10 Games That Impressed Me At E3

What's that, you say? E3 is already old news? You've found more topical things to discuss, like how the Miami Heat somehow beat the Celtics, yet it won't matter anyways, as Oklahoma City's gonna whoop that ass in the finals? I see. Well, humor me this one time, as I pull the ill-fated, IGN-esque pageview-mongering practice of a 'Top 10' list! There's only two key differences here, though: One, they're not in any particular order, and two? This list is actually decent, because we at Nitrobeard have taste. Hiyo! Just kidding, IGN, you're salt of the earth people. Great stuff. Please give us some ad revenue money.

I've included video coverage of each title, as I'd like for you all to get a visual (and emotional!) sense of why I made the choices that I did. I chose the videos carefully, as they're either the best demonstration of why I liked the product, or the actual video I saw that sold me on it. That, and my writing isn't the most concise on the internet, and it's easier to relay information visually, rather than craft a narrative around things that aren't out yet!

CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW: MIRROR OF FATE

One of my favorite handheld games ever has to be Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for the Nintendo DS, so when I saw actual gameplay footage of Castlevania LoSMoF (bless you!), I shed a single tear, remembering how rad it was to hack, slash, and explore my way around on the DS. With the addition of 3D functionality (primarily using the backdrops for clues, and map usage), and with a pretty stylish look to boot, my hype meter for Castlevania LoSMoF is pretty full. Let's hope it controls as good as it looks!

PIKMIN 3

Big ups to Nintendo for starting their press conference off in the best way possible, not only with a live Pikmin 3 stage demo, and the official announcement of its GLORIOUS RETURN on the new WiiU, but Shiggy himself was the man to spread the gospel. I can't think of a better style of game for the WiiU tablet, and the visual style really lends itself to the high-resolution, color-rich design. The game plays as good as it looks, too, if all the hands-on coverage I've read is any indication. There wasn't alot this year that sold me on the WiiU, but this is definitely an exception to that rule.

RAYMAN LEGENDS

I'm not going to mince words: I'm not the biggest Rayman fan on the planet. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time back in the day as I frolicked around with that blonde little...thing..on the original Playstation, and I remember the game pretty fondly, though I haven't played it in many a moon. The whole 'rabbids' thing has me scratching my head more than anything, so when I think Rayman, I immediately think 'pass'. Ubisoft made me a believer, though, as at their conference, not only did the rekindle a flame that may or may not have ever existed, but they 100% sold me on the WiiU as a social gaming device. We all know, this E3 was the year for Ubisoft, and I'm thinking Rayman Legends had a lot to do with that. Hell, they sold me on the device better than Nintendo has, and if I do eventually get a WiiU, Rayman Legends will be on the same ticket, no doubt. 

PROJECT 100 (or P-100)

Remember that one time, like two paragraphs ago, I said that Pikmin 3 was an exception to the rule of 'Nothing on the WiiU makes me want to buy it'? That same exception applies for this, but this is an entirely new level of hype. Hideki Kamiya's probably a name you're familiar with, even if you don't think you're familiar with it (director of Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, and Bayonetta), and he's a designer that has enough clout that the whispers of his name, and the words 'new IP' in the same sentence, causes heads to turn. Little did I know that yes, it would be a WiiU title, and yes, I would want it RIGHT NOW. Take a recipe of Pikmin, Viewtiful Joe, and creative ways to solve various puzzles, and you have Project-100. It's a game that's very hard to explain to someone who isn't versed in videogames, but the moment you pick it up, everything comes together as it should. After it's all said and done, I think...yeah, I'm pretty sure Project-100 is my Game of Show for E3 2012.

PLANETSIDE 2

I'll admit, I played a tiny bit of the first Planetside, but two things really kept me from getting the most out of it: First, my computer was terrible, and I couldn't afford one of those awesome VOODOO graphics cards that I always saw in Computer Gaming World. Second, Planetside never quite worked as intended: It was ahead of the curve in wanting to bring the twitch-based shooting world to the stat-tracking world, all existing in the persistent online world. The thing is, though, networking wasn't nearly what it is now, and the actual gameplay was rather dry, even for the time. That being said, Planetside 2 really blew me away at E3. I had no idea it'd be at the show, and I REALLY had no idea it would be as far along as it was. It's fast, the weapons look and sound great, even the use of mechs (which killed the balance of the original, as I understand it) seems to be pretty unique. The best part, though? It's free-to-play!

EPIC MICKEY 2: POWER OF ILLUSION

Let's get this first part out of the way: I LOVE YOU WARREN SPECTOR! YOU'RE A REAL SWELL GUY AND DESIGN THINGS BETTER THAN ALL THE OTHER DESIGNERS, AND YOU'D WIN THE HANDSOME CONTEST TOO. Alright, I'm glad we're in agreement. Epic Mickey 2 is coming out soon, and while I was a fan of the first, I didn't really see a need for a second. The console versions of Epic Mickey 2 look to be coming along really well though, ESPECIALLY if they keep the often-spoke-of-but-never-really-confirmed PC version. The 3DS version, before I saw it, I blew off as a gutted version of the 'proper' console releases, but I'm happy to say that I couldn't be more wrong. Epic Mickey 2: Power of Illusion is a spiritual successor to Castle of Illusion, a Mickey Mouse sidescroller game I grew up playing on the Sega Genesis, often considered a cult-classic of the era. So let me get this straight: It's a nostaliga trip of playing a game from my childhood, designed by THE CREATOR OF DEUS EX HIMSELF, OUR GLORIOUS DESIGN SAVIOR MR. WARREN SPECTOR?! I DO BELIEVE I HAVE THE VAPORS.

