Before beginning, I want to mention that I will have a much more detailed experience at the end of E3, when all the dust has settled and I’m back home and able to carefully construct my thoughts. That said, here comes day two of my E3 impressions!
Today I was able to experience Star Fox Zero, Chibi Robo! Zip Lash, Skylanders SuperChargers, Metroid Prime: Blast Ball, Triforce Heroes, Fast Racing Neo, and Rodea the Sky Soldier (Wii U). I also had the opportunity to watch others play some indies gracing the eShop. It was a busy day, so let’s get to it!
- Star Fox Zero was great. I chose to be different and play the level I hadn’t seen played (most others played the Corneria level, so I chose the “battle” level, titled “Area 3”). My rep did a great job explaining what button functions were, how to utilize them properly, and how the gyro controls work. I jumped right in and had no problem with the controls. Now, I recognize that many may have a learning curve, and the gyro controls will take a little getting used to. But honestly? I greatly enjoyed the gyro usage; it made the game feel unique, fresh, and cool – though gyro is nothing new, especially with Nintendo. My only complaint actually had to do with the button layout. I kept confusing the loop action with the U-turn action; for whatever reason, the buttons didn’t feel set correctly, and I constantly pressed the wrong ones. Otherwise, I thought they were great, and in fact, I was affected by them after the demo. I walked over to try out Rodea the Sky Soldier, and I found myself tilting the GamePad at first to look around. The controls stuck with me. In addition, the level I played felt like a Star Wars X-wing battle scene. There seemed to be tons going on, while my NPC teammates did what they could to help before Pigma showed up to go one-on-one with me. In addition, once I was able to grasp how to utilize the GamePad cockpit functionality, it was very cool. I used the screen to get in the general direction of my target (which could be locked on), then looked down at the Pad for more precise aiming. And heck, if you don’t like the gyro controls, you can turn them off. I was thoroughly impressed with Star Fox Zero and cannot wait to get my hands on the full game.
- Chibi Robo! Zip Lash was surprisingly fun. I had never played a Chibi Robo game before, and I had fun playing this latest iteration while waiting in line for Star Fox. Essentially, you play Chibi Robo – the cutest little robot – and traverse different levels to figure out what’s going on with a surprise alien attack. It’s a fun little platformer that I’m now quite interested in checking out. Nice surprise!
- Speaking of surprises, Skylanders SuperChargers truly surprised me. It was fun. Game of the Year? Of course not. But fun? Sure. In addition, the game looks quite nice. I got to see the Bowser and Donkey Kong amii-I mean, Skylander figurines, and they are very good quality (and they appeared to be what the retail products would look like). Thanks to these NFCs, I was able to play as Bowser with his cool jet. The player essentially explores this world in the sky (covered in clouds, which affect your vision), beating up enemies and nabbing loot along the way. I had a good time with it, and that legitimately surprised me.
- Fast Racing Neo is great. It is a fast racing game; no weapons or items outside of boost orbs. What a small team of four people was able to create in this game is truly remarkable. As far as gameplay, there is a phase mechanic that changes the thruster color to either orange or blue. These affect what happens when driving over strips in the road: if you have it in blue phase and drive over a blue strip in the road, you get a boost. However, drive over that same blue strip with orange phase on and it’ll slow you down. It’s a fun way to set the game apart from other racing titles. Plus, it’s fast, and controls so darn well. Did I mention it’s fast?
- Rodea the Sky Soldier is shaping up to be a nice title for the Wii U. At first, the controls were hard to get a handle on. However, once it “clicked,” the game turned into a very fun platformer with a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to this when it releases.
- Triforce Heroes isn’t necessarily bad. But, I didn’t think it deserved to be in the “good section.” Sure, it had fun moments, and it could lead to some fun local gameplay. It just feels a little…well, I guess a good phrase is “tacked on.” It doesn’t seem like a solid addition for Zelda fans like A Link Between Worlds (speaking of handheld Zelda titles, by the way), and it doesn’t feel like a good enough diversion from the delay of Zelda Wii U. It was alright, but alright for a Zelda title is a little disappointing.
- I’m going to say this again: why were games like Fatal Frame, Devil’s Third, Fast Racing Neo, and plenty of other indie titles not mentioned during the Digital Event, or even given any time during big announcements? Rather, they seemed to be just thrown in. Heck, don’t even put solid dates on them – just give us some awesome footage to get excited about.
- I hate to say it, but Metroid Prime: Blast Ball wasn’t too fun. Did it control well? Sure. Did it look good? The 3D was used well enough, and it ran smoothly enough. But, in all honesty, I could see myself getting bored really quickly with this multiplayer facet to Metroid Prime: Federation Force (by the way, that’s the real name, not Blast Ball). Simply put: it just wasn’t that memorable or great. A good way to describe the experience was “underwhelming.” I know there is a solo campaign that will be in the title (and Samus will make an appearance), but after playing this mode, I have very little interest or motivation to check it out. Plus, the art direction and character designs just don’t feel right for, you know, a Metroid Prime game.
Another day down, my fellow Nintendo fans. There were quite a few positives I ran into today, most of them being pleasant surprises. Tomorrow is the last day for E3 – perhaps Nintendo will, in fact, decide to drop a bomb at the end create some final excitement?