who did that?

      • The issue isnt Smooth McGroove, its the crown of people that make LP video and just swear non stop. They have no real talent and shouldn’t be at E3.

      • Buyers wont sell units unless press covers a game. Look at PSASBR or LittleBig Karting.

        Dont sell yourself short dude. Theres a place in the ecosystem for press.

    • I have to voice my agreement with Sean. While on Wednesday there was suddenly a surge of swag hunters as compared to tuesday and thursday (which might explain what you heard, devildaimakura), even that was SIGNIFICANTLY less than last year. This year felt much more professional, calm, and industry focused than the previous years I’ve been. Even the evening events had a lot less gimmick and flash. For example, the year when one party touted Macy Gray as their DJ and part-time performer, and made a huge deal, and then she pulled a prima dona and didn’t even show.

      There are a lot of faces at E3 that are video game-related web stars, like Ashley Burch, or voice actors, like Aisha Tyler, who aren’t media. However their presence at the event encourages more participation in the industry as a whole, in addition to Sean’s point about web celebrities being for promoting games and gaming.

      • Calling Ashley Burch a star might be a stretch. Macy Gray maybe. Aisha Tyler is a star, but after watching her host Ubisoft’s press conference last year I had my fill of her.

        At least Toby and Caffeine guy weren’t their right?

      • Ashly Burch (No “E”) is an accomplished voice actress, having roles in Aliens: Colonial Marines and a major role as Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2. Look for her in DLC next week.

        You might want to do a little thing called fact-checking before you post. It’s what real journalists do.

        • If she’s such a major star, how come I had to IMDB her?

          Oh and if you’re her agent. Chill out. No wonder why she doesn’t get much work.

        • Ted–that’s cute that you think I don’t do “fact checking”. Really. And I’m being a little demeaning since you decided to attempt to be a little condescending.
          “Accomplished” voice acting is sort of an subjective matter. You think that voicing two video games, one of which tanked and the other of which was written by her brother, makes her accomplished. Point in fact, she is more commonly known, if known at all–see Odin’s response, for the web-series, HAWP (hey ash, whatcha playin’, for those unfamiliar). I would consider “accomplished” voice actor’s those who have an established career, such as Tara Strong or E.G. Daily. But to each their own opinion.
          And if it’s of any interest to you, the reason I chose to refer to Ashly by her web videos is because I figured more people would recognize her from that venue, an opinion which is perhaps buttressed by Odin’s comment above. I will be sure to let her know you are such an avid supporter, however, the next time I see her. Im sure she will be thrilled.
          Pixeler–I used the word “star” as a subjective indicator—perhaps I should have put it in quotation marks above. And yes, a year without caffeine guy suited me just fine.
          Hellbringer– it is interesting, i think, how one person’s “internet nobody” is another person’s source of adulation. However, if it gratifies you to know, I am not on the “hype wagon.” Again, I probably should have put the word “star” in quotations in my initial post.

          • I have no idea who any of these people are. But I have heard of the legendary Sektor. Did you run into him at E3 by any chance?

      • “Ashly Burch and Aisha Tyler” (rolls eyes) I cant stand either. Neither can act their way though a YT vid without being nails on a chalkboard. Please get off the F class internet nobody hype wagon.

        • Well, if we’re being 100% honest, most of the “real” celebrities we’ve seen at E3, I haven’t realized are famous until after the fact – like when Blake Griffon checked us into the Bethesda booth, and I just thought he was some dude. Same thing happened with Daisy Fuentes, although she’s probably a rung lower than Aisha Tyler. Oh, and we stood next to Danica Patrick for a while, and I thought she was just a booth attendant.

          • What are you serious? They are all working at E3 or do you men people who looked like them?

  21. “Next we went to Atlus, where Robert and I had a difference of opinion on pretty much everything we saw”.

    Nice to hear nothing’s changed. 😉