E3 of Cautious Optimism

This year has been pretty amazing for gaming. January saw the release of Mass Effect 2. February saw the release of Heavy Rain, plus Ace Attorney Edgeworth. And March saw the release of... just every other game announced last year. Final Fantasy XIII, Pokemon Gold/Silver, Yakuza 3, and the Dragon Age Expansion. So many games were released that I was seriously burned out.

All 4 of those games are huge time investments, and all were released within 7 days of each other? Out of the 4, I chose Pokemon. Not the smartest choice seeing how the game is nothing but level grinding and repetitive battling, in series that doesn't really evolve. My gaming has come stand still. So, I have hopes for E3.

Last year, E3 gave my interest in gaming a jump start. The end of 2008 really annoyed me with some mediocre titles, and there really wasn't much to look forward to. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony each gave me a reason to look towards the future. Now that I'm down again, I have the same hopes for this coming year. Maybe something will peak my interest, and snowball into continuous hype.

The Big 3

Tony has some great summaries of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony's press conferences for this year on his blog. Which is here: blog.t-kun.org. As a condensed version:

Microsoft's conference was quite boring. They'd showed off Call of Duty, Metal Rising, Gears 3, and a bunch of Natal (now named Kinect) titles. They also showed off a redesign model of the 360 shipping to retailers now.

Nintendo's conference was all about Nostalgia. There's a new Legend of Zelda, new Donkey Kong Country, new Goldeneye, and a new Kirby game. Plus, they showed off the Nintendo 3DS, the successor to the DS.

Sony's conference was pretty disappointing. They announced new ad campaigns, which is useless to gamers. They focused on 3D technology, Playstation Plus, Playstation Move. They showed off a couple games including Little Big Planet 2, Dead Space 2, and unveiled PS3 Twisted Metal! But NO mention of The Last Guardian, or anything Trico.

All in all, Nintendo really stole the show. But there was a little bit in all the conferences that has gotten me excited. Plus other stuff from the show floor. Here are some specific thoughts about what's being going on at E3:

Metal Gear Rising

I'm not the biggest Metal Gear fan, but MGS3 and 4 are definitely two of the finest games I've ever played. I love both those titles, and I'm definitely interested in the next console game in that series. During Microsoft's press conference Hideo Kojima took the stage, and introduced a new trailer which included gameplay: Youtube Link

The trailer shows Raiden cutting enemies and pieces of the environment in any direction at will. Towards the end Raiden pushes an enemy in the air, and clearly slices through his legs and then again through his arms and torso. This game looks incredible.

Although, isn't Metal Gear supposed to be about Espionage? This gameplay looks badass but it's not covert in the slightest. I don't know how they plan on fashioning this as a Metal Gear game, when it looks nothing like a Metal Gear game.

Xbox 360 Redesign

With the on going deluge of crappy Kinect titles, and 360 games I had absolutely no interest in, Microsoft ended their conference with a reveil few people expected. The redesign of the Xbox 360. It was somewhat leaked before the conference, but nobody really paid attention to it.

It's smaller, quiter, and better looking than the 5 year old model. It has built in Wifi as well, plus a 250 gig harddrive. Unfortunately, it looks like they've completely gotten rid of the memory card slots, which I frequently use. But everything else is there.

The new model costs $300, which is the price of the high-end Xbox 360 right now. Though, those will drop down to $250. These new models are shipping now, and will be at retailers by Sunday at the latest.

It's pretty nice that Microsoft finally got around to redesign their outdated hardware, but almost everyone already has an Xbox. I kinda want one of these, but I already have one. Plus, I have a Wifi adapter. And my Xbox works great. I don't need a new one.

Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword

Nintendo wasted no time in their conference, and once the lights dimmed and the new Wii Legend of Zelda illuminated the screens. Shigeru Miyamoto hopped on stage, and showed off the fully "one-to-one" motions of the Wii mote with Link, which seemed rather janky and about as imprecise as any Wii game.

Apparently reports from the E3 floor say the game is much easier than how it looked when Miyamoto fumbled on stage, but I don't really want a full motion Wii Legend of Zelda. Twilight Princess is just about as perfect you can get with their current hardware. I thought the DS was home to the goofy spin-off Zeldas, and now we have this?

It does look really pretty though: kotaku article

Nintendo 3DS

Back in March, Nintendo officially announced the Nintendo 3DS, a 3D handheld that required no glasses and is poised to be the successor to the DS. I really need a new Nintendo DS. My launch edition of the Nintendo DS Lite is beat to shit, and I had planned on purchasing a Nintendo DSi XL. Nintendo just happened to announce this thing 6 days before its release, so I kept my money.

The press conference didn't really show much, and they admitted it was hard to actually convey the product over video. But this thing is the talk of the show. Twitter is full of people saying it is the best thing Nintendo has ever done. Apparently the 3DS is an amazing feat you really have to see for yourself.

Well, I need a new DS and my money was already going to this thing, so I'm definitely in. All this hype is really just a cherry on the top of a cake of necessity.

In addition, they announced the return of Kid Icarus premiered on the 3DS. The game looks like a on-rails shooter that doesn't ever compare to the recent release of Sin and Punishment 2 on the Wii. Why would they even try to compete with that fantastic game? I dunno. I guess it's better than trying to make a side-scrolling metroidvania Kid Icarus.

