Mushroom Soup For The Pixelated Soul
Man, where do I begin. Both companies managed to impress me with their conferences. There were a couple of announcements that had me grinning ear to ear, and a couple that had my jaw hit the floor.
There were also moments that nearly had me slam my head into my keyboard, but that’s to be expected; these companies aren’t just doing these shows to impress their fans, but to impress their shareholders as well.
I was considering doing two parts for both companies, but Square’s conference is up next, so I need to keep this blog open for any potential megatons. There’s a lot of buzz regarding a possible reveal for Kingdom Hearts on the Wii, something that wouldn’t surprise me at all. As long as it’s a port or (better yet) a new spinoff, I’m fine with it, but I want the third numbered title to be on the PS3 and/or 360; I want the gorgeous visuals to evolve, not remain stagnant.
Nintendo’s presentation felt like a timeshare: moments of brilliance wedged inbetween unbearable filler. There were many instances of “Rich as Fuck” and “Shit you don’t care about”, which was expected. A plerethora of DS games tailored to tweens and pedophiles, montagages of grandma, great grandma, mom and pop enjoying the hell out of their Wii, and the creation of yet another accessory: a Wii-tachment that measures your blood pressure.
Mine was nearly boiling at that point.
But, all that garbage felt irrelavent, thanks to three very awesome announcements, clevery saved for the beginning, middle, and end of the presentation.
New Super Mario Bros Wii: Right from the start we’re treated to what will immediately be one of the best games to come out this year. I loved New Super Mario Bros on the DS so much that I considered it a true sequel to Super Mario World, essentially making it Super Mario Bros. 5.
And now we’re getting a sequel on the Wii, keeping the 2D look, the catchy music, and the wonderfully difficult level structures, but with an even more awesome addition: 4 player co-op. Taking a page from Little Big Planet (and eerily resembling the Mega Man 2.5 trailer I linked a few posts back), four buddies can interact with one another to help reach the level goal. But in reality, your buddies will end up hindering more than helping as they miss that jump, steal that mushroom, and repeatedly fall or get crushed to death. It’s going to be hilarious.
This would have been my pick for best game of the show were it not for one very unfortunate setback: no online multiplayer. According to big man Miyamoto, the Wii’s hardware can handle four long distance guys playing the game all at once. I think a bigger truth is that Nintendo continues to quake in fear of online multiplayer, but either way it’s a setback. I’m still greatly looking forward to this game, but it’s also the most disappointing news about E3 so far.
Super Mario Galaxy 2: I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this announcement, though. Super Mario Galaxy was a fantastic experience, but I was also saddened when I reached the end. Nintendo’s had this policy about making sure each Mario and Zelda title was a different experience that should be spaced out every five years or so. It looks like the overwhelmingly positive reception of the first Galaxy prompted them to make a direct sequel, much earlier than expected. In all honesty, it’s the smartest thing Nintendo’s done so far this gen.
Metroid: Other M: And this….this just came out of nowhere. The moment Reggie talked about creating an “edgier” Nintendo title, I immediately scoffed. Then I saw the Team Ninja logo, and just stared in disbelief. I am then treated to footage with a sexy short-haired blond walking around a space station military complex, and started scratching my head. What was this?
Then I see her put on the iconic armor, and I just went nuts. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. Never would I have guessed the collaboration of Nintendo and Team Ninja culminating in an action packed, multi-perspective, richly narrated Metroid game. It’s like the long talked about Metroid movie came to life with cinematagraphy directed by Monty Oum. It’s so unlike Nintendo that all bets are off at this point. It’s going to sell like gangbusters, but it should certainly live up to the hype.
Sony’s show also suffered from self indulgence, spending much time discussing how awesome they were, and showing a record amount of montages of their hardware. They also played it somewhat safe, with few surprise announcements. Regardless, they wisely followed MS’s approach to show off as many games as possible, and revealed their own take on the Waggle Capitalizing with a new device that, quite honestly, looks like it could stand a decent chance of not sucking.