HALO 4

Halo's always been a weird series for me. The storyline is something I don't care about, the characters do absolutely nothing for me, and even the 'fiction' holds no meaning. I will say, though, that damn if Halo isn't a blast to play online. It's designed to a tee, fully embracing the fact that it's played with joysticks, rather than a keyboard and mouse. Hell, the PC versions of Halo 1 and 2 are actually inferior in that regard, as the controller just feels so right. With Halo 4, it seems the fine gents over at 343 Studios actually heard sighs from people like me: "Oh boy, another Master Chief game. I wonder who will stand in Master Chief's way before he hits the 'I Win' button, just like all the other times". Consider me shocked when I see the addition of new races of enemies, new styles of combat, and a slightly upset Cortana. The trailer and gameplay give me all-sorts of a Metroid Prime vibe, and that's very refreshing, something I never thought I'd say about Halo. The 343 guys might just end up selling me on a 360 again, something I swore I'd never do after my six previous systems bit the dust. 

NEED FOR SPEED: MOST WANTED

Wait, what?! This Criterion game feels like a proper revival of Burnout, causing crashes and doing crazy Takedowns? It's open-world, with multiple shortcuts and dangerous alleys that can be used to hightail it away from those pesky cops? The trailer un-ironically used Prodigy's 'Firestarter'? WHERE DO I SIGN THE DOTTED LINE, SALESMAN. I absolutely love Criterion, and their work on the Need For Speed series thus far has been remarkable. I know, I'll probably get some emails from people who LOVED Need For Speed Underground saying that Criterion is 'destroying the franchise' and 'turning it into Burnout with new cars', but to that, I say two words: Maggie Q. Now, which is the lesser of the evils?

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2

On the pre-E3 Beardcast, I made a prediction that Black Ops 2 would show us something that shook up the formula, and make the game look awesome as a result. Well, depending on your definition of 'awesome', I may or may not have hit the mark! In the above gameplay video, you'll see a specific mode you enter that's very reminescent of a Real Time Strategy mode, or something along the lines of Full Spectrum Warrior: You issue commands from overhead, and watch as your elite group of supersoldier duders carry them out, with various success rates. This totally reminds me of the original Rainbow Six, in which about 70% of a successful mission was the prep work ahead of time, and issuing proper commands, in proper sequence, in order for your squad to be victorious. Call of Duty is a series that BADLY needs variety, and I think that this is definitely a step in the right direction. Also, I can tell it's a good sign, because the RTS stuff seems to have pissed off the 'elite' Call of Duty players, and anything that causes their day to go sour is a-okay by me! SCREW YOU, YOU SNIPING 12 YEAR OLD, WHY DO YOU SAY RACIST THINGS OVER THE MIC LIKE THAT, DON'T YOU HAVE ANY MANNERS, I CAN'T BELI-

SIMCITY

This one's on the list because IT'S SIMCITY, MAN! EA has also used the Spore engine for building customization, and if there's one thing that Spore (and Darkspore) did incredibly well, it was their character design engine. For those that don't know about Simcity, let our friends over at Good Old Games cure what ails you, and catch up on Simcity 2000 as soon as humanly possible. It's an ultimate sensation, running a perfect city, seeing your creation thrive, grow, and become a living thing. Stopping wild tornadoes, raising and lowering taxes, and creating way too many sports stadiums are just a few of the perks in this franchise, and it's one that everyone should play. It's easy, it's fun, and it's incredibly rewarding. The only sour note for this title, though, is that Simcity will have always-on DRM. Now, as you know, I fully defend always-on DRM on Diablo 3, but it's because I'm a firm believer that Diablo 3's design is crucial on being constantly logged in to the internet. Simcity? Not so much. There's also a version of Simcity that's coming to Facebook soon, and by proxy, that has always-on DRM built in, as it requires being logged on the Facebook! So why, then, would I want that same 'feature' on my completely seperate game? An interesting conundrum, hopefully the quality of Simcity will answer the question as to if this DRM is worth putting up with or not.

---------------

I know what you're thinking: 'What?! No Watch_Dogs? No Dishonored? No Assassins Creed 3? No Metal Gear Rising? No Madden?' Haha, okay, nobody ever cares about Madden, but the point still stands: There were a TON of good looking games at E3, so why aren't some of the obvious choices on the list? While the games I just mentioned looked great (to be fair, even Madden has fake-Twitter, a win in my book), they're getting a TON of coverage from other sites, and there's probably a few sites that have already made the ad revenue agreements with the publishers for this fall. I wanted to showcase what truly stood out to me, and dagnabbit, that's what I did!

Sure, I'm excited for Metal Gear Rising and the others, but I knew I would be from the moment I saw them, they didn't need to sell me. The true fun of E3 is finding out that little nugget about something that sparks your interest, or discovering something unfamiliar that lights up to you. In this 'new E3' era of social networking, Binging, and appealing to press junkets that don't actually understand this hobby to begin with, there's always a few games that creep under the limelight, or true rarities that outright steal it.