Today was my very first official day at E3. As of this very moment, I can’t think of any time when I have felt more excited and motivated to work. Today, I played Street Fighter 5, The Division, Ratchet and Clank, Salt & Sanctuary, Rock Band 3, and Amplitude. I was also lucky enough to interview the fine folks behind Salt & Sanctuary and Harmonix’s Rock Band 4. I’ve got a lot to say about my day one experiences at this year’s E3 so let’s get started!
We started the day off by checking out an amazing rhythm game called Amplitude. In Amplitude you’ll play as a futuristic car driving down many lanes, each resembling a specific sound and/or instrument. While driving down a single track, you’ll have to click the button that you see on screen just as the car crosses over it. I was very impressed by what I saw and played from Amplitude and am greatly looking forward to its release on the PlayStation 3 and 4. For more information on Amplitude, check out Bronson’s interview with Harmonix’s DeVron Warner!
My next stop was at the Salt & Sanctuary booth where I interviewed the fine folks over at Ska Studios. Salt & Sanctuary is a 2D Metroidvania style RPG that plays a lot like the Souls series. Imagine a 2D Dark Souls and you’ve got Salt & Sanctuary. The game is definitely tough and requires you to be very strategic when fighting enemies. The part that I played was a little bit past the beginning and was very cool. You have a stamina bar which depletes with every attack and dodge roll, very difficult enemies to defeat, strategic combat, and a leveling system very similar to that of blood echoes in Bloodborne. Oh, and it is a very beautiful game as well. What’s not to like about Salt & Sanctuary?
Not long after my time with Salt & Sanctuary, we proceeded to head to Microsoft’s area. Originally we stood in line for Ubisoft’s The Division but decided to pursue games that had smaller lines. This led us to a demo of Harmonix’s Rock Band 4. I was on lead guitar, while Bronson played drums and Bremenn played bass. If you’ve played any Rock Band game before than you’ve essentially got a pretty good grasp of what Rock Band 4 is all about. There are, however, numerous changes to some of the instruments that definitely attributes to personalizing the music. In our demo, we played The Trooper by the almighty Iron Maiden. As lead guitar, I had some big boots to fill. Iron Maiden is, after all, well known for their prowess with guitars. I was actually doing pretty well until I reached the guitar solo in the middle of the song. One of the new things with guitar is that there are no specific buttons to hold down while strumming. Instead, you are given numerous glowing backgrounds within which you’ll randomly shred on the higher and lower buttons on the neck of the guitar, strum without any notes, or just do hammer-ons. I failed miserably and my controller died midway through the guitar solo, but it really was a blast and made me feel like Eddie Van Halen. This is just one of many awesome changes, so check out my awesome interview with Erick Pope from Harmonix and prepare for Rock Band’s release on October 6th for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Following Rock Band 4 and lots of walking, Bronson, Bremenn and I found our way to Capcom’s Street Fighter 5. We each played about three rounds, using just about everyone but M. Bison. The characters that were available were Birdie, Chun Li, Ryu, Cammie, and M. Bison. Street Fighter 5 is much faster than 4 and felt ridiculously smooth. It was also very pretty, but I really don’t have much more to say about it than that. It is a great game though and will definitely put a huge smile on any fighting game fan’s face.
After Street Fighter 5, I made my way to the Ratchet and Clank booth, but only played a bit more than 5 minutes. What I did play was fun and very beautiful. I was very eager to try out some of the new weapons. In the demo, I had access to 4 guns. Two of those were a traditional one shot gun and a rocket launcher. The other two were so awesome that they were all I used during the demo. The Pixelater turns your enemies into pixelized versions of themselves then blows them up into numerous pixelized pieces while a disco ball grenade causes all enemies in its proximity to dance. Like I said, I didn’t play much but what I did play was really fantastic.
Lastly, Bremenn and I played a 15 minute long demo of Ubisoft’s The Division. In our demo, there were three teams of two in a player vs player vs world environment. Bremenn and I were on one team and we moved forward slowly and strategically. We were caught in a firefight with a group of NPC’s that we handled with relative ease. This earned us a legendary weapon which could only be used after it is extracted by a helicopter. This does take a while and you may face resistance when attempting to summon the chopper. I say “may face resistance” because teams can actually work together. On the other hand, you can also choose to fight other players. This yields various rewards including enemy players loot and more experience. It will, however, reveal your location to every player on the map and will grant your killer bonuses in experience and loot. I absolutely love the fact that you never know what’s going to happen. Is the enemy team going to cooperate with you or attack you? With The Division, you’ll never know what’s going to happen until it does. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing and hearing more from The Division.
All in all, I’ve had a really awesome time at E3 2015 so far. Excluding the press conferences yesterday, The Division and Street Fighter 5 are definitely highlights. I really, really like what I saw from The Division and had a ton of fun with Street Fighter 5. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more from all of the aforementioned games in the future!