PsEG's E3 Ramblings: June 14th, 2010

I've had quite a few pointless thoughts cross my mind today and yesterday through all the E3 festivities, and I figure it's worth rambling about, rather than just letting them fester, wither, and die within my memory. Consider this a highly informal way of doing so.

First off, I gotta point out that Adam Boyes, Chris Charla, and Mike Mika broadcasted a fabulous livestream of their trip to LA and subsequent invasion of John Vignocchi's house. Lots of questions were asked, and a few users made a point of being asses and trolling them once at Johnny V's place, but overall it was a fascinating and entertaining discussion of games and other stuff, even more than the Giant Bomb road to E3 livestreams. I managed to get a bunch of questions and comments through, including a question that I mistyped about AI to a former Codemasters employee and a "why should I care about Tron other than it's freaking Tron" question that grabbed Johnny V's attention pretty seriously for a moment. Kudos to all those dudes for putting up with us annoying Internet folk...it was a great way to spend all last night watching my computer.

Oh, and the Giant Bombcast livestream was also quite awesome and well-produced, but that's pretty obvious. Looking forward to future days and what they hold.

Now, how about these press conferences? Let's bullet point the fuck out of them.

Microsoft


  • Honestly, I wasn't expecting much here. I imagined there'd be a lot more awkward Kudo shoe BS and other activities that would make me question the quality of Kinect, but there wasn't anything of the sort. I guess I'm not a cynical douchebag and maybe a little too positive for my own good anymore, but I wasn't disappointed at all with Microsoft's press conference. Very little floored me with excitement, but as a person who pretty much uses just a 360 for gaming these days, I see future potential.
  • Also, side note: I still don't like Kinect as a name. It's not as horrible as I initially thought, but I wish they could have scrapped the portmanteau and called it the Kinetic or the Connect instead. Maybe it'll grow on me.
  • Although I probably won't play Call of Duty: Black Ops (the only CoD I've played is the Call of Duty 1 demo), I thought the tunnel scene was pretty tense, and the helicopter flying and infinite missile launching was over the top. Good! But over the top.
  • MGS Rising has a neat cutting system. Another title I probably won't get around to playing, though. The only Metal Gear Solid I've ever stuck with is MGS3: Snake Eater. Something about that game hooked me, and it wasn't just shoulder-tackling dogs to death.
  • Also, I have to mention my biggest pet peeve for these conferences. Stilted speech. God damn, people, I understand you're reading from scripts and prompters and there's a large crowd hanging on your every word, but please, practice speaking that sort of stuff in a natural, conversational tone. I just can't stop wincing when somebody sounds robotic.
  • Gears of War 3 looks like a lot of fun. I only played through the Gears of War 1 and 2 co-op campaigns once, and then only picked them up beyond that for achievements, but in both cases the experience was worth it. This should be no different, though I hope those lambent creatures aren't a gigantic pain in the ass.
  • Giant Bomb's ruined Peter Molyneux for me. I kept muttering "muh balls" after every one of his sentences. I kind of didn't pay attention to Fable III, as a result.
  • I uttered an "oh shit" over Halo: Reach going into space. Codename Kingdom? Not so much. It could have been a Deadliest Warrior trailer, for all I cared...well, unless those weren't live humans in the Codename Kingdom trailer. If those were actually CG people, I'd be very impressed.

Microsoft Kinect/Xbox 360 Slim


  • Kinect's interface and interaction options actually look pretty intuitive and easy to work with. I was worried about a lot of accidental input with movement and voice recognition, but it seems pretty good in that regard.
  • Seriously, if the voice commands work that well, I'll be impressed.
  • Laura Massey from (Hi I'm Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's) Major Nelson's podcast demoed the interface and chat options. I like being able to communicate to Messenger friends and watch videos together, and I might find use in that, but let's set that aside. I wonder if Laura's presenting this as part of (Hi I'm Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's) Major Nelson's attempt to get her Wikipedia article back from the pits of deletion.
  • Oh, and stilted dialog? Sorry, Laura, but you and your twin sister are totally part of the problem here. I was repulsed in pain to hear the phoniest conversation yet. Oh. Is that Avatar. The Last Airbender...? YES. PLEASE VOCALIZE YOUR QUESTION IN THE FORM A HUMAN BEING WOULD, THANK YOU. It's not wrong to sound natural or like you're ad-libbing.
  • ESPN and ESPN 3 on my Xbox 360? I love this idea. There are so many sporting events I want to watch in HD but can't thanks to my local cable provider. Hopefully they won't be able to prevent me from seeing ESPN 3 on my 360.
  • Also, take note. The Sportscenter dudes know how to present. They know how to present in a friendly, informal, and conversational tone, and it was probably the most entertaining part of the press conference for me.
  • Also, polls and team allegiance in the ESPN for 360 stuff? Very nice, though I wonder how far it'll extend. Can I pledge my allegiance to Vitor Meira in IndyCar races? It'd also be cool if I could get special avatar stuff for pledging to a favorite sports team, or at least a small discount on any already-available avatar merchandise.
  • Unfortunately, Kudo comes out and takes me away from the exciting ESPN stuff into the depths of hell with a super-creepy tiger and little girl in Kinectimals.
  • I doubt I'll ever play Kinect Sports, but it does have bowling. I guess we'll see.
  • Joy Ride becoming a Kinect title is severely disappointing to me. I maintain that using your hands to steer without a controller just will not work. Also, the woman demoing Joy Ride managed to annoy me with her unnecessary chattiness very quickly. You know those people who leave their headsets on all the time on Xbox Live and won't stop chatting, singing, and generally distracting from the game by being an inconsiderate jerk? That was out in full force here.
  • Kinect Adventures suffer from the same chatty demoing, and looks embarrassing to boot. I wonder how people in multi-floor apartments with thin floors/ceilings will feel about all these games that require jumping...
  • The body shape shown in the Ubisoft fitness demo really shows a decent level of detail in Kinect's scanning. I'm impressed.
  • Dance Central is something I never want to touch or play. I don't dance like that. I will never dance like that.
  • Turn 10 shows a great use for the Kinect in letting me look around while racing in Forza by turning my head. It reminds me very much of that Track-IR (or whatever it's called) that some PC racing titles use. I still want a controller to steer, accelerate, and brake with. Hands will not do here.
  • The new Xbox 360 looks a lot nicer than I thought from my initial impression. Not planning on migrating from my Jasper Xbox 360 to it anytime soon, though.
  • They're shipping these models to stores now. That floored me. Great job on that front. Now, advertise the hell out of it, please.

