When someone who worked on the original Portal wants to create a brand new IP, it's hard to stray too far from what works (and hard to say 'no'). Portal's influence is felt in this timing-based, dimensional-shifting, puzzle game. Using Quadrangle's (a mad scientist) invention, the Inter–Dimensional Shift Device (original isn't it?), you must use precise timing in switching between dimensions to move to the next room (test chamber). As you progress, new dimensions (which shift the appearance world around you) are unlocked, each with unique environmental or atmospheric changes. Some dimensions, as an example, allow for objects, like a safe, to be thrown effortlessly in the fluffy dimension (how terrifying!) -- likewise, using a book to stop an otherwise penetrative laser in the heavy dimension is another fine example of the game's chaos. So far there are four dimensions including heavy, fluffy, slow time, and zero gravity. From what we were told at PAX East, this game, while fun and mentally challenging, will probably consist of about 8 hours of gameplay.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance:
Kingdom Hearts makes a return to portable systems with its 3DS rendition, Dream Drop Distance (say that three times fast). Sora and Riku must become keyblade masters before Mickey can teach them the abilities he knows, which is where DDD picks up.
Rivaling the PS2 at even its best CG cutscene, Kingdom Hearts brings fast-paced combat and intense visuals to the 3DS; a new "stunt" button has been added to the mix as well -- partly responsible for the faster combat -- that allows keyblade-wielders to bounce off walls and grind on rails, speeding up exploration and opening whole new avenues for combat junkies. Additionally, a new Reality Shift move drops our keyblade user into the bottom screen and, depending on what world you're in (the Tron universe has a Hacking-type puzzle), you can call forth certain super moves to help your combat! Kingdom Hearts Brings its best on the 3DS - I was certainly impressed.
What used to be True Crime: Hong Kong has now been renamed Sleeping Dogs, but the game title is not the only thing that's changed. Taking mechanics from Arkham Asylum's combat system, the on-foot section of the game feels eerily similar to Grand Theft Auto thrown together with a John Woo movie. The gameplay we were demo'd included a one-button parkour system (that seemed a bit tossed together), a one-on-one combat against an interrogation target where, after punching him in the face an ample amount of times, the main character slammed him onto a lit stove. The play feels fun, albeit somewhat simplistic.
While Sleeping Dogs' graphics looked nice and polished, I couldn't help but wonder if this was all there was to the game; I wonder how much Square was hiding from us? Needless to say, Sleeping Dogs should be on everyone's radar for updates!
-Mitch "DeBarbarian" DeBardelaben