The Intriguing Games of E3 2010

After Nate’s excellent and complete wrap-up of the five big conferences, I’m going to cover some of the games that caught my attention over the last few days.  While we knew the existence of some of these games before this week, our knowledge of them was pretty thin.  Hopefully you’ll be seeing these games on the First Hour in the coming year (and hopefully we’ll recommend you keep playing them!).

This list is nowhere near complete, neither as a list of great E3 2010 games or even with games I was impressed with.  Hope you enjoyed the show, I sure did.

Okamiden

Okamiden Amaterasu ChibiterasuThe sequel to one of my favorite PlayStation 2 games is finally arriving, and landing on the platform it probably should have in the first place, the Nintendo DS.  Amaterasu is being reborn as a younger version of herself (groaningly called Chibiterasu) for the sequel to Okami, Okamiden.  While the original was a great game, there was a ton of stuff that needed reworking (like the first hour of the game), so I’m hoping they’ve learned from their mistakes for the smaller screen.  The Celestial Brush is back and will probably be much easier to control with the stylus.

My concern is that games that require you to switch between regular controls and the stylus often aren’t usually that much fun to play.  You’re always awkwardly holding the stylus, and generally either all-stylus or no-stylus games work best on the DS, in my opinion.  I hope Okamiden can be an exception to the norm though.

While the game is still probably a year away from release outside of Japan, Okamiden might end up being one of the last great non-3DS games on the DS platform.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick Phantom Detective SurpriseSticking with Capcom and the DS for a bit, the spiritual sequel to the Ace Attorney series was surprisingly announced earlier this year, and it’s... weird.  After watching the new trailer, I really don’t know what to think of it.  Ghost Trick seems like a combination of Dead Like Me, Monkey Island, The Incredible Machine, and Haunting: Starring Polterguy.  I hope to read some hands-on impressions but it seems the game might not be on the show floor or no one’s bothering to write about it.

I have a lot of confidence with this game will be fun though and plan to pick it up when it’s released in North America at the end of this year.  Man, I'm actually really surprised this game is so close, but the project leader has been working on it since he finished the third Ace Attorney game, Trials and Tribulations.  I'm happy this talented guy at Capcom is given free reign to work on the projects he really wants to though.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

As if you needed another reason to want the DS, Nintendo announced that they’re aiming to have the 3D version of Ocarina of Time ready for launch.  While a brand new Zelda would be much more ideal, it’s been a few years since I made my way through this game that I think it would be worth doing over again in 3D.  The question is, is Ocarina of Time getting the 3D treatment for a specific reason? Are they going to be changing the game in any significant way to accommodate popping out in the third dimension?  Or was Ocarina just chosen for its name recognition?  I’m guessing the latter, but it will finally allow us to play this awesome game on the road.

Super Scribblenauts

Super Scribblenauts Lion Sleeps TonightOne year ago, Scribblenauts was the darling of E3 2009 and a wordsmith’s wet dream.  Too bad it played like crap.  I could barely play an hour of the game, which really ticked me off since it seemed like I would have had a lot of fun.  Well, 5th Cell didn’t waste any time pumping out a sequel with Super Scribblenauts.  Moving around has been relegated to the D-pad finally, a decision that should have been obvious the first time around.  You can also use adjectives to describe the noun you’re writing, one example was that of a “pregnant car” which would eventually give birth to a “baby car” and then itself become a “skinny car” (if only).

Honestly, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice: I think I’ll be skipping Super Scribblenauts.

Child of Eden

While I’m nowhere near the Rez geek that Steve is, I’m still very excited for its Kinect-enabled-but-not-required spiritual sequel, Child of Eden.  Ubisoft devoted a good six minutes at the start of its presentation to Child of Eden, which might have been more useful at putting the audience in a deep trance than getting them pumped for the rest of their games, but it was an effective show nonetheless. Game creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi demoed the game with the new Kinect device, and it seemed to work really well, if not a bit tiring.  Luckily, one can play this game with just a normal controller. Let’s hope Ubisoft releases a wireless vibrator this time around.

This is definitely the most ambitious Kinect title I've seen and will hopefully be more successful than the original Rez was.

