Kicking Off Summer Gaming At E3

amiibo is Nintendo's toys-to-life initiative; the toys interact in different ways with Wii U games | Photo courtesy Nintendo of America

amiibo is Nintendo’s toys-to-life initiative; the toys interact in different ways with Wii U games | Photo courtesy Nintendo of America

It’s that time of year again, and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) came and went in the blink of an eye. The highlights weren’t as big as they were last year, with the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but still a nice way to kick off the summer. It seems Nintendo took the spotlight this year, since last year was so Sony and Microsoft-centric.

Nintendo unveiled its toys-to-life initiative called amiibo. They’re toy versions of Nintendo characters and interact with Wii U games in different ways, depending on the game. They’re similar to Disney’s Infinity or Skylanders, but with Mario and Yoshi figures instead. These amiibos talk to your Wii U gamepad’s built-in NFC reader, so you don’t need any attachments to make it work. So far, there’s no official release date, but Nintendo confirmed the amiibos will work with the upcoming Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, Yoshi’s Woolly World and Mario Party 10.

While Nintendo is looking to the future, game developer Bethesda was looking to the past when it released its teaser trailer for Doom 4 (now simply called Doom). Remember the original Doom? That was one of my favorites back in the day. The trailer didn’t show much, only dark corridors, a big hell beast and that iconic reloading sound from the early Doom games. I’m curious how this new iteration will turn out.

Next, one of the most anticipated games of E3 was Activision/Bungie’s Destiny. This is a sci-fi first-person shooter with big expectations since it’s Bungie’s first title since the Halo series. The combat is strong, and you can tell the customization has much depth. A massive world was created with a seemingly endless supply of things to accomplish. You can pick between cooperative missions and multiplayer battles.

Some other highlights include Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Metal Gear Solid V, Battlefield: Hardline and Far Cry 4.

This iteration of Halo is an Xbox One game that pretty much combines Halos 1, 2, 3 and 4 all in one disk. Each game has its own multiplayer suite that includes all downloadable (DLC) maps and will run from their respective original game engines with dedicated servers for multiplayer modes. The fan-favorite Forge mode will be available for maps in Halo 2, 3 and 4. If you purchase this Master Chief Collection ($60), you’ll also receive an invite to the Halo 5: Guardians beta (begins in December 2014).

Minecraft: This is a building and exploring game and although it is not as high energy as that of Halo, it is still a very enjoyable gaming experience. The new Minecraft server hosting means that you can now play Minecraft in a multiplayer mode and thus making it more enjoyable to explore the world and try to stay alive during the course of the game.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a tactical action game that features you as the lead character Snake, using your robotic arm to bash enemies. The mission is to infiltrate an Afghan village and obtain information regarding the imprisonment of Master Miller. And you go from there, riding your horse across the plains, through mountainous landscapes with canyons, livestock, villages and creeks. The graphics are nice, the storyline good.

My two final favorites are Battlefield: Hardline and Far Cry 4. Hardline is essentially a modern version of cops and robbers. The Heist mode pits a team of cops and robbers against each other as you try to get a load of money back to the base, or steal from the opposition’s safe house. This mode can support up to 32 players at once for some explosive multiplayer fun! And, finally, Far Cry 4 is built upon the foundations of Far Cry 3 and is set in the mountains of Kyrat, and you can use elephants to attack your enemies and even fly in a wingsuit to dive around the mountainous terrain.

There are too many titles to fit in one column, so stay tuned for more to come.