It has taken quite a bit of time to decompress from what I saw. I believed, out of everyone at the show, Nintendo had to give an exceptional briefing. A lot of people went into E3 with a lot of skepticism about Nintendo’s new console and this was the opportunity, with all eyes on them, to put those worries to rest. I don’t think Nintendo did that, if anything they lost people. While stressing that they were pressed for time at the beginning over and over, they tended to spend a lot of time on unimportant things and glanced over more exciting games.
From reports of fake applause from news that the WiiU is a glorified karaoke machine, the news that you can play last years games at the end of 2012 and the flaccid poorly rendered firework show that ended the press conference, Nintendo failed gloriously. People were running out. It’s unfortunate. They have an interesting piece of hardware and showed glimpses into its unique possibilities but decided to spend their time describing every detail of a Luigi mini game. At the very end, when Reggie Fils-Amie finally announced the system will launch this holiday season, there was an anxious and tepid applause that reeked of the overall failure of the last hour.
It’s hard to find positives. They announced to great applause that the Wii U will support two tablet controllers. However, Nintendo tweeted later on that using such functionality would drop the frame rate to about 30 frames per second. Ouch. They showed off some cool features for Batman Arkham City “Armored Edition” but in reality it’s just the same game that we are all familiar with already with some new Wii U controller elements. They mentioned over and over that over at you could view more trailers throughout the show. The only problem is don’t think they inspired anyone to go view it.
The only really interesting part was the 2 minutes Ubisoft took the stage to show off a pre-recorded game play trailer of Zombi:U. Like I mentioned earlier there are some interesting ways the new controller changes the way we play.Or if anything, at least it looks like a pretty cool gimmick that gives us interesting new ways to play. I’ve always liked the idea of looking into the tablet to see passed the TV and more of the game world since the last E3. So using the tablet as your sniper scope is really intriguing. It’s just a shame we didn’t see more of that.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about the last hour and a half of the Sony press conference. Maybe it’s late or maybe a lot of the more exciting things have already happened today. It felt really dull. Jack Tretton is a great speaker, if not one of the best who grace the stage at E3, but even he couldn’t ignite me. Maybe because I wasn’t able to be in the audience and be bribed with a free Plus subscription.
The only real interesting hardware news is the “Cross-Controller” concept which is aimed directly at Nintendo’s Wii U. I’m not sure how hard it hits across the bow because that is one mighty expensive controller and we have yet to see any information aside from it’s possibility and a few titles. I think it is just another expensive gimmick that is a neat feature if you own both systems and a pass if you don’t. Nothing screams must have.
Speaking about shooting across the bow, during the Sony briefing Ubisoft showed more Assassin’s Creed 3 game play, featuring a pretty lengthy naval battle across the open seas. I have to admit that looks pretty neat (although I hope it only happens once in the game otherwise I could get a little sea-sick of it). It’s late, excuse the bad humour.
Moving right along to some original content. Quantic Dream’s new IP features actress Ellen Paige in the roll of the protagonist. I like how Quantic Dream pushes real time cinematics. It really is quite breathtaking. While the characters in game look great, I’m not sure if I’m feeling the concept just yet. I’m also looking forward to the mechanics of the game as well which were not featured. Will it be more of the same vis-a-vis Heavy Rain or is there some new ideas lurking in this beautifully rendered world.
This one surprised me. Obviously there will be comparisons between Uncharted since it is from the same developers. And they wouldn’t be completely wrong. However, it’s not a clone at all. The first thing I noticed is that you have a health bar with no regeneration and what looks like very little ammunition. So it is more down the lines of survival horror. Making every bullet count. I am also very impressed with how smoothly the action and scripted scenes play out. It looks like you’re playing a well choreographed movie fight scene. Very impressive.
I’m not sure who writes up the script for the celebrity hosts of the Ubisoft press conference but it’s bad. Really bad. It never feels natural, the comedy always falls short and it is just wrong. Just hearing the the term “girl wood” feels so wrong in all the wrong ways. It’s like watching a train wreck with actual good games falling out of the windows of each train car. But let’s not dwell on the bad and get right into some of the trailers.
Far Cry 3 rocked us last year with the “insanity” trailer and this year is more of the same. This time it starts off with you hunting the antagonist and right from the get go it shows off that this is a very edgy game. Animated boobies people! This game looks great in the jungle setting with great visuals. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Far Cry games but how can I not check this out? Great in game trailer.
They then showed off the Splinter Cell: Blacklist trailer. Not much more to say about this since we saw some gameplay during the Microsoft briefing but I wanted to show it because it looks like a lot of fun.
The conference was short on details with a lot of games. Without knowing anything about Avengers: Battle for Earth, here is the trailer. It’s exciting only because it looks cool but there is no in-game footage and nothing else was mentioned about the game except for it giving more “girl wood”.
