First up, Owen:
Batman: Arkham City
Rocksteady is a developer that deserves massive respect. It knows exactly what it has in Batman and have improved it in all the right areas. As a result, the stuff shown at E3 is generating amazing buzz.
Firstly, some take home points. It should be known Arkham City is going to be a Wii U compatible game (even if it will be released well before Wii U). This is a great boon for the Wii U and highlights how happy the developers are with this new hardware. Well done to Nintendo on this one. Secondly, It will be released in most forms October 8 2011 in the United States of America (the Wii U launch will obviously have to wait for the hardware launch in 2012).
On to the info from stage demo. You play as Batman, in the Christian Bale sense. You go around defeating criminals who have been gathered from all the prisons into a mega-prison, which is simply a suburb that has been surrounded with ridiculously high walls and guards. In a great addition, Cat Woman is now a fully playable character. She is designed to be completely different, she has a nice list own unique moves, own unique gadgets, own feel and soul. This should equate well into gameplay. Importantly, the game stays true to the Batman universe. The villains are shown to be written intelligently. You get lots of hints of Riddler and see his handiwork, but do not see his face, or his plans. Two Face/Harvey Dent is seen commanding and flipping his coin, embraced as leader of criminals due to his natural charisma.
We're promised 25 hours of gameplay, which makes it not quite Final Fantasy, but will prove to be solid and lengthy fare. The intricate art looks fantastic. The city scape is hauntingly beautiful, fitting in seamlessly as cut scenes are excellent. Two Faces' acid-burned muscle remnants in particular highlight the impressive attention to detail.
I am most excited by the apparent gameplay. No more so then during the detective mode, a device with amazing potential and, unlike a few other developers and innovation, its potential seems to be realised. The example given in E3's teaser demonstrated a ballistics scene that is right out of any high tech forensics TV show you could imagine. It is truly breathtaking stuff. The flying/gliding mode looks a great deal of fun. The developer have said that this is the mode that took the greatest time in the development and playtesting and was associated with the most laughter, and I can completely understand why.
The stakes have been raised for this title. Double the combat moves, new playable characters on a markedly improved scale. Whilst I don't imagine it to be open like an Elder Scrolls game, it is fantastic to see that this is where the game is heading. Linear storylines are very dull and this looks anything but. In much anticipated news: the challenge modes are maintained, and although not much news was given, will be improved.
There is a LOT to be excited about. This is a must have come October.
Skyward Sword and other Zelda fare.
Zelda. Like that of Tomb Raider, has lived up to the most wild expectations. Nintendo have gone with an all out Zelda offensive, featuring four titles to be released over a multitude of platforms over the next six months. Whilst 3D Ocarina of time is more of a money raiser, the one game that held such high expectations at the start of E3, Skyward Sword has surpassed some rather unrealistic dreams. A slick looking cross between Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, this game looks to take the motion based RPG experience to a new level.
The Demon Lord Ghirahim video has highlighted not only the fantastically elegant nature of the Zelda franchise and gives a rare pre-glimpse into the level of difficultly in gameplay. Whilst this is an early boss so should be relatively easily dispatched three life hearts were lost very quickly.
Luigi's Mansion: Nintendo 3DS
So, in an unexpected news Nintendo has announced the return of Luigi's Mansion on the 3DS. I was a staunch fan of the original release of the green/mouldy plumbers hijinks some ten years previously, so I was pleasantly surprised with its appearance. The game appears exceptionally well animated and will hopefully stay true to its predecessor.
Assassins Creed: Revelations
Ubisoft intelligently demonstrated why Assassins Creed is now such a sought after franchise. Expertly woven with music, professional voice acting and excellent sound effects, the amazing virtual world this assassin lives was shown to be remarkably refined. The game has an epic scope with some excellent battle scenes. Just watch the action scenes showcased at the end of the video.