E3 2010: After all that 3D, it was 2D that stole the show

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.


Rayman Origins

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.

16 Jun, 2010


  • MaynardJ - June 23, 2010 9:46 p.m.

    After two weeks of not reading GR, I've been catching up for the past few days. This 2D stuff, and everything that's coming to the 3DS, makes me game-happy in a way I haven't been since... yes, the 90s. A BEAUTIFUL new DKC, a completely original Kirby game that reminds me of the first time I saw Yoshi's Island, an OoT and Starfox 64 remake on 3DS and a 2.5D Mortal Kombat that takes us back to the MK2 days. Screw 3D and fuck motion control, THIS is how I like my games!
  • GoodGuyWithACrappyJob - June 18, 2010 4:05 a.m.

    2D has returned, it seems. Welcome back, and with new takes on old classics, I'm sure they'll stay a while. Hopefully this isn't just a phase. Then again, the concepts that we were once familiar with can be the most mysterious.
  • Sabtos - June 18, 2010 12:22 a.m.

    Wow, you're right, I had not realized, that's a ton of side-scrolling.
  • philipshaw - June 17, 2010 11:40 a.m.

    DKC will be amazing!
  • maxcogert - June 16, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    Donkey Kong Country. I wasn't sure the 3ds was worthing selling my soul for, but now Nintendo can have it. I'm going to cry.
  • n00b - June 16, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    i think shank is supposed to come out this summer
  • tuomotaivainen - June 16, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    Now I wish I hadn't sold my Wii to a deserving coworker who wanted to buy one for her kids for Christmas O.O
  • DustyRooster - June 16, 2010 3:10 p.m.

    I would really like a 2D Turok game. Running and jumping over dinos! Oh yeah!!!
  • yuechloe - June 16, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    Who cares!!! My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He- is eight years older than me, lol. We met online at an age gap dating site [A_g_e_m_i_n_g_l_e @ c.//o.//m]---a nice and free place for Younger- Women and Older Men, or Older Women and Younger Men, to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or- tell your friends
  • FalconMbuster - June 16, 2010 2:14 p.m.

    This is all looking beautiful. Ninty may have won E3, but listening to Deadpool's heckling and Chris's "Suck it!" makes we want an HD system. Is it normal to be sold on a game for the voice acting?
  • thor0997 - June 16, 2010 2:13 p.m.

    While I love these all they are all reimagnings of stuff that they already have done. (Except Shank I think)
  • gaxkeng11 - June 16, 2010 12:48 p.m.

    DK country looks really awesome, and man Epic Kirby; its right there in the name "EPIC"! I cannot wait to buy these two and play them, so awesome
  • PrierAdmirer - June 16, 2010 12:35 p.m.

    Kirby's Epic Yarn is appropriately named. Tank Kirby is win of the highest level! MvC3 is seems awesome as well.
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 16, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    These all look sweet! Im so glad Ubisoft dropped the Rabbit crap. MvC3 looks great, and the Wii games actually look good! Whodda Thunk?
  • InsertChrisAntistaJokeHere - June 16, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    Shank looks cool, hopefully it will come out this holiday season.
  • Marcunio88 - June 16, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    I cannot wait to play all of these games. It looks like developers have realised that 2D can still work, and work well.
  • vinicusg.t.guedes - June 16, 2010 11:20 a.m.

    Donkey Kong might finally be the reason I need to buy a wii...and MvC3 looks amazing, the art style is amazing. By the way, Nov 10 can't come soon enough. GT5 will be the sh*t.

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