Thursday, June 21, 2012

E3 2012 Wrap Up: “Call of Duty Black Ops 2,” “Resident Evil 6,” “New Super Mario Bros. 2″

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 9:54 AM

The E3 dust may have settled over the Los AngelesConvention Center, but there's hardly time while running around the show to get thoughts down on every game that I played. I've got some notable ones I still wanted to hit, so here's a few more of the big hitters from E3 2012.
"Call of Duty: Black Ops 2″ (Multi-platform)

There was no hands-on demo for the latest entry in the mammoth shooter franchise, but I did get to sit through a walk-through of the single player. The multiplayer was notably missing from the show as well, which hopefully wasn't a bad sign of things to come.

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The game looked great running in real-time, but most of the demo was the same as what was shown earlier in the week at Microsoft's conference. They did show off a flight sequence, that was full free control flying, and it was somewhat surreal to see Los Angles falling apart in flames while actually, you know, in LA.

The more interesting mode addition is what they are calling "Strike Force" missions, which will be spread throughout the main levels in the single player. This one took place in Singapore, and combines first person shooting with an RTS like approach. It's actually really interesting, and at least they are trying something to shake up the COD formula.

In the mode you manage the squads of soldiers on the ground while flying above the battlefield, and then can zoom in to take control of units or squads on the ground to get shit done. It allows you to manage several squads at once, and it had a very "Command and Conquer" vibe. Unlike other missions, if you win or lose the game will continue and the storyline will be impacted thusly. It's one of the more unique ideas I've seen in the franchise lately, and it will be interesting how much of a focus they put on it. (Or how many of the levels will actually be included come final release).

"Resident Evil 6″ (Multi-platform)

Zombies are all the rage now it seems, but "Resident Evil" has been doing them since before zombies were cool. My time with 'Resident Evil 6" started off with Leon's story, which opened with a cut scene of him having to shoot the president, now all zombified and rotting and coming after him. It's an intense way to be thrown into the action, and already sets off quite the interesting story line. (Not least of all is who is the Vice President?).

The game looked good, and the engine was making very effective use of lighting and shading to set that "Resident Evil" mood. Some of the other textures in the game still looked a little muddy or grainy, which could have been for effect, but there was also an odd separation blur line that ran through half of my screen at times; but who knows how early this playable build was. The bulk of Leon's mission was sneaking around looking for some annoying lost girl, and I don't think I even got to fire my gun once. But, if Leon's levels are going to be slow-paced back-to-roots survival horror, I'm ok with that.

And I mean, dual wielding Leon? What's to hate there?

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I only got a second to check out any of the other characters demos, and got a very brief time with Chris Redfield. It looks like the game may be taking a page out of "Resident Evil: Revelation's" book and having the separate characters each play a little differently: Leon's area felt very much like the survival horror and I was told that Redfield's were a lot more action packed. It's a good way to mix things up, and we'll see how Capcom balances what fans want and expect from a main entry Resident Evil when the game hits this October.

"New Super Mario Bros. 2″ (3DS)

It really is hard for me to get excited for the "New Super Mario Bros." line of Mario games. Nintendo seems to pump them out faster than anything, and this year we are getting two new games in the series, one for the 3DS and one for the Wii U. Aside from the fact that continually calling them 'New' Super Marios Bros. is a redundancy in naming, all of the titles are pretty much the same: Decent platformers that never really break the mold or much new ground. (Though "New Super Mario Bros. Wii" contains one of my favorite Mario levels of all time).

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This time around there are a few new wrinkles thrown into the fold: The player is tasked with collecting a million coins. That's right, Mario is all about the gold stuff, and the game is entirely focused upon you collecting as many coins as possible. Coins are all over the levels, and new power ups, such as the gold fire flower, turn you into a shiny gold Mario, big pimping as only Midas can, turning everything around him into coins. It's pretty awesome.

The tanooki suit is also returning, but this time you can actually, you know, fly, so take a moment for some applause there. I also noticed dry versions of goombas, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we've ever seen those before.

Taking a nod from "New Super Mario Bros. Wii" this game is also fully co-op, with two players being able to play through the entire game together, which is an added plus (4 player in NSMBW was a hoot and a half). The 3D effect in the game wasn't really pronounced and didn't add much, but for a 2D platformer you can only expect so much depth of the levels to be there, even with layering.

I'm curious how much of a collectathon the game will become: Nintendo is touting that is will be a long Mario experience, and I could go for a good ol' "Mario 64" style collecting adventure. Either way, hopefully it will satisfy that Mario bone in my body.

The show may be over, but the games aren't. I'll have videos and slideshows on the conference up throughout the next few weeks, and keep an eye to City for continued reviews and coverage of all of your favorite games. Game on.

This was Willie's third year at E3, and he managed to escape the show and take down a few zombies with him, but didn't manage to find a million coins. If you are a zombie and wish to settle the score, Facebook or Twitterare probably the best bets.

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