Two companies. Two NFC-powered titles. Two ambitious reaches for the hearts and minds of today’s kids.
When Skylanders broke out onto the scene a couple years back, I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical. The Spyro brand had been struggling to find its niche, particularly in light of the resurgence of other kid-friendly properties like Mario from Nintendo, and I wasn’t sure turning a video game into a toy collection was the right answer. I guess it’s just been too long since I was a kid – Skylanders is now one of the biggest revenue-drivers in the industry.
Now Disney’s looking to take home a piece of the pie with Disney Infinity, their own toy-driven video game initiative. It’s less based on reviving old brands and more based on extending film universes into a game world with endless promise for fans of Disney magic.
I got the chance to try out both titles at E3, and I’ve come away with a rudimentary but nonetheless fairly distinct picture of how the two stack up against one another.
For a lot of people, Friday’s The Wonderful 101 Direct was the first time the new Wii U exclusive IP really passed through their radars. During past reveals, the game’s been overshadowed by news about core Nintendo properties like Mario or Zelda.
Now that I’ve spent three hours with the game’s eShop demo, which released on Friday, I can safely say that shoving The Wonderful 101 off to the side was a terrible mistake. The close partnership between Platinum Games and Nintendo has produced one of the most wonderfully charming new franchises to debut in the last decade – a much-needed break from a world overpopulated by realistic M-rated shooters.
Both upcoming next-gen consoles are tearing it up with a major first-party driving game at launch, and that means for fans of the genre, it’ll be important to weigh the pros and cons of each head-to-head before you dive into a full purchase for either. Fortunately, I managed to score some hands-on time with both games at E3, and came away with an assessment of what people will love – and maybe not love so much – about each.
Click below for this week’s Next-Gen Face-Off.
Transistor is Supergiant Games’ latest RPG, and like their previous hit Bastion, it’s a visual wonder that doesn’t pride itself on realism but rather on solid artwork presented in as pure a fashion as possible. This time, the game doesn’t explore a medieval-type fantasy world, but a futuristic one, and that means more sophisticated gameplay ideas, more intense enemy battles, and of course a brand-new setting and characters.
I got to experience the game’s E3 demo last month, and walked away with a big game to add to my watch list for PlayStation 4. Find out what makes the game so intriguing in my hands-on preview.
When I approached Sonic Lost World at E3 2013, I was equal parts optimistic and skeptical. After all, the Sonic franchise has given me little reason to maintain interest over the better part of the last decade, and aside from some Galaxy-style touches and the old-school look and feel, I had little reason to believe this entry would be very different.
Now that I’ve played it, however, I can definitely say that I now know where I stand on the future of Sonic, at least if it looks anything like this.
Are you a fan of sandbox games? Do you enjoy creating your own game worlds and building your dreams? Do you want to try out your skills in game design? If so, you’re going to really enjoy Project Spark. Revealed during this year’s Microsoft E3 presentation, the development team behind this game wanted to give the gift of creation to everyone.
I think they’re doing a fantastic job.
Project Spark gives gamers a digital canvas to paint and create whatever they can think of. I was very interested, because as a student in game design I already have many of the tools given in Project Spark. It really simplifies the concepts of game engines to give players textures, models, and mechanics to be utilized as they see fit.
Project Spark is more than just a game creating tool though, and I’m going to explain how.
Controllers. They’re one of the key factors in any game console purchase decision. Do they have the right balance of features for all your gaming needs? Are they comfortable and intuitive? Do they come at the right price? With Xbox and PlayStation consoles, there’s usually not a lot of variation, but how the controllers feel is still extremely important.
I got some hands-on time with both consoles at E3. Read on to see what I think about the DualShock 4 and Xbox One controllers.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 builds off of its previous installment to enhance the gameplay and experience. With new features such as an open world to explore and free ranging camera. The game takes place right after the previous title, but now the main protagonist Gabriel Belmont has turned into the famous Dracula, with new vampire powers to add on to his arsenal.
The game has a more polished combat, with additional weapons and powers to try out and combine for a more strategic experience. You can clickity click on the jump for a more thorough explanation of our hands on experience at E3. Just be sure to have some garlic around you neck before you venture further…
As both one of the flashiest and most controversial reveals during Microsoft’s E3 presentation, we made Ryse: Son of Rome a priority on day three of the E3 show floor. Originally announced as a Kinect-heavy 360 title, Ryse has evolved into a next generation Xbox One game that (in the final product) will make use of both the new Xbox One controller and motion and voice Kinect commands. The demo didn’t fully incorporate all of those features, but I was still able to get a pretty good feel for the game during my hands-on time.
With the release of the PlayStation 4 coming this holiday, the launch lineup is showing promise with the inclusion of this title, Knack. The world is being overtaken by a goblin army, and while others fight with planes and soldiers, one scientists has created an ally that grows with thousands of bits and pieces of rubble. Ice, metal and other substances such as wood combine with Knack to give him the ability to defeat the goblin.
Ben and I were able to get some first hand impressions on four different levels to give us four different experiences for this new title. We might get a little silly, but this is a solid launch title that caters to a wide audience.
Clickity click on the jump for gameplay demo videos and impressions for Knack.
The Vita is in desperate need of some system-selling must have titles, and for some time now I’ve suspected that Tearaway could fit the bill. Coming from Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet), Tearaway is an intriguing and ambitious title which promises to make use of all the Vita’s unique functions. With GenGAME taking to the Sony show floor on day two of E3, I made Tearaway one of my priorities.
Puppeteer is one of the most creative PS3 titles to come out of Sony’s already-creative SCE Japan Studio, and it’s a masterpiece in just about every sense of the word. Not only is it gorgeous in presentation, but it’s got a spectacular story-telling style that resembles a theater production and a simple gameplay style that’s sure to appeal to everyone.
I got a chance to go hands-on with the game at E3 today, and it quickly became one of my most-anticipated titles of the year – and I don’t even have a PS3!