By thordain 10 Comments
I'll give Nintendo credit, they really turned it around this year in terms of Casual vs Hardcore. The only casual game we heard about was Wii Party, another one of those minigame collections. Besides that Nintendo's game announces were a series of hits, including the 3DS and some of the games that will be launching alongside it. But a lot of the Wii games I saw during the press conference felt like NosCons and rehashes, some of which I'll talk about now. The big opener was Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and it looked pretty good. If the wiimotion plus can convey sword swipes accurately, unlike the demo Miyamoto gave at the event, and the nunchuk-shield is easy to use then Legend of Zelda could be pretty cool. The game looked interesting, with a Link mostly intact from Twilight Princess now sporting a more cel-shaded look. That game is still a ways away so I won't pass judgment on it. I will however pass judgment on the rest of the announced games in no particular order, starting with Kirby: Epic Yarn. Remember the last time a 2d Kirby game felt new and innovative? Canvas Curse was pretty cool but this just looks like somebody made another Kirby game. The new yarn artstyle is...kind of unimpressive. It looks to me like somebody made a normal 2d Kirby game, then just outlined it and replaced pencil marks with yarn, if that makes any sense. Golden Sun was a game I never played so I probably can't say anything on the matter. Epic Mickey looked like it had some interesting ideas and it is nice to see someone trying to work old properties into good games. A new GoldenEye game perplexs me because I simply don't see the reason for it existing. What is going to make a GoldenEye game any better than any of the Wii shooters out there already? The game might sell boatloads(oh wait, that's why they're making it), but I doubt anyone will play it for very long seeing as it is a Wii FPS. Donkey Kong Country Returns will be a fine game, but Nintendo shouldn't be wasting Retro's time like this. The guys who redefined what a Metroid game could be are now making a game that will (probably) be almost exactly the same as the previous games in the series. Nintendo could have had any one of its studios develop this game and Retro could be working on an original FPS for Nintendo. Instead we are left with another Donkey Kong Country game.
What turned the Nintendo press conference around for me was the 3DS and the games it showed. When that Kid Icarus trailer started up I thought it was a Wii game. The graphics really do look better for the 3DS and with this handheld now having an analog stick there is some real potential for great games. Among the games announced at the press conference for the 3DS were new titles from the Saints Row, Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Kingdom Hearts, and Assassin's Creed franchises. Now after the press conference there have been reports of other incoming 3DS titles. The highlights of that list include Star Fox 64, a new Pilotwings, Paper Mario, Professor Layton, and Persona. If even a couple of these big name games launch with the 3DS whenever it comes then it could be a very strong beginning for what looks to be a very good handheld. The 3DS offsets the uncomfortable feelings I get from all the Wii NosCons and leaves me feeling like Nintendo did a pretty good job overall. I'd give them an A- and call it the best Press conference of E3.
The Sony press conference felt like a bit of a roller coaster of ups and downs for me. They started off by playing the 3d card pretty heavily, claiming that Sony had the future of 3d gaming in Killzone 3. This all sounded pretty ridiculous since the 3DS had blown everyone out of the water just a few hours earlier, but everyone still put on their 3d glasses and watched a short Killzone 3 demo. Watching the stream I couldn't get any of the 3d but that game still looks really nice. The jetpack stuff looks cool, but I supose the divide still lies in the question of whether or not you like the shooting in Killzone. After that it was time for the Playstation Move, starting with Sorcery. This spellcasting game looks like it has a nice artstyle and the controls looked very responsive to me. Golf is golf and Tiger Woods continued to be golf, though this demo really showed how much Sony had packed the crowd, as there was applause coming after every swing. Heroes on the Move got far more applause than it deserves, as it looks like Sony selling their souls to the same devil as Nintendo with their first big mashup game. It's kind of hard to say anything about this game because we know so little, but it is a shame seeing Sony go the Smash Bros route of sticking all of their characters together in one game. It just screams laziness to me. Kevin Butler came out and made things awesome with his Kevin Butlerness which was then followed by information about the cost of the Playstation Move. $80 seems like a fair price for a full set and it hurts the Kinect if the rumored price($150) is accurate. Sony then moved on to the PSP, promising a new dedication to supporting its handheld. I doubt that a new dedication to marketing the PSP and a new God of War game( Ghost of Sparta) will be enough to let the PSP overtake the 3DS. LittleBigPlanet 2 was next on the chopping block and that game looks really cool. It has all of the creation tools from before but now offers you the ability to create other kinds of games. It looks alot like a more expanded form of Warioware D.I.Y and judging by the things people were able to create in one day with that game, there is going to be some insane stuff available for download. Playstation Plus looks like it offers a small number of benefits but does so at a fair price so I'm not going to complain. Dead Space 2 and Medal of Honor were shown and they continue to look impressive. Valve then proceeded to pull off their E3 suprise. They had canceled their reveal of Portal 2 at E3 for a special suprise which turned out to be...the reveal of Portal 2. Also steam for PS3, which didn't make much sense to me. I can see how the steam cloud would be useful to have, but how many people are going to get the urge to constantly switch consoles in playing Portal 2? An Infamous 2 trailer was shown and ice powers were confirmed for Cole's return. The Press conference then chugged to a close with the announcement of a new Twisted Metal game created by David Jaffe's studio. They played a bit of the multiplayer at the show and sure enough it looked like a vehicular combat game. Its obvious that Twisted Metal is still early on in development, but I was left wondering if a car combat game will still feel fresh in 2011. After that the Sony press conference did not end with a bang like a new Last Guardian trailer, but rather with a fizzle as Jack Tretton came out and thanked the the gamers and then said goodnight. Sony didn't have much in the way of announcements but nothing there really ruined them. Heroes on the Move bothered me morally but even that was canceled out by Kevin Butler. So I guess the thing to do here is give Sony a solid B- and say farewell to the E3 press conferences.