E3 2011 Show Floor Part 2: 3D gaming at its finest

Mark Gibson

Nintendo 3DS games

Aside from the Wii U, Nintendo announced a ton of new games that will be coming out for the 3DS. I got my hands on six of them and am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. Some played better than others, but overall, not too shabby, Nintendo.

The 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time will be coming out next week, but it was still on display for an early sneak peak. The game’s 3D depth is one of the best I’ve seen from 3DS games. It’s so good that I actually zoned out and had all my attention focused on the game. If you played the original version, it’s exactly the same and yet I still got stuck trying to figure out where I was supposed to go. But for people who are new to Zelda or confused people like me, there are a lot more hints and tips incorporated into the game’s world.

Another awesome title is Resident Evil Revelations. The gameplay and controls actually make it feel like you are playing a console game. And the graphics are far superior to any of the other 3DS titles seen so far. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater plays similarly to RER but has a really weird camera control system, which makes combat difficult and frustrating.

Alongside the third-party games, Nintendo is bringing back a bunch of classic titles like Super Mario, Mario Kart, and Luigi’s Mansion 2. The games look great in 3D but Luigi’s Mansion 2 stands out as it uses the motion control in the 3DS. It’s a game that you can enjoy on the couch, but it will keep you moving in your seat.

 

Hardware

Controllers and headsets are abundant on the show floor, with everything from super surround sound headphones to crazy, barely legal controller mods. I got to try out a few products, with some being awesome, and others … well, not so much.

A controller that’s been in production for a while and was featured on G4tv’s X-Play, The Avenger from N-Control Enterprises looks like some sort of weird alien device that covers your Xbox 360 controller. It eliminates the need for your hands to move around too much to press buttons. The mod clips over the controller and has two strings that look like zip ties that slip around your fingers. You lightly pull the strings, which quickly fire the left and right triggers, allowing for faster trigger speed. Three bars sit on top of the B, X and Y buttons. Instead of having to move your hand to press the buttons, you simply tap your fingers on the corresponding outstretched bars that hang over the right trigger.

The controller definitely feels weird at first and took me a few rounds of Call of Duty to get the hang of it, but eventually you get used to the quick movements. The Avenger is a really cool mod that will definitely give you a strategic advantage. The only question is if this is actually legal to use in a competition.

Aside from controller mods, having a good pair of headphones is crucial for gaming on the go or being able to hear everything clearly when playing online. The people over at NOX Audio have been working on a headset called the Admiral that not only allows you to use it during gaming or watching movies, but also plays music and can take and receive phone calls. The best part: It’s 100-percent wire-free.

The Admiral features a 2.4-inch LCD touch screen on the left speaker that controls everything you can do with the headset. You can play a game, make a phone call, listen to pre-loaded music, and even access music files from your PC, all without having to leave your couch. With all these features, you would think that sound quality got left behind, but nay nay. The Admiral features several different sound settings, including 7.1 Dolby digital surround sound, all of which is crystal clear. No hissing and no skipping.

The only real setback is that the headset is pretty heavy. Even with it tightened as much as it could go, it still wobbled around when I moved my head slightly. However, there are built-in loudspeakers that allow you to rest the headphones around your neck and still hear everything as if they were around your ears.

The Admiral is designed to use the Android OS technology with Wi-Fi connectivity, which means you can download special apps just for this product. NOX has also been working with T-Pain to make The T-Pain Effect, an app for the headset that allows you to talk on the phone or over an online game with Auto-Tune.

“Bringing T-Pain on board to be an official part of the Admiral launch is a key part of NOX’s audio revolution,” said Julie Ma, president of NOX Audio, in a product press release. “His legendary status as a performer and in the recording industry overall makes him a perfect match for the Admiral — the most advanced and ground-breaking headset line yet.”

NOX also features some other headphones, like the Scout earphones, which have a flat wire making it impossible to tangle up. The Specialist is also a great pair of gaming headphones that have a retractable microphone and volume controls right on the side of the headset for easy access.

For the PS3 fans, there is a ton of gun mods for the PlayStation Move. But the Flex-Fire is definitely one of the weirdest ones. The barrel of the gun is attached to what looks like a vacuum hose that allows it to move independently from the rest of the controller. This takes out the need for you to move your entire upper body when moving around in the game. Instead you just move the front of the gun, allowing you to stay stationary. It also makes it easier to sit on the couch and play. The only problem is that it feels somewhat awkward. Your body naturally wants to move because, well, that’s how actual guns work.

I was able to get the hang of moving around in the game, but once it came to shooting someone, it was very disorienting. Not to mention my arms got tired pretty quickly trying to keep the rest of the gun still while only moving the barrel around. It’s an interesting concept for a controller and probably a really good idea on paper, but it was exhausting trying to actually use it.

What’s in store for Part 3

A really big update on games, games, and more games. I take a look at more games for PC and the 3DS along with two highly anticipated titles from 2K.