by Matthew Thompson
(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)
As I mentioned a couple of blogs back, I sort of ran out of gas doing all these E3 blogs. So for better or worse, I decided to throw the final handful into one blog here. But that is not to say these are necessarily lesser titles than the ones I’ve talked about so far. When I made up a top ten post-E3 for some forums, a few of these made the cut. Anyway, here are the last five games that really caught my eye at E3 2014.
No Man’s Sky: I have some reservations here, but they seem to be creating a world that begs to be explored regardless of how it is generated. The varied looks of different planets and wildlife should make every new discovery fascinating and the ability to transition so seamlessly from on the ground into outer space looks to really help with the immersion of sinking yourself into No Man’s Sky‘s infinite universe. And the survival aspects and dangerous situations mean there will be plenty of tense moments to go with the more subdued ones.
Ori and the Blind Forest: Ori‘s first trailer may give off the vibe of another artsy indie game. I must say along with an artstyle that reminded me of Dust: An Elysian Tail, my biggest takeaway from the original trailer was the touching story that it depicted. But there is some very in-depth gameplay at the core Ori and the Blind Forest to back up the pretty visuals and impactful narrative. It is built in the structure of Super Metroid, a style of gameplay that is very familiar to gamers these days. I love how they are going for much more challenging platforming gameplay though which is not exactly a hallmark of the Metroidvania subgenre. Four years in the making, Ori and the Blind Forest looks lovely on all fronts and was one of the absolute highlights of E3 for me.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the reboot, as a long time Tomb Raider fan I am still excited to see where they go with this franchise next. I doubt we will see it return to its roots like I covet, but I still thought there were some things I liked featured in the announcement trailer. The return of the bow is certainly welcome. That was one of the better parts of TR‘s recent re-imagining. I loved seeing the bear. I’d like to see combat encounters against animals take on a larger presence in this sequel since the wolf encounters early on were more interesting than the standard human ones later. And hey I think saw her in a tomb there at the end! Hopefully she solves some puzzles there instead of just braining guys with arrows. I must say though… Rise of the Tomb Raider is a terrible name. Hoping for the best here if not quite expecting it.
Splatoon: If you would have told me that one of the talks of E3 would have been a multiplayer shooter developed by Nintendo, I would have thought you were joking. But that is exactly what Splatoon turned out to be. Even though it is embracing a genre that the Big N doesn’t delve into much, it still feels like a game they would make with its non-violent gameplay and colorful graphics. And hey it looks like a lot of fun. I also love that we saw some new IPs from Nintendo this E3. This is the only one that really appealed to me, but I still like that they are branching out some from the usual staples.
Yoshi’s Wooly World: I was a bit disappointed by Kirby’s Epic Yarn a few years back. It certainly had a brilliant artstyle, but it was a little too far on the easy side even by Kirby standards. So I wasn’t sure what to think of Yarn Yoshi when it was first announced. The re-reveal of it, now titled Yoshi’s Wooly World, did a lot to sell me on the project. With Kirby it was pretty clear that it started as a new IP and was sort of fitted into being a Kirby game. That works well enough for that series which is known for featuring a bunch of different gameplay styles. But I was happy to see this new Yoshi game retain the core gameplay that I love so much about it. And of course the graphics are brilliant. It is certainly reminiscent of LittleBigPlanet, but I think I prefer the more cohesive overall feel to Yoshi‘s crocheted world.
And that will do it for my E3 coverage for this year. E3 2014 was excellent and paints a bright future for the latest generation of consoles. Soon I will be back to reviews and my Best of 7th Gen series, so be on the lookout for plenty more gaming coverage from me here. Thanks for those that stuck with me through all of these E3 articles!