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BEST OF E3 2013: Staff Picks

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E3 is over, over a week has passed since all the conferences and presentations had been done and now we have had our fair share of good and bad to look back on. There were some genuine surprises, some obvious announcements and some hilarious mishaps on-stage this year, but all in all it was fun.

And without further ado, here’s Boss Dungeon’s Best of E3 Staff Picks.

Best of E3 2013 - TobiichiI’m a stupid Final Fantasy nut. I want to say this because I bought Final Fantasy XIII on launch, Limited Edition, hated it, condemned the series, and then bought Final Fantasy XIV, the next part of the story tells itself. However, here I am writing about how amazing Final Fantasy XV looks.

I called that Versus XIII would be rebranded as Final Fantasy XV way back in 2010, I thought that with Square Enix pushing out Final Fantasy XIV not even a year after Final Fantasy XIII that they would follow suit with XV. I was wrong on the reasoning, but I wasn’t wrong on the result.

Final Fantasy XV looks really cool, and the reason I do feel safe rooting for it to be good is because of one major things. We’ve already seen so much actual gameplay of the game, Final Fantasy has a tendency to show small snippets of gameplay and focus on cutscenes for the trailers, but for Final Fantasy XV we got a trailer with more gameplay than cutscenes and then a trailer devoted ONLY to gameplay. Brilliant.

While I’m slightly worried about the first real-time combat main-line Final Fantasy game (XII was not real-time, stop pretending it was), I do think Nomura and his team can pull it off. Kingdom Hearts have been getting better and better on a gameplay level each new game to me, so it’s clear they’ve got the real-time Action RPG formula down well.

While the story is still mostly under wraps, I do have a genuine interest in the characters presented so far in the game, I like that while they look very Final Fantasy, they still hold somewhat of a unique look to themselves to stand out from previous entries in the series… Apart from that one guy who looks like Cloud Strife.

My favourite things we’ve seen so far in the trailer though is the Warp mechanic, I think it looks CRAZY fun, it’s like I’m Kuroko Shirai teleporting here and there. And the fact that we already know the game will have a full open world and airships is neat too. Final Fantasy XV, bring it on!

Runner Ups: Metal Gear Solid V, Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XIV.

Best of E3 2013 - NickI want to pretend this was difficult, but it wasn’t.

Just imagine for a second that Nintendo’s show wasn’t a prerecorded Direct, but live. And then Iwata comes up on stage in the last five minutes, and shows this. Yeah, that would have been the biggest cheer of E3.

There’s so much to talk about in that trailer. The hint of the Ocarina of Time Gerudo Valley level. The subspace emissary-style section right at the end of the 3DS part that looks like a DKC level. Link is neither his Twilight Princess self nor his Skyward Sword style – perhaps a hint towards Zelda U’s style? SO MUCH. Mario is slightly taller, as is Samus. The WiiU version currently only appears to have 2 levels, suggesting Namco and Sakurai are focusing more heavily on the 3DS version right now.

That Mega Man reveal is going to be as iconic as the Snake one from E3 2006. Smash Brothers has always been and will always be HUGE. Game of the show, game of 2014, game of everything ever. Marry me, Sakurai.

Runners up were stupid sexy Wind Waker HD and Bayonetta 2. I LIKE NINTENDO OK

Best of E3 2013 - ClaireWWOOOOOOOAAAAAAH WOOOOOOOOOO WORDS THAT KILL

Kojima always makes things easy for me when he shows a game at E3. I’m a huge fan of his work, especially Metal Gear(as bad as it can sometimes be), and choosing The Phantom Pain as my game of E3 was barely even a decision.

Big Boss is an awesome character who’s story I have loved following along, whether he’s fighting Russian Lightning Lords or something from Monster Hunter. I think MGSV is going to be the satisfying conclusion to his story, and it’ll set the stage well for Solid Snake’s stupid adventures.

The Division was a close second. It seems very cool and fun, I look forward to learning more and playing it!

Best of E3 2013 - TrevorI’ll be honest, I was a little shocked when I realized what game impressed me the most at E3 this year. I mean, The Division was a truly surprising game and Destiny proved to me that a decade of Halo hasn’t made them a one-trick pony, but those games, along with all the other titles shown off, didn’t wrap me up in the moment. What I mean is, I never had that “HOLY SHIT” moment while watching a trailer or demo. However, this game did, or rather, half of it did. That half of a game was Battlefield 4’s multiplayer.

Now, I think the single player is a waste of time as much as the next guy, but there’s something about the multiplayer component of Battlefield games that always draws me in. I think it’s the potential for truly zany moments that can only happen in a multiplayer space that promotes freedom of gameplay as much as Battlefield. Based on the footage that came out of Los Angeles this week, Battlefield 4 is no exception that.

Dropping tanks into parking garages? Maps in cities that actually look like a real city in size? Awkward elevator rides? Sign me up. Plus, now that the console and PC experiences will no longer be completely different experiences, I no longer will end up feeling like I’m missing out on something. Call this one a definite buy from me.

Best of E3 2013 - JacobIf this game had not been revealed, I would have picked Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, by far; what tipped me over to this game, however, is that this was, for me, the most pleasant surprise at E3. Super Mario 3D Land on 3DS is my favourite Mario title from the past five years, so getting more of that, in HD no less, is super cool.

3D Land’s gameplay looks very creative – while it does look like an extension of the 3D Land formula, I looks like it’s going to change it up with each new area, similar to its predecessor. This is going to sound weird, but the Cat Suit looks like it’s going to be huge – Raccoon Tail huge. What I mean by that is whereas most power-ups simply add move changes such as shooting fireballs or throwing boomerangs, the Raccoon tail added the opportunity to go further and do more. The Cat Suit’s ability to climb up walls looks like it’s gonna do more of that, so I’m looking forward to trying it out. The most enticing thing, however, is the four player co-op. As someone with a family and siblings who like playing Nintendo games such as Smash Bros and Mario Kart, It’s gonna be really fun to introduce the once-single player experience of the 3D games to them.

