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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

A First Look At E3's Day One

Will Cherry |
June 12, 2013 | 12:09 a.m. PDT

Staff reporter

E3 is hosted by the Los Angeles Convention Center (Will Cherry)
E3 is hosted by the Los Angeles Convention Center (Will Cherry)
Tuesday, June 11th, was the opening day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo for the masses at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA. Thousands of media groups, gamemakers, and fans alike gathered from across the globe to see what’s new in the interactive entertainment market.

As for myself, this was my first time entering the Los Angeles Convention Center, let alone the world’s largest entertainment event. Within its doors is an amalgam of sights and sounds, akin to Las Vegas and the Strip. 

At first glance, the exposition is a huge event. I spent over an hour simply wandering and getting a picture of what companies were where and what they were willing to show. 

Within the first half hour, I stumbled upon the South Hall - One of the larger rooms containing the three major console manufacturers: Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. They were all relatively close to each other with the ease of going from one area to the next only being hindered by the sea of a crowd. 

Nintendo had the most ‘open’ area, with multiple setups for Mario Kart 8, the new Donkey Kong Country, Bayonetta 2, Windwaker HD, Pikmin 3, and a booth made specifically for fans to talk to the Mario. And sometimes his brother, Luigi. 

Neon Tommy reporters hard at work (Will Cherry)
Neon Tommy reporters hard at work (Will Cherry)

Among the demo booths, Nintendo was also the only company to create specific photo locations, which my fellow reporters and I made full use of. 

Next door to Nintendo and in the middle of the arena was Sony, featuring a more closed area with less wiggle room for crowds but a plethora of demo booths. The Last Of Us, Beyond: Two Souls, Deadpool, and many more were featured and playable, along with numerous independent titles for both PS3 and Vita. 

In the back of the Sony area was a specific stage with the sleek PS4 behind glass, and several side theaters devoted to PS4 demos (played only by Sony staff, however we might get the chance to do it ourselves soon).

Taking up less than a third of the hall is Microsoft, which contained by far the most stylized neon green area (something akin to an Apple Store). However, the area was cramped, and only a little room was found, ironically, next to the glass case of the Xbox One. There isn’t much to report on the new Xbox at this point other than Microsoft Exec Don Mattrick’s recommendation for non-internet Xbox One users

With the rest of the exposition, in the Publishers section of the West Hall I wandered for most of my day, going through Disney, Ubisoft, Blizzard, Acivision, Square-Enix, and my personal favorite, IndieCade, to see what’s coming, and try my best to play it. 

A giant screen teasing Kingdom Hearts 3 (Will Cherry)
A giant screen teasing Kingdom Hearts 3 (Will Cherry)

The first stop on my journey was Square-Enix. I’ve been a fan of Kingdom Hearts since the beginning, and I spent quite a long time playing through the 1.5 remix booth they had available, occasionally pausing to look at the preview screens for Kingdom Hearts 3, Final Fantasy XV, and Deus Ex trailers, which also had demo booths.

Also, within the Square-Enix booth is their radio show, which I took a listen to live while they were recording with Tetsuya Nomura over Final Fantasy XV, and Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 3. It was quite the interview for any KH fan, but maybe that’s just me.

Next to Square Enix was Ubisoft with guns blazing from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and my new favorite, Watchdogs. They decided to publicly play a demo of a later level in the game on the PS4, and I could not look away. It was absolutely riveting. While I haven’t seen demos for us to play yet, I will keep my eyes open for any opportunity to try it out myself. In the meantime, Assassin’s Creed IV is on my list to play next.

Of course, a large portion of the West hall is taken up by an unexpected newcomer: Disney. Multiple booths and small photo opportunities arise from their newest social MMO, Disney Infinity. This is somewhat the more playful combination of Kingdom Hearts and the faded but memorable ToonTown MMO, where players interact as their favorite Disney characters in an open world with minigames. I also couldn’t help but notice out of the 15 or so playable characters, Johnny Depp’s characters are 2 of them (Jack Sparrow and Tonto).

A highlight of the Indiecade section, the Oculus Rift (Will Cherry)
A highlight of the Indiecade section, the Oculus Rift (Will Cherry)
IndieCade took a sizable portion of the exhibit hall away from all the big names, and featured a number of great independent games. I happened to enjoy a game called QuickDraw from independent creator Stephen Morris. If anyone is around E3 and wants a little more physical fun, I recommend going that way. But there is plenty more to see at the IndieCade booth, especially applications with the new Oculus Rift. Those are on the docket as well. 

To close the first magical day at E3 for me, I was fortunate enough to spend 15 minutes playing the new Battlefield 4 with an Xbox One controller in a massive 30-player war over Shanghai. The game was conquest, and territories were lost and won in the intense battle that had my knees knocking. 

While I admit the game is not very far from its predecessor in any way whatsoever, the introduction of a Commander is a new feature definitely worth mentioning. In this position, a player acts as an overseer to an entire team, giving objectives to complete and rewarding squads with tactical help and assistance from satellite. Overall the experience was well worth the wait.

As for playing on the new Xbox controller, it seems smaller than the previous model, however I was having trouble with the controls. It would have trouble navigating the menu to the game, and I had to resort to a keyboard and mouse to get settings right before deploying. One of the most annoying features was, of course, no start button. But, with all change comes adaption. 

This wraps up my first day at E3 with all the coverage I could find to fit on these web pages. However, if any reader wants to know specifics on any game, console, or publisher, feel free to ask in the comments below, or send me an email and I will gladly check it out for you! 

You can reach contributor Will Cherry here and follow him on twitter here.

Be sure to follow Neontommy's E3 coverage here



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