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E3 games you may have missed

posted on July 25th, 2008 by john
Now Playing: Yakuza 3

We’ve all been beaten over the head with Gears of War 2, Resident Evil 5, Resistance 2, and the like for days now, but here are a few gems waiting just below the surface that really got my attention this past E3.

Dead Space
At first, Dead Space may look like a paint by numbers imitation of games like System Shock 2, but after taking a closer look, I’m really enjoying the direction this game is taking. Dead Space adopts a HUDless over the shoulder camera, and outfits its protagonist, the lone survivor on a derelict spacecraft now inhabited by malevolent creatures, with weapons improvised from the ship’s mining equipment.

The trailer brings to mind films like Event Horizon, which, while not being a particularly good example of film (OK, it sucked), certainly had its share of intense and disturbing imagery. The game will also feature some low gravity situations. Even though the player will remain attached to the hull via magnetic boots, the possibilities for interesting puzzles and innovative enemy dispatching are intriguing. We should hear more and more about Dead Space as the October release date draws near.

Project Origin
From the minds behind some games I’ve loved (Shogo) and a few I was completely ambivalent about (Fear) comes Project Origin. Technically, it’s a sequel to the critical hit, FEAR, which did absolutely nothing for me. Sure, I was impressed by the AI and overall sharpness of the engine, but I was turned off by the serious lack of variety. Once I went through my 8th warehouse to fight the same damn marines, I was pretty much done.

Origin, despite its awful name, looks to address most of the issues I had with FEAR and really come out swinging. The demo level takes place in a bombed out city, not your average “this place has been deserted for years” sort of bombed out city, but one that looks as if its decimation was a fairly recent development; it’s not dead, it’s dying. Fires are still raging, the power is flickering on and off, and the smoke has in no way cleared. Traversing the city seemed a bit linear, and there are plenty of identical marines to fight once again, but then they turn things around a little bit and let you hop into a nice, big, mech. The mech combat looked like a lot of fun, allowing you to shower enemy combatants with minigun fire and spiraling anime-style missiles and it looks like it really breaks up the street segments nicely.

Considering the success of FEAR, I’m shocked that more people aren’t talking about this one. I for one will be checking it out when it’s released this Fall.

Bayonetta
Bayonetta is what would have happened if Devil May Cry were developed by Dreamcast-era Sega. An intensely stylized protagonist whose hair takes on deadly shapes to finish off her foes, who has double barreled shotguns built into her boots (the heels are the barrels… yeah), and who enters combat to the sounds of quirky, upbeat J-Pop… This is a game that would have been at home on Sega’s final console. The Devil May Cry comparisons might be spot on, since DMC’s creator, Hideki Kamiya, will be heading up the project. Bayonetta is slated for a 2009 release.

8 Comments

  1. Christian said on July 25, 2008:

    A good list! Being a DMC fan, I’ve been enjoying the info on Bayonetta since the first teaser trailer. Kamiya hasn’t really shaken up the subgenre he helped start since DMC 1, so I cannot wait to see what he has in mind for this new generation.

  2. pat said on July 25, 2008:

    kamiya’s lack of shaking hasnt humbled him at all. in an interview in edge i can’t find online right now, he claims he is the only one who can do for this generation of action games what DMC did for that generation and that the action game world has been stagnant without him. or something like that.

    madworld (also by platinum) may not have been overlooked enough to qualify for this post, but that is a game i am really excited about.

  3. bruce said on July 25, 2008:

    It’s not obscure or overlooked, but I was thankful that Prince of Persia is returning to a more well lit look for its next iteration. Sands of Time was one of the games I enjoyed most last generation, but I didn’t even come near to touching Warrior Within when they decided he needed more…..dark…whatever. Oh, and in the third one he’s been infected by some darkness (Phazon? No that’s not it) that turns him into a twisted anti-hero so….yaaaaaawn, oh fuck has that whole “infected/mutated hero” thing ever been done to death.

  4. Christian said on July 25, 2008:

    Warrior Within wasn’t as edgy as you might think, though that isn’t to say there isn’t some flatout stupid shit in it. Its still the same PoP flavor with too much combat. I’d say it was worth playing, though I played for free.

  5. bruce said on July 26, 2008:

    Eh, I thought Sands of Time already had too much combat. It was “the part I tolerated so I could get back to the fun part”. I put up with the combat so I could get at more of the delicious delicious environmental puzzles. Not that the combat was particularly bad, just not really my cup of tea.

  6. Christian said on July 26, 2008:

    well Warrior Within makes the combat deeper, but it isn’t deep enough to justify the additional fights.

    I thought the combat in SoT was dammed good for an adventure oriented game. It was just complex enough, and was even more fun when you tried to exploit enemy weaknesses for quick kills. In fact, combat is the primary reason I prefer sands to its sequels.

  7. jay said on July 27, 2008:

    Very few games go for all out platforming, possibly because it’s very difficult to make a 15 hour platformer with no padding and likely because publishers think it’s hard to market a game without building vehicles, sword fighting enemies, shooting stuff with crazy weapons, racing, etc. PoP would benefit from being pure platformer.

  8. Christian said on July 27, 2008:

    I don’t really think so Jay. The battles in PoP did a good job of showing the struggle the Prince had against the sand demons. They set a context for the entire ordeal, and when you used all the moves he was a high flying monster of a warrior. I love the platforming, but you’re right, it needs to be perfect, and the content of PoP’s platforming wasn’t perfect enough. If you took out all the combat, it’d end up replacing it with too many platforming areas involving spinning blades and spikes, which I thought there were too many of already.

    We can all disagree, but I’m positive that Sand’s had combat for a reason other than to fill a quota, and taking it out would not have made it the same game I love.

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