Aztecs versus E3: Day Three Hands-On Preview

by Jordan Pollock

Courtesy of Entertainment Software Association
Courtesy of Entertainment Software Association

This year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is probably the most explosive E3 in recent memory. With the announcement of the Xbox ONE and the Play Station 4 the gaming industry is being inundated by more games than ever before. And not to be counted out, Nintendo came in swinging with new games for the WiiU and 3DS.

Super Mario 3DWorld”

Mario is perhaps the most iconic video game character to ever exist. He’s been around since the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Who would have thought back in 1981 that Mario would still be relevant today? Well I have a surprise for you my friends and countrymen! Mario is back for the umpteenth time and he’s brought friends!

Super Mario 3DWorld” is the proper sequel to “Super Mario Bros. 2”. By that, I mean Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad are all appearing in game together as playable characters. But the difference between this game and the other recent four-player Mario games is that each character has different attributes. Luigi can jump higher than everyone else, Peach can float for a short period of time, Toad runs faster than everyone else, and Mario is generally the most balanced.

The objective of this game is to work together to get through each level cooperatively in a three dimensional (3D) environment. However, like in the newer two dimensional (2D) Mario games, players can actively work against each other. But this will only hinder everyone’s progression through the level.

I was dubious about the game as I watched other people play it, but when I had a chance to try it out, I was pleasantly surprised. For the first time in years, after hundreds of reiterations, “Super Mario 3DWorld” offers a more refreshed take on the very long running series. And I, for one, am happy to see that a Mario game could actually be interesting again.

“Super Mario 3DWorld” releases on the WiiU in December 2013.

Sonic Lost World”

Sonic has had a rough couple of years. For a long time I didn’t think that good a Sonic game could would ever come out again after “Sonic Adventure” (I’m excluding “Sonic Adventure 2”, no matter how much I like it, because I feel like it is responsible for the PS3 bomb “Sonic the Hedgehog”). Fortunately though, Sonic appears to be on the rise. And who could blame him? After “Sonic and the Black Knight” and “Sonic the Hedgehog Episode 2”, anything at all would be better.

Sonic Lost World” is an all new Sonic game in the vein of “Sonic Generations” and “Sonic Colors”. It’s all about being Sonic, running really fast (as Sonic does), and beating up robotic bad guys. That’s all a Sonic fan wants, and Lost World delivers just that. Granted, there is a story involving six menacing bad guys that are attacking cute woodland creatures. But hey, we need context for even the most brainless of games (I’m looking at you “NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams”).

In any case, “Lost World” is as fun as a Sonic game can and should be. The faster you go, the better. Because you’re Sonic. You got to go fast.

“Sonic Lost World” speeds into WiiUs during the holiday season of 2013.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2”

This is the second chapter of the story of Gabriel Belmont, the former knight of the Brotherhood of Light that renounced his faith and plunged himself into darkness. Many years have passed since the events of “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” and “Castlevania: Mirror of Fate”. Gabriel has since become much more powerful and now no longer feels sympathy towards humans. His one goal in life now is to destroy the order that raised him, the Brotherhood of Light.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2” maintains the tight controls of the original game but adds new features. Now, instead of switching between light and dark magic to gain health back or do extra damage, Gabriel has access to the Void Sword for attacks imbued with light magic and Chaos Claws for dark magic imbued attacks.

“Castlevania” is a very long running series, but it hasn’t changed much until “legendary” game designer Hideo Kojima stepped in to reboot the series. With Kojima’s direction Lords of Shadow managed to be impress many long time fans, and it seems Lords of Shadow 2 may very well do the same. I don’t want to get too in-depth with the story so that I don’t ruin it for those who haven’t played the first game., but this is definitely a title to look out for. Also, why haven’t you played the original “Lords of Shadow”? It’s a fantastic game!

“Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2” slinks out of the darkness for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in the Winter of 2013.