The concept behind Red Steel is definitely cool. You use the nunchaku controller to both aim and shoot a gun and slice with the sword as well as look around while walking. The analog controller in the left hand is used to move, and by twisting it you can open doors. The nunchaku controller was very precise, though this shouldn’t be surprising because if you can legitimately blame one death in a game on your controller, chances are you don’t want to buy the Wii. Also, it did not seem like the controller required enough movement that players will get tired over time; most players already jerk their controllers around when they’re excited (no pun intended) and I think that requires just as much muscle as the Wii controller does.
My biggest complaint is that I found the motion sensor to be overused–I’d much rather have to press A to open the door than twist a controller at *every* door. What’s next, am I going to have to actually run as I hunt down members of the yakuza? Hopefully, developers will realize we don’t want to work too much to have fun, and the overuse of the motion sensor is just a phase as developers merrily fornicate with the new medium.
Finally, there is a definite learning curve in getting used to moving around with one hand and actually pointing a controller to look around with the other. The question however is if this is a more enjoyable experience once you get used to in comparison to a standard controller. If it is, then I predict the Wii will be a major success; if not, Wii will be lying next to my 3DO and Turbo Grafix.
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
It’s hard to develop a final impression based on so little time with a game, but nothing about Rocket Slime particularly stood out with me. The graphics were cutesy and the dialogue corny, and the gameplay was decidedly average.
Basically, you are a slime from the DQ series that rides around in a giant floating tank, attacking other giant floating tanks by finding ammo strewn throughout your base. The top DS screen shows the two tanks side by side as well as the munitions that fly through the screen. Whenever two bullets collide they explode, so the top screen allows you to deflect bullets as well guide your own attacks. The bottom screen allows you to control your slime and look for ammo to fire, and eventually to go over to the other tank and finish off the engine at the end of the battle.
Honestly, I have no idea how representative this level is of the entire game, but while it lasted no more than about three minutes I was ready to stab my eyes out of boredom before I finished. If you’re a fanboy of the DQ series you will probably get this game anyway, but otherwise I’d probably stay away from it.
Dirge of Cerberus:
At last year’s E3 I saw Dirge of Cerberus and was repulsed by how much Square was milking FFVII. This year, after seeing Advent Children, I was a little more excited to play Dirge of Cerberus and was surprisingly pleased by the demo.
Dirge can be played from first or third person perspective, but if the demo is indicative of the game as a whole, DoC is much more on the platformer end of gaming than it is the FPS end. The graphics were as beautiful as you would expect from a Square game. Ultimately there wasn’t anything particularly innovative about the gameplay, but I expect it will be a solid platformer and based on the trailer the number of CG scenes will guarantee that this game is worth picking up if you’re a fan of the series.
The New Super Mario Bros:
This DS game looks pretty nifty. It’s a sidescrolling game very similar to the original Mario Bros. in feel, but of course with much better graphics. Most of the moves from the newer games, like wall kicks, are accessible, as well as new powerups. The demo featured a super mushroom that made Mario as tall as the screen. In this mode he could actually break apart warp pipes just by walking through them, as well as stomp on blocks (which in the demo was used to gain access to one of three star coins in the level). There are also a number of multiplayer games, but none of these were accessible in the demo.
The game looks to be a very fun, if not very original, sidescroller, so those who have a couple of extra bucks should pick it up when it comes out this week.
Overall, this year’s E3 was noticeably weaker than last year’s. Too many games revolved around movie and TV licenses, and the PS3’s almost nonexistent showing was both depressing and worrisome. While the Wii shows a lot of potential, and all of the games certainly looked great, whether or not the controller ends up being a good move for Nintendo has yet to be determined.
There was a real lack of innovation (outside of a few titles like Spore and Gears of War), but the most noticeable difference between this year’s show and last was that last year I left the show really pissed that I was going to have to wait a year or two before I’d get to play all of these cool games. This year I left feeling like I had just spent three days playing the kind of mediocre demos you play at a Gamestop; its fun for the time being, but I’m not salivating as I run to the cash register.