Due to some amazing circumstances, I was able to attend my first E3 this year. It was something on my bucket list after I had seen the advertisements in the old EGM magazines I used to buy when I was younger. I have heard from others that have previously attended E3’s to expect a lot of lines, especially with this year being open to the public vice an industry/media only convention. Regardless, I was excited to attend. Seeing the grandeur of the booths was amazing, from the full “New Donk City” set piece of Super Mario Odyssey from Nintendo, to the recreation of Kamurocho from the Yakuza series, and the sheer size of booths from publishers like Microsoft and Sony. It reminded me of how amazing the Marvel booths used to be at San Diego Comic Con in the past.
I spent a majority of the event just soaking in the atmosphere and walking through all the booths, but I did want to try to demo a few games. After watching the various press conferences, I decided the games I wanted to try were Need for Speed Payback, Mario Odyssey, and Detroit: Become Human. I didn’t really want to wait in line for anything else. Unfortunately, I was not able to demo Detroit: Become Human due to PlayStation’s RSVP system filling up within seconds of opening up. Oh well!
Super Mario Odyssey
Wife and I waited for about 75-90 minutes to demo Super Mario Odyssey. We chose to stay in the shorter line inside the booth to play the handheld version since I thought it was nicer to be in the environment of the Nintendo booth vs being outside the booth in a crowded line. There were 2 levels to choose from with one being “New Donk City” and the other being the desert. We both opted for New Donk City. The demo only lasted 10 minutes before an auto “Thanks for Playing” prompt would pop up, but man that was a great 10 minutes of gameplay. I am generally not a fan of open world games but I thoroughly enjoyed the open world feel of Super Mario Odyssey. 10 minutes was by far not enough time to explore. The vast city scape felt huge and the visuals were beautiful. The motion controls of Mario’s new gimmick hat were clever and reminded me a little bit of the controls of Super Mario Galaxy. I just wanted to keep playing and explore every corner of the city. Yeah, Nintendo got me. Definitely going to purchase the game, that is if I can find a Nintendo Switch that isn’t overpriced =P Nintendo also gave us some pretty sweet Mario pins and visors for demo’ing the game. It was a nice add on for our long wait.
Need for Speed Payback
There was something about the Need for Speed Payback demo during the EA press conference that made me want to play this game. I’m not even a fan of the Fast and the Furious movie series, but I thought the demo looked pretty fun so I decided to try it out. By day 3, there was no line at the Xbox booth to try it out. I’m pretty horrible at driving games, so no surprise I crashed and failed a lot. My driving was definitely un-epic and looked horrible compared to the EA press conference demo. Regardless, I had a lot fun playing due to the pretty sweet soundtrack, voice acting, and clever cinematics. It definitely has a movie feel and the music gets you pumped and going when you’re speeding through the highway battling other vehicles that are trying to run you off the road. I had enough fun that I’m considering purchasing the game when it is released. I can feel that the full game can probably feel repetitive, but I think the story will be engaging enough to keep playing.
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash
What started out as laughing and joking at a hilariously perverted game ended up a fairly enjoyable demo. The tag line to the collectors edition says it all though, “No Shirt, No Shoes, ALL Service.” Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is essentially a 3rd person shooter with water guns with plenty of fan service additions for those who love seeing barely any clothes on young anime girls. I demo’d the game twice and opted for the “death match” type team battle mode instead of the story mode. There are some interesting mechanics such as the joint use of water as your ammo, dash, and jet pack. Basically instead of hitting reload for just ammo, there is a period where you have to refill your water gauge by holding the reload button. No fishing for ammo like on other shooters. Essentially you have infinite ammo as long as you take the time to hit the reload button (think old school arcade shooters like Time Crisis/House of the Dead/etc). There is also the use of cards using the d-pad to give yourself certain advantages mid-game, though I had no idea what was going on most of the time. Outside the normal gameplay, an obvious big selling point of the game is the fan service where you can down an adversary, hit a button to start a separate animation, then repeatedly shoot your opponent till her bikini falls off revealing body parts conveniently covered with light. Yep, that type of game. Wife and I were also given some free plushies for playing the demo.
Blasters of the Universe VR Bullet Hell
Since I have never tried VR before, I wanted to demo to at least one game before I left. Blasters of the Universe VR Bullet Hell is what I played and it was a fun first experience for VR. The basic concept is shoot and dodge. Not much to say about this one other than it’s a marathon of shooting whatever enemies come up at you. Your two options for defending yourself is to either physically dodge or use your left hand, which is your shield, to block any incoming bullets. The people working the booth noted that those that usually have sickness playing VR will be okay playing this game since movement is controlled by your body vs watching video movement from the googles. I had fun playing, but this was probably only a one time thing for me.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Live Gameplay
I wasn’t able to successfully RSVP for any of the Sony demos, but I did get a chance to watch the live gameplay demo of Marvel’s Spider-Man. Basically Sony have several theater rooms set up for different games and we got to watch one of the developers play through the demo. Spider-Man looked great. It had the feel of the Arkham series of Batman games while still maintaining the whit of Spidey. I did find it odd though that Spider-Man had the ability to set up gadgets to stealthily incapacitate enemies. It almost looked too much like the Arkham series, but I think it is something I can overlook. I’d have to see more of what is coming up from the game, but it will most likely be a game I want to play.
The pretty much sums up my experience from E3. Overall, if you’re a fan of video games I would recommend attending the event at least once but be prepared for lines. If you hate waiting in lines, then this place probably isn’t for you. I’m not sure if I will go again in the future, but if this is the only time I attend in my life I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it.