While I usually hold off on blogging about E3, I've decided to go ahead and post some quick thoughts on all three major conferences. Next week, once I've come back from a short vacation to South Dakota, I'll have had time to read through most of the game announcements and details to give out some Sparky-flavored awards. They'll taste of victory and tears. Oh, and please bear in mind that I try not to favor any one particular company - I own all three consoles, a DS, and I'm a fan of each of them, as you can glean from prior blogs about games I love on each console. However, I do hold a certain sort of bias, being an old-school gamer, and that will inevitably become a factor in all three conferences.
I want to get this off my chest first - if you don't bring the "wow" factor to E3, you're not going to impress the core demographic of the conference, that being the gamers who care enough about games to actually read through media sites for news on the show. For me, that "wow" factor comes from games, but in Microsoft's event, they tried to bring it via technology.
Don't get me wrong - I'm incredibly impressed with the way the Kinect works. The innovations and science behind the tech are stunning, and I can't wait to see what it brings as far as games five years down the line. But yesterday, Microsoft did not show anything that appeals to the gamer in me. The workout program seemed neat (and believe me, when I get an apartment big enough for one, I'll definitely be picking it up). But beyond that, the mini-games seem a little stale and nothing really drew me in.
That being said, the few games on display not aimed at the Kinect audience were great. Fable 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, so I eat up anything Fable 3 related. The trailer looked good, but I'd have liked to have seen some gameplay mechanics and footage. Gears of War has never been my cup of tea due to my vision problems, but the third looks as incredible as the rest of the series. Halo Reach will inevitably draw me in for 100+ hours, time I should be using to write and do constructive things.
I think honestly one of the highlights for Microsoft right now is XBLA, and I was sorely disappointed to not see it featured as it has been in the past. Hydro Thunder looks incredible. Stoked for a new Tomb Raider and Castlevania, too.
Insofar as competitive conferencing goes, to me, Nintendo is the clear-cut winner here. But here's why that's unfair for me to say - most of the sequels announced were for series that I adore. I still own a Kid Icarus cartridge. I played the holy hell out of Donkey Kong 64, and adore the Super Nintendo Country games. GoldenEye was the first console shooter I really enjoyed, and I poured a ton of hours into its multiplayer along with my brother and our friends. Kirby kinda drew a mixed reaction, as I'm not a huge fan of the series, but I loved what I saw. Even Epic Mickey (Mickey Epic?) looked superb.
So yes, judging on the excitement of games featured, Nintendo definitely won me over. But even on the technological side, Nintendo managed to alleviate my doubts about the 3DS. I still don't know if the technology will work for my vision, as almost all 3D tech doesn't (stupid depth perception and glasses destroy the illusion for me), but even if it doesn't, I applaud Nintendo for this. If the tech doesn't work for me, I hope that there will at least be an option to play games in the regular "old-fashioned" way. If so, I'll definitely think about picking it up - but probably during the inevitable second generation of the product. Not making that mistake again like I did with the DS. Damn you, heavy clunky DS!
I'm going to announce one E3 award today, and that's "The Comeback Kid" Award. The beginning of Sony' press conference had me in a fit of boredom. I hold no interest in Killzone (disliked both the predecessors), and the Move stuff practically screams copyright infringement. With the added bonus of a dearth of excellent looking Move games, and I was throwing obscenities around left and right on the forums during their conference.
LBP 2's easy, charming presentation started to win me over. There weren't any real surprises here or throughout most of Sony's conference, but what was shown was damned interesting. I love the creative options in making new game types, and the game still has that charm from the first. It's definitely shaping up to be a fantastic game, and it started to really turn things around for Sony's conference.
Of course, the big shocker of the PS conference was Gabe Newell and Valve's new presence on the PS3. Great stuff with the interruption, and it brings a lot to Sony's table. Will we see more support from Valve? Time will tell, but something tells me that yes, Valve wants a piece of the PS3 pie.
Twisted Metal and Forz.... uhhh, Gran Turismo 5 are new entries in classic series, so it was great to see them get some lovin'. I'll believe a Turismo 5 release date when that game is in my hands - until then, consider me doubtful. Twisted Metal admittedly looked rough, but kudos to Sony for having the balls to show so much gameplay. Given the right amount of polish and shine, I could easily see this becoming a future addiction.
I'm not expecting a whole lot else. It's been a good E3 so far, and I'm looking forward to being able to peruse and view videos throughout the next week and a half. A part of me really wishes we'd see some new JRPG announcements, though that's a pipe dream at pretty much any E3. If they happen, awesome. If not, I'll get my fix at the Tokyo show, I'm sure. But still... Sony, please, a new Suikoden? Or just release Suikoden 2 on the PSN? Come on, you know you want to!