So E3 is going on, and all the major press conferences have just wrapped up, and I felt like screaming my opinions out to the world because thatís what people do right? Awwwww, here it GOES!
I want to get this out of the way first- I, like many of you, think showing off Kinect was boring . I saw the Star wars fail, the rail...everything lag, and the fake enthusiasm from the paid actors made me cringe.
That being said, I hate to defend it, but from a business standpoint- Microsoft showing off Kinect makes perfect sense. They HAD to come out and justify the purchase of a system (letís face it, it has more in common with a console launch than a peripheral one) to the people who have it sans-kids and are already bored of Dance Central. They had to tell the hardcore of you that there is more to it than just cool tech that other people hack onto it and 1 game. They had to pound it into your head that Kinect is going to have games that are ďhardcoreĒ like Star Wars, Ghost Recon, and Fable. The choice was made for them from the getgo- talk about Kinect to justify the people who purchased it, and to try to get more people to pick it up.
Unfortunately, I was not pleased pretty much from the start.
-Iím in the strange boat of people who isnít big on realistic war shooters, so the first massive chunk dedicated to Modern Warfare bored me.
-Tomb Raider looked cool, and I was a fan of the sexy Lara moans while playing Uncharted except surrounded by pirates thing they had going on.
-Sports I donít really care about in virtual form.
-Mass Effect had the voice integration that Iím torn:
---On one hand, being able to yell commands to your AI squad-mates during combat is pretty awesome.
---On the other hand, reading dialogue in your voice and then hearing a similar line from a voice actor is probably going to be pretty jarring and awkward.
-Ghost Reconís gunsmith stuff was cool, but when he actually used Kinect to fire his weapon, you can see the lag and the awkwardness of it all and it was pretty boring and frustrating looking. I canít imagine being in a firefight and having the trigger pull at the wrong time, or trying to be stealthy and accidentally shooting.
-New Xbox Dash makes sense- theyíre trying to do the whole windows 8 thing look the same so I canít blame them for that.
-Youtube is cool, but I already have way too many ways to access it on other devices.
-Bing makes sense from their standpoint, but I canít see myself using it ever.
-UFC came on stage, and all I could think about was this
-Gears was nice, but some of the building breaking animations were awkward (as usual), but I feel like if youíre buying it, you already know you are and donít need another demo.
-Ryse got a meh from me, again because itís kinect, but also because itís probably going to try to be serious but fail at it.
-Iíve never been a big fan of Halo, I donít think itís a BAD game, just not a game I enjoy, so I guess the remakes are cool, but nobody can do fan-service like Nintendo.
-Forza actually perked my ears a bit. The models looked absolutely stunning, running at over a million polys a piece, and all having the doors/trunks open was a crazy nice touch. The kinect stuff....MEH, but the game itself looked neato.
-Fable on Rails....it looked unresponsive.
-Minecraft was a neat touch, but they really skimmed over it. Itís probably what got the internet most excited, and they glossed over it almost completely.
-The Disney park was a nice touch for the kids, but I also feel like just about everything they showed was for the kids.
-Star Wars looked broken. Heíd make movements and not have anything happen, and heíd flail around and almost auto-win. Not a strong showing, and movement looked...I donít know what movement looked like but there was a lot of dashing.
-Tim Schafer I like not necessarily because of the product he was pushing, but because he didnít try to make it seem like itís anything other than it is. Itís a kidís game through and through- no hyper bro fist bumps to try to make it seem cool.
-The tech stuff was pretty nifty, but I felt like a lot of the community/hax had already done cooler things with the tech. Although I will admit that itís nice to start seeing some of those toys make their way to consumers. Also, FACE TRACKING FINALLY.
-When I saw Kinect Sports 2, I actually yelled at my TV- ďTHIS is what you force the studio that made Donkey Kong Country, Banjo Kazooie, and Conkerís Bad Fur Day do!Ē I loved Rare, but they have fallen.
-Dance Central 2 simultaneous play was cool. A nice natural progression, but I donít think theyíll release 3 anytime soon.
-Halo 4- Meh. Iím sure a lot of you guys are upset that itís not Bungie, but Iím sure itíll be more of the same, only with less polish until the 2nd game of the new trilogy.
If you want a grade score (because that seems to be the cool thing to do) Iím gonna give them a C. It wasn't exactly terrible since it had a few things to interest me like Forza and the neato tech stuff, but it wasn't exactly great either. AVERAGE.
EA had a pretty solid showing. I was bored in some parts, excited for others, but I still get the nagging feeling that sometimes they donít know what theyíre doing for some games. For example, I like kooky racing games, but I donít know if letting you run around on foot in Need for Speed: The Run is a good idea. ďOpen WorldĒ games canít work when the main plot of the game is that youíre being very heavily hunted by underground crime syndicates. I like the idea of the plot though, and I hope the running is far outweighed by the driving. I also hope you canít GTA snatch someoneís car, because then every pedestrian is probably gonna have $50k+ vehicles which will make no sense (hey guy, Iím jacking youíre Audi R8. THANKS!)