Uncharted 2: Like Modern Warfare 2, it came as no surprise that Uncharted played well and looked good. Naughty Dog seems to have a track record of making their first game an experiment, and the sequel becoming superior in every way. But man, Uncharted 2 sure does look sweet, probably rivaling MW2’s graphical splendor.
MAG: This one’s getting a lot of exposure, and it certainly has some interesting concepts, but the only way to truly judge this game is to try it out with other players. The kind of community that this game attracts will determine how fun or terrible this will be. I’m doubtful that anyone can round up 250 players who know what they’re doing, but playing with even 1/4 of people who know what they’re doing
Assassin’s Creed 2: As a concept, Assassin’s Creed was well received by everyone. Even Kojima was a fan. As a game though, it had several problems. The sequel looks primed to fix them all, though. It looks better, it has more weapons, the AI is smarter (even though most dancing folk don’t seem to notice a guy flying in the air in some strange contraption), and the kills are more brutal. Kind of silly how the bad guys keep switching from French to English on the fly, but apples and oranges.
PSP Go: Yep, here it is. It’s a good thing Sony had a humble mood about it’s early leak (or was it intentional?), but I can’t shake my disappointment on how they still haven’t added a cover for the screen. Is that really too much to ask? I carry my DS around more than my PSP because I don’t want the screen to get cracks or smudges. At least the PSP is continuing to get a strong lineup, including Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Soul Calibur, and Gran Turismo 5.
Speaking of MGS, I’ll be saving the Peacewalker talk for tomorrow, as part of Konami’s Conference.
The Last Guardian: One of the earliest leaks, via a youtube video showing the game back when it was codenamed Trico. Regardless, it was great to see that the original idea is now a confirmed game. It looks simply wonderful, and I love the look of the creature so much that I’m hoping there’s a hug button. Up made me shamelessly weep like a baby, so I’m not sure if I’m prepared for this game. No, I’m kidding, I want it now. I want to take a nap on that creature’s warm tummy.
Motion Control Device (aka The Waggle Wand): We knew this was coming. We were really hoping it wouldn’t. This presentation ran the risk of ruining Sony’s show, with the ugly dildo design and the terribly ackward presenters. But after giving it some time, I actually warmed up to the wand. The precision on this thing looks really accurate, even more so than Nintendo’s motionplus upgrade. It also registers full body movements without requiring Natal’s giant mat. The concepts they tossed out looked interesting, and (more importantly) fun; swinging a whip, shooting in first person, firing a bow and arrow and ninja darts, and topping it off with a better Zelda simulator than the Wii’s own Zelda game. I’m not sure what’s the best way to market this, but if third parties commit to this playstyle, this might prove to be a motion controlling experience few will be embarrased about.
Mod Nation Racers: So now they’re ripping off Mario Kart? Sony, have you no sh-wait, this actually looks fun. Create your own racers and tracks, upload them and share them with others? You’ll never have to buy another kart racer again. If they let you create your own power-ups as well, then this could be something really awesome.
Final Fantasy XIII: There is a lot that’s shown in this video: full english voices, party battles, large areas to explore, a new kid with silver hair, a full frontal shot of Sephironica (glasses!), what more can be said. This is going to be awesome, and Spring 2010 is such a painful way away.
Final Fantasy XIV: Wh-what!? WHAT!? Seriously!? Another huge shocker for the day, FFXIV has been unveiled despite FFXIII being a way’s off. Not only that, but it’s revealed to be an online successor to Final Fantasy XI, making this in actuality Final Fantasy XI-2. As someone who played the first MMO for a good 5 years, I’m highly excited about this. They can only improve things from here, so I’m looking forward to less grinding, faster traveling, less camping, and a more streamlined interface.
And Mithras. Gorgeous, high definition Mithras.
God of War III: Not much I can add here. It’s God of War, Kratos is still angry, and everything looks just about how I expected. That’s not a bad thing mind you: more enemies on screen, more brutal kills (intestines, ewww), giant lava bosses, and Crispin Freeman. It sucks that it won’t make it this year, but it’s going to be a great experience.