Mushroom Soup For The Pixelated Soul
Darling, we simply must stop meeting like this.
You’ll notice it’s been an even longer time since my last post where I mentioned it’s been a long time since the post before that. Again, apologies for the long delays, but the same excuse applies: real life has been taking hold of me. Summer classes and job preparations take a lot of processing power from the old noggin, leaving me little creativity to contribute to this blog.
In addition, I’ve had a bit of a dry spell regarding reviews. I’m still getting the odd game here and there, but websites around have been seeing a momentary drought, which I’ve taken to indulge in some personal purchases (including Super Mario Galaxy 2, Alan Wake, and Red Dead Redemption) as well as trying to lighten up my backlog of unfinished titles (just recently, Grand Theft Auto IV, a game I was starting to think had no ending).
My birthday also stumbled upon me last month, and I really did want to write something up, but I found going to the movies and eating at a seafood restaurant was a much better way to celebrate. I would have posted the gifts I received, but the majority of it was cash (which was used toward the above titles), minus a particular gift from my sister.
She picