Saturday, July 19, 2008

E3 Thoughts.

Well E3 has come and gone and while there were some great announcements I would argue that most gamers will feel that it wasn't the best of shows this year.

Nintendo's presser was to me a big slap in the face of the core gamers. Nothing they showed proved that they cared about the core gamer. Sure they briefly let out that the teams behind Zelda and Mario are working on new projects but they never told us what they were or when to expect them. A new Animal Crossing game was announced but that's more of a casual game then a Core gamers game. Everything else was casual fair such as Wii Sports Resort and Wii music. Wii Sports Resort is the title that will be used to show of the new Wii Motion Plus attachment that tracks the Wii motes movement far more accurately supposedly a 1:1 ratio. The Nintendo conference was definitely the bore of the Big 3 conferences.

Next we have Sony. Sony's conference was pretty good in that they showed the games and they kept the numbers game to a minimum. However considering they used a very creative Little Big Planet level to show the numbers in a very fun way that showed off what Little Big Planet can really do I guess we could have done with more numbers in this case. It was a great way of getting more people to realize how great Little Big Planet will be once it finally ships. They showed a incredible demo of Resistance 2 that showcased a battle with the MASSIVE levitation. The demo was certainly impressive as the monster is immense. The player was picked up a few times and needed to fire a rocket into the monsters mouth before being thrown down. While the demo was brief it did show that Resistance 2 is certainly stepping up the intensity the second time around. Also of interest was a new game called M.A.G or Massive Action Game. This shooter is said to allow up to 256 players into a single game. They showed a CG trailer show casing the concept of the game but it really will be hard to tell just exactly the game will function with that many players until we see more. They showed a concept of squads of players but that doesn't help explain enough. Oh and lets not forget the God of War III teaser trailer. Yes the game is now official however the teaser trailer was very short and little was revealed about the plot. However there is already rumors spreading that the game is close in terms of graphics to the CG teaser that was shown off.

Now Last but certainly not least we have Microsoft. Plenty of rumors were proven to be true for Microsoft as they announced a complete overhaul of the Xbox Dashboard that will implement Avatars. Avatars seem to be alot like Mii's except far more customizable if the video shown was anything to go by. Also announced was Lips. A very Singstar esque game however the video shown shows being able to use a Zune or a Ipod to import music into the game possibly allowing you to use your own music in the game. However it is still somewhat unclear exactly how that will work. In addition to many proven rumors Microsoft also showed off what we want, The games. We were shown Demo's of Resident Evil 5 which showed for the first time that the game will be Co-op playable. Also shown was a very impressive Gears of War 2 demo. The demo showcased just how far the game has come since the first. There is always alot more going on on screen as well as the fact that the areas seem to be far more expansive then the first. The biggest moment came when Microsoft dropped the biggest Bombshell of the show and that is that Final Fantasy XIII will be coming to Xbox 360 in America. I say America at the end of that because it will only be coming to Xbox 360 in the US and Europe it will stay a PS3 exclusive in Japan. This news was certainly a shock to everyone in attendance. It was a shock to me that news this big didn't leak before the show.

Other games at the Show that impressed me were Mirror's Edge. This First Person Action game is very different then a FPS so you shouldn't call it one. You play a runner named Faith who is out to get revenge on the government for framing her sister for a murder she didn't commit. What is so great about this game is how the immersion really makes you feel for Faith. When Faith runs you she her arms pumping when you roll you see your torso it's as if you are seeing things through Faith's eyes and not just drone as in most First Person games. Think Breakdown except far more fluid and polished. Combat is not the focus of Mirror's Edge in fact it will be the running and platforming that is. There will even be a achievement for getting through the entire game without killing a single person.

Another impressive game was inFAMOUS. This game is by the guys at Sucker Punch which you may remember from the Sly Cooper series. Infamous is a open world game in which you play a guy who gains powers that you must choose to use for good or bad. The short demo shown was quite impressive. However alot more needs to be seen to show off the true potential of this game.

While there are certainly alot more games to talk about these are just the great ones that caught my eye. Also keep an eye out for. Little Big Planet, Mercenaries 2, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, Halo Wars and the many more incredible games that will be coming soon. This will certainly be a very full holiday season.

But wait. Didn't I say that I didn't feel this show was really all that great? Why yes I did. My reasoning behind this is that in the past E3 always had many HUGE bombshell announcements and new game reveals. While we certainly had alot of incredible games at this years show we really didn't see that much new announced. We basically just got more info on the games we already knew about. While that is great there is just something fun about being shown newer, bigger and better games. I read a interesting interview where a dev said that the mid July timing of the new E3 may be to blame as most of the devs are simply trying to get their games ready for the Holiday Season and they really can't focus on revealing the next big game they have on the way. I tend to agree with this thinking. What we need to see is E3 moved back to the old May timing and maybe things will start to get better but its really hard to say at this point if that will ever really happen.

Expect alot more news in the coming months as we will be hearing from Square Enix at their own private party where they have revealed some major announcement about Final Fantasy VII will be unveiled. We also have Leipzig to look forward to as well as PAX and TGS.

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