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The Big 3 E3 Conferences
Report Card on the Big 3 at E3.
By Briana Lawrence
June 15, 2010
The Big 3 E3 Conferences
© Bob Trate
E3 is like the major thesis that college students have, only the students are giant game developers and we're the professors they are desperately trying to impress. For the sake of not making this an epically long article full of our fangirl spazzing (oh god oh god Twisted Metal and was that Metal Gear on 360 and dear god that Star Wars trailer and oh god the 3DS and Zelda and oh man hyperventilating breathe damnit breathe!) we're going to stick with the Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft press conferences and quietly fangirl over the videos in the show room -- holy hannah is that Marvel vs. Capcom 3?! Article. Right. Back to the article -- dude Mortal Kombat!
The press conference wasn't terrible, but it wasn't as exciting as we had hoped it would be. There were definitely things that caused some fangirl squealing to the point of scaring the kitties in the house, but there was something about the presentation that caused us to have mixed feelings about Microsoft's newest announcements. Most of our hesitation comes from Natal... er, Kinect. Motion is suddenly all of the rage and all the systems want you to get up and move, but Microsoft is taking it to a new level. No controllers. At all. Now don't get us wrong, that is amazing technology, it's just that everything they showed -- the dancing, the fitness, the... pets? -- has been done already so we're a bit tired of it. The 360 has always been the hardcore killing machine that would, occasionally, have a Viva Pinata or a Scene It. All of the family friendly games at the conference just felt... odd. But to be fair it's a good way to sell more systems because let's face it, gaming is changing and there are people who would rather bowl then carry heavy firearms. Perhaps Kinect will be a good add on to the sleak, new 360, but just like Kinect we have mixed feelings. On the one hand, thank GOD it has built in wi-fi because $100 for a network adapter is just ridiculous. But honestly, couldn't this have been done sooner?
The best thing about the Microsoft conference -- besides the ESPN announcement because that could be a major step for other networks to jump on board -- were the games, and in the end isn't that what we care about most? Halo, Gears of War, and Fable 3 were a welcome site for sore eyes. And 360 fans of Call of Duty can mock the Sony users because for the next 3 years all downloadable content will hit XBOX Live before any other system. But what we're most excited for is the new Metal Gear. The cutting mechanics are ridiculously precise, from human opponents to pillars to... watermelon? But Raiden manages to make fruit slicing look like serious business, because it is, obviously, when you're Raiden.
Nintendo press conferences always worry us these days. We always expect it to be all about the "casual" gamer and to be bombarded with wii fits and plays and sports and whatnot. While this press conference definitely had some of those we were pleasantly surprised to see so many games announced that we actually want! To be honest, we thought we wouldn't touch the wii for quite some time after Metroid, but it looks like we're going to be Nintendo fans for the rest of the year and well into next year. Let's start the way Nintendo did: Zelda. We were surprised that they pulled out the big guns so quickly, showing both a trailer and gameplay for about fifteen minutes. We were worried about how the hell they would top Zelda, especially when we had to listen to pop music and watch cheesy dancing during Just Dance 2, but then Nintendo tucked the "casual" away and proceeded to show off games like Golden Sun, Dragon Quest IX, and even had a nice demonstration for Epic Mickey. It's hard to believe that Mickey Mouse can be so, well... epic. Gorgeous art, a dark world, vengeful toons, the sort of cocky title actually works! Nintendo kept the surprises coming, announcing games that we didn't realize we wanted until we saw them at the press conference. A new Kirby, Donkey Kong Country, and even Golden Eye, all scheduled to be released this year!
And then there was the 3DS, which talked a big game but actually showed a lot of promise. It's not just because Nintendo revealed a new Kid Icarus and Starfox remake, or even the fact that you can take pictures and view them in 3D, but its all of the other developers who are already planning games for it. Resident Evil? Metal Gear?! Kingdom Hearts?!?! The fact that they're making sure they have plenty of games for the 3DS makes us extremely excited for their new handheld device. We dare say that they had an amazing press conference? Not too much focus on the simple games -- though the Mario Sports Mix looks fun -- and the return of a lot of our favorite Nintendo characters.
Like Microsoft, this press conference was o.k. It felt like sitting through a long lecture, then suddenly something happens to wake your brain up. We knew we would get a big speech about the Move and 3D but dear god, it was so long! There are some things about the Move that we do like compared to its competition. For one, the Move is actually going to work on a lot of games. First party games even. While its true that the motion plus will work on Zelda, why doesn't it work with things like Mario Galaxy, or Metroid, or any of the other big name Nintendo games? It feels like the device Nintendo forgot about, whereas the Move will work on a large library of games. The best part? It's optional! The game disc will have two different ways to play, with or without the Move. It's awesome, and Sony made sure we realized it because they wouldn't stop talking about it, even Kevin Butler made an epic gaming speech that stroked the Move's ego even more.
Eventually, Sony moved onto the PSP and showed us that they're actually going to give it some attention. A new campaign with a street smart kid asking the question we've been asking for years, "Where are all the PSP games?" Well how about 70+ by the end of the year, and Sony showed a great montage of titles -- wait was that that Parasite Eve game they talked about a year or two ago?! As for its big daddy, the PS3, it will be getting a slew of exclusives. Little Big Planet 2. Killzone 3. Infamous 2. Gran Turismo 5 (which FINALLY has a release date), and the biggest exclusive announcement of all? Twisted. Metal. Insert lots of excited swearing here! Sony then spent time going through all of the exclusive content they will have for upcoming games. How odd, it's usually Microsoft getting all of the exclusives, but games like Medal of Honor, Dead Space 2, and Assassin's Creed are getting exclusive content for the PS3. And not only did Sony have the premiere video for Portal 2, but they announced that the PS3 version will have support from Steam. Wow! But wait, that's not the only cocky grin Sony gave to Microsoft. They then announced the Playstation plus, which adds to the online gaming experience for the same price as XBOX live. The difference? You can keep the online access already offered without subscribing to plus, it's an optional service, but upgrading gives you a ton of perks. Exclusive content, invites to betas, full PSN games for free, and discounts on PSN store products. Holy bananas, Sony!
Honestly, this felt like the E3 full of motion and 3D. All the kids are doing it, mom, so we won't be cool unless if we do it too. And is it cool? Well... yes, it is. But we want to see all of this stuff live, hold it in our hands and experience it. We might be hesitant about some of the demonstrations but we can't help but be curious. Playing a game with no controllers? Granted, we would suck at driving without a wheel but we'd still like to try it. 3D without glasses? We'd freak out if we saw a space ship doing a barrel roll off of our DS screen. And shiny bluray graphics popping out of the T.V.? Bullets flying right at us, fatalities dripping out of the T.V., revisiting the origami killer and literally feeling like we were cutting the ropes from around our wrists before the crazy doctor tried to use a drill on us. But in the end, as Kevin Butler said, and it's going to be yet another good year to be a gamer.