While at E3, Nuckles87 and I were invited to a party hosted by SEGA’s mobile division, SEGA Networks, that was dedicated to mingling and showing off SEGA’s mobile titles. It was a great chance to relax after a hard day and to get some free food and drink. Those pretzel bun sandwiches with the roast beef and bacon were out of this world! But mostly, we where there to check out these games that have only been available to the lucky few… million in the Great White North. The one I’ll be talking about in this preview is Sonic Jump Fever, a sequel to the 2012 game that is both harder, easier and more fast-paced than its predecessor. It even has Chao. Yes, Chao are back!
Terror in virtual reality awaited me as I waited for over an hour to check out the Oculus Rift for the first time. I didn’t waste the wait too much. I did go off and leave Nuckles87 in my place for a bit to play as Sonic in Smash Bros 3DS. I won my match and even had an adventure kicking some Koopa and Egg Robo butt. But that’s not why you’re reading this. So after getting inside and sitting on a nice sofa, the fine folks at Oculus strapped on my headgear and headphones and put me into the world of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
Until a week ago, I had never owned a Hatsune Miku game. Until two days ago I had never played one. What I’m trying to tell you is I am extremely new to this franchise, so I would like to ask you to please excuse some of my noobish glee as I acknowledge several years after everyone else that Hatsune Miku Project Diva F is a really fun rhythm game and I am glad to have finally played it, even if it took the prospect of an E3 write-up for me to finally play it.
After you’re done reading, get a second opinion from Jason Berry over at Sonic Stadium!
Sonic has been reinvented countless times over the years, to the point where the character has time and time again become unrecognizable in every way except his name, speed and trademark attitude. Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric represents the latest of these reinventions and is one of the most radical re-imaginings since Sonic made the transition to 3D fifteen years ago. Nothing has been held as sacred here, with Sonic Boom effectively acting as a near complete teardown of what past games were.
For one, this game isn’t just about speed and platforming, but also features a variety of brawling-centric levels. Though very few speed areas were on display, the final game will apparently feature a mix of speed areas and brawling areas, rather than keeping them segregated from one another as they were in the demo. Since there were no real speed areas on display, this preview will be focusing mostly on the game’s combat areas.
This is going to be an interesting year for us here at SEGAbits, as we try to get accustomed to covering Atlus games. I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with the company, but I haven’t truly begun to introduce myself to their catalog until today, when I played several of their games on the showfloor. I’m going to do my best to provide coverage of this company, but I am somewhat out of my depth here. First on my docket? Abyss Odyssey!
I had a fun time with this game. It’s essentially a Smash Bros game with rogue-like elements. So pretty much a side scrolling brawler that can be really, really hard and brutal. Allies can hit and damage each other in this game, the labyrinth quickly becomes much more difficult the deeper you go, and dying will result in you going back to your previous checkpoint, sans all of your equipment and items. Death in this game carries a serious consequence! For a rogue-like this game is actually pretty generous, as you get to keep all of your collected experience, skills and gold.
Summer of Sonic features an in-development game to play every year, usually for the first time to the public outside big industry shows like E3. This year, we got Sonic Lost World, on both Wii U and 3DS, making its debut in the United Kingdom.
First, a quick summary of what was on show. The rep told us this was the Comic-Con build, so for the few Americans in the audience who were there, we played the same game you did. There were three Wii U demo pods and six 3DSes running. On the Wii U game there were 4 levels available to play: Windy Hill, Desert Ruins 1 (styled with a small letter S shoe-horned in between the s and the e on the title card to make Dessert – a pun on the fact it’s a candy/sweets level), Desert Ruins 2 (an auto-run level through honey combs) and Frozen Factory (the Sonic 2-styled casino level). On the 3DS, there were 3 available choices – a Windy Hill tutorial level, Windy Hill 1 and Desert Ruins 2 (here, an Egyptian-themed puzzle level with moving around of blocks & balls). We tried to play as much as possible, bearing in mind that because of queue lengths there was a limit of one level per person. Those of you who recall back to Summer of Sonic 2010 may remember we did a look at Sonic Colours‘ debut – this time we have opinions on the game not just from myself but several Sonic Retro forum members, so read on to see what we thought!
Sega is in full force this week at their Sega Arcade across the street from the San Diego Comic Con. Fans are lining up to play the latest, upcoming Sega titles. Hatsune Miku is drawing a surprisingly huge crowd. Of course, there is no bigger Sega icon than Sonic the Hedgehog and he was there in full force. There’s a giant statue of him in front of the arcade that can’t be missed, a normal-sized statue for taking pictures with and the main Hedgehog himself posing with fans. You can even get a Sonic chili dog out front!
But of course, the biggest attraction for Sonic fans is Sonic Lost World. The E3 demo is available to the public for the first time and folks playing seem delighted. However, Alex and I got a special treat as Aaron Webber came by to show us a “behind closed doors” demo with a brand new level, “Frozen Factory” which… is once again another fake out level name and it is neither frozen, nor a factory. Well, it might be a factory come to think of it. Keep reading for more details on the level and what improvements have been made to the original demo.
The Mario and Sonic Olympic titles have been VERY successful for Sega and Nintendo. I mean who doesn’t love to see Mario and Sonic, once the most bitter rivals of the 90’s console wars compete together? While the dream events have always been fun, the main problem with this series has been the regular Olympic events themselves. They’re bland. Vanilla. Just plain…..”Meh”. What this series needs is some good, solid game mechanics. Does Mario and Sonic at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics finally solve this problem? Eeeeh….maybe. Read on.
I have a confession to make: I am not very good at real time strategy. I have always been more of an action gamer, so strategically placing units and managing resources are not things I have much experience with. That said, I do have a few dozen hours of experience with Total War: Rome, so when it came time to choose between Company of Heroes 2 and Total War: Rome 2 this E3 I knew there was only one I could write about with any degree of competence. Though I will make it clear now: if you are looking for detailed impressions of the many changes made to Rome 2, look elsewhere, as the only other Total War game I have ever played was the original Rome and I was a very casual player.
Have to say, I’m happy with my choice. From what I saw in the presentation, Rome 2 looks like it will be a pretty serious improvement over its predecessor. Your cities are a lot more detailed now: instead of your cities simply changing their appearance as they grow, the cities now actually grow and evolve. The changes made to your cities can now be seen visually as they develop over the course of the game’s 200 year campaign. In addition to this it sounds like city management will now be more streamlined. Rather than having to micromanage each individual city, you can now manage all your cities from your capital.
I stepped into Relic’s booth at E3 with a bit of hesitation. Company of Heroes is a series I’m unfamiliar with from a studio that started the series with a different publisher (THQ) on a platform (PC) that I don’t game on much and in a genre I haven’t touched in ages. Needless to say I was coming into the game inexperienced. I will say though, I walked away with more of an appreciation for the genre and respect for the work that goes into it. I got a chance to play both a single player and multiplayer campaign. Here’s my impressions.
When Sonic Colors came on the scene in 2010, it was a breath of fresh air for the Sonic franchise which was getting quite stale at the time, and it broke the infamous “Sonic Cycle”. In 2011, Sonic Generations shattered it even further. Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed ran those pieces into dust and finally, Sonic Lost World sweeps up those pieces and dumps them in the trash. You need not worry about the Sonic franchise anymore. Sonic Team has learned from its past, listened to its fans, and has renewed the Sonic series into one you can trust to have great games even when they take risks and change the formula a bit and no game is more proof of that than Sonic Lost World.
I will confess, SEGA’s line up does not exactly blow me away this year. I am out of my depth when it comes to PC strategy games and as much as I love Sonic, I need more to sate my SEGA hunger. After experiencing other E3 lineups that had the likes of Vanquish, Shinobi, Anarchy Reigns, Yakuza, and House of the Dead Overkill: Director’s Cut, the line up at the SEGA booth this year feels sparse and not quite as exciting.
Thank God for Bayonetta.
Back in late 1990 Sega wowed players with a great platformer starring Mickey Mouse known as “Castle of Illusion”. It had great graphics, sound, and challenge for its time. To this day, it’s the game Mickey’s most well-known for. 23 years later, Castle of Illusion is back again thanks to Emiko Yamamoto and Sega Studios Australia. It features graphics that give it the look of a $60 game, while still being the simple but challenging platformer we’ve grown to love.
Me and Nux are big fans of internet celebrity Angry Joe and his video reviews. I even got to meet him at E3 2 years ago. It looks like he’s just as excited for Aliens: Colonial Marines as we are. Here, he gives a top ten list of things he’s most excited for in this upcoming release. It feels a bit stretched with some of the reasons, but it shows his enthusiasm for the upcoming release. Check it out.
There’s no doubt about it; there are many games out there, all of them vying for your money and attention in a competitive marketplace. At a time when the industry’s favoring, by and large, a play-it-safe approach to development, it’s always a breath of fresh air when a game surfaces that feels like something truly unique. Judging by its latest demo (now available on the 3DS’ North American eShop) Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure is one such game.