The Games I Played at GamesCom

Video Games? Aren’t those for nerds or something? Yeah sure, I played some of those I guess.

Let’s just get right to it, starting with:

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition

I couldn’t find this gem of a fighting game at the Capcom booth and later found out that it was actually at the Microsoft booth in an entirely different hall. Why? I don’t know. But when I got there barely anyone was playing it and I have two guesses as to why: 1) Not a lot of people are familiar with this game and it’s not exactly the easiest game to just pick up and play. 2) It was kind of hard to find and the only way to play it was with Xbox Controllers that were held at a really uncomfortable angle that made playing kind of a pain. That is also the reason why I didn’t play too much of it. The game is, as expected, pretty much exactly the game I know and love with no changes made to gameplay, so going in depth about that seems like a waste of everyone’s time. The changes to the interface work well and shouldn’t bother anyone but none of the graphic-filter options seemed any good. Two of them just looked cheap, one of them just had scan lines to make it look like the arcade (and didn’t look too stellar either) and the last one was “none”, which I preferred and played with, but still isn’t super ideal. Regardless, the game still looks great, even by today’s standards. I really wish Capcom had had this game at their booth with some nice arcade sticks, because then I would have gladly played more. If you like fighting games, get this game. If not, you’re probably better off either trying out the trial version or just passing completely, because this is a rather “hardcore” example of the genre.

Talking about fighting games and Capcom, I also played

Street Fighter X Tekken

If you read yesterday’s article you should know that this was the first game I rushed towards. The line for playing this wasn’t all that long, so I spent a maximum of 20 minutes standing around before I got to play. They had nice Screens lined up with a pair of 2 MadCatz TE arcade sticks each to provide great comfort while playing. This is how it’s done! My first impression after my first match was that this game is definitely not Street Fighter IV with Tekken characters and chain-combos. Don’t let the similar look fool you, as the feel of the game is quite different. The jabs and shorts (weak attacks) for example didn’t seem nearly as potent as they are in Capcom’s recent Street Fighter. It also seems like you can’t be quite as sloppy with your execution, as I often did a launcher attack after my 3-hit combo instead of the move I wanted, because I hit the button too early. Yet, I feel like the chain-combos and the easy-to-pick-up combo system make the game more approachable. The combination of approachability and encouragement to be precise sounds like a great concept to me. Sadly, I only got to play against complete fighting game beginners or mashers and while that did allow to to keep playing as I never once lost, trying out a lot of things wasn’t quite possible. After eight or ten matches I had to leave the machine because some VIPs apparently had to play the game… pricks! All in all I’d really have liked to test this game out more, as my attempts to do things were often stopped either by mashing opponents or my unclean button inputs. I had fun though, so you can expect Street Fighter X Tekken to be a good one, even if you’re new to fighting games.

The only other thing I managed to play was

Super Mario 3D Land

While I was standing in a short line for this game I noticed that some Nintendo employee would always put a little button on top of the screen that the players were playing in front of. Those were probably meant as gifts for the players, but almost every time somebody walked by and casually picked up said buttons, apparently not knowing who they were meant for. Luckily the players didn’t seem to notice so nobody ended up being sad. Anyway, I got to play 2 of the 4 available levels. The first one was the one everybody should have seen already. It’s pretty much your average early-stages level with green scenery, no difficult jumps and pretty straight forward level design. If I had had the chance I would have picked a different one, but it was already loaded, so I played it out. I managed to familiarize myself with the controls, which heavily remind me of the 2D Marios with a roll-button added, which also allowed for the far-jump we know from the 3D games. The Raccoon/Tanuki Suit was also openly available, which lets you glide a bit in mid-air swing your tail when you press the run button, which turned out to be pretty fun. I didn’t get the fire flower until I played the other level, which was a boss-stage. It started on a flying ship with a slowly auto scrolling camera with a fixed angle. If you played Super Mario Bros. 3 this should sound very familiar to you and yes, that is pretty much how it felt. you could move in all directions and to find a “hidden” area you had to walk away from the camera at some point, but finishing this stage without ever leaving the x-axis seemed very possible to me. At the end of that level I encountered the boss enemy, who would enter his shell and shoot himself across the round room trying to hit you. After some time he would stop moving and be open to a good ol’ jump-on-the-head or, whatever other means I’d have for attacking (for example the fire flower which I got in the hidden area). Beating him opened up the final area of the stage, which had a ladder and a flag pole behind it (which was also found at the end of the other stage and, I assume, marks the end of every level). Reaching the top of the pole with a jump from the ladder nets the player a 1up. Sound familiar? Sure does. The original Super Mario Bros. had exactly that. Nintendo really seems to be trying to bring the feel and greatness of the classic Mario Bros. series to the 3DS in a 3D environment and if you ask me, it works pretty well.

My favorite part was when I stood in lines though. Luckily, that part was constantly open to me.


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