E3 is over. I've had a good long time to process everything, and really, E3 wasn't as awful as everyone first thought. We didn't get a lot of surprises or new games, but the info we got on games we already knew about was pretty strong. There were definitely great parts along with parts that made me sad and parts that made me cringe.
Tonight, I'm going to share with you what I thought was the good, the bad, and the absolutely ugly from this year's E3 conference. I'm sure not everything agrees with what I found to be great and crappy, but I'm always happy to discuss my points in more detail, if need be.
So here they are; the good, the bad and the ugly from this year's E3...
The good Sony’s LittleBig Planet presentation
Cutest. Thing. Ever. Also, it’s an excuse to bring your gaming console into work with you.
I don’t say this very often, but I think that as a platforming title – alongside being a game with endless user creativity – LittleBigPlanet could very well be on the same level as the Mario games. It may even *gasp* surpass them. I’m not ready to go that far until I play the game, but from the outset, all is well with this game. Expect it to be a strong Game of the Year candidate when it is finally released.
Animal Crossing: City Folk and WiiSpeak
Some people were down on City Folk because it looks like the love child of the first two North American Animal Crossing releases. I’m hoping there are a few more tricks up Nintendo’s sleeve that will set this game apart from the other two titles, not just the added city feature or being able to import your Wild World character.
And finally, WiiSpeak is here. About time. Yes, it’s a community microphone, but that means less stupidity and more actual conversation. God knows how many times I’ve run into idiots/racists/etc. on Xbox Live. If this helps eliminate that on the Wii, I say go for it.
Wii Sports Resort and WiiMotion Plus
Could be better, but for what it is, Wii Sports Resort doesn’t look terrible, and sword fighting/kendo does look fantastic. WiiMotion Plus is a good add-on if it’s finally going to give us 1:1 controls, and Iwata was even considering just adding the thing into a new Wiimote. I assume they went the attachment route so they didn’t confuse people with two nearly identical controllers being out there at the same time. Or something like that.
My most surprising title from last year, inFamous has grown by leaps and bounds. I’m even more excited about this game now than I was last year, and I was pretty dang excited in 2007. The open-world setting isn’t the newest thing, but the promise of people truly reacting to you, the fact that there will be multiple decisions to make and that your powers seem… well, realistic, all add up to one big surprise: this is the disc-based game I want a PS3 for. Not Gran Turismo 5. Not Killzone 2. Fable II
Well, it looks like Peter Molyneux is delivering on his word and presenting a truly never-before-seen console experience. The power to do anything and the realism is a nice touch (though STDs and condoms are a bit of a stretch), but my favorite thing has to be the way co-op is done. The fact that you can call anyone into your game at any time and have it work seamlessly is amazing. Big props to Lionhead Studios for getting that done.
Opinion on this is split, but the post-apocalyptic and alternate history fan inside of me eats this up like candy. The VATS system looks like it will be a lot of fun, as will the ability to create new weapons like the Rock-It Launcher. In my predictions thread, I said this would be the Best of Show. I don’t know if that’s true now, but it’s certainly one of the best games we saw at E3. It won’t appeal to everyone, I know, but it has already appealed to me.
A new Galaga from the Pac Man: Championship Edition team? That’s all you needed to tell me. Looks great, seems to play great. Day one purchase for me when this hits Xbox Live Marketplace.
Ratchet and Clank: Future – Quest for Booty
The Ratchet-centric PSN title looks to capture all of the series’ game play and humor, but with a much lower price. This is actually my second-most anticipated PSN game from E3, but I still plan on getting it whenever I get a PS3. Don’t know when that will be yet, though. New MadWorld trailer
Platinum Games is really making a strong showing this year, and their work on the Wii-exclusive MadWorld is what’s caught my attention most of all. Capcom really should have never closed down Clover Studios and let these guys go, as MadWorld will hopefully be the mature game Wii core gamers have been clamoring for. I love the art style, the animation looks fantastic and hopefully there’s a compelling story behind this game to give it the complete package. Patapon sequel!
I actually did play a demo of the first one and fell in love with it, but alas, no PSP means no Patapon for me. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t be geeked about the sequel, which I will get to play on PSP. It looks just as addictive as its predecessor and I can’t wait to lose myself in the game.
Ratchet and Clank PSP bundle this holiday
Good things come to those who wait. I waited for a PSP bundle I was going to be interested in. With Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters and Echochrome bundled in, my time has come. I will be buying this PSP bundle when it comes out in the fall, no question. As for National Treasure 2… eh, maybe I can use it as a coaster.
EA’s free-running, rooftop-hopping, potentially nausea-inducing first-person title looks to be absolutely amazing on all counts. From the fluid game play and combat to the mind-blowing graphics, EA seems to have nailed this game. We can only hope that the people working QA and CQC on this game do a better job than their EA Sports counterparts have been doing recently. Fat Princess
I am so tempted to buy a PS3 for this. Yes, for this. Crazy multiplayer hacking and slashing while trying to free your obese princess from the other team’s castle? Sold.
The bad You’re In The Movies
I don’t know if Codemasters’ latest title will be great. I don’t think it will be above decent. Some parts of it seem fun, but it really does not seem to fit the Xbox 360 or its current demographic. I will try not to bash it too much until I actually get to play it, but I pretty much lost interest in it once I saw it.
