I Covered E3 and All I Got Was This Lousy Reboot

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posted 7/7/2010 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
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There were a lot of great games at this year's E3. This was the year we saw our first glimpse of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, learned the final name of Project Natal and got our hands on Rock Band's newest instrument. While it lacked the big surprises of years past, this year's E3 featured more than enough games to warrant the expensive trip to the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This year's E3 also reminded us of a number of great franchises finally being rebooted in the next twelve months. We're talking about Kirby, Sonic the Hedgehog, Parasite Eve, X-COM and even Rayman. All of these games were on display, leading us to conclude that this was a great year for old school fan service. Over the next three pages we intend to take a closer look at fifteen of the upcoming retro-related console games hitting store shelves in the next year. From 2D classics to 3D revivals, this list has just about everything you could possible want. That is, unless you're looking for original IPs or Halo sequels.

Twisted Metal (Sony)
How Long Has It Been?
It's hard to believe that it's been nine long years since we've seen a brand new Twisted Metal game on the home consoles. You can cut the absence in half if you include the Sony PSP. Twisted Metal: Head-On was a launch game for Sony's portable in 2005, though it was more of a best-of collection of Twisted Metal cars and levels.

Why Should You Care?

It may be easy to dismiss it now, but the original Twisted Metal was a fantastic game. So was its sequel. How good were these games? Electronic Gaming Monthly named Twisted Metal the best game of 1995, quite a feat considering strong competition from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, EarthBound and Chrono Trigger. When Twisted Metal Black hit the PlayStation 2 it was hailed as one of the best games on the system, perhaps even the first must-have game of the 21st century. Unfortunately, this darker, M-rated sequel didn't win over the audience and Sony's seminal car combat franchise spent the next nine years waiting for the perfect time to make a comeback.

Apparently 2010 is a good enough time for a full-fledged Twisted Metal resurrection, complete with much of the original team and director. The fact that this game will have robust online support should pique the interest of anybody who couldn't get enough of Sweet Tooth and the rest of the Twisted Metalheads. So far the brand new multiplayer modes really extend the idea of what Twisted Metal was all about, giving objectives and first-person shooter-style game types. Even if this game ends up being more of the same, the online modes should be more than enough of a reason to support David Jaffe's newest action game.

What Could Go Wrong?

Want to know the real reason Twisted Metal was such a revelation 15 years ago? It's because at that time there were no must-own first-person shooters on consoles, the car combat genre was the closest the PlayStation got to Doom or Quake. Fast forward a decade and a half and all three of the consoles have triple-A first-person shooters, which makes me wonder where Twisted Metal's place is in the 21st century. Worse yet, the general consensus about this PS3 announcement seemed to be indifference. Could it be that Twisted Metal's days are numbered?


Kid Icarus Uprising (Nintendo)
How Long Has It Been?
There's a reason it feels like we've been demanding a Kid Icarus sequel for decades, and that's because we have. Not counting his cameo in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kid Icarus has only been in two games. The first was an early generation NES game, while the second came out in 1991 for the black and white Game Boy of all things. While neither game was the well-crafted masterpiece of a Mario or Metroid game, they were memorable enough to keep us wanting more nearly two decades later.

Why Should You Care?
Look, I'll be honest with you; the first two Kid Icarus games were not the triple-A titles everybody seems to remember. The NES game is a mess, with frustrating level designs and cheap deaths from start to finish. The Game Boy title was a marked improvement, but it is in no way a must-own platformer. Yet year after year we see game journalists (including myself) demand Nintendo revisit this classic franchise.

The fact remains that Kid Icarus had a great theme and a lot of untapped potential. We've seen Greek mythology through the eyes of a serial killer in God of War, but there's something cute and innocent about exploring this world with the cartoony Kid. Everybody knows how good Nintendo is at making great games, so it stands to reason that they would finally give us a Kid Icarus game worth getting excited about. What's more, it feels like another installment is long overdue. We've had sequels to practically every other Nintendo franchise, why not Kid Icarus? Now we can finally stop asking for a sequel and enjoy what will hopefully be the installment we've all been waiting for.

What Could Go Wrong?

Given how many years we've been demanding this game, there's no way Kid Icarus: Uprising will live up to our lofty expectations. It's also a bad sign that the Japanese version of the game isn't even using the classic name. If the game follows the originally too closely it will be a disaster, yet if it strays too far we'll all wonder why anybody bothered in the first place. It's a fine line that Kid Icarus is walking, one that is far from a sure bet.



GoldenEye 007 (Activision)
How Long Has It Been?
Despite being based on a 1995 film, Rare's GoldenEye 007 didn't hit the Nintendo 64 until two years later. A few years ago Electronic Arts attempted to sucker mindless gamers into buying their newest Bond game by liberally using the name "GoldenEye." It didn't work and therefore I say that the last true GoldenEye 007 game was released 13 years ago on a cartridge-based console.

Why Should You Care?
GoldenEye 007 is not as good as you think it is. Don't get me wrong, I'm no hater. I loved the game as much as the next guy when it was first released on the Nintendo 64. It was the game that finally proved to me that first-person shooters were not some passing fad. But this is a game that does not hold up upon closer inspection. After 14 years of first-person progress, it's hard to go back to a game that employed only one analog stick and makes you stand in one place to aim.

The good news is that Activision is bringing this franchise to the present, all while keeping the best elements from the classic Nintendo 64 game. What is keeping me from fully embracing this quasi-remake is the unsettling nature of watching Activision recreate levels made famous by another developer. I have no doubt that Activision is up to the task, but part of me wishes they would have come up with an original game. It's not the GoldenEye 007 name that made this game so memorable; it was the core mechanics and great multiplayer mode that put it over the edge. It also didn't hurt that this Rare game was the first of its kind on most game consoles.

What Could Go Wrong?
Let's be honest, Nintendo's console isn't known for its amazing online multiplayer support. Games like Monster Hunter Tri and The Conduit prove that you can make good things happen online, but not without a lot of trouble and friend codes. Perhaps this game would have been a better fit on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, two consoles with better online infrastructure. Bad online multiplayer will only emphasize the fact that not much has changed in the last 13 years.

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