Hello and welcome to part 2 of my E3 extravaganza! I’m only a month late, which isn’t too bad, right? I apologize for the lateness of this continuation – I was very busy after coming back from E3 since I ended up moving into a new place recently so I just didn’t have the time and energy to sit down and finish my write-up until now. But here we are!
In this blog post I’m going to discuss all the games that I got to play at E3. I know I said I would also discuss what I was looking forward to after the E3 conferences as well, but the write-ups for all of the games I played went on for a little longer than I initially expected so I’m only going to be talking about the demos I played for now. I may do a part 3 about the E3 conferences, but I have other more timely topics I’d like to talk about first so we’ll see if I get to it.
So here we go! Let’s talk about some games!
The first game I played at E3 was Trials Rising. It’s the next game in the Trials series by Ubisoft & RedLynx. If you’re not familiar with the Trials series, it’s a linear, physics-based bike racing game when you only have the gas and brake, and the skill and challenge come from having to manuever your bike over difficult jumps and terrain. The easy courses are super easy while the challenging courses can become an exercise in frustration and destroy your fingers if you’re not careful.
Trials Rising was very similar to previous Trials games from the tracks I played. It seemed like there was slightly more customization options for what your rider and bike looked like (but I didn’t really go into a lot of that in the previous games or in the demo of Rising). And as far as I could tell, they got rid of the “stunt” courses that first showed up in the last Trials game, Trials Fusion, which the community was very hot and cold about since it took away from the regular challenge courses in favor of Tony Hawk-like tricks and point scoring.
Overall, it felt like another Trials game. The UI was more polished and seemed pretty easy to get around and the bikes and courses I got to play with felt in-line with the series. Not much to report other than if you’re a fan of the games, Trials Rising should be another decent entry into the franchise. But don’t expect too much innovation or new things from the game – at least from the impressions of the demo.
Trials Rising is scheduled for release in February 2019 across most platforms.
Mega Man 11
So I’ve been a long fan of the Mega Man series and this was probably the game I was most excited about playing that I actually got to play (I was really excited about Kingdom Hearts 3, but there was no way I was going to be able to play it at this E3 based on the lines). Graphics-wise it feels close to how Mega Man 8 looked, but with less of that quasi-3D feeling you got while playing 8. It felt good to play and while I still prefer the old-school 8-bit sprite work, 11 looks and plays much better than 7 and 8 did, in my opinion.
The level I got to play was Block Man’s – the demo gave you 5 lives and you played until you either beat the boss, lost all your lives, or the 15 minute timer ran out. I’d like to report back that the level was, in fact, hard and there were some good old fashioned platforming challenges in it. I managed to get to Block Man on my last life but wasn’t able to defeat him. As far as I could tell, the majority of people were losing all their lives before they got to Block Man and only a very few were able to defeat him. Since the controls felt good and I only felt like I had one cheap death out of my five lives, it bodes well for the challenge of the game if the rest of the levels end up in the same difficulty range.
After playing Mega Man 11, I’m even more excited for its release this fall. The demo gave me exactly what I would want in a new, modernized Mega Man game and as long as the other levels are as fun, creative, and challenging as Block Man’s it should be a great time for any fan of 2D platformers.
Mega Man 11 is scheduled for release on October 2, 2018 across most platforms.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Smash Bros has been the go-to game for me and my friends to play as multiplayer, so it should be no surprise to anyone that the new Smash Bros was one of the games I sampled at E3. It’s every character and many stages from all the previous games, plus a few new ones sprinkled in for good measure. From the outside it seems like it’s going to be the definitive Smash game, so I was eager to get my hands on it to play and see how it felt.