EA


  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit looks quite good. I just hope they discourage so many u-turns like what were shown off in the demo. It made everything look more like Marked Man from Burnout Paradise. Focus on more of a one-directional chase, guys, and have those assists like roadblocks and spike strips come into play!
  • The EA Gun Club just sounds so wrong, and the bad country music they introduced it with doesn't help.
  • EA MMA looks interesting, but the gameplay doesn't look that different from UFC, despite Peter Moore's claims. I'm still seeing fighters tee off on their opponent's skull without too much repercussion. A good kick to the head would at least send the guy stumbling back a step or two, if not just outright knock him out, no?
  • The live broadcast system with EA MMA looks interesting and has promise, but what do you want to bet the commentators are going to be bored to death when some loud-mouthed jerk exploits the game to create an unrealistic and dull fight? Let's hope I'm proven wrong there.
  • Madden 11 is making lots of changes? I'll wait to see for sure. Don't they say they're going to change lots of stuff each year, but the end product is usually the same?
  • I can't help but wonder if Peter Moore's conversation with Joe Montana was to cover up the new play calling system somewhat. It seems simplistic, but it also looks like a more realistic version of that "just tell me what I should call because I don't understand football enough" feature. Ask Lee Corso or Ask Madden or whatever it's called. Not like it'll stop most of us from going for it on the 4th down anyways.
  • Bulletstorm looks crazy. It also looks like the player will be incredibly overpowered. Not that I have a problem with that. A whole game based on the sort of stuff I did at the end of Half-Life 2? Fine by me.

Ubisoft


  • Wow, what an opening. I thoroughly enjoyed that Child of Eden demo. Using hand motions over a controller would definitely be more my style. I could never aim well enough in Rez, despite wanting to play a funky game of its sort. This is the kind of thing that sells me on Kinect.
  • I've never played any Assassin's Creed, but the idea of co-op assassination is quite intriguing. Still, he seems a bit too bold, and the combat seems a bit too aggressive. I guess I'd know if this was normal had I played ACII. Also, lots of horse violence.
  • Shaun White Skateboarding looks like it's trying WAY too hard to seem hip and down with the kids. At least Shaun White looks appropriately overwhelmed and confused by it all. The world-morphing element looks unique, at least, especially flying through the world on a rail.
  • You can really tell Joel McHale's winging it this year, though I can't remember if he was like this last year. The scripted parts are spoken terribly (or thankfully ignored), but the improvisation's mildly humorous. He's on a hit network comedy now, so I guess the money's more a luxury than necessity, and I'm not about to blame him for not putting more effort in. At least he seems to understand that the extra discussion (and French cubes) are kind of silly.
  • A bunch of people running around playing lazer tag is not a way to sell me on a game. Neither is making Joel McHale run around confused, or practicing breathing exercises with a Ubisoft-branded vitality sensor.
  • McHale's heckling made the repeat of the Ubisoft exercise game a little more tolerable...but the height measurement for the lady was different this time! She was 5'8" at Microsoft and was 5'6" or 5'7" here. That's the first really not-so-good sign for Kinect that I've seen.
  • The Ghost Recon: Future Soldier demo was unintentionally hilarious in its levels of quiet and brutal bloodshed. Co-op sounds very promising, too. I may have to consider giving Future Soldier a try.
  • I've never been sold on the Driver franchise, especially after experiencing the completely underwhelming gameplay of the first game. Driver: San Francisco's trailer doesn't change that in the least, no matter how many licensed cars, car shifting, or comas you stuff in there.
  • Rayman Origins looks like a good time as any for me to finally give a Rayman game a try. That's right: I haven't play nearly enough popular or iconic franchises. Shame on me.
  • I have no idea how Trackmania, Shootmania, and Questmania could combine into a cohesive product. Not that it matters...I just want Trackmania 2. I'm sure that'll be good, at least.
  • A Michael Jackson game? As long as it's a rhythm-based beat-'em-up in the vein of Moonwalker, I'm interested. Is it? Probably not!
 
It's worth mentioning I had absolutely no expectations in regards to the EA or Ubisoft press conferences, so I'm not about to praise them for being awesome or pan them for being awful. However, Ubisoft trying to peddle its own vitality sensor and repeating the fitness game presentation from the Microsoft press conference? That was pretty weak.
 
I'll continue to have more notes nobody in their right mind should want to read tomorrow, after I've soaked in even more press conferences I can't help but ramble on about.
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