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E3 2013. DAY ONE.

[Note: my internet here in the hotel is really slow since it's just free. That said, I won't be able to upload too many videos/pictures yet. Will update this very soon with those pics/vids]

I'm on the free shuttle bus leaving from E3 2013 right now. E3 is every bit as unbelievable as they say it is in myth and legend. This E3 is possibly the craziest, with two big console launches happening at the same time. Here's some of my quick impressions.

BATTLEFIELD 4

- They have this really cool mode called 'Conquest'. Well, in the demo they let me try, it involved two teams. One was China and the other one was the USA. China had occupied one building and the USA had to take over the building

- Graphics wise there's a lot more carnage going on while you're playing. This is the most apparent upgrade from the previous versions.
- Gameplay wise well, you know what to expect and it's exactly the same as most FPS games. This will probably gear towards the competitive gamers who are into multiplayer FPS.

- I didn't get a very strong impression from this game. Though I did listen in on some players who seemed to be BF vets and they liked how you could drop in tanks at will.

KILLER INSTINCT

- After my lunch break at Hooters, I passed by this little restaurant which surprised me because they had some sort of arcade cabinet. At first I thought it was Street Fighter IV. Turned out, the Killer Instinct developers had set up a unit for demo play
- There were a few people at this particular play area, maybe because most of the people were fixated on trying the game at E3 itself. I gave it a spin and talked with the other players there
- The first thing that struck me about the game is the ART STYLE. The art is very, VERY good. It's obviously inspired by Street Fighter but they took it to a whole other level. Despite having a lot of details, the art looks really clean and sharp.
- The animation is excellent in this game. THis was the biggest surprise for me after having played other western fighters like Injustice and MK9. The animation felt Japanese styled but it had its own unique flavor. It doesn't have the awkwardness of Ed Boon's fighters.
- The combo system is really nice. There's a way to stagger your opponent so you can score more than the usual number of hits. I didn't figure out how to do this but it was nice to watch other players pull it off.
- The game has combo breakers which adds a whole new level to the fighting game genre. Here the combo breakers can be done a lot of times unlike in Injustice, so long as you guess correctly
- They had KI running with Xbox 360 Mad Catz sticks. I asked them if MS will allow older sticks and their official answer is that it's not up to them (it's up to MS). I really, REALLY hope they make old sticks back-compatible.
- The game feels very good and responsive. If you know Ryu's simple HK, MK, Hadoken combo, it works and feels exactly the same way here when you use the Ryu clone character, Jago.
- This is the first game that made me seriously rethink all my negative feedback for the Xbox One. The game just felt really, really good, and it really looked next gen. The framerate was locked 60 and it was going at 1080p, it just looked very arcade quality, like the type you'd see in a high end arcade even with a regular HDTV.
- The art, the art, the ART! It just killed me.

Mario 3D World

- I didn't have the opportunity to play this but I did watch. It has a nice 4 player mode where all the characters are onscreen at once.
- The top-down perspective was really sharp, and it actually made the game look very competitive to its 'current gen' opponents (Xbox One and PS4)
- The lady at the booth said that the multiplayer levels were different from the single player? I'm not sure about her answer. Maybe it's best to check on the big sites for the answer to that question.
- I'll try this out tomorrow. Just too many people there at the Nintendo booth today.
Bayonetta 2
- Graphically competitive with PS4 and Xbox One games.
- I'll try this out tomorrow.
Knack
- For some reason, this game didn't look very impressive. It reminded me of Kameo. Not that Kameo is a bad game. I did enjoy that game when it came out. But for this one, it just felt old. Something about the graphic style didnt strike me as well.
- I need to give this game a second chance. Will try it tomorrow.

