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Leviathyn At E3 2012: The Lightning Previews Brawler Edition

Welcome to Leviathyn at E3 2012: The Lightning Previews! During my time on the show floor, I saw a TON of games (over 40), and I didn’t think I’d be able to share my experiences with this fast enough. With Lightning Previews, I can do just that.

Today is called the Brawler Edition for a simple reason: this Lightning Preview set is all about the fighting games. Five big-time beatdowns were discovered on the E3 2012 show floor, from a full-body fighting experience to a return to tag-team form for a famous franchise. Check out these five fantastic fighters from E3 2012.

 

Dragon Ball Z Kinect

I was highly skeptical of the Dragon Ball Z Kinect game when I first heard about it, but after seeing it in action, the DBZ fan in me longs for more. There’s no controller needed here, as players will be punching and blasting their way through the entirety of the Dragon Ball Z lore, from Saiyan Saga to Buu Saga.

In the demo I watched, I was amazed at how Kinect picked up on every action and executed the intended attack without issue. All of the motion controls performed matched the same actions I’ve been watching on the anime for years: closed fist forward punches, open hand forward shoots an energy beam, crouching with closed fists raised charges energy, and so on. When it came time to unleash hell, the player put his two fingers to his forehead, then extended them forward in perfect Special Beam Cannon form.My only complaint is that Kinect will not recognize voice commands, so there’ll be no yelling “KAMEHAMEHA!!” for extra damage…then again, most players will probably yell the attacks anyhow, so we’ll just pretend.

I was mighty impressed by Dragon Ball Z Kinect’s showing at Namco Bandai’s booth. I can only hope that quality is retained when the game releases this fall.

 

Injustice: Gods Among Us

NetherRealm’s next project came out of left field right before E3, but after I left the Warner Bros. booth I can’t wait to play more. Injustice: Gods Among Us adapts the same fighting engine of the new Mortal Kombat; the game looks just as sleek and fast as MK, but with much more detail. Each character sports unique special moves that DC fans are more than familiar with, like Superman’s heat vision and Flash’s blinding speed. The insane super moves, however, are downright awesome. Superman bashed The Flash into space, then flew up and bashed him straight back down to Earth. Mortal Kombat didn’t have moves like that.

The stages of Injustice are more than just backdrops, with multiple areas and unique obstacles that can change the course of a match. During one of the demo bouts, Superman had backed Flash into a corner of the Batcave stage, completely defenseless. Normally this would mean that Flash was about to get a swift beatdown, but here Flash turned around, pressed a button on the console he was pressed up against, and missiles shot out of the Batmobile in the background, blowing Superman away. This background interactivity is a fresh addition to a fighting game, one I haven’t seen since World Heroes’ “Death Match” mode of old.

No one knew what NetherRealm was up to after Mortal Kombat, but now that Injustice is announced I know I’m ready for some more superhero fighting action. If this is an apology for Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, consider yourselves forgiven, NetherRealm.

 

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Super Smash Brothers this is not.

We’ve all heard the comparison, but let me assure that those comparisons only apply during a trailer or gameplay video. In practice, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is its own game with its own control scheme and objectives. Sure, it’s four-player brawling and this isn’t the first game to do it, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

The goal of a match is simple: kill as many opponents as possible in three minutes. However, the only way to kill an opponent is to connect with a super move, and super moves are only accessed by building the meter near each fighter’s picture. There are normal attacks, three of them actually, but their only purpose is to build the meter for kills. There is no scoring with regular attacks. While this may sound silly, it actually makes battles more strategic. Do I use a Level 1 super as soon as I get one bar, hoping that it hits? Do I build my meter all the way to Level 3 and unleash my ultimate Super Move? These are but a few of the things to consider in the heat of battle.

Speaking of super moves, some of them are downright cheap. The newly-announced Big Daddy fills the arena with water that only he can move around in, the other three character just float helplessly. Big Daddy has free reign to kill as many characters as he can in a fixed amount of time, which in the hand of a skilled player could be huge. Big Daddy’s Level 3 potential is much higher that, say, Parappa, who raps his way to three instant kills with his Level 3. These strategies will be better fleshed out with more playthroughs, sure, but for a brief three-match demo I didn’t know how to proceed.

I was also able to play a match using the Vita connectivity, and I actually found the Vita to control more comfortably than the DualShock 3. The main difference is pressing both shoulders to activate a super instead of one, but even that is significant for those in the middle of a fight. It’s also worth noting that the Vita match was the only time I stood victorious, so mayve that’s why I liked the Vita version more.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale may seem like a measly Smash Bros clone, but come this fall when it releases, it will be able to stand its ground. Now, where’s Sir Dan from Medievil?

Persona 4 Arena

Beauty.

Sheer beauty is the only way I can describe Persona 4 Arena. Every animation, every attack, and every stance is shown with the most beautiful artwork and graphics I’ve ever seen. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Persona 4 Arena, but from what I could tell the controls are looking a bit easier than Arc System Works’ BlazBlue and Guilty Gear games. I’m sure this is intended, as I’m sure Atlus fully expects some Persona fans not adept in fighting controls to try Arena.

One major thing to note is P4A’s match speed. The game is FAST, much faster than Street Fighter 4 and even faster than BlazBlue. Matches were fought in what seemed like a blink of an eye. Learning characters is hard enough, especially in a game like this where no two characters are alike, but to then throw whirlwind speed into the mix? Persona 4 Arena may end up falling into “easy to learn, hard to master” territory pretty quickly. No matter how it plays, I’m hoping that Persona 4 Arena can serve as a good point of reference for beginner Persona fans like myself. The story is set two months after the events of Persona 4, so this could end up being one big spoilerfest, but any additional background information I can bring to my Persona 4 Vita experience in October would be greatly appreciated.

Persona 4 Arena lays the smack down on the seasoned RPG franchise on August 7th.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Ah, Tekken, you never cease to amaze me with your craziness.

Last year, I got a taste of the arcade version of Tekken Tag 2, with its gigantic cast and strange stage design. 2-on-2 martial arts battling in a Christmas village? Whatever you say, Tekken!

Now I find out that not only is the console version adding MORE characters to the game (including Angel, my beloved Angel, who I’ve not been able to use since Tekken 2!), but a new stage features a rather unlikely celebrity: Snoop Dogg. That’s right, the D-O-Double-G is getting his own arena, complete with big speakers, gold everything, and two lady dances on either side of the Doggfather as he sits on his throne. There’s even a trailer:

Yup, that’s real.

Don’t let it take away from the whole package, though, because Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is technically impressive and damn fun to boot. The game boasts the same amount of graphical prowess as Tekken 6, never breaking 60 frames-per-second, even when all four characters are on-screen at once. The new Tag Combo and Tag Assault moves are simple to learn and devastating to use. The possibilities of chaining combos between both of my characters are endless, especially with the stacked roster.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 could end up being the best fighting game of 2012 when all is said and done, but we won’t know for sure until September 11th, when the game is finally ready for our DoggyFizzle Televizzles…or televisions.



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