One thing I’m excited for about the game is the music; Super Mario 3D Land had fantastic music, and it looks (or sounds, I should say) like 3D World will continue in that direction. It’s brilliant, jaunty and fun to listen to – So yeah, pretty much what you’d expect from a Mario title. What I love about the music from the 3D (I mean the 3D land/world, not 3D in general) games is that the music is a stark contrast to the tunes found in the New Super Mario Bros. Games – whereas the NSMB music feels bland and lifeless, especially with those “WAH”s blaring everywhere, 3D Land’s felt original and full of joy – my favourites in particular are the Beach Theme and the Overworld/Main theme – the latter I consider to be the best Mario theme since the second Overworld theme of SMB3. Speaking of the Main/Overworld theme, 3D World’s also impresses me – I keep watching the original trailer for the game just to listen to it.

The graphics I can sum up in one phrase: “3D Land in HD”. This is not a bad thing, however; both games look vibrant, colourful and full of life. There really isn’t much to say, really; 3D Land’s graphics were simplistic but excellent, and it’s going to be great to see more of that in a higher definition.

Super Mario 3D World looks to be just as entertaining 3D Land – if not more entertaining, due to the four-player co-op.

Best of E3 2013 - Andy

This year’s E3 was a peculiar one. More details on Microsoft’s and Sony’s upcoming next-gen consoles seemed to permeate any chances of hearing one iota about a properly interesting game. There were more utter disappointments than anything even close to a dizzying high – Sony’s response to the Xbox One’s restrictions regarding internet use and used game sales were certainly entertaining, but I’d hate to think ourselves so jaded that one company using another’s failures to remind us that they’re doing something they bloody well oughtta be doing anyway should be a “highlight”. More of a superbly clumsy drop of the ball on Microsoft’s part, expertedly carried into the goal by its competors.

So, yeah. Games at E3? Nothing immediately springs to mind, honestly. I’m supremely curious about Halo 5, but I’m not laying down any money for an Xbox One, so that’s a bitter revelation, that. Insomniac’s bright, imaginative Sunset Overdrive certain has promise – but then, so did Overstrike, and we all saw what happened to that (will Sunset Overdrive look like Dead Rising 3 by release? Oh Jesus I’ve gone and made myself depressed now). …no, funnily enough, when I think of games I’m excited for that were revealed at this year’s E3, I think of… um… Mario Kart 8. Yes. I think so.

I’m not joking.

Nintendo did everything that was expected of them at this year’s E3 Nintendo Direct, including the grand unveilings of a new Smash Bros., a new 3D Mario platformer, and a new Mario Kart. And out of everything that was at this year’s spectacularly large show, I am probably most looking forward to playing Mario Kart 8. They seem to have – for one thing – ripped quite a lot out of Sonic and All-Star’s Racing Transformed playbook, which is just perfect. The gimmicks involved (driving on walls and underwater) may be just that – gimmicks – but they seem to match the tones of Mario Kart’s tracks much more than I think any could anticipate. Mario Kart has, for me, always been a party game first and a racing game second: playing through these twisting, non-Euclidian, gravity-defying maps would see a room of tipsy gamers enthralled and delighted for hours at a time.

The presentation has also received a kick up the bum, it seems. Mario looks splendid rendered on the Wii U in HD, and Mario Kart’s bright colour pallettes moving at speed seem to be as enchanting on a big television as a Pixar film. It might be the same aesthetic that has been carried with the series since its Nintend 64 installment, but it’s an aesthetic that benefits hugely from the glory of high-definition. Of all the Nintendo games I want to see running in 1080p, Mario Kart is the most giddily exciting.

Not that it looks like everything’s perfect. The game still looks too slow – which is just weird – with the most exhilirating moments during power-up boosts. If the game set the default top speed to that of the fastest speed boost, and then set the speed boost to something ten times more precarious, it’d be my perfect speed – something more approaching F-Zero or Wipeout. I know Mario Kart is a kart racing game, and that karts are a form of transportation more akin to lawnmowers than V8 supercars, but… man, it would just suit the crazy levels more if they were going a bit faster. Maybe stick in a 250cc option into this one!

There were a lot of interesting games showcased at this year’s E3. I don’t know what it is that makes Mario Kart 8 stick out to me, but it’s the game I most want to play. There were indie offerings – Hotline Miami 2, mostly – that I definitely want right now. There were reveals by Microsoft and Sony for games I will be keeping a close eye on. But as far as the perfect blend of polish, visual appeal, and ever-so-slight innovation attached to well-worn concepts goes, Mario Kart 8 topped everything. Nintendo are taking the series in a direction that makes me excited to be excited for another Mario Kart game – after the Wii version of the game, I didn’t think I ever could be. But transforming vehicles, Mario Galaxy-style gravity shifts, and just more Mario Kart but rendered in HD seem to be enough to whet my anticipation.

So there you go. Mario Kart 7 again, but you can drive up walls and Waluigi is in it. That’s my game of E3. …man, even I think that’s a cop-out.

And there you have it, the staff picks of E3 2013. Andy wrote a entire article on his pick, but hey, I told them no limits so I’ll take responsibility for that. What was YOUR favourite game of E3 2013? -Tobiichi Karlsson

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  • Andy

    I had actually written an abridged version… I was going to edit it in when I saw this post was up, but hey, as long as you’re taking responsibility… ;)

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