On day three of E3, it was time to make a killing. On day one I’d sampled the PlayStation Move, Microsoft Kinect and more while day two consisted mostly of waiting hours to play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Nintendo 3DS. For the final few hours of the Electronics Entertainment Expo it was time to check out the few things that had eluded me on the days before. And that mostly consisted of violence. I checked out the new Mortal Kombat, Gran Turismo 5 in 3D and the top secret Bethesda Studios booth that held Fallout: New Vegas and Rage, one of the most buzzed about titles of the whole Expo.
Hit the jump to read my impressions of those games and more, including Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
As promised, upon entering the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday, I immediately made my way to WB Games and the Mortal Kombat booth. The line was decidedly shorter but, finally waiting on it, I realized I had no idea what was inside. Was I going to play the game? Watch a demo? Get jumped and thrown into a huge pit of spikes? It turned out to be a 10 minute demo of the game that was pretty damn incredible.
The representative explained that for this version of the game, they wanted to bring the series back to it’s roots. That means a hard M rating, a 2D plane (with 3D renderings) and a whole lot of fatalities. So we saw started with sample fight of classic characters Sub Zero vs. Scorpion. Each still has their trademark moves, as do all of the characters in the game. Now, though, depending on a bar at the bottom of the screen, you can do an enhanced version of those moves as well. Plus, get that bar all the way filled and hit your opponent with an X-Ray move. This is a slow motion attack that zooms in and literally shows the bones breaking. Each time it happened, it brought the house down. All the levels you’ve come to know and love are here, the game looks gritty and pretty and there are plenty of additions to the classic set up to keep everyone happy. The demo ended with a highlight reel of just ridiculous fatalities. Mortal Kombat is back.
From there, I headed over to the monstrous Sony booth and saw there was no line for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Coming exclusively to the PlayStation Network this summer, you’ve probably all seen the trailer already so know a little bit about the game. Basically, this is Double Dragon or Streets of Rage, but with Scott and his cohorts. It’s fun, it cool in a Sega Genesis kind of way and there are enough level ups and nods to the comic (subspace anyone?) to more than warrant a purchase.
Right in the middle of the Sony booth was one of the PlayStation’s signature titles, Gran Turismo 5. The game that feels like it has been in development forever is almost here and it’s 3D capable. So, of course, I had to wait for one of the 5 out of 10 3D ready demo stations. Getting on a 2D one was no problem, but the 3D took a little while longer.
Once I did get on though, the first thing that strikes you isn’t the 3D, it’s the insane realism of the game. Gran Turismo 5 is considered a “simulation” after all, and it lives up to that with details. Race as a very expensive normal car, a concept car, a NASCAR, a Super Car or a Rally car then choose from a ton of real tracks including the Top Gear test track. Honestly, the 3D experience didn’t add that much to the game. It’s a very subtle effect. Once you get past the fact that you’re driving a BMW M5 or Lamborghini or whatever the game has to deliver on the fun factor and I’m just not sure it did. The speed just wasn’t there and the controls, at least on the Logitech steering wheel/pedal combo, were very difficult. A game shouldn’t be harder than actual driving and I’ve moved my crappy Scion around much faster and gracefully than I did in Gran Turismo 5. That said, the game looks flawless, literally, and I’m sure will prove itself an incredible title once it’s released.
After playing Gran Turismo, I realized that in the past two days I had sort of neglected Sony so I stumbled around their booth. There were plenty of third party games using the PlayStation Move, such as Resident Evil 5 and Toy Story 3, and then a ton of games Sony was pushing, like Killzone 3 and Little Big Planet 2. Still, as impressive as the hundreds of live gaming stations were, I just got the feeling that Sony was more of the same this year. Nothing blew me away or got me jacked to play it. Oooo, wow, a new Assasin’s Creed game. Ooo, yay, you are releasing Twisted Metal again. The whole thing simply wasn’t as exciting as one could have hoped.
Finally, the time had arrived. I was about to enter one of the most elusive booths at E3, Bethesda Studios, which was accessible by appointment only. Even the outside looked sort of like a Fallout Vault. Inside, a slew of games were playable, but the one that wasn’t was the one that everyone was talking about: Rage.
Before I talk about Rage though, I did pick up and mess around with Fallout: New Vegas. I’m a huge fan of Fallout 3 and this new version feels very similar. That’s a good thing. Vegas looks awesome, you can gamble, the weapons are new, and – as usual – you can choose to act however you want. The demo guy got kind of pissed at me when I attempted to kill the greeter at the Casino. I was asked to restart the game.
I had to put that down though to check out the final, totally packed demo of Rage, the first new “id” title in a decade. And from the guys who brought you Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, that’s saying something. Basically, Rage is an action oriented first person shooter set in a world where an asteroid hit Earth. The game play is faster than Fallout but it shares a lot of characteristics with it – item pick up, character interaction, side games, etc. It’s more directed, however, and it has to be because it’s not about who or what you become, it’s about killing an insane amount of mutants with awesome weapons and vehicles. The graphics on this game are simply jaw dropping. The lead designer promised a perfect 60 frames per second on every system and there was not a pixel to be seen even on this early demo. When Rage comes out, I have a feeling it’s going to win a lot of awards, just as it did at E3.
And, just like that, the whole thing was over was over. I felt like I’d seen so much but missed even more. Someone could attend and just look at third party peripherals, kids games, movie adaptations or try to get autographs. For my first year, I think I got a pretty good cross section of what was cool and buzzy and I hope you agree.