It's been a long while since I've done a list for this glorious site of unhampered deliciousness, but my hiatus must end, and with that I give you a list of the top 5 news explosions that came out of the Electronics Entertainment Expo this year. Before you read on, bring lube and beer.
Fried chicken would also be nice.
5. Metal Gear Solid: Rising
To be honest, I had a hard time giving this a slot. The truth of it is, however, that I eagerly anticipated Kojima speaking during Microsoft's showcase just to learn about this game. If Kojima is nothing else he is amazing at teasing audiences.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, for about a month before E3, Kojima Productions' website hosted a teaser page called "Next". It started as just a lightning storm with a timer. Then when that timer ran out it changed ever so slightly. A lightning bolt would strike and either a letter S or a number 5 would show up on the screen. Another timer had started at this point as well, and when it ran down... more enigmatic letters. There was what appeared to be an e, an E, a 3 and the S/5. Another timer in place this eventually lead to more letters being added. Then after another timer we got an image of Raiden (in his Ninja duds, one eye covered) and an image of what could have been Solid Snake or Big Boss (aka Naked Snake). It turned out to be the latter. After the fifth and final countdown E3 came and it was announced that MGS: Rising, a new title from Kojima would be released for the X-Box 360. Much like MGS2, however, this game will feature Raiden as the main character.
Why did I have a hard time giving this game a slot? Well... I love Metal Gear as much as the next guy, but announcing another Metal Gear game isn't exactly pure insanity. It gets points, however, because he created that hateful little teaser site (which I frequented far too much) and announcing the game for X-Box 360 created a windfall of rumours to the effect that the game would not cross platforms. This was debunked during Sony's day at the conference where it was announced for PS3, as well as another project called Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP. Peace Walker involves Big Boss/Naked Snake in the 70s just before the creation of Outer Heaven.
I'm sure both games will cause many a nut to be busted and with all the hype, MGS: Rising just had to make the list, even if there were other announcements that caused me much more excitement.
4. Untitled Legend of Zelda Wii Project
Nintendo had a myriad of exciting announcements this year. Of course they had just as many ridiculous ones as counterbalance (Wii Vitality Sensor... really?). That being said, one little teaser that caused quite the stir was that Shigeru Miyamoto (whom I affectionately like to call Shiggy Pop) was working on a new Zelda game built from the ground up for the Nintendo Wii.
This came out of left field because one of the games heavily pimped at the show was a The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for the DS. Shiggy wasn't at liberty to talk much on this new untitled Wii game, but only showed one image, a concept art drawing for the new title, and oh did it please.
I would say that my favourite LoZ game is Ocarina of Time. This is in part due to the fact that I have only just recently begun playing A Link To The Past in earnest (Shane... please don't kill me!), which many call the greatest Zelda game to date, if not one of the best games ever created. I personally played Ocarina of Time first and it was such a great experience. I anticipated the release of Twilight Princess, a cross-platform titled that was built for both the Wii and the Gamecube, and as such didn't quite use all of the Wii's potential. I enjoyed the game enough, but it didn't draw me in nearly as well as Ocarina of Time did and as such I'd hoped (like many) that another fully Wii Zelda game would come to pass.
Enter Shiggy Pop and his little teaser image and woe to you, o' earth and sea, fanboys the world over did cream their jeans (why do I keep making ejaculation references?). The concept drawings showed two figures. One is clearly Link. However, unlike any game before this, Link appears older. Possibly in his mid- to late-20s. Also, he has a shield, but the Master Sword (or any sword, for that matter) is mysteriously absent. In front of him appears to be a female figure, possibly a Zora, which really didn't cause that much of a stir. An all new Zelda game featuring an older, grittier looking Link though. Ohhh BUDDAY!
3. Final Fantasy XIV: Online
This may only appeal to the hardcore gamers the world over but I think we can all agree any announcement by Square Enix these days is a big deal. Everyone expected there to be lots of information on its upcoming franchise monster, Final Fantasy XIII, but I don't think anyone was prepared for the announcement of Final Fantasy XIV, much less a full trailer for the game, and the news that it would be another entry into their online universe.
Again, this may only carry weight with individuals that either really love them some Square Enix or those that play MMORPGs. I, myself, played Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft. Although the storyline and world of FFXI interested me, I didn't like the gameplay. You're forced to group-up in the game, which is a constant hassle. You go onto the game looking to get a few hours in and you have to wait an hour just to find people that are your level to group with. World of Warcraft, although I have some issues with, at least sports single player content.
I know what you're thinking. Why would you want to play an online game by yourself? I want to have the option to group up occasionally, with my (and I chagrin using this term) real life friends mostly. I do not want to have to at all times. FFXIV will allow me to do that. It will contain Final Fantasy-based gameplay, story and characters as well as allow me to play online by myself, or in a group, should I so choose.
