You’d think with my push to get Invisible Gamer up, running, and full of great content just before E3, I’d have posted something by now about the year’s biggest gaming event. So what gives? Did I forget? Do I just not care? Or do I have something so mind-blowingly awesome planned for Invisible Gamer at E3 that I just couldn’t bear to spoil the surprise?
Nah, it’s nothing like that. I’ve just been so focused on finishing Mass Effect 3 before I surround myself with tens of thousands of people who’ve already finished the game that I haven’t had time to commit anything to record about the biggest week in gaming news. I’ve got a ton of other content to create this week, including a Resistance: Burning Skies review that I will probably write on the flight to L.A. and edit in the back of whatever rip-off taxi cab picks me up from LAX (have I mentioned before that I hate L.A. and its crooked-ass taxi drivers? I do.)
So now that I’ve successfully wrapped up one of gaming’s great modern achievements, here’s what I’m most looking forward to seeing at E3:
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
The 1990s were a zeitgeist of popular opinion, superstition, and an all-out media assault on the topic of extra terrestrials, and I can’t even begin to tell you about all the memories I have of a certain boy I knew who was certain he’d have to rescue all his loved ones from alien abduction, or die trying (yeah, I was a pretty serious kid.) But while ID4, Heaven’s Gate, and even The X-Files have all dropped out of the collective consciousness of a generation that was raised on the idea that “we are not alone,” there’s one relic of that silliness that I still revisit regularly: the peerless turn-based strategy game, X-Com: UFO Defense. There was nothing before and there’s been nothing since that has so thoroughly and engrossingly captured the concept of alien invasion, and this year’s surprise reveal that Firaxis was working on a modern remake of the game was almost enough to wash away the memory of 2K Marin’s soulless cash-grab of an XCOM FPS. Am I confident Firaxis will deliver? Absolutely. But ff they don’t? Oh, well. MicroProse’s original title is still one of the greatest games ever made, and you can be damned sure I’ll continue playing it until I’m old and gray and the little men with the big eyes have come for me at last.
Ni no Kuni
Oh. Mah. God.
Level-5 committed one of the biggest travesties of the year when it declared there were “too many hurdles” stopping them from releasing an English translation of Ni no Kuni: Shikoku no Madoushi for the Nintendo DS. Seriously: a Dragon Quest style RPG, set in a world designed and populated by those wizards of hand-drawn animation at Studio Ghibli, and a Joe Hisaishi soundtrack? Who wouldn’t want to play that? YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGH!
Okay…I’m fine….it’s okay….no. Really. I’m good.
As long as the PS3 version of the game is anywhere near as good as the portable game I played last year, I’m willing to forgive Level-5 for their egregious error in judgment. The beauty of the original title was somewhat lost in the translation to the DS’s low resolution screens and super-compressed FMVs, so the PlayStation 3 is actually a much better fit for the game, but damn, what I wouldn’t give to be able to take this one on the go. (Level-5, if you’re reading: PS Vita.)
Another Team Ninja-style Metroid Adventure
Samus in HD? Yes, please!
Screw popular opinion: Metroid: Other M was a fine return to form for one of the most riveting franchises in gaming history (aside from Samus’s deadpan monologuing and ridiculous justification for not activating her weapon and armor upgrades: “not till daddy Malkovich says it’s okay!”) There’s been some buzz that Retro is working on something Metroid-related for the Wii U’s re-reveal at E3 2012, and though it’s almost certainly going to be a first-person continuation of the Prime series, I’m actually hoping Nintendo’s most talented second-party will get to stretch it legs a little big and take us out of Samus’s HUD. Retro’s already proven it’s capable of delivering a classic-style experience befitting of its name, but with it being in Nintendo’s best interests to deliver a unique FPS for the Wii U, it’s not likely we’ll see anything like Other M again…at least not on a home console. But wait, stop the presses: what if we got a double-dose of Metroid like 2002’s one-two punch of Prime and Fusion – an FPS for the Wii U and a 2D platformer for the 3DS? Don’t think too hard, Nintendo: just make it happen. Can anyone say “Dread”?
Oh Ken, you loveable, awkward bastard. Put that thing back in your pocket until you learn how to use it!
Resistance: Burning Skies is not anywhere near as bad as you might have read, but whenever I play it, I cant’ help but think back on Sony’s E3 2011 press conference, where Irrational Games’ Ken Levine trotted the Vita out of his back pocket and teased that it would be home to a pet project set in the BioShock universe. Come on, Ken. Don’t do that to us again this year. We get ulcers. The Vita may be home to some unique tech, but let’s not kid ourselves: all we really want is a pocket-friendly BioShock FPS. If this shows up at Sony’s E3 2012 conference, even in video form, we’ll all sleep better knowing Papa Levine has our best interests at heart.
Mother 3 on 3DS Virtual Console
A guy can dream, can’t he? Listen: I am the absolute last person who will tell you to buy a flash card, but as long as Nintendo keeps the best JRPG I’ve ever played out of the hands of western audiences, it’s in your best interests to grab the fan translation, stick it on an EZ-Flash IV, fire up your Gameboy hardware of choice, and find out what you’ve been missing out on all these years. Operation Rainfall set a great precedent for convincing Nintendo that there’s a Western audience for JRPGs…maybe it’s about time they focus their efforts on hardware that isn’t going to be dead in less than a year. Mother 3 on 3DS Virtual Console is, hands down, my most anticipated title of E3 2012. It’s just a shame it’ll never happen.
And with that…I’m packed and heading to L.A. in a few hours. See you at the show!