Noah Hwang ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The first thing any attendee would notice about E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), would be the amazing venue. The two massive halls – dubbed the West and South Halls – are adorned from the outside with banners displaying Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and the PS4. Inside the hall is something similar; gigantic ceiling banners featuring Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, and more. Stepping inside either of the two convention rooms is like stepping into a new world. Each convention room, essentially a giant warehouse with rented plots of space by companies, has distinctly different themes throughout the space. Every company sets up weeks ahead of time, bringing in carpet, fake walls, lights, computers, etc. – it’s basically a complete office building (where the business meetings happen during E3) and a demo room rolled into one. There were also some smaller booths, where up-and-coming hardware or software companies had chances to show off their wares. Here are some of the highlights from Wednesday:
Dying Light, the new ‘hey-lets-jump-on-the-zombie-bandwagon’ game from Techland, was surprisingly fresh. You start the short demo as a new member of your group, with the goal to secure a safe house and look for other survivors. According to your fellow survivor, it’s an “easy task, even for a new guy.” You start the game with a multitude of weapons; a bat with nails, an axe, a large knife, a gun, and your bare fists. Assumedly you have access to a bunch of weapons because it’s a demo. The game play itself is very rewarding; those used to the Left 4 Dead franchise will likely enjoy this game, as you take on mobs of zombies that fall relatively easily, with visceral blood and guts effects. The combat system feels fluid and uncomplicated, save shuffling through weapons during combat; simply attack and aim with the triggers, and kick with the left bumper. Scaling walls with the agility of a parkour expert is made easy with the right bumper. The graphics themselves are nothing groundbreaking, but certainly are engaging; blood splatters your screen, your weapon appears detailed and well thought out from a design standpoint, and the environment is both easily distinguished and highly interactive. Be sure to keep an eye out for this game in February 2015.
Square Enix’s new MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, plays out a lot like the typical MMO. During the hands-on demo, we were grouped into random parties of 8 with other E3 attendees. Each group member chose a class; the overall goal was to kill the Leviathan for a cool t-shirt. As we waited in line, Squenix representatives instructed the newcomers (which includes me) on how to play the game, strategies for beating the Leviathan, and encouraged us to discuss the team tactics with each other. The experience was actually very fun – no one seemed to have problems speaking their mind about the game, and we all worked together well in game. The gameplay was nothing incredibly new; with the targeting system of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, the hotbar of World of Warcraft, and the typical Japanese RPG graphics of Squenix, this game would probably be interesting if you already had an interest in MMO’s.
Super Smash Bros. 4
Nintendo’s newest addition to the long-standing Smash Bros. Series does not disappoint. We were grouped into free for all matches of 4 attendees, with one practice round and one competitive round. The first place winner won a Sm4sh t-shirt. The selection was limited, with maybe half of the character pool of the game available to play. Some of the new additions included Mega Man, Villager, and the Wii Fit trainer. I happened to play both games on Marth. The gameplay is extremely similar to SSBB or SSB. However, the Wii U does offer a nice facelift; the characters popped, the environments were nicely textured, and the game effects were top-notch. In particular, I felt that the dodging/rolling mechanic was noticeably improved; I could roll back and forth with ease and felt in control the entire time. The effects are very nice; noticeable and satisfying, without taking up too much screen space or becoming distracting. The controls themselves are nothing new, which is probably good for the gamer; the Wii U will fully support the old Gamecube controllers that we’ve all grown up on. In fact, the demo version of the game only had Gamecube controllers available to play with (unless one opted for the 3DS SSB booths.) If you own a Wii U (or will be purchasing one soon,) keep an eye out for Smash Bros. Coming out holiday 2014.