When everyone thinks about E3, they usually think about the big press conferences and dramatic unveilings that occur on-stage. But those who attend E3 in person have a very different idea. To them, the stage shows are only a third of the experience. The rest happens while weaving through thick crowds all vying to get their hands on a controller and try out the new toys for themselves. And it’s not just Nintendo that relied solely on the show floor this year—each E3 there is a plethora of titles to check out that simply couldn’t get a mention on-stage due to time constraints. These behind-the-scenes games are no less deserving for attention, however, and therefore today we’re going to cruise through the selection and highlight 3 games that can only be seen on the show floor of E3 2013.
Tales of Xillia
The “Tales of…” series is not the most prominent among JRPGs on this end of the world, but chances are you’ve heard of at least one of the 14 titles released since 1995. Tales of Xillia released on the PS3 two years ago in Japan, but will be making its fully-localized, North American debut in August of 2013.
The E3 trailer for this year featured a number of Tales of Xillia‘s 2D anime cutscenes as well as 3D game elements that are beautifully stylized to maintain the anime feel. The storyline is full of elements that will be familiar to anime fans and players of classic Japanese RPGs, but that is exactly what makes it such a strong title–if a bit niche in American culture. An interesting battle system, full voice acting, and catchy presentation further give off the vibe that Tales of Xillia is a Playstation 3 experience worth being excited about. If all the awards given to the Japanese release are any indication, it would seem that hunch will ring true come release day.
If you’re interested at all in this one, chances are you already own a PS3. If so, you can head on in to Playstation Home and navigate to Sony’s virtual E3 booth to see more screenshots and information about the game. It’s almost as good as being there!
Admit it: there’s a certain thrill that comes from trying to sneak in someplace, take something without being seen or heard, and sneak back out. In a nutshell, that’s what the steampunk Thief games are all about–although as you might guess, the storyline is never quite so straight forward. The product of the now-defunct Looking-Glass Studios, the original game in the Thief series pioneered the “first person sneaker” genre as well as demonstrated incredible realism by 1998 standards and subsequently garnered a dedicated cult following. However, due to issues with closing studios and all the involved rights management nightmares, it’s been almost ten years since we last saw another entry. All that is about to change now that Square Enix has the reigns, as Thief 4, dubbed simply Thief, is well on its way to the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC sometime in 2014.
If you’re the sort of gamer that likes to make characters charge into rooms, guns blazing, you’ll be taught a valuable lesson on your first adventure in Thief. ‘Difficulty’ is the name of the game here–just like in real life, your enemies can take you down with a single well-placed arrow, and if you so much as spill a glass the search will be on until you’re either caught or escaped far away. And no, it’s not a good idea to just try and kill everyone. It’s a tense, thrilling experience lurking in the shadows (seriously–you have a visibility meter) and hunting for an obscure object you’ve been assigned to take. The patience required by Thief will take it off many people’s radar, but give it a chance anyway. You’ll thank me later.
Mario Kart 8
Is it really fair to include a Nintendo game here, considering their presentation was their show floor? Ah, heck with it. I’m doing it anyway.
While I may have been expecting big things from Super Smash Bros on WiiU and 3DS, in the end it was Mario Kart 8 that really grabbed my attention. Super Smash Bros looks like it will be great for owners of Nintendo’s latest hardware, but there’s not much about that warrants moving on from the previous game in the series, Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii. Mario Kart 8, on the other hand, is a massive upgrade from previous generation hardware and software alike. The game looks fantastic running in 1080p at 60fps–even in splitscreen multiplayer–and there are a number of new gameplay features to really put the icing on the cake as well. There are now hangliders and hovercars that pop in and out of normal karts in-race, and speaking of which, the races will be a bit more interesting this time around, too. The ‘8’ of Mario Kart 8 came from a mobius strip track design shaped like said number. If you aren’t familiar with mobius strips, just know that the new Mario Kart features some pretty fun physics-bending tracks to blast through. If there’s any killer app that should move WiiUs for Nintendo, this is it.