DriveClub

- I was in line for this game. I looked at other people playing and you know, honestly, at that point I thought it wasn't very impressive.
- Something about DriveClub feels a bit barren/old. I think it's the track design. It felt very bare and empty and they didn't use enough colors or interesting stuff to look at while you're driving.
- I gave the game a chance though. I thought some of their iconography looked good.
- Upon driving, the very, very FIRST thing I noticed----was the horrific JAGGIES. This game, a PS4 exclusive launch game, was riddled with jaggies!
- The jaggies were on the road textures, they were on the car....and they used this nasty texture for trees and grass which just felt last gen.
- I could get over that quite easily but there is one thing that really offended me when I played the game. The gameplay.
- The gameplay/driving model seemed to me as if there are very specific points on the track where you hit the brakes. If you hit it in the right spot, the car will "auto-turn" or steer correctly. If you hit it in the wrong spot, the car will just careen off into a wall. They didn't nail the driving model in this alpha build.
- I had two laps so I had two chances to get a feel for the game. On my first try I had a lot of crashes because of the weird driving model. ON the second lap I finally figured out 'how' it drives. But it feels weird and wrong. I did crash once on the second lap, though.
- Overall I was really disappointed by DRIVECLUB. I wanted this to be my first PS4 game but I guess I'm lucky to be at E3 to actually try it. It isn't very good. Just play an existing current gen driving game, you'll get the exact same experience.

FORZA 5.

FORZA. 5.

- THIS is my game of show so far!
- The graphics on this game are incredible. I can't stress it enough. The graphics are insane.
- The car has practically no jaggies, and even if they are, they're much more negligible compared to Driveclub. And the car graphics blow away Forza 4.
- The color on Forza 5 is extremely sharp and the lighting they are employing makes the cars look more impressive than previous racing games on any system.
- The driving model/gameplay feels like the previous Forza games, but I really like how the rumble is on the trigger. It's something you have to experience for yourself to truly appreciate.
- The city render that they used on the demo track is unbelievable. They put in some lighting there that I've never seen on any other game, period.
- I don't have any other thing to say about Forza other than it's the kind of game that will make you rethink 'graphics don't matter'. In this one, they do. And it feels like the kind of game that will justify your investment by tenfold.

For me, the Xbox had a very strong showing here. And so did Nintendo. For some weird reason Sony's showing was not as powerful as I'd expect. I'll give their booth another day (maybe I was too tired). I want to support Sony, I really do. I love their no-DRM stance. But their games lineup does not feel good enough. They need a game that will just jump at you when you see it.

Nintendo's Mario 3D world and Microsoft's Forza 5 just really stand out. That's my point of view as a hardcore player. It remains to be seen what the casual players will think. But for Day 1 I'd give a big bump to Microsoft, their development strengths have really increased when it comes to consoles.

One last thing:

It's too bad that Gran Turismo 6 is on PS3. I took a short look at it. They put it on the outside of the convention center, which was a little strange. I'd think they should highlight it on the show floor. BUt I guess they want to show it to everyone, not just attendees.

The thing about GT6 is when you watch it it completely feels like GT5. They did NOT pick a good demo track for this (Silverstone?!) I wish they picked a more scenery-laden track to show off better graphics for it.

First impression day 1 scores

Microsoft
8/10 - they lose two points for DRM but all 8 points are gained for everything else

Sony
7/10 - they got a lot of points for no-DRM stance, but lose practically everything because of the lack of a key game

Nintendo
8/10 - Their first party offerings showed that they can survive even without other companies. And they have the most family friendly games which is good for the industry.

Overall I can't picture an E3 as insane as this. I need a second day to see everything. I will try more of Sony's PS4 games. I feel maybe I'm judging them too early. But I walked around their area for a good hour and found nothing that really jumped out at me. Even their Driveclub booth was put in this horrible area on the side of the convention center which made their game look like a B tier title. I don't know what Sony was thinking by doing that.

Other stuff:
- The Microsoft controller is as good as it looks in pictures. And it feels amazing.
- The PS4 controller is solid. I'm glad they got rid of those old triggers.

=================

The E3 experience - impressions
- I wish the entrance fee wasn't 799$. It seems it's not as fun by yourself as it would have been if I brought some friends with me.
- The food is ridiculous. I wanted to buy a few bottles of water and they were 2.50$! By contrast water in the supermarket is .25.
- Thank God the E3 organizers provided shuttles. Taxis will kill your wallet here.

Stuff to do tomorrow
- Give Sony Booth a second chance.
- Spend more time with smaller game booths (indies)

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