E3 has been filled with some interesting news so far. I spent a good deal of my first day staring off into space with a "dear in the headlights" face. i devoted the day to one of the halls and tried to play as many games as I could, while also taking breaks to eat and sit down for a bit. Here are some highlights of games I played today. Day one was about taking it all in.
I played an overlooked Nintendo RPG on the DS called Glory of Heracles. The art style reminds me of the recent Fire Emblem remake. The characters are 3D but feel like sprites. The animation is also fairly fluid. You play as Heracles before he becomes Hercules. The demo started with Heracles waking up with no memory (boy that plot NEVER gets old!) and must find a ship at the end of town. Once Heracles boards the ship, the screw join him in a battle against some enemies. The player can use touch screen controls or traditional buttons, and the turn-based battle system is fairly straightforward and traditional.
Golden Sun had a teaser movie that allowed the player to control the main character briefly. The elemental spirits are the same as in past games and move around on the top screen while combat happens on the bottom screen. I look forward to find more information on the game and understand how the alchemy mechanics work in this game. Either way, this was one of the biggest surprises to come out of Nintendo's press conference for me.
New Super Mario Brothers Wii suffers one tiny flaw: whenever players get the mushroom power-up, the screen freezes for Mario to change size. This was fine in single player, but when there are four people changing size at different times, it becomes chaotic. I'd like Nintendo to find a way to fix that, but at the moment I'm not sure how. Otherwise it's wonderful to see a 2D retail game. Yoshi also makes a return and he plays exactly the way he did in Super Mario World. This includes multi-colored Yoshis with different abilities.
Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story plays the same as the first two for the most part, with two "phases" of the game. The first one controlling Mario and Luigi inside of Bowser, and controlling Bowser on the outside world. Some of the new skills the characters have are more stylus based this time around, but aren't too gimmicky. The humor is just as great in Bowser's Inside Story as the previous two.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade was another pleasant surprise for the afternoon. I wasn't crazy about the controls, but I was using the Wii-mote and nunchuck. The game has classic and gamecube controller support, so I'm not concerned.
I ended my day playing some PSN games and testing out the PSP Go! It's a nice little machine, and was surprised how much smaller it was than the PSP 3000. I like how the L and R buttons feel, but I'm not sure its worth $250. Perhaps when the price drops and such I'll eventually pick it up. I played Critter Crunch, a puzzle game on PSN which involves clearing rows of animals by feeding them lower food on the food chain before they reach you. I also played Trash Panic. Announced at TGS last year, Trash Panic is Tetris with trash but also relies on physics to compact the trash.
While it may be uncool to say this, I'm pleasantly surprised by the number of games I want to play on the Wii. This has been an unexpected turn of events.
I will be visiting TellTale, XSeed, and Square Enix tomorrow!