My final look at Best in Show evaluates the RPG’s that were represented at E3. There is one thing you may immediately notice about the games in my list, none of them contain the words Final or Fantasy in them. While Final Fantasy XIII did look amazing and I myself am looking forward to it, I feel the RPG’s below offer a fresh perspective on the RPG genre. Did your favorites make the list?
Best in Show – Star Wars: The Old Republic
Fancy CG trailers aside, what makes Star Wars: The Old Republic my choice for Best in Show is Bioware has created some real innovations for the MMO genre. Most notably is every bit of dialogue in the game will be voice acted. This is a massive undertaking and they think it’ll be one of the biggest voice recordings for any game ever made. If that wasn’t amazing enough, just like in other Bioware RPG’s, your choices have an affect on the storyline. In the demo they were showing, players were in control of a Sith character. At one point during the demo, players had to choose between killing a captain of a ship or sparing his life. If they killed him, the ship was then boarded by Jedi they had to fight off. If they spared his life, the captain would later shoot down the pods the Jedi were approaching in. This is mostly unheard of in current MMO’s where storyline usually follows a linear path.
However, the biggest draw and what could also be its biggest weakness too, is the appeal of playing a Jedi in an online game. There’s no denying the appeal of going online, force choking, throwing lightning, and generally being evil towards other players. However, Bioware has to make sure all their classes are attractive to play, so every player doesn’t end up rolling a Jedi class. Bioware has already proven that they can innovate the single player RPG genre, let’s see if they can take that same innovation to the online world.
Runner Up – Borderlands
Developer: Gearbox Software
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
If this is the first time you have ever heard of the game Borderlands, don’t feel so alone. Just like you I had never heard of this game before E3. After hearing people talk about it and seeing a really awesome trailer I am really excited about it now. At first glance you will look and tell me I put this in the wrong category as it is a first person shooter. You soon learn it moves quickly past that with a level up system, a skill tree, a loot system (they claim they will have over 1,000,000 different guns in the game) and everything else that makes up an RPG. Seeing the Diablo formula applied to an FPS is ultimately why I think this game can do well. On one hand you have the addictive formula of leveling up a character, collecting loot, armor and weapons with friends online. Add in the FPS style gameplay that can draw from a player base that may not normally play RPGs, and you have a formula for a massive hit. We’ll see if Borderlands becomes the Diablo/PSO/Monster Hunter for the FPS crowd.
Missing in Action – Kingdom Hearts 3
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PS3 Exclusive?
In an E3 year where console exclusivity was the big rage, I’m a bit surprised that Square Enix did not announce any information regarding Kingdom Hearts 3. The first two Kingdom Heart games have been Playstation exclusives so it makes sense that the third one would be a PS3 exclusive. Then again, if E3 2008 showed us anything, it is that no series is safe from going multi-platform. Could Kingdom Hearts follow the same trend and join its franchise brother on other consoles? Is that why we haven’t heard any information regarding Kingdom Hearts 3 yet? I guess I’ll have to settle for spin-off after spin-off after spin-off until then.
This ends my look at some of the most anticipated games coming out of E3. There were quite a few genres I didn’t get a chance to talk about, but just like the three genres I covered they were full of so many candidates. Among some of these are games like DJ Hero, Rock Band: The Beatles, Alan Wake, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Split/Second, Forza Motorsport 3, Halo: ODST, and Left4Dead 2. 2009 and early 2010 already look like another wallet burning game season. Look forward to Unwound’s coverage of all these games and more in the months to come!