After a year away and leaving us all in anticipation about what we would see next on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, E3 returned with flying colors this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Like the eagle-eyed hawks that we are, we attended and checked out a number of impressive demos…but not before taking in Nintendo’s latest Digital Event, which opened the day at 9 AM PDT.
So…what did we see from the big N? We’ll start there.
Today’s Nintendo Direct did not disappoint. Not only was the rumored Mario Maker confirmed, but the company showcased a brief glimpse at the forthcoming Legend of Zelda game for 2015. Although the footage came to a close all too soon, it nevertheless left us anticipating one of next year’s great titles.
In addition, a new Kirby game was confirmed, featuring the same sort of draw tactics that players have come to expect from his previous DS endeavors, as well as a quirky new shooter called Splatoon. Oh, and there’s a new Starfox title on the way. Yes, officially.
From there, when the show floor opened and the line out the door managed to clear up within a matter of minutes, I made my way over to Warner Brothers. There, not only did I get to invest a little time in Dying Light, Gauntlet and Lego Batman 3, but also four impressive demos that could easily be show stealers – Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Shadow of Mordor and Mortal Kombat X.
For fans of Mortal Kombat, X is a prominent return. The fighting is as realistic as ever before, and the fatalities are way over the top. For good measure, the team has also introduced four new characters into the fray, including Cassie Cage, the off-spring of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. Yeah, wrap your head around that one.
With Arkham Knight, WB introduced a new Battle Mode where you could coast around in the Batmobile in “tank mode,” destroying everything in your path. Rocksteady delivered an energetic, exciting demo, one that set the pace for the day at E3 to come.
As for the other two, Shadow of Mordor and The Witcher III appear to be breathtaking action/adventure games, and a lot of fun to boot. We’ll detail them, and the others, in full previews in the weeks ahead.
Although Activision only had three games to choose from – Destiny, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Skylanders: Trap Team – each one impressed in their own special way.
Destiny was hands-on, and while we’re saving the full breakdown for our hands-on preview next week, it clearly impressed with its precise controls and non-stop action. Plus, the fact players were online with us (via the released alpha for PS4 and PC), it was like having a party in play.
Next up, two new levels from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare were shown, including a stunning sequence on the Golden Gate Bridge and a fun infiltration in a hover tank. You’ve never seen a Call of Duty like this…and you’ll thoroughly enjoy this one.
Finally, Skylanders: Trap Team adds a creative new element with talking trap boxes, which interact with villains that you capture in the game – and then convert into playable characters. It’s a great idea, even if that means needing to buy an all-new portal. For some, it’ll be worth it.
Finally, Deep Silver
Last but not least, my day concluded with two demos from Deep Silver – Dead Island 2 and Homefront: The Revolution.
Dead Island 2 has a different, more comedic tone than the previous game, but also one that’s far more chaotic. You play one of four classes and let loose on the streets of the West Coast, battling enemies and building new weapons, including a hedge trimmer paired with a ceiling fan. For good measure, players can pop in at any time, and new weapons are just a hop, skip and jump away.
Homefront: The Revolution has a far more serious tone, but one on par with THQ’s original game. Crytek went out of its way to create a horrifying glimpse of the future, where the North Koreans run wild over America. In the streets of Philadelphia, it’s up to you to work with your team with makeshift weapons to get your country back. We only saw a brief glimpse of what to expect here, but it’s very promising.
So far, E3 has really impressed me with the number of demos today – and we’re just getting started. Be sure to check back for a day two wrap-up tomorrow night!