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Lego Star Wars 3 Clone Wars Yoda LightsaberOh, you thought LucasArts and Traveller’s Tales had run out of ideas when it came to Star Wars and Lego?  How silly of us, there’s still cash to be milked, but it actually looks like Lego Star Wars III might be taking two steps forward, and of course, one step back.  The good news is that the game looks amazing, especially since you’re still looking at Lego characters.  They’re also working on improving the boss battle experience, moving it away from a health bar beat down to having a bit more strategy; kid friendly of course.

The bad news is that this game is still two player only.  This doesn’t really make any sense in this day and age, especially with a series like this where it’s useful to have a lot of characters available at one time.  Also, most fans of the series (Lego or Star Wars) are totally unfamiliar with the Clone Wars era that is being featured on the animated show.  Sure, this might be a useful way to play the highlights, but for most of us there’s nothing similar to the Hoth Battle to look forward to.

Dance Central

Dance Central JazzWhile the first presentation of Dance Central was a little sketchy with Microsoft and Harmonix dragging out the nerdish project lead to show off its latest controller free dance game, I was hooked immediately.  Fond days of me scrambling around on a DDR mat in front of 20 friends in my dorm were conjured up, with that nostalgic feeling of having a ton of fun surfacing first.  While I’m sure I would look absolutely, horrendously white-boy foolish playing this game, I can’t wait.  I’ve been playing Harmonix’s music games since Frequency, and I trust that if anyone can pull this off, it’s them.  Too bad I’m not willing to shell out the $200 it will require for Kinect and the game.

Dance Central will undoubtedly do very well, as relatively well as a Kinect game will perform, which I don't really think will be that well... so maybe it's a moot point.

Sorcery

Sorcery Magic Power SelectionSony introduced its first Move gameplay with Sorcery, a Harry Potter ripoff that generally had me impressed.  “One-to-one” motion control was heard all week, but the one time I was convinced that this might actually be true was when I was watching the Sorcery demo.  Now it wasn’t perfect, but the Move wand translated really well on screen to the video game wand.

Like I said, Sorcery is basically Harry Potter finally done in a way everyone imagined it would eventually be done, except it’s not Harry Potter.  Too bad for EA and the gang though, as Sony got the jump on them.

I fear the game might end up being some kind of repetitive, wand waggling spam fest, but I hope it turns out to be great, because I would love for a real Harry Potter game just like it someday.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

There were a ton of Wii games that blew me away during Nintendo’s presentation, but it was the new Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword that brought me quickly from high to low faster than I would have imagined. The high: the new Zelda was a beautiful looking water-colored adventure with a whip! The low: the Wii Motion Plus failed even Shigeru Miyamoto on-stage and the game looked as if it controlled like a 3D Scribblenauts.  Bill Trinen smartly channels Steve Jobs and blames interference, but the damage was done.  Secondhand embarrassment at its worst.

My fears were quickly alleviated though as reports came in that the game controls just as one expected from a Nintendo game: perfectly.  While I wasn’t a huge fan of Twilight Princess, I’m willing to give every Zelda a try and I absolutely can not wait for Skyward Sword.  Now all I need is a Wii Motion Plus add-on and a time machine to travel to 2011.

Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword

Comments

In a show with so many great games...

...I'm pretty surprised that the one I seem most interested in is Skyward Sword. I've never been a huge Zelda fan, and I honestly couldn't tell you WHY I'm anticipating the game more than any other, but I just feel like this one's going to be fantastic. Maybe it's the motion controls, which looked pretty great in...uh, motion. Outside of Miyamoto's little blunder, of course.

Way too many games!

There were so many games announced this week, it's hard to keep track of them all. That said, from your list above, I'm most interested in Super Scribblenauts because they fixed the controls and added more words. I think that's all they needed to do to make a better game. Not mentioned here is Kirby's Epic Yarn with its cutesy and quirky style, as well as...Fallout 3: New Vegas. Well, that's wasn't announced at E3, but it sure got some good coverage there.

I hope I'm still alive and kicking when this 3D hooplah fades away. I just don't get it.

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