I love a big E3 as much as the next guy, but it couldn't just have been me that found this one of the most lackluster E3's in a few years. Microsoft continued to make us feel like Kinect is actually a new Xbox and more than half their press conference was devoted to such wonderful titles as Disneyland Adventures and Once Upon A Monster. Don't get me wrong, if I had kids I would probably be stoked about those games. As it is, promising me Kinect support in Mass Effect 3 and ALL Tom Clancy games going forward just doesn't get me excited. Modern Warfare 3 had a balls-to-the-wall demo, but I guess that doesn't surprise me anymore. Gunsmith in the new Ghost Recon looks cool, but not enough to convince me that Kinect is crucial to the experience. In fact, that's how all the Kinect demos of core games felt. As though it was something to say "Hey, if you already bought this, you will actually have a few things you can do with it in those blockbuster games we know you'll buy!" I feel like it just hasn't had a killer app. The Fun Labs thing looks interesting, but I guess I'll have to wait and see if there's really anything they can do to convince me of why at this stage in the console's life cycle I should shell out that cash on a peripheral. Halo 4 sounds interesting, but a new trilogy? Really? So we gonna go all Star Wars now and start calling a 4, 5 and 6 a trilogy?
Of course there's one trilogy, that I think we didn't expect to become one, that will finally be ending this year. Ezio had a bit of a longer run as a protagonist in Assassin's Creed than I think anyone expected. However with the quality of the games being so high you can hardly argue. I'll be happy to play through more AC in hopes that this one may actually answer as many questions as I'm sure it will raise. Really this was the shining star in Ubisoft's lineup. Ghost Recon FS looks ok, not amazing, but not bad either. I want to like that game, but I think I need to get my hands on it before I can make a decision one way or the other. FarCry 3 was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't a huge fan of the previous games, but that demo looked pretty damn good. Might have to keep my eye on that one. Oh and "Mr. Caffeine" was just downright horrendous. When the FarCry developer came out and just in 2-3 sentences set up the game and said let's get to it I was practically cheering him for his brevity and refusal to be a party to the complete nonsense going on around him.
EA's conference was ok, I mean...not really any big surprises, but they kept it fairly simple. Battlefield 3 looks amazing, 'nuff said. I'm becoming more and more intrigued with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, although my "bullshit sensor" keeps telling me I'm asking to get let down if I start to expect too much. Mass Effect 3 is probably the game I'm looking forward to the most next year. The stage demo wasn't the greatest, but the one they showed on GameTrailers later was crazy good. Very exciting stuff. Madden 12....*sigh*...you parade 3 top players out there and don't even have a real gameplay trailer? This game is supposed to drop in like 2-3 months? You gotta do better. Your last year show was better than this. Not sure how to feel about The Old Republic...I love Star Wars and I love KOTOR, but I feel like this is just WoW with a new window dressing and it's not going to satisfy what I want from a Star Wars RPG. I'm sure it will be a great game and people will love it, but I guess I'm dealing with my own personal disappointment that they felt an MMO was the best way to go. Overstrike looks interesting, while SSX and NFS: The Run do not, to sum it up.
Sony had a decent show to be sure. The emphasis on Move was much more understated, which I appreciated greatly. Sad that the only NBA 2K12 info was improved Move support, but hey, they had Kobe. That's good right? Right? Uncharted 3 really stole the show out of the gate. The boat level with it's swirling ocean and water effects looked amazing. Resistance 3 looks to continue to be a mediocre franchise. The PS Vita looks like one slick, sexy piece of tech and the price was pretty good too. I'm just not sure I'm ready to invest in a portable device that does what my PS3 does, more or less. I'm sure it will sell well, especially at that price point compared to Nintendo's 3DS, but I may need to see a bit more before I seriously consider a purchase.
The 3DS had a pretty strong showing at Nintendo. Kid Icarus, a new Mario Kart and...Luigi's Mansion? Well, I guess they had to find something else to
remake draw inspiration from. Skyward Sword looked like more Zelda, which to be honest, I haven't cared about as much since Twilight Princess. Maybe the Wii U can change that. Although I'll be completely honest, I think the Wii U looks pretty wack. The controller is a marvel of technology, but it looks pretty large and like a weird tablet. All the cool techy things it can do sound nice, but it just seems like you'll be spending money to reinvest in this generation's technology. This isn't leaps and bounds ahead of everything else nor is the approach as novel as the Wii was in 2006. It just feels awkward as it'll be keeping up with games we'll be playing for the next couple of years and then what happens when Microsoft and Sony drop new machines in 2014? Do we end up back in the same situation of those two getting titles and Nintendo's console getting some completely different version due to it's discrepancy in power? Only time will tell, but with the 3DS and Vita going for $250, I'm pretty sure whatever Nintendo is charging will be too much for my tastes.
So all in all I think there was really little to get excited about this year. Most of the best stuff we knew about long before E3 and there were less than a handful of wonderful surprises. Well, the bright side is I won't have to make many adjustments to my purchase calendar for the next year or so.