Pikmin 3 not being announced until after a disastrous press event
You had Miyamoto on stage. You saw what Microsoft did. Why not pull the trigger on this, Nintendo? All it would have taken is an announcement at the end saying Pikmin 3 was in development. Yet they even had to pull that out of you guys. It’s the perfect bridge title, and love for it by both core and new gamers alike is proof of that. Not announcing Pikmin 3 until after your big press conference is my pick for biggest blown opportunity of E3 08.
Only two big surprises
Final Fantasy XIII on the 360 and GTA on the DS. That’s the summary of the surprises this year. Has the surprise level at E3 ever been this low? You really can’t blame the developers, though: with the way the media circuit works now a days, and since E3 has gone by the wayside, surprises are harder to come by. But is one or two big surprises from each of the major developers too much to ask for? I want to say no, but maybe I’m too optimistic.
When the hell is Home coming out?
I’ve somewhat lost track of when this is coming out for PS3 owners. We’ve seen what it will be all about, but the longer you draw this out, the less people will care about it. I’m already at the point of almost not caring at all. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
I hate the art style and the building aspects so, so, so much. This would be a great Wii title, to be honest, but on Xbox 360, it feels out of place. Rare really should have just stuck with Banjo-Threeie and made it a platforming game like days gone by. Also, it would have helped considering the distinct lack of platforming games on the 360 and the fact their rivals both have strong platformers of their own.
No Wii storage solution… yet
Get with it, Nintendo. We were expecting you to announce something during the conference, but at least someone at IGN managed to get some word out of Miyamoto on this. I’m glad you’re hard at work on this, but this shouldn’t be that hard… should it?
The ugly Nintendo’s Wii Music presentation
It doesn’t matter what game this was. It could have been the best game in the world, but the way it was presented was atrocious. Instead of getting a good description of what Wii Music brings to the table, we got Miyamoto and half the staff from Treehouse jumping around the stage like a bunch of idiots. No, Miyamoto is not senile for all this, and who knows, there could be a few good things about Wii Music, as Wii Play had a few decent mini-games in it. But for an introduction to a title you hope new gamers will pick up and enjoy… this was not it.
Jack Tretton, Cammie Dunaway and Don Mattrick at their respective press conferences
The Big Three could not have picked a worse troika of tearful tediousness. Mattrick took what could have been a fun-filled Microsoft presser and just killed it with his flat, boring personality. Shane Kim would have been a better choice here, and Peter Moore an even better choice if you hadn’t let him run away to EA.
While last year, we got a good dose of Reggie and Iwata, both were second-fiddle to new hire Cammie Dunaway. She proceeded to make Nintendo’s already dismal conference unbearable. I kept hoping the stage would fall on her, or that Ravi Drums’ Wiimote would impale her in the head.
Tretton… well, I’ve always believed Tretton was a cancer on Sony’s back. E3 only reconfirmed those feelings for me. Maybe you can trade Atari for Phil Harrison. At least he wouldn’t have bored me to sleep.
When your biggest announcement comes outside of E3 all together (Dead Rising Wii), you know you’ve had a terrible showing. They wasted half an hour talking about the Lost Planet movie no one is going to end up seeing and pretty much left poor old Street Fighter IV and Mega Man 9 for the media to uncover.
Bungie’s plug is pulled
Poor, poor Bungie. They had a big announcement for E3, but at the last minute, their corporate overlords pulled the plug on them. Now we’ll have to wait quite a bit, maybe until PAX at the earliest, to find out what Bungie was about to announce. mI’m hoping it was a Pimps at Sea MMORPG.
Avatars are real
Let the bitching and moaning commence! Microsoft’s new Dashboard Update wasn’t bad until people saw avatars in place of gamerpics. Then, they bitterly weeped. Like the Miis, these will also be integrated into 360 titles, so for those of you that are Wii-less, I can tell you that you’ll have an absolute blast playing Halo 4 with your avatar’s face plastered everywhere. At least Major Nelson quietly confirmed that these are optional. *sigh of relief*
No Forza 3 or F-Zero Wii announcements
Two of my favorite racing titles were rumored to be showing up at E3 08. Neither did. Needless to say, I’m not a happy camper right now in either regard, but this is a personal beef. The lack of F-Zero Wii is what upsets me the most, actually, enough that if we don’t see one by this time next year, I’m going to start calling for Iwata’s resignation. Seriously.
The constant bitchfest elsewhere on the Internets
Perhaps that last point segues into this one. Lots of dreams were crushed, some quite heavily, leading to a non-stop bitchfest on the Innernets by everyone everywhere. From NeoGAF to Kotaku to IGN to the dreaded doldrums of GameFAQs, keyboards were lit up with the angry voices (or words, rather) of fanobys and core gamers, disappointed in the offerings this time around. If you were on vacation from the ‘Net during this time, consider yourself lucky, because in several places, it got incredibly ugly.
Destructoid, though? Surprisingly calm in comparison.
And so wraps up another look back at E3 08, a show that was on par with what the new E3 experience is all about. Unfortunately, that’s not great news, as it means E3 has become just another conference alongside PAX, Tokyo Game Show, Games Convention over in Europe, GDC and the countless events that individual publishers hold year-round. With the advent of the Internet, E3 has really lost most of its reason to exist. We knew almost all of Microsoft’s talking points thanks to a leak from NeoGAF, and rumors were proved right on most of Nintendo and Sony’s conferences. That leads me to believe that next year will be no different. E3 will lack the pizzazz it once did, and eventually, will probably become obsolete. Until then, though, the bitching will continue, the hype trains will leave the station on their regular schedule, and we’ll be able to watch it all unfold from the comfort of our own homes.