As for Star Wars, although they have shown gameplay, they seem to be very shy about it and instead spend most of their time showing off their stunning cutscenes. Thatís cool and all, but cutscenes arenít gonna sell your game. It didnít work for Final Fantasy, it wonít work for Star Wars.
OverStrike I am excited for. One of my friends pointed out that the trailer was very ďTF2 Meet TheĒ-esq, but I donít mind that. I think they hit the humor right on, and Iím glad that more and more studios are willing to add flare to realism instead of trying to make everything super realistic or leaving the visual appeal to shaders and post processing. Of course, I was a bit reminded of Mass Effect, but thereís really nothing you can do to avoid comparisons when youíre making a squad shooter at this day and age. Besides, everything is just a Doom ripoff anyway.
SSX looks fun, Fifa appears to be doing the Modern Warfare pay-thing for free, Sims Social is Forever Alone, and Battlefield 3 looks phenomenal, but not my cup of tea so no-thank-you. Verdict- C+ For having some games Iím interested in, but confusing/boring me the rest of the time. At least they didnít over-promise anything.
Now I REALLY need to hand out some respect to Ubisoft. I donít think any other company spent as much time as they did actually playing the games. Their formula appeared to be ďshow trailer->play game for 10 min->repeatĒ, and even if you didnít like some of the games, at least you got your fill of the ones you did. They did a great job of showing off some variety, but I think that scared away more people than it brought in.
On a side-note- am I the only one who wants the ďold school versionĒ games they were showing? those were really badass.
-Rayman Origins looked great, really nice to see big publishers work on a very traditional 2D platformer.
-Driver San Fransisco was cool- it reminded me a lot of Midtown Madness in a good way.
-Far Cry 3 may have had some people excited, but it looked very ďgeneric action fpsĒ to me. The textures looked a bit sloppy, and the environment didnít seem up to par with some of the stuff weíve been seeing recently from heavy hitters like Battlefield and Uncharted.
-Iíve had enough discussions on this to last me a lifetime, but I donít like Tarantino, so Iím not a fan of Inglorious Basterds, so Brothers in Arms looked kind of dumb to me. If you guys really want (which you donít) Iíll write a Flixist post about my Tarantino hate, but for now- my opinions are my own.
-TinTin looked neat. Iím not even a little bit familiar with ANYTHING to do with TinTin, so just from a completely neutral perspective I was intrigued by the ďgolly gee misterĒ feel to it, as well as the fact that I am 100% behind any game that lets you control youíre cool pet quadruped.
-Ghost Recon as a game looked ok. I wasnít too sold on it, but the tactical part looked acceptable.The HUD however, was sextacular. I donít know what it is about the clean text floating in the middle of the level, but it looked really cool and I was totally a fan of having that kind of HUD/UI in any game I play.
Didnít Battlefield try the ďfree online gameĒ thing and that didnít work out so hot? Maybe Tom Clancy will fare better, but I doubt it.
-Trackmania looked pretty boss. Iím not a huge fan of Trackmania, but I do like to pick it up and play for a few seconds just to watch cars fly around doing crazy physics shit. All in all, Iím sure the fans of it will love this, but I still think the series will remain a cult classic.
-Rabbids....ugh. I mean I get that itís cool to have Kinect Party games, but itís not even remotely interesting to me. Thank them though for removing the little bastards from the Rayman series.
-Just Dance = cool story bro. Itíll probably still outsell Dance Central (just because of itís reach and previous install base) but much like games with plastic instruments, teenagers and above will prefer the Harmonix version.
-Rocksmith- people already tried this, and they had a lot of actual guitarists behind it, but it didnít sell or work. Playing a real guitar is a skill that you cannot directly replicate on a game- itís too complex, so stop trying.
-Assassinís Creed was an excellent choice for a closer. Nice CGI trailer, and a cool long demo sequence. Although I will admit, Iím getting a little disheartened at their willingness to very quickly pump out new games every year, and I hope they stop and slow up the pace before they burn out the franchise too quickly.
Overall, I give Ubisoft a B for showing a lot of stuff that looked cool, and for taking to the time to actually play most of their games instead of just teasing them.
Much like Microsoft, I have to defend Sonyís decision to push 3D HARD. I donít like it, I personally think 3D is not the way of the future, but Sony is so heavily invested in 3D (from the TVs they manufacture, to the projectors they convince theaters to use, and the cameras they give studios to film with), that they really have to put all their faith and money in forcing 3D to be the future. Itís too late for them to back-out and say ďJK guys, 3D really is bad and the consumers donít want itĒ this deep into the investment, especially after riding the high of their BluRay success over HD-DVD.