I got to play 4 1v1 games (with items) using the Switch pro controller. It felt alright, but I prefer the Gamecube controller like everyone else – and Nintendo says Smash Ultimate will support the Gamecube controller via the same Gamecube Adapter that the Wii U used. I chose to play as Snake, Ridley, Ganondorf, and Mewtwo. Snake felt a lot like his Brawl version and it was good to have him back in the game, but it had been so long since I used his unique playstyle that I was flailing about getting used to the controller and lost that match. Ridley is new for Ultimate and seems to be crazy overpowered – at least from the demo version. I crushed my opponent very easy – Ridley is a large character with a lot of strength, much like Ganondorf or Bowser, but he isn’t as slow as either of them and has decent mobility. I can’t imagine he’ll get to the final version intact like he was at E3. Ganondorf now uses his sword in a few of his regular attacks, which is nice, but he still retains all his powerful special moves. And Mewtwo is one of my personal favorite picks and he felt slightly stronger than his Smash 4 counterpart, but still a character that requires some skill to pull off a win.
I was always going to get Smash for Switch – it’s my favorite pasttime with my friends and I love getting my friends together just to chill and play Smash. After playing Ultimate, I can say it’s going to blow every other Smash out of the water if they do it right – and currently all signs point to a success.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is scheduled for release on December 7, 2018 on Nintendo Switch.
Dragon Quest XI
I’m not a huge fan of the DQ games – the first one I played was VIII and I got V for the DS when it was rereleased for it. They’re fun turn-based JRPGs but they don’t really bring much else to the table as they’re usually exactly what it says on the tin. They don’t have any creative battle systems or unique combat or anything like that – just straight up old-school JRPGs. Since most modern RPGs tend to add flashy new systems to entice players, I was interested to see if DQXI still had the same standard approach or if they had changed anything.
For the demo we were given the option of playing early in the game where the protagonist was just starting out, or a bit later in the game where you had a full party and were on a quest to defeat a boss monster. I chose the latter (since the former seemed to focus on town exploration over combat) and got right into it. DQXI doesn’t have random battles, which is nice – all the enemies wander around on the map. While on your horse you can run over the enemies to avoid battles which is also neat. The combat itself didn’t have anything super flashy – it was still the same basic JRPG flavor, nothing new as far as I could tell. The best part about the game was the graphics – the cel-shaded anime vibe all the characters had looked very good and really popped off the screen as I was playing.
Overall, though, DQXI didn’t really impress me too much. Fans of the series will probably enjoy it as from the 15 minutes I played, it seemed to follow the typical DQ formula. But nothing I played in the game itself really wowed me – it’s a very polished but very standard RPG.
Dragon Quest XI is out already in Japan and will be released worldwide on September 4, 2018 on PS4 and PC.
Mario Tennis Aces
This review is going to be short because I didn’t really have a good experience playing Mario Tennis Aces. We had to play doubles multiplayer and the first person I was paired with as my partner didn’t actually want to play and left after one game (he was only there to take pictures? Question Mark?) and the E3-goer that replaced him was absolutely atrocious at the game, so I ended up playing 4 miserable matches where I scored maybe once. I didn’t get a great impression of the game, and since the game is already out I’ll defer to reviews and gameplay impressions from people who actually bought the game. I did enjoy playing as Bowser Jr., though.
Mario Tennis Aces is out now on Nintendo Switch.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
My relationship to the Monster Hunter franchise has been up and down. I got Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate for the Wii U but only played it for a few hours before giving up. The systems were too in-depth and not a lot of instruction was given on learning how to use the weapons and hunt monsters. On friends’ urging I ended up picking up Monster Hunter World earlier this year and enjoyed it much more – for whatever reason it was just more intuitive and interesting and way more fun to take down monsters with friends than solo.
I decided to try this version because it’s coming to Switch and having a Monster Hunter I could play handheld would be nice. Unfortunately, my experience with Generations Ultimate was less than stellar. The control scheme on the Switch didn’t really fit and without the option to alter it, I found myself screwing up a lot due to incorrect button presses. Also, unlike World, the Generations Ultimate maps are split into different sections that require loading screens, so in the process of fighting one monster I would sometimes accidentally end up in a different area while I was in the middle of wailing on my target because the monster had fallen near the ambiguous next screen loading area. I also really didn’t like the weapon I chose while playing which is everything in a Monster Hunter game, and since I didn’t have the option of switching in the demo I was stuck with a weapon that didn’t agree with me for the whole time.
