By Hailinel 15 Comments
Late to the Party
E3 2011 is old news now. This much is true. There were some big announcements, some not-so-big announcements, and, well...Konami. Granted, the Zone of the Enders HD Collection is something I highly desire, if only for an upgraded version of The 2nd Runner, but yeah. Konami didn't really have much that was special.
To be honest, there really wasn't much that got me jazzed this year. There are certainly things that I'm looking forward to, to be certain, but none of the announcements left me with a strong level of anticipation. There was no "Other M" moment for me, if you will, that left me with the desire to gobble up as much information as humanly possible, watch the reveal trailer until it was ingrained in my cerebral cortex, and feel the need to go ballistic on the game's Giant Bomb wiki over the following year.
Some of you are likely relieved by that, but I digress.
The Press Conferences
My job prevented me from having the opportunity to watch any of the press conferences or follow live streams this year. The best I could manage was the Twitter feed on my phone, where I received commentary from the likes of Ryan Davis and others on events as they occurred. To be honest, I feel the experience was almost better this way, as reading such tweets as one regarding Ryan's desire to punch Mr. Caffeine to death without the context of who or what Mr. Caffeine was just made the whole experience all the more surreal.
As for the press conference reveals themselves, it's hard to feel the impact when I either have no interest in what they're selling (I've never been a Halo fan and thus can't say I feel anything for the Halo 1 remake or the revelation of a Halo 4) or I've already known certain aspects about the reveal months in advance (Hello, Wii U controller). Really, it's hard for me to give much of an opinion on any of the press conferences since I didn't watch them.
The Price is Right, But...
The Vita is going to be $250, which is great news, given that I wasn't expecting to see it priced at anything less than $300. Though I do wonder how much of a hit Sony will be taking on the hardware production costs. Either way, I'm hesitant to buy one. Not just because I already own a 3DS mind you, but I already own a PSP, and I only play it once in a blue moon. Of the games I've bought for it, very few have held my attention for more than a few play sessions. I will in all likelihood get one anyway because I'm sure that there will be games on it that I'll want to play (and also because I am a whore), but it's going to take more than the price to get me on board.
The Wii U
I'm not going to bother with joke about the name. It's something I've already gotten used to. Besides, I used to do product testing as an associate contractor at Nintendo when they were ramping up for the Wii's launch, and in that time I heard more penis jokes than I could ever have possibly hoped for. In any case, that controller actually doesn't look bad. Well, yes, it looks like a tablet with buttons, but in all honesty, the way it was presented, it looks like it could work out pretty well. I'd love to see how it'll work with titles that are more than the simple tech demos that they were showing off.
Luigi's Mansion 2? Holy shit, really?! Sure, I'll take it! You won't see me complain here. I'm honestly more intrigued by it than I am in Super Mario. Though both of those games will take a back seat to Kid Icarus: Uprising, which looks great. Though, in all my left-handed glory, I will in all likelihood adopt an unconventional right-hand-on-circle-pad-and-L-button grip to maintain control of the stylus. I've already tested holding the 3DS this way. It could conceivably work, even if I look like an imbecile in the process.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Say what you will about Square Enix's milking of the franchise, how we still don't have a solid release date for Versus XIII, or the disastrous precedent that was Final Fantasy X-2. FFXIII-2 looks like it could honestly be a better experience than the original, which I had already enjoyed. I just hope that it maintains a consistent tone with Final Fantasy XIII rather than veer off into anything like FFX-2's psychotropic pop princess mini-game extravaganza.
Aaaaand, yeah. That's really all I have to say on E3 this year. Not exactly the most exciting show for me. But they can't all be mind-blowing.
I picked up Duke Nukem Forever this week despite the horrid reviews it's gotten. I'm nowhere near the end of the game and have only played a few hours in, but it's honestly not the unplayable disaster I had half-expected. At least up to the part I've played, it's actually fairly competent. The game mechanics don't feel broken. The shooting feels fine, the general feel of the gameplay is fine. I mean, I've played far, far worse. The biggest sin that the game really commits is that the combat isn't as frequent as I'd have expected. Granted, I am not in general a fan of first-person shooters and picked up DNF largely based on its historical relevance (or, perhaps to some, irrelevance) and I'm playing on the easiest difficulty, but yeah. I've played far, far worse, and some of the humor is actually pretty amusing, if you take it at the level it's obviously aiming for.
In a sense, I can see where the game ultimately came from. A lot of the level design, with the jumping puzzles and so on, is straight-on 1997 FPS level design. And the regenerating health and two-weapon limit is definitely taken from Halo and games that came after. But there's also the slow way that the game starts after the opening boss fight. Duke wandering the hotel casino, messing with the objects in the environment and being approached by passersby that either admire him or want to hop in bed with him as he makes his way to the stage where he's meant to go on air, is like the opening to a game like Half-Life. You see the world from Duke's eyes before things go south. And frankly, his life is pretty damn good in this bizarre universe where he's a hero of Earth and a sexual god. The set-up is actually not that bad. Slower than a lot of people would expect, but not bad.
But I don't know if I'll actually finish it. FPS titles and I have just never really gotten along well, save for the numerous hours of GoldenEye multiplayer I played in high school. So when I end up quitting will be a test between my tolerance for the game and my willingness to play through my general disinterest in the genre. In either case, all I can really say is that, as far as I've played, Duke Nukem Forever is not the flaming bag of poo some have labeled it as.