Thursday, June 13, 2013

E3 2013 Day 2 Impressions (Read This on your Wii U GamePad for Exclusive Content!*)

 *Not really

This one’s gonna be short as I think I popped something writing about all that colorful Nintendo jazz. This time, I’m just going to mention a couple of cool games I’ve seen at this year’s show.

I want start with a very big name game that everyone knows about: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. As a big Metal Gear fan, I was a bit annoyed when MGSV was first announced. After all, MSG4 was supposed to be the capstone on the entire series and it did conclude the story of Big Boss and Solid Snake with a nice bow on top. After seeing the first footage of MGSV in action though and learning that it was another Big Boss prequel story, as well as how the game was going to be an open world stealth adventure, I began to take more of a shine to the game.

Then came Microsoft’s press conference on Monday, where I was pleasantly surprised to see the Xbox creator open with a stunning new trailer for MGSV, which is a series traditionally associated with Sony (don’t worry, the game is still coming to PS3 and PS4 as well). I think the most striking thing about this footage is the vast landscape that Snake rides his horse down into at the beginning of the trailer. It simply looks incredible--as in I don’t believe how far technology has come in just fifteen short years, since 1998 when the original Metal Gear Solid was released on the PlayStation.

An extended version of this trailer was released on Tuesday, but with all the Nintendo news I wanted to cover, I didn’t have time to fit it in. I’m going to warn you right now: pay attention to the bright red “Mature Audiences Only” warning at the beginning of the video. There is an extremely graphic and disturbing scene early in the trailer and I almost couldn’t even watch it. If you’re sensitive or squeamish or one of those people (like myself) who gets all “HAAauhhahaaggghh….” inside at the sight of surgery, take note. You can watch the extended trailer here.

I just had to share this trailer because, quite frankly, it blew me away. While it still has the colorful cast of characters, this doesn’t look the Metal Gear I remember. While I hate using the word to describe works of art that push some kind of boundary, this is a much “darker” Metal Gear and I’m starting to understand what Hideo Kojima means when he talks about this game being something different and new for the series. While the Metal Gear games have always had mature, affecting themes, this new chapter looks to be in a whole other league entirely. I really need to play Peace Walker so I can catch up on Big Boss’s story and have any hope of understanding what’s going on in this game. Actually, I just need to pick at that Legacy Collection and play the whole series for a refresher first.

Oh yeah, and Kojima said there will be less cutscenes in this one. Also, apparently video games are now becoming TV shows instead of Hollywood movies. (MGSV still looks great though.)

Next up is something completely different. It’s Twisted Pixel’s newest game, LocoCycle. From what I gather, the game is some kind of crazy endless runner-style motorcycle combat game. You play as I.R.I.S., a sentient motorcycle created as some kind weapon on the run from government forces or something. You travel at high speeds and beat up all sorts of dudes with motorcycle karate, all while your mechanic, Pablo, is dragged along behind you, screaming for his life. It’s original, it’s quirky and it’s hilarious. Unfortunately, it’s an Xbox 360 and Xbox One exclusive, so I’ll probably never get to play it.

One of the most intriguing titles shown at Sony’s press conference this year was a little game called Rain. We only saw a fleeting glimpse at the conference before Sony moved on, but I was immediately grabbed by what I saw. I’d never heard of this game, which was apparently revealed last year.

Beautiful, atmospheric, touching…this is my kind of game. I encourage you to check out the trailers for the game. This industry needs more projects like this that shatter our conventional ideas of what a video game can do and offer this kind of interactive art that is really unlike any of form of media. 

Of course the wonderful thing about this medium is that you can have games like Rain and then also have games like say, The Wonderful 101, that are quirky, fun, and stylish, and also big budget games like Watch Dogs with ambitious new ideas.

I said this was going to be short and I wasn’t kidding. There are still SO many games to check out and I hope to do a longer write-up on everything that has stood out to me tomorrow, the sadly last day of E3.

But right now, it’s 5AM and I need to go to bed.

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