Oh the irony. 3D was meant to be the big thing at this year's E3, whether on Nintendo's sublime 3DS or Sony's expensive PS3/TV/Glasses combo. But while we know this is the tech we're going to be dealing with for the next five or six years, right now it's the newly-announced games that we can see just around the corner that we're excited about. And you know what? A lot of them are 2D.
Sure, most take advantage of current-gen tech with '2.5D' gameplay, but the mechanics of some ten great new games are significantly biased towards side-scrolling territory.
I'd just like to point out something I wrote on Radar in April 2007:
And three years later, it has. Just look at this little lot:
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Coupling traditional side-scrolling gameplay with some frankly unbelievably high quality animation, this looks like being a platformer to end all platformers. And that little coiled spring effect when you jump is absolute magic.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
This looks hardcore... and just plain 'hard'. But with sumptuous graphics, a beautiful sillhouette effect against that sunset and more barrels than you can shake a banana at, this is (to use the cliche) a love letter to any fan of the SNES or just gaming in the '90s.
We've already said how beautiful this looks, but we'll say it again. It's beautiful. It's got a sense of humour, it's got a wonderful art style... it's even got freakin' Globox. I don't think any of us can remember a time when we said 'I can't wait to play that Rayman game', but that sentiment is actually true right now.
Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
What can we say? Full-price 2D fighters have had a massive resurgence in recent years (something else I said was missing in that 2007 article), thanks in most part to the phenomenal Street Fighter IV. Since then, we've had BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, a decent-ish King of Fighters game and Tatsunoko vs Capcom. Getting Marvel vs Capcom 3 in glorious Street Fighter IV style is going to be a revelation.
The 2D hack 'n' slash gameplay of Shank looks like being similar to Aladdin on the Mega Drive or perhaps a 2D, modern-day Prince of Persia. Either way, we want.
As if that wasn't enough, we're also getting Space Invaders: Infinity Gene, Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 and even a 3DS version of Street Fighter IV. But that's not all. Yesterday's hands-on with Splatterhouse revealed side-scrolling sections in the style of the old series and Epic Mickey's Steamboat Willy section was almost a direct 2.5D reimagining of Mickey Mania's famous opening level on 16-bit machines.
It's been a long time since 2D videogames were championed at E3. Too long they've been relegated to download-only status, passed off as cheap and cheerful retro throwbacks. No longer. It's anybody's guess how long this new wave of 2D greatness will last, but we're damn sure gonna enjoy it while it's here.
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