My experience with Generations Ultimate demo left me thinking “Man, I wish I was playing World right now instead” which made me think that I’ll probably end up passing on the final game. Long-time fans of the Monster Hunter series will probably enjoy this game a lot, but I think new fans brought in by World may disagree with a lot of the design flaws and will probably not have nearly as great an experience.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is out now in Japan and is scheduled for worldwide release August 28, 2018 on Nintendo Switch.
I only ended up playing five minutes worth of Code Vein at E3 – it was a game that had an open station right as the venue was closing and I figured why not since I was kind of excited about the game. And as far as I can tell it’s exactly what it’s been advertised as – an anime Dark Souls. There is a definite protagonist – no customizable hero – but the battle system and exploration was exactly like a Souls game. The big difference in gameplay was that you have an AI partner that walks around with you and helps you out in fights. I couldn’t really get a feel for the impact they had on the overall Souls-like gameplay because I only had a few minutes with the game, but it was at least a unique twist on the genre.
And when I say anime Dark Souls, I really mean it. I goofed around for a few minutes and then found a way to teleport to the boss in the demo – and the boss was a giant, half-naked demon chick called the Invading Executioner. She has a gigantic staff and slams it into the ground and twirls around it like a stripper. It was…interesting, to say the least, but it felt largely just like a Souls boss with having to judge timing and not being too aggressive for fear of getting punishing hard. Just combine that with…the boss being a pole dancer. The game’s got my attention, at least.
Code Vein is scheduled to be released in 2019 for PC, PS4, and XBox One.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
This game was my very first venture into virtual reality. It’s for the PSVR so I used their headset and Move controllers to play the game. It’s a very cute little platformer where you use the controls to lead Astro Bot around and navigate him through the world. The cool part comes from the fact that certain paths can be hidden based on where you’re looking, so you can unveil secrets simply by looking in the right direction. It was cute and a short 15 minute demo, not enough to sell me on VR entirely but I’m certainly more interested than before because of this game.
I got to play one level and a boss level. The boss was fun – it used a motion control gimmick where you had to use the Move controllers to throw a line and pull out the boss’s teeth one by one. It was kind of cool combining platforming with Astro Bot (and making him dodge the boss’s attacks) while also having motion interaction from your point of view. The only issue I had with the game was a few bouts of motion sickness. During the regular level, there were a few points where the fixed camera would move forward through the level to catch up with Astro Bot, and that sense of motion while being seated and not moving through off my senses and I started feeling queasy. It would go away as soon as the camera went back under my control, but it’s a very real problem that I’m not sure I could handle for longer periods of time.
So while this game was fun and cute, it was not enough to sell me on the VR price tag. For people who already have a PSVR though, it’s definitely fun and polished and worth a look-see if you’re into platformers and don’t get motion sick easily.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission currently has no release date, but will be coming out for the PSVR.
I also got a chance to play Megalith, another game for the PSVR. It was decidedly less interesting than Astro Bot on many levels. Megalith is a multiplayer game where two teams go against each other and try to destroy your enemy’s base. Each player is piloting a mech-ish giant god that has a multitude of abilities and each team has its own tribe of small AI people who follow you and attack the enemy as well. The mech-god has a lot of attacks through various buttons and controls, including some weird motion controls that are not very intuitive.
I spent most of the match I played using the wrong attack and accidentally using my ultimate attack on nothing. I think I killed the opposing enemy once, but my partner was destroying everything and apparently we won the match at the end. It was all very confusing and it didn’t help that I was unfamiliar with the location of Move controller buttons. While Astro Bot was simple (move around, jump, and attack) in Megalith there were many different buttons, motions, and button-motion combinations that you had to remember and since I couldn’t see the controls while immersed in VR the entire game was clunky and not very fun. Even the graphics were rudimentary and it felt like I had entered an old-school PS1 VR world.
Megalith definitely didn’t sell me on VR. It could be fun once you’re more familiar with the controls and controller and VR in general, but I don’t think the game itself is deep or interesting enough for that kind of commitment anyway.
Megalith is scheduled for release in 2018 on PSVR.
So those were all the games I had the chance to play at E3. I apologize for my lateness with this post again – it should have been weeks ago to stay relevant with E3 and I feel a little bad about that. Thankfully, I should be getting back to regular updates now, so until next time!