I donít like it, I donít think a lot of people think itís necessary, but itís sort of what they do now. The good news is, itís not completely forced. I imagine most of you just see it as a ďcool that itís there, maybe one day Iíll use it, but if not- no big dealĒ kind of thing, and thereís nothing wrong with that, but Sony seems really intent on changing that attitude to get people to actively use their 3D....and at least for me- itís not working.
Out of all the big 3, Sony imo had the best shot to come out and ďwowĒ everyone. After the huge PSN fiasco, they had an opportunity to come out and say ďlook, we goofíd, but we love you and need you to move on, and hereís what weíre gonna do for you to bring you backĒ. Unfortunately, I felt like the tone of their presentation was more along the lines of ďyeah we messed up, but oh well whatíre you gonna do? Anyway, hereís how awesome WE are with all this cool neato 3D you donít want, and hereís a game coming out tomorrowĒ. I honestly donít think Sony knows itís audience, I feel there is a huge disconnect between what they think people want, and what people actually want. Luckily, theyíve done such a good job in the past, that people are willing to let them get away with murder, but I guess you have to be doing something right to get that many people completely convinced youíre doing it right.
As for the Vita, I really like the hardware, and unlike the 3DS, I feel like $250 is a great price for it, but I donít want any of the games except for Uncharted. Even digging into the old PSP library- Iíd get Locoroco, Patapon, and Kenka Banchou: Badass Rumble. So thatís 1 new and 3 old games + 250 for entry. Iíll pass for now. And no donít try to recommend Little Big Planet or ModNation racers- Iím not big on creating content, Modnation is too loose for me to like, and Little Big Planet is shitty as a platformer (which happens to be my favorite genre).
-I kind of agree with Jim Sterling- the apology was kind of weak, but I at least respect that they started with it very frankly.
-Cinemanow? donít care.
-The Uncharted stuff was really sharp. I liked the waves, and Iím almost 100% sure that the boat is actually moving at those wave angles in engine, no camera/environment tricks- Naughty Dog likes to keep it real. I do like this game, and thatís not a bad way to hook people.
-Resistance 3 doesnít speak to me so much. I forget who I heard say it, but nobody is going to want to come into the Resistance franchise this late. But, (my friend Harry brought up an excellent point), Resistance is Sonyís Gears of War. Sure the people want it already know theyíre going to get it, but Sony still has to show it at a huge event like this.
-HD Remakes are always a plus, points for fanservice for doing God of War and the team ICO games.
-The $500 TV thing was dumb. Theoretically- any 3D TV should be able to do that. Also- itís half a grand for 24 inches? Itís almost as if theyíre demanding rich fratboys to take it out of their trust fund. I donít want to sit that close to someone wearing goofy 3D glasses, sure itís a neat concept, but you canít pretend itís affordable and tell me 5 hundo is worth it for some glasses, 24 inches, and an HDMI cable.
-NBA 2K12 Move control was a joke. The guy treated Kobe like an asshole, Kobe had no idea what he was doing, and the whole ďitís so easy anyone can do itĒ thing doesnít work when nobody actually manages to do anything.
-Dead Manís Quest was cool, but was he only using the pointer? Was it on rails or free roam? Either way, a neat game.
-Iím with the public on this- Why show Imfamous 2 when it comes out the next day? youíre here to win your fans back and gain new ones in the future, not sell them something theyíve seen enough of and can get tomorrow.
-Starhawk looked...meh. It all felt really confusing and too much ďYOU CAN FIGHT WITH ANYTHANG!Ē. Spoiler alert- I like focus in my games.
-Sly Cooper was a good move. 3D platformers are few and far between nowadays, itís nice to see one come back.
-Dust 514 is dumb for 1 reason- it means you have to play with people who like EVE online. If you like flying around galaxies crunching numbers and pretending to live in the space age, then good for you, but I donít want to be in a situation where those people are trying to ďhire meĒ to fight their wars.
-Bioshock Infinite is cool, but itís not gonna sell me on a PS3. Also, as much as I respect Ken Levine, and LOVE him for coming out and not doing the bullshit prepared hype speeches, I donít think you can convince me to use move to play a game when you say ďwe donít know how to use it yet fullyĒ. I truly appreciate the honesty, and I will not be looking to play that game with Move, but am excited to see a game you design around Move.
-The next part was ďgames have PS3 exclusive content lolĒ but Iím seriously not buying that bullshit. Within a month or two, all of the major games will probably have the content on all sites, and playing it ďfirstĒ isnít going to influence me to get it on PS3. I want to play the game to enjoy all of it, and if the same content goes everywhere, you have to convince me to play it on PS3 by other ways than saying ďFIRST!!!1!Ē
-Vita on AT&T? Iíll let the audible groans do the talking on that one.