Nintendo Nostalgia

Legend of Zelda and Kid Icarus weren't the only franchises getting new titles. It seems that Nintendo announced or showed a new game for every existing franchise they own. They announced a new Donkey Kong Country game, which looked pretty good. An actual new iteration of Goldeneye, which will probably see high numbers of Nintendo online network. A new Kirby game in the vane of Paper Mario. They showed much more footage of Metroid Other M, which I'm certainly interested in.

Nintendo kept the showcase of titles flowing, until their unveil of the 3DS. But it looks like the 3DS is a nostalgia house of its own. Many blog articles and reports have showed upcoming releases such as Star Fox 64 on 3DS, Ocarina of Time on 3DS, Metal Gear Solid 3 on 3DS, Kingdom Hearts 1 on 3DS. It looks like it's setup as a 3D virtual console of some of the best games from the past decade or so.

Definitely interesting. Though, I wonder how much all of this will cost...

Playstation 3D

Sony had its own idea of what 3D meant for gaming. They announced they would be the home for 3D gaming in your living room. They rationalized since Blu-ray discs hold so much data, developers can easily fit a 3D version of their game on the SAME disc as the regular version. Plus, a few current titles will be getting 3D updates through software patches. As such, every single PS3 on the market today is fully 3D compatible and requires no additional purchase at all.

Oh... except for a 3D compatible television. Plus, you'll need some 3D glasses too. But if you're home entertainment setup is already 3D compatible (which it's not), the Playstation 3 will fit right in.

Playstation Move

Playstation Move was another big highlight for Sony's press conference. This is their answer to the Wii, and directly inspired by the Wii as well. You have the Playstation Move Wiimote, and the Playstation Move nunchunk. The Playstation 3 Eye Camera tracks these movements, and delivers motion controls that actually seem much better than the Wii.

They showed off a bunch of games I had absolutely no interest in. But they mentioned that Heavy Rain would be getting an PS Move update. They also mentioned a Time Crisis game.

They should've showed off this game:

Child of Eden

At Ubisoft's press conference on Monday evening, Tetsuya Mizuguchi took the stage and began demonstrated his newest game, Child of Eden. This Kotaku article has a video: click.

That Kotaku article also says that it's a game born from the basic concept as Rez, one of my favorite games ever. It's an on-rails shooter, where the environment and music flow along with shots fired from your character. This trailer is absolutely beautiful. ^_^

It's announced for the Playstation Move and Xbox's Kinect. One reporter asked if you could still use a standard controller, to which Mizuguchi replied "yes", so I guess it doesn't really matter if you have a PS Move.

Dead Space 2

Premiered online a couple days before E3, shown during EA's press conference and continued into Sony's, Visceral Games gave a glimpse as to what Dead Space 2 is all about. In 2008, Dead Space blew me away with its amazing graphics, SOUND, and amazing environments. Even though it borrowed quite a bit from other established games, it really proved they knew what they were doing.

I'm pretty excited for Dead Space 2, and interested to see what sort of exclusivity deal they had with Sony. I'm quite delighted by what they actually announced.

Dead Space 2 had a limited edition release for the Playstation 3 which includes an HD, Playstation Move compatible version of Dead Space Extraction. Dead Space Extraction was released as a Wii Exclusive earlier this year. And while it was the greatest game ever, and really didn't fit with the tone of Dead Space 1, and was released on the WRONG console, I was still interested in it. I played some of it at PAX last year, I found it enjoyable on its own.

I planned on buying it for Wii when it hit less than $20, but now that a BETTER version is coming for a console I care about... I'm all in.

Playstation Move consideration

Now there's 3 games for Playstation 3 that are Playstation Move compatible that I actually care about, and plan on owning in the upcoming year. With the Playstation Move showcase, Sony also announced it's pricey strategy. A single Playstation Move Wii Mote costs $50, while an additional nunchunk is $30. Nintendo prices their Wii controllers for the same price. Plus, I already own a Playstation 3 Camera for some reason.

If I only need a single Playstation Move Wii Mote, then why not? I probably will get one. $50 isn't THAT bad. An extra $30 for a nunchunk might need more consideration, but who knows.

The rest of Sony

I find it really annoying that they didn't mention ANYTHING about The Last Guardian. They spent so much time on their stupid advertising campaigns, which mean nothing to us, and completely ignored anything from Team ICO. It doesn't sound like they even have anything on the show floor regarding it either.

I don't really care about Killzone 3, or Little Big Planet 2, or Final Fantasy XIV. They finally gave Gran Turismo 5 a date (November 2nd), and (later) announced a collector's edition which looks worthless.

Their big reveal of the day was the HIGHLY anticipated announcement of PS3 Twisted Metal. After years of denying rumors and avoiding questions, David Jaffe took the stage and showed us what he'd been working on.

I missed most of the demo, but what I saw was a shit load of players battling in a massive team deathmatch mode. It looked pretty fun, just like the hay-day of car combat multiplayer games.

So far

Even though I was pretty down, they are definitely some titles I'm looking forward to. Metal Gear Rising, Dead Space 2, Child of Eden, Nintendo 3DS, Metroid Other M... Plus there are some games I haven't looked into as much, such as Dead Rising 2, Castlevania Lords of the Shadow, and that new XBLA Castlevania.

Playstation Move will probably end up in my home with games like Heavy Rain, Child of Eden, Dead Space Extraction, and maybe that Time Crisis game, too. Microsoft's Natal/Kinect doesn't interest me at all. Dance Central looked kinda fun, but everything else looks horrible.

It should be an interesting Christmas Season, much like last year. ^_^

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