Sega’s booth at E3 finally offered me a chance to catch up with Ash, the rabbit prince of hell who has his dignity compromised when an embarrassing photo surfaces online. Learning that one hundred monsters have seen the photo, Ash promptly sets out to accomplish the only reasonable course of action, killing everyone who saw said photo.
With brush strokes reminiscent of the works from inmates at a Guatemalan insane asylum, Arkedo has created the most vibrant digital offering shown on the floor of E3. Hell is a honeycomb maze where cartoonish gore constantly splashes the screen, shiny gems glisten in the muck, and one hundred beautifully drawn monsters wait for Ash to bring about their violent end by the most ridiculous means possible.
Following Nintendo’s E3 2012 Press Conference, there were plenty of voices of concern regarding the showing, particularly a lack of first-party titles associated with a yet to be cemented launch window. And while I was a bit surprised in this regard as well, given how easily a simple series of teaser trailers for Super Smash Bros., or further adventures in the Star Fox and/or Metroid franchises might have worked to lessen skepticism, I’ve become a bit Zen about the issue.
Nintendo’s Press Conference seemed to focus intently on a wider audience beyond those that had gathered in Los Angeles for the event, and if the Publisher’s showing in 2010 taught me anything, it’s that Nintendo has proven with past hardware releases that they can summon titles from the void to suddenly turn the frowns of the hardcore faithful upside down. They’ve done this on the Wii, the 3DS, and the 3DS eShop in recent memory, though there is something to be said for the lack of consistency that sometimes makes their surprise announcements as necessary as a drop of water is to a man lost in the desert.
What seemed most noteworthy this year, aside from the 3DS being pushed off the stage to make space for the Wii U, was Nintendo’s interest in multiple media streams. In many ways, Nintendo’s attempt to reach out through more channels could be blamed for lessening the showmanship people have come to expect from an E3 Press Conference that opens the show every year. On the other hand, if you’re familiar with Nintendo’s rather dinosaur-like approach to social media in the past, their growing interest in reaching out to more people through more channels is something that should be encouraged – we just need to remember that such pursuits involve continual experimentation and don’t always promise ideal results.
And now dear Sugarfiends, it is time to take a walk through the hands on time I managed to scavenge with Nintendo’s first and third party offerings. The list seems a bit light this year, but in earnest, I tried to bring back as much first hand information as possible.
For the second year in a row, Konami got a jump start on E3 with their pre-show, which offered up a much anticipated extended look at Platinum Games’ Metal Gear Rising: Revengence.
The broadcast also delivered a cinematic trailer for the sequel to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, giving players a glimpse of Dracula pummeling an entire army and the nod that this next release would center around exploring the character who has provided the foundation for the series as a rather one-sided villain to date.
On the floor of E3, I managed to nab some hands on time with a more portable release in the Lords of Shadow Franchise as well with Mirror of Fate for the 3DS, entering an expansive castle that brought back some fond memories of a series that has had a rather extended break from portable hardware.
After whipping through some skeleton enemies and a rather large adversary that required some skillful dodges on my part, I was offered the chance to sit down with Konami’s Dave Cox and MercurySteam’s Enric Alvarez to talk more about Mirror of Fate and the Lords of Shadow franchise. One of the most important notes from the outset of that talk was that Mirror of Fate is not an attempt to continue the 2D stream of portable Castlevania releases, but rather an effort to bring the Lords of Shadow experience to the 3DS.
Since it’s always best to hear straight from the developer behind a title, I’d like to offer up the opportunity for you to hear the entirety of that conversation for yourself, which you can both stream and/or download below.
Few years slip by in the gaming industry without a healthy dose of Ninja themed releases, offering familiar means to slice through enemies, run up walls, and embed a few shuriken in the skulls of adversaries. But for those gamers looking to romance the more stealthy elements of the ninja lifestyle, there’s rarely much to chew on aside from minor moments, most recently illustrated by Ninja Gaiden 3, which introduced stealth kills only to promptly drop the feature.
If this depresses you, one hot minute with Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja should put the jelly back in your donut with an experience built entirely on emphasizing the stealth skills of the silent ninja.
There’s some humour in the idea that I traveled to Los Angeles in order to play a game being made in Toronto. Of course there were plenty of other reasons to make the trip, but catching up with the latest creation from Drinkbox Studios was high on my radar and necessitated a priority stop at Sony’s booth during E3.
Drinkbox’s Graham Smith was on hand to aid me in a co-op session of Guacamelee!, which puts players behind the mask of a burly luchador, but also offers the chance to transform into a chicken with the press of a button. There’s something rather joyous about running across the screen with your beak in the air – in fact Graham might have had to wait a few moments while I abused the opportunity to keep doing that.
Eventually I regained some composure though, and the demo was able to move forward.
With the suitcases packed and tickets in hand, Team Sugar is heading off to Los Angeles this afternoon for a week of caffeine, insomnia, and videogames. But before I sign off, long-time Sugarfriend Shaun Hatton dropped by to talk shop about what we’re looking forward to during the show, also donuts.
Offerings from Konami, Sega, and Square-Enix are definitely topping our list along with Nintendo’s new console – though rest assured our ability to trail off in all directions is as strong as ever.
We can’t help it, we love those videogames.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee and a box of donuts and give us a listen!