I am, however, still weary of MMOs. I have had fun playing them occasionally, but I find them geared toward the truly hardcore gamer; the man or woman that can play for 18 hours in one sitting, eat a burrito, take a dump, and head back to the computer for another 18-hour bout. It appears that Square Enix is doing things right, however, and making this game accessible to the Joe Blow that wants to pop on for a few hours here and there. That excites me.
2. Metroid: Other M
Those that know me would probably know that I am a casual fan of Metroid. I have played Super Metroid almost all the way through on various occasions, I loved Metroid: Zero Mission for the GBA (basically an update to the original with all new content) and I own Metroid Prime for the Gamecube. I have played lots of Prime, but I took a break for a bit, lost where I was, and haven't been able to get back into it. I love the gameplay; an entirely open world, lots of weapon upgrades and several distinct environments, but I've just never been obsessed with the franchise, probably due in part to the fact that I didn't play the original NES title until many years after the the SNES was out, and only once or twice had the opportunity to play Super Metroid on the SNES. I ended up downloading it for the Wii Virtual Console.
Why does this game make my list, and why is it so high? Metroid: Other M is being produced by, none other than, Team FUCKING Ninja. Okay, it's just Team Ninja. Now, much like I stated above, those that know me would also know that I haven't played much of the Dead or Alive games nor the next-gen versions of Ninja Gaiden, which were produced by Tomonobu Itagaki's Team Ninja (he was the team leader and lead designer, having worked with Tecmo since 1992. He created Team Ninja in 1995 but recently parted with the team, and Tecmo, over legal reasons, creating a new team with some former Team Ninja members). So why should I give a shit what they work on? This is a team created under the philosophy that games should be as interactive as possible, and run on highly innovative hardware. They created games based almost entirely about huge, bouncing breasts (alright, maybe not about) or with a main protagonist who is, quite possibly, the most bad ass ninja EVER in video game history (a close second to Shadow of FFVI fame). They make games that feature a superhero ninja, a destructive forces of nature no less, and games that feature women with huge breasts that have the option, I shit you not, to turn on or off "bouncing breasts". These guys are going to make the new Metroid game. Do I really have to say anything else?
The trailer shown at E3 speaks to the change in gameplay as well. One thing I didn't really enjoy about Metroid Prime was the first-person perspective. Well this game features a third-person perspective, with a smattering of first-person (which I assume is for aiming) and shows a gritty, dark Samus whipping some Ridley ass! Pumped MUCH!? I mean, shit, they're called TEAM FUCKING NINJA!
1. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
This game was actually teased at last years E3 under the title Lords of Shadow. Right off the hop many gamers noticed some possible links to the Castlevania series, and queried as to whether or not this was going to be the big next/current-gen title for the Castlevania series. Well at this year's E3, Konami came to the rescue and let the fanboy public know that this was, indeed, the newest title in the Castlevania library.
I'm a big Castlevania fan. Ever since Symphony of the Night I've been hooked. I love the 2-D style gameplay, which rips off the best parts of Metroid (fully open world) and combines it with old school action-RPG elements. The alchemy of the two is something to behold, and since that time I've done whatever I could to play all the games that followed this style of play.
Konami, however, struck out on several occasions in attempting to create a 3-D Castlevania game. This goes all the way back to the N64 with Castlevania "64", which was followed up almost immediately with Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, the same game essentially, but upgraded slightly in hopes to save some face. Subsequently there was Castlevania: Lament of Innocence on the PS2. I have played this game, and I found it obscenely boring. It had some of the open-world aspects of the newer Castlevania titles, but was pretty much button-mashing. Then Konami made Castlevania: Curse of Darkness again for the PS2, which had a solid combat system and looked great, but again sported monotonous levels. As you can tell, I was never pleased with the 3-D Castlevania fare.
It appears that this is all about to change, and thanks to one man... Hideo Kojima. That's RIGHT! The production team behind Castlevania: Lord of Shadow? Kojima Productions. In all the years Konami has been developing Castlevania games, with Hideo Kojima in their back pocket, only now have they thought to bring these two worlds together.
The trailer sports all in-game graphics, and shows a totally bad ass character, named Gabriel, kicking undead ass with a chain whip wreathed in flame. I will say that the gameplay, at this point, looks like some kind of God of War rip-off. However, the game looks beautiful, shows what appears to be engaging third-person 3-D gameplay (this will be the first Castlevania game not on a handheld since 2005) and is going to be developed by industry giants Kojima Productions. All I can think is WIN-WIN, people.
As the kids say today, epic amounts of WIN.