Sunday, June 12, 2011

E3: the Previews

Obviously I checked out a few upcoming titles at E3 (playing demos of some of them, looking at trailers and gameplay for others); here are a couple of the highlights.

Star Wars: the Old Republic
This one I was really looking forward to and I waited in line for about 3 hours for the 10 minute video and 15 minute playable demo. I played a Sith Inquisitor Assassin (I was more interested in the Sorceror spec but that was already taken) and honestly, it felt like playing a magicky sort of rogue in WoW. I am disappoint; the game feels very much like WoW with a Star Wars skin, and as I've said before, I'd rather be playing a Mass Effect MMO, so if it's gonna be WoW with an SF skin, it should be Mass Effect. Maybe the story and content will make up for my disappointment with the gameplay, but we'll see. For now, though, I agree with this guy.

I wasn't so interested in this one before, because, well, oh joy, yet another fantasy MMO. But the gameplay impressed me - the combat system is much more dynamic and interesting than the typical click-waitforcooldown-clickagain mechanic. Basically you can either click the abilities and use them immediately or hold down the key to charge them up, with up to three levels of charge. Then there are combos, kind of like attacks of opportunity which you can take advantage of by pressing the space bar when prompted. The animations are quite pretty too. The main question for me now is whether it has the content and depth of story to match.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Resident Evil will always have a special place in my heart; the first one was one of the first games to ever scare me and I remember playing almost the entire thing in one long playthrough (not leaving the house for something like two days - ah, those were the days). However, I've been somewhat disappointed with the last couple of entries in the series, with their greater emphasis on action and combat and less on atmosphere and horror. This one seems to be no exception; however, I'm a big fan of co-op gameplay and overall the controls and so on seemed better than, say, Resident Evil 5. So while I'm not excited about it, I'll wait and see how the reviews go and consider picking it up (especially if I find some fun people to play it with).

Silent Hill Downpour
I didn't get the chance to get my hands on this one but looking at the gameplay, I'm definitely interested. Silent Hill has generally been reliable for the creep-out factor I look for in my horror games and this one looks like it might be a decent entry in the series.

Dead Island
I spent more than a few minutes at the Square Enix booth looking at this one and I must say I'm pretty excited about it - it looks like just the sort of pulse pounding zombie killing action that is my idea of the perfect stress relief.

Other Games
There are a few other games I'm looking forward but didn't get to preview: namely Saints Row: The Third (I tested the second one and I must say I thought it was significantly better than its rival, GTAIV), Dark Millenium Online (maybe this will satisfy my desire for a decent SF MMORPG) and of course Mass Effect 3 (to say that I am frustrated that the preview was press only would be an understatement).

Friday, June 10, 2011

E3 Day 3: Wrap Up

I've had my breakfast and my coffee and my shower, so I guess it's time to get my E3 wrap-up under way.

We didn't go for the full day because we had a long drive ahead of us. Probably a good thing we left early anyway, as I heard there was some sort of bomb threat or something (but I can't find any news about it now so I don't know - just something one of my travel companions reported to me as we were driving up I5 heading back to the Bay Area).

I will do more of a write-up on my thoughts and impressions on the various sights when I'm feeling less tired/more coherent but for now you get picspam.

The giant Gears of War poster outside the West Hall

A cute thing I saw at the Natsume booth

Gabrielle, the titular character from "Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

E3 Day 2

Day 2 ended up being a short day. We decided to drive because we were thinking of staying after for the WIGI Mixer, but left kinda late so had trouble finding parking. Very frustrating. After waiting in line for a couple hours at the Capcom booth, I had the beginnings of a migraine so I headed back to my hotel early. But I did pick up a bit of swag.

The badge holder I had trouble posting last night

My reward for waiting in line for the Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City demo

From the Bethesda booth. Sadly they didn't have a demo of Skyrim. :(

And the Witcher 2 poster that my awesome QA buddies picked up for me

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Odin Sphere

Apparently I need to play Odin Sphere (or so I've been told). Mostly in reaction to my sharing the ugly concept art from Dragon's Crown (not sharing them here because they are horrifyingly awful distortions of the female form), another Vanillaware title.

I'm curious about the localization but I don't own an American PS2, so if I pick it up it'll have to be the import version.

First day at E3

Crossing the street to pick up our badge holders
Looking at the convention center

I have a pic of the badge holder that should go here but for some reason it's failing to upload. I'll try again tomorrow.

Inside the convention center waiting for the show to open
We came back to our hotel to find that someone had tagged our mirror.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Android Games

I mentioned in my first post that I was a huge fan of the Android OS so it seems only right that I should recommend a few games to my fellow Android fans.

First a few quibbles - the touch screen/OS is still not quite responsive enough (at least on my T-Mobile G2) for a lot of games. I've found that strategy/tower defense games are generally best, which is good, because I'm a total tower defense game addict. I haven't played too many RPGs with interfaces that I liked, sadly.

Anyway, on to the games.

  • HexDefense is a pretty little tower defense game with a hex grid which is being invaded by a variety of geometric shapes (visually it's somewhat similar to Geometry Wars) with a nifty techno soundtrack. There are 4 tower options - a basic shooter, a cannon, a laser and an aoe pulse tower - and the key to victory, generally speaking, is placement and utilizing and upgrading a healthy mix of these tower types.
  • RoboDefense is another excellent tower defense game (link goes to a review).
  • Tower Raiders 2 GOLD - yet another awesome tower defense game
  • Plants vs Zombies - one of the most popular tower defense games of all time, this awesome little gem is finally available for Android. When I saw this pop up on the Amazon appstore, I squee'ed so hard.
  • Gem Miner is a strangely addictive little game where you play a little guy who just mines his heart out so he can get ore to upgrade his pick so he can mine even more...
  • Farm Frenzy a simple little farming sim but lots of fun.
  • Angband for Android - okay, this one might be a little esoteric for a lot of you, but if you were ever a fan of rogue-like ascii dungeon crawlers, you might be familiar with Angband (one of the best of the lot, based on The Lord of the Rings setting). The Android port is not without its issues, but overall, it's pretty good and they're working on the interface all the time.
And that's it for now. What about you? Any recommendations for me?

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Unfinished Games (360 edition)

    There was a game giveaway at work today and I ended up with Dead Space 2 for my Xbox 360. This is awesome but it's also a problem, in that I am still playing Dragon Age: Origins (rather slowly) and I have not yet finished the first Dead Space either.

    This led me to wonder how many unfinished games I have on my shelf and to think maybe this will be my resolution for now - to try and finish these games before I buy any new ones.

    The List:
    • Dragon Age: Origins - my character is in the process of becoming a Grey Warden so I'm still fairly early on in the game.
    • Dead Space - apparently I'm in Chapter 4: Obliteration Imminent.
    • Red Dead Redemption - in Mexico.
    • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - I recently started a new game, I have an older save I think but it's not very far along either.
    • Prey - I lost my save, so this one I'll have to start fresh.
    • Halo: ODST - never really played it, I bought it mostly for Nathan Fillion but maybe I'll finish it sometime.
    I have a few other unfinished games that I'm not gonna put on the list because I don't really intend to finish them.

    What games do you have on your shelf that you're planning to finish but haven't gotten around to yet?

    Also, should I keep working on DA:O or stop for a bit to finish up Dead Space so I can start working on DS2? I'm just curious as to your opinions, though I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do about it.