Capcom's booth was one of the saving graces of last year's meager E3, so it was one of the most anticipated destinations for this year's return to the Big Show. As this was a bit of a hybrid show, they teased the public with a handful of kiosks, but the real booth was walled off from the public, just like the more private show of 2008.
There were no shockers at this year's showing, but it did give us some insight into some of Capcom's biggest titles for the holiday season. Lost Planet 2 got the bulk of the attention, and it's a surprisingly different experience from the first. The demo was strictly demonstrating the co-op mode, which will be identical to the game's single-player campaign. The world is the same, but it's gotten considerably greener, and rather than fighting off hordes of smaller enemies, the demo focused exclusively on a giant 6-legged boss that easily dwarfed anything in the first game. We were assured that this was, in fact, one of the smaller bosses in the game, so the shift in focus is apparent; Capcom wants to make players work together.
Dark Void made a re-appearance after last year's E3, and it seemed to be quite a different game after 12 months more work. Capcom's grand investment in Western development (and a too-rare venture into a new IP) had practically been reinvented, with a particular focus on integrating the shooting and flying elements into a single experience, rather than having segments dedicated to each. The jetpack boasts the ability to shoot now, giving an aerial combat feel vaguely reminiscent of Airtight's earlier Crimson Skies.
It wouldn't feel like a Capcom show without fighting games. The Xbox LIVE Arcade version of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 didn't get much attention, but it looks like a perfect conversion of the Dreamcast/arcade classic. On the other side was a demo for its heir apparent, the anime-licensed Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. While maybe not as polished as its predecessor, it marked a major step up from Capcom Fighting Evolution, and also a real improvement over Eighting's previous anime-licensed fighters. The choice of the Wii as the exclusive platform for the US release is troubling, and the naked Wii-mote controls don't inspire confidence, but the new Wii arcade stick worked very well, so fans shouldn't have to worry.
The Wii had a couple more titles haunting the back regions of the booth. SpyBorgs garnered little attention with its shallow hack and slash gameplay and generic visuals, but Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles seemed to be a hit. The graphics push the limits of what the system can do, but it was hard not to feel like the shooting was too similar to many other games at the show, and with Dead Space: Extraction set to launch around the same time, it may have some tough competition.
The lineup felt a bit lonely without more Mega Man titles and a total lack of previously unannounced games, but Capcom demonstrated the ability to follow through, which is ultimately more important than big promises. The amount of work being poured into Dark Void and Lost Planet is especially apparent, and it shows that Capcom knows how to acknowledge their earlier mistakes.
CCC Freelance Writer