E3 Day 1 Impressions: STAR WARS 1313 and More

Our contributor Seth Robison is at E3 in Los Angeles, and here are his impressions from Tuesday, the expo's opening day.

Star Wars: 1313

LucasArts is playing their just announced Star Wars title close to the vest with a sadly hands-off presentation in a small theater off the E3 show floor, but still accomplished their goal of whetting the appetites of gamers looking for that next great single player experience from the franchise. 1313 will be the first M-rated Star Wars title and that cryptic number refers to the 1313th floor of the city planet of Coruscant, way down by the core, that has become overrun with crime and become the most dangerous place in the galaxy. LucasArts let it be known that they are bringing their top-level visual talent and technology to the game, with extensive motion-cap including recording faces in conversation to better translate non-verbal communication.

As for the game itself, the demo starts with a pair of bounty hunters, one of which is a stand-in for the unannounced player character escorting a mark down to 1313 when their descending ship is attacked by a crew of droid and human hijackers. The action switches to a third-person cover-based shooter as blasters flair at each other. As your ship begins to break up, your reckless partner launches an escape pod with a thermal detonator in it (and an enemy) at the hijacker's vessel. As both ships plummet and burn, you leap to the relative safety of the other craft, and do some ledge-platforming before the demo ends. Pressed for more details, the developers offer the facts that this game takes place between Episodes III and IV, and will not feature any Jedi or Force powers whatsoever.

Dead or Alive 5

Tecmo Koei/Team Ninja's energetic 3D fighting franchise is back with a new entry, revitalized with a sleek new look. The fighting remains very technical, with little of the over-the-top flash of its 2D counterparts. Put simply, mistakes will be punished. New features are interactive stages which can damage fighters (particularly funny is the circus stage where you can knock a foe into a clown's mouth and have him fired out of a cannon). Devs on hand were eager to add that there were "competition ready" stages that do not feature these elements.

Also new are special moves with unique animations and the ability to directionally blast your foe, but that can only be used if your health is low. The game's roster not only includes a bunch of returning DOA favorites (like Ryu, Zack, Tina, Ayane, Hitomi, Christine and more) plus Virtua Fighter's Akira. New fighters announced at E3 were a… fleshed out Sarah from Virtua Fighter and DOA's Bass. Only the verses mode was demoed, but there will be a story mode as well as online multiplayer. When pressed, and in the light of the practice of other fighter game devs, it was revealed that any DLC made for the game will be free.

Avengers: Battle for Earth

For Kinect and eventually Wii U, one of the first titles to take advantage of the raised profile of Earth's Mightiest Heroes is a game that is being called a "Motion Fighter." One-on-one fighting takes place from a third-person perspective and attacks are deployed by performing their animations physically. For example, a strike using Thor's hammer requires your to rear back with your arm and pitch the Uru metal skull-splitter with a forward motion.

The combat isn't the fas-paced action of traditional fighters but is almost rhythm based and your performance is is used to fill a super meter that will allow you to frantically whup on your opponent when it is deployed. The cel-shaded comic book-like visuals fit well and the character specific animations you have to perform mean in this game a Hulk smash isn't a joystick/button combo, its actually you doing the smashing.

Wreckateer

It would be easy to say that this castle-smashing siege weapon Kinect game is a cousin to the phenom Angry Birds, and that's partially right. Here though you not only control the direction, aim and power of your shot; you are also the cannonball.

Different kinds of shots can be controlled in different ways: winged shots can glided in with your arms, regular balls can be nudged inflight and exploding shells can be triggered remotely but making a "boom" gesture. The game scores you for competitive play as well.

Devil May Cry

The DMC reboot revealed the franchise's transition to a more typical third-person hack-and-slash affair. The new, goth-style Dante is a more foul-mouthed fellow who is still using a blade and dual guns, but is augmented with a kind of grappling hook with a alternate Devil/Angel mechanic that either pulls objects towards Dante, or Dante towards them. This is used in combat as well as for light puzzle-solving and platforming.

In the demo, first Dante fights through a possessed city tries to kill him by slamming buildings together and collapsing churches on top of him. In boss battle against a giant acid spitting slug with a face and claws, the old DMC challenge returns as a challenging and lengthy fight ensues. After exposing and beating on its glowing weak spot for a while, a string of grappling sequences and a chase is needed to bring it to a close. Fans of the franchise needn't worry — elements like the combo ranking system return as do the use of special items to revive in the middle of a fight.

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