-Uncharted was neat, and the pricing is fair, but did anyone catch the Rune guy not actually continue on the PS3 where he left off? They were totally like ďCheck out this cool featureĒ and then the feature didnít work even a little.
-Cole on StreetFighter X Tekken was cool fighting game fans love that stuff.
-And a ton of games none of which I personally care about.
So unlike the other conferences, Sony didnít exactly go out with 1 huge bang. I give them a C+, sure you showed off some cool stuff, and the Vita is neat, but Iím not into any of your games, and I personally sensed an air of smugness that I did not like.
If thereís one thing Nintendo is good at year after year, itís fanservice. They ALWAYS will show you at least 1 or 2 things youíve seen before, but with a shiny new coat. This isnít nessecarly a bad thing, but that opinion is up to you. Iím personally getting a little tired of it, but I can understand why people hoop and holler everytime they say ďLuigiís Mansion, Super Mario 3D, Star Fox, Ocarina of Time, Linkís Awakening, Smash BrothersĒ. They came out full force with the fanservice, and they did it better than any other major player.
Nintendo was in a neutral position from last year. They did messed up a bit with the 3DS (itís kind of being considered a failure at the moment because it doesn't have good games) but they did push out a very well done Donkey Kong Country Returns and a Pokemon game that way too many people over 20 years of age played. They couldíve come out and done nothing and people would have been disappointed, but not upset. They also couldíve come out and said ďwe have all of the games from PS360 on the next Wii for cheaper and betterĒ, and money would be flying at them, but they seem to have taken an awkward middle line.
Ignoring the Zelda intro which was clearly as a celebration for themselves, and the 3DS section which was about trying to convince people that the system has games worth playing (imo it doesnít...especially not at that price), the big centerpiece of big Nís talk was the WiiU. Ignoring the gimmicky gameplay, and the possible cool designs that can come from this, I feel that the success of this system with the ďhardcoreĒ crowd lies in 1 very simple question- ďwhat games is it gettingĒ. I donít mean ďwhat franchisesĒ, I saw the very impressive list of Batman, Assassinís Creed, DiRT, Darksiders, etc, and thatís really cool, but are they the SAME GAMES that the 360 and PS3 are getting. The videos you showed were certainly the same , but are the final games that the system will get the same available on the competitors, but with added functionality, or are they just gonna be Wii U ports ďdesigned to take advantage of the innovative controllerĒ like all the ports the Wii got of AAA titles?
IF the Wii U gives me the same Assassinís Creed the same time the other systems get it, and it has some super cool functionality that helps instead of hinders gameplay, then I think Nintendo will have succeeded immensely; but if theyíre just pulling the wool over our eyes and pulling the ďbuilt from the ground up for WiiUĒ bullshit for their 3rd party games, then me and a lot of other people are going to be very disappointed.
-Zelda Montage means Nintendo is clearly out to please itís fans instead of bringing in new ones. Interesting considering the entire purpose of the Wii was to bring in new fans.
-The Orchestra is a baller touch, Iím just sayiní.
-Zelda games were a nice touch, Ocarina out soon is cool, and golden wiimote reminds me of old Bond 64 controller. Not necessarily a bad thing, but we want our gold cartridges back!
-Concert series? Neat, didnít expect that announcement, or the CD drops.
-Nice to pay respects to your development team, but I donít think I can stress enough how bored I imagine people who donít like Zelda are right now.
-For the sake of ďIíve already burned enough bullet-pointsĒ, Iím just gonna say that all the 3DS games feel like too little too late. Not enough ďinnovationĒ, (some fresh IP would have been nice) but if you drop the price for the holiday season when all those games allegedly come out, you might have a chance to compete with the PSVita.
-I also want to save bullet points for the Wii U because...well I donít know how I feel about the controls yet. Iím still a tad confused about the whole thing, but Nintendo has a lot of big promises that I think they will have a hard time trying to keep, but if they do- then Iím excite.
Hereís the part where you guys label me a fanboy and say Iím biased, but Iím gonna give Nintendo a solid B. They did spend the first 1/3 patting themselves on the back and giving content to existing fans, and middle section was just rehashes which you may or may not find boring, and the last half was tons of promises. They certainly convinced the old fans theyíre worth sticking with, and the huge promises of the still confusing Wii U are...well...lofty. Iím giving them a B now assuming they hit ~90% of those promises, but Iím adding a warning that they better not be biting off more than they can chew or people will remember this E3 presentation as the big lie.
In the end
Sony loves 3D, Nintendo loves introducing shit to make people talk, and Microsoft loves Kinect. EA and Ubisoft had solid showings, and there is a lot of interesting news coming in for games not announced at major presentations. Itís not like a ďSUPER DUPER AMAZINGĒ E3, but itís not a bad one. Overall, I rate the presentations a B-. Itís just above average with some strong hitters detracted by a lot of face-palming and boredom.