I have to admit I really like this trailer. However, it wouldn’t be the first time a great zombie game teaser trailer failed to deliver. This is a “Mature” Wii U title, I guess to show that the next generation of Nintendo console is for grown ups as well. Hard to say much about the game but enjoy a very cool teaser.
Next up is Assassin’s Creed 3. Finally set in a different setting. Looks very cool, but we all knew that. The in game demo shown was a winter forest setting that looks great. I just want to show the trailer though. It is really good. No doubt Ubisoft has great talent in studio when it comes to animation and cinematic trailers.
The best thing I’ve seen at E3 and not only because it is the only non-sequel to be shown so far. The idea is great, the visuals up to Ubisoft’s standards and from what I’ve seen of the gameplay it looks very interesting. The internet is going to be buzzing about this for awhile and as of right now it is on the top of my to play list.
The EA press conference came and went pretty quickly. 10 games previewed by 10 developers. A lot of established titles and nothing really new or exciting to show for. There isn’t a real gamble and with that there is no real pay off. I think it’s a missed opportunity when you have that many eyes on your company to not show anything unique or interesting. For the most part, you already know if you will like or not like one of the games shown because you’ve had experience with it’s predecessor. That being said, it looks like they may have dropped the ball with Dead Space by introducing co-op. Sure, it’s a neat feature on the checklist, but it kills the atmosphere of the game and turns it into another cover-based shooter clone.
The only other mentionable before I get to the trailers, is that Star Wars: The Old Republic is free to play up to level 15 in July. I’m not sure if I will ever give it a go, but if you were on the fence it’s the best opportunity to try it out.
I guess the sequel I’m looking forward to the most is Sim City. It looks very polished and pretty. They mentioned that it will be a connected multi-player game with the world constantly changing and offering new challenges to your game. A smart way to keep the game fresh since, from my experience, after the initial build it can get a little boring and tedious.
The one FPS that looks like I would really like to play (but probably won’t play). Which is not knock to the game, just that I haven’t been intrigued by the warfare FPS in a long time. That being said this gameplay trailer looks really good. The Frostbite engine really adds a nice level of realism. Not sure how it compares to the other ones out there in this genre but normally I feel underwhelmed and this did look entertaining at least.
I feel like showing this simply because I really love the CryEngine. I love the environment of the “urban jungle”. However, after Crysis 2, I’m not enthusiastic about this. Looks about more of the same, all I can hope is they even out the kinks in the PC port because it was horribly done last time around.
Another E3 is upon us and I’ll try to give a little bit of coverage here on the site. Considering there is an overload of information I’ll spare you with the details and just show you some of the things that are a highlight for me from each press conference.
Microsoft was up first this morning without many surprises. On the hardware side they spent a lot of time selling the Xbox360 as a media player and showing off many different types of integration. From different sports channels like NHL Game Center, better Kinect voice control, better media player and Internet Explorer.
Out of all of the same-old-same-old from last year was a bit of details how Windows 8 will connect with Xbox via “Xbox Smartglass”, which essentially links up what is happening on your TV screen with your Windows tablet and phone. Nothing out of everything that was shown in this respect is a must have and more of a neat feature if you happen to own a Windows 8 device. Personally, if I’m watching a Movie, I’m not fiddling with my tablet to look up the cast or tweet my friends.., I’m watching a movie. Perhaps I’m just out of touch with current day society and don’t share a common case of Attention Deficit Disorder.
I digress… On the software side we saw a lot of old IP’s and one new one. Halo 4 opened the show with a game play demo and it looked great. A new Forza game (which looked really nice) and the expected fitness and dance game. At one point Usher game out and someone made a bad “ushering in” pun. Thankfully I had buffered time in the stream to cut ahead.
The new Tomb Raider looks really good. It looks dark and gritty and has some really fun game play mechanics. They played a demo for us and it simply looks like a lot of fun. It reminds me a lot like Uncharted… or does Uncharted just remind me of Tomb Raider? Check out the video and see for yourself. This is definitely a return to form for Lara Croft.
My favourite part of the briefing had to be the South Park trailer. I’ve been excited about this since I heard it was announced and it looks like a lot of attention and care was taken with the brand. With creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone working closely with Obsidian it looks just like the TV show and I can’t wait to get my hands on this. It won’t be the summer blockbuster of video games but it just might be the most fun.
Splinter Cell is probably the pleasant surprise of the show. Even though I haven’t played a Splinter Cell game in awhile it looks very exciting. The gameplay has been sped up from past Splinter Cell games with the “killing in motion” mechanic of targeting enemies and taking them down quickly. Ubisoft is really top notch when it comes to animations and scenery as well so I think this might be the game to play if you’re a fan of stealth games. The only thing I don’t quite like is the mindless shoot-everything while covering behind a mid sized wall.