meanwhile

The story of this year’s E3 is still Sony’s press conference.  This is a little disheartening, now that we’re a few days into this thing, because it also means that there aren’t any new games that are blowing people’s minds.

So I figured this is as good a time as any to get a few “First Few Hours” profiles out of the way.

Remember Me:  There’s a lot to like about this game; it’s got a fantastic visual aesthetic, an interesting narrative idea, a female protagonist who isn’t overtly sexualized, a very cool memory-remixing mini-game, and a “design-your-own-combo” system that ought to make the combat sections feel like personal statements.  Alas, the combo system isn’t nearly as creative as I wanted it to be, and in any event the combat is nowhere near as satisfying as the Batman: Arkham games it so clearly is inspired by.  And the environments, while jaw-droppingly beautiful, are claustrophobically linear.  And the load times are absurdly long, even if you install it to the hard drive.  And I got hung up on a boss fight that checked off way too many boxes on my pet peeve checklist (i.e., teleporting enemies, enemies who change the rules of the fight without explaining what it is they’ve changed, etc.).  I still might recommend this to someone who’s better at button mashing and who also has a bit more free time and patience, though; I’d be curious to see where the story ended up.

Animal Crossing: A New Leaf:  I just started playing this morning – long enough to buy a shovel and a fishing line, dig up a few fossils, shake up a few trees and sell some fruit, and put up a $10,000 down payment on a house.  Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all I can do for the time being; my house won’t be ready until tomorrow morning, and there’s no more fruit on the trees or fossils to dig up.  I suspect (well, hope) that there will eventually be more to do, but for now I’m just… waiting.

Scurvy Scallywags:  Ron Gilbert’s had an uneven ride the last few years – I was a big fan of the first DeathSpank but the second one fell flat, and The Cave, while interesting, didn’t really do all that much for me (or at least enough to do more than one playthrough).  Still, when he says he’s doing a pirate-themed Match-3 RPG for the iPhone, I download that shit immediately.  The big twist in this game is that, unlike most Match-3 games where objects only fall down, here the objects come in depending on which direction you swipe – and your enemies appear on the board as objects, too, and you need to be sufficiently powerful enough in order to handle them in combat.  This makes the game a great deal more strategic than you’d expect a Match-3 game to be, as you’ll need to pay attention to enemy placement as well as combo potential.  There are also mini-quests and stat buffs and spells and costume changes and sea shanties and the whole thing is delightful.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been heavily addicted ever since I downloaded it last week.  The only things I’d want changed – and which are probably easily patchable, although what do I know – are the ability to listen to my own audio, and an easier way to compare new costume loot with what I’ve already got equipped.  Highly, highly recommended.

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