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E32012: Day One

E3 signed on in Los Angeles on Tuesday for it’s first official day.  Nintendo started things off with their keynote presentation at the Nokia Plaza. Video gaming legend Shigeru Miyamoto unveiled the now more fully formed Wii-U console and having some fun with Pikmin 3 which will be a launch title for Wii-U.  Nintendo also showed off New Super Mario Bros.-U, a classic styled Super Mario Bros. platform game to drop with the Wii-U.  Developers and Nintendo Chief Operating Officer Reggie Fils-Aime also showed off the specs and applications of the Wii-U’s control, tablet style control pad and how it can be uniquely used for such games as Batman: Arkham City, Armored Edition and the Wii-U exclusive first person zombie shoot ‘em up, Zombi-U.  Nintendo also showed off Nintendoland for the Wii-U, a Nintendo theme-park style social and party game that looks like it will be a cute title for the friends and family.  Attendees were also happy to hear the Wii-U will be enabled to use two of the control pad as well as the Wii-motes and Wii-nunchuks for multiplayer games.

Over on the show floor, Warner Bros. Interactive offered a closed door preview of the new DC Comics themed fighter, Injustice: Gods Among Us.  Developed by NetherRealm Studios, the group behind the recent rebooted Mortal Kombat franchise, this is an elaborate new fighting game in a similar spirit.  The visual style is a more grim and gritty take on familiar DC characters.  NetherRealm Studios showed off several stages including the Bat Cave, the Fortress of Solitude, and “Future City” which seemed evocative of perhaps a future Metropolis.  The level stages will be highly interactive with the characters.  During the fights, you can crash through certain objects, activate missiles on the Batmobile to shoot your opponent, and all the levels have multiple areas which can be played in.  The game will also feature some fun, over the top special attacks:  think Flash doing a full run around the world for one big punch; or Superman uppercutting you into Earth’s orbit.  The backgrounds of the stages are littered with Easter eggs and some awesome tools to interact with.  The game looks extremely tight and looks to continue the renaissance of 2D fighting games as of late.

The other highlight was Activision’s playable demo version of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, the sequel to the 2010 hit game, Transformers: War for Cybertron.  The game is set in the final days of the Autobots’ time on Cybertron before they leave the planet on the Ark ship that would bring their war with the Decepticons to Earth.  As much as I enjoyed War For Cybertron, Fall of Cybertron looks even more fantastic.  The demo lets you play as a few of the playable characters including Decepticon Vortex, Autobot Bumblebee, and of course the unquestionable strongest Dinobot of all Grimlock.  The Grimlock level was spectacular.  Grimlock, voiced by original VA Gregg Berger.  While most of the game focuses on run and gun style combat, Grimlock’s attacks are more melee focused as he just smashes through his level.   For Grimlock’s mission he has to eliminate an Insecticon hive in order to save his captured Dinobot comrades who are being held prisoner.  Controls are great, and being able to transform into Grimlock’s t-rex form and smash the bolts out of Insecticons and blowing them away with fire breath is fantastic.

Another title I was eager to play on the show floor was 2K Games oft-delayed Spec Ops: The Line. The game puts you into the boots of an elite Delta Squad unit dispatched to the now ruined city of Dubai which has been devastated by a gigantic sandstorm.  Nearly the entire city has been buried.  Your character is Martin Walker who along with his team is tracking a rogue military officer, John Konrad.  Konrad has gone off the deep end as Walker and his team fall apart at the seams while on the hunt.  The demo was great.  The combat focuses on cover shooting and also squad commands.  You can pick out combatants to target and call out for your partners to take out which works quite seamlessly.  The controls are good and the setting is a unique and intriguing one for a game.

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