The second day of E3 demonstrations at the Los Angeles Convention Center allowed for more access than the first. With shorter lines and so many games to choose from, I decided to sample a variety of titles across hardware platforms. Below are several that stood out.
"The Walking Dead: 400 Days" – Telltale's "The Walking Dead" received Game of the Year awards from over 80 different media outlets in 2012. Its episodic, choice-driven storyline will continue next month with "The Walking Dead: 400 Days", a new downloadable add-on episode for the first season of the game. The story focuses on five different characters and takes place during the first 400 days of the zombie apocalypse. During a private demonstration, the game's developers described it as the connective tissue between season one and the upcoming second season of the game, scheduled for release this fall. Based on what I saw, I'm convinced the high quality storytelling and high-pressure decision standards set by the original game will continue into the future.
"Knack" – Family-friendly action games used to be mandatory additions to any new console's software library. In the case of the PlayStation 4, "Knack" seems on par to revive the tradition. Players control a robot character named Knack with abilities to shift size and material makeup. A gravitational field creates a larger version of the robot's using objects in the environment around him. The increased processing power of the PS4 is noticeable when this effect is in play. My time with the game also proved it should not be dismissed as being only for children or simple. with its heavy emphasis on time-considerate attacks, defense strategies and puzzle solving. Knack will release on the same day as the PlayStation 4 this holiday season.
"Killzone: Mercenary" – Games in the Killzone series are notorious showpieces for PlayStation hardware. "Killzone: Mercenary" is the best looking, smoothest running game I have played on the PlayStation Vita. The game's developer has promised more than just a pretty presentation, however, by including a multiplayer mode that carries over weapon and currency statistics into the single player story missions and vice versa. The game aims to be the first quality fully functional first-person shooter on a handheld console when it releases on September 10.
"Mario Kart 8" – It's amazing how striking it is the first time you see Nintendo character's in high-definition. After avoiding the HD jump for so long, the company saw their lineup become synonymous with lesser-quality graphics. "Mario Kart 8" makes it clear from that moment the announcer says "GO!" that this is no longer the case. The game is beautiful, flowing at a consistently smooth frame rate with bright and colorful presentation. Familiar Mario Kart gameplay is back for another lap, but there are some new features as well. Anti-gravity racing is an automatically activated hover mode that kicks in whenever course tracks progress upside down. Players also now have the option of using the Wii U Gamepad or Wii Motion Plus for motion-based steering.
"Rayman Legends" – I was able to play the PS Vita version of this follow up to 2011's "Rayman Origins". The game's stunning hand-drawn art style has been retained and perhaps surpassed with the addition of 3D elements, but I'm most excited about the promise of a wider variety of play environments and the inclusion of 4-player co-op mode on the handheld version. "Rayman Legends" will be released for multiple consoles on September 3.
Find out about several other notable games and key features about others mentioned in this article in the gallery below.
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