Frogger. Sonic. Facebook. These are not words that inspire much confidence or excitement in the minds of gamers, but that’s part of what we love about E3 – you’re guaranteed at least a few pleasant surprises each year. An archaic arcade title refreshingly reborn in 3D? A misguided mascot finally finding his way home? A “social” strategy title that appeals to the hardcore? Hey, these might not actually suck at all…
Drastic updates to classic franchises don't always go over so well, and Frogger's own reinvention record has been spotty, but it looks like Frogger 3DS might actually be doing it right. The addition of 3D works well with the Frogger mechanic, and among the 60 levels, many creatively embark from the classic Frogger street crossing to locales like sushi bars and jet fighters. Plus, it has an endless classic mode with online leaderboards. Preview
Sonic remains one of the most contentious and divisive series out there. As gamers of the 16-bit era, we’re hopelessly in love with his ultra-fast 2D beginnings and much less enamored with the 3D romps that followed. Then, as the years piled on, Sonic really lost his way and is now buried under a conga line of mediocre titles. We hoped Sonic 4 would restore his good name (some thought it did, others did not), but now that burden lies with Sonic Generations, a 2D speedfest that combines the 16-bit style Sonic (pudgy, black eyes) with modern Sonic (tall, green eyes) in a series of classically minded levels. We’ve been down this road before, but based on the demo (available now on XBLA/PSN), we feel like this time Sonic might truly, honestly be back on track. Preview
When we heard about Prime World, we were ready to write it off as a casual game you wouldn’t be interested in. It first was described to us as a “cool” social strategy game for Facebook that can also be played on your mobile. Further details promoting Prime World’s generic fantasy backdrop and a “fun” selection of mini-games almost convinced us that the game wasn’t worth checking out at E3 2011. It was.
And the winner is…
We’re really glad we did see Prime World after all, because it was definitely way better than expected. Prime World is a rather impressive multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, much like Defense of the Ancients or League of Legends. In PvP matches, you’ll select a Hero unit to lead your army to battle. Assassinate your opponents’ Hero units, push pass their defenses and destroy your enemies base to win.
Above: Your kingdom will be glorious. It’s like a persistent home base that you can develop over time as you play PvP matches
Prime World’s clean art style serves the game well and is loaded with vibrant colors and gorgeous kingdoms. That’s because Prime World isn’t a Facebook game at all; it’s a fully downloadable F2P game that just happens to use Facebook connect for your friends list, allowing you to quickly find like-minded partners to play with. The mini-games turned out to be surprisingly playable extras added for a casual break from the more intense back-and-forth battles in the lanes linking your stronghold from your enemy’s base. And then, there’s your kingdom, which you can upgrade with better buildings to give you an edge in future PvP battles, adding yet another layer gameplay missing from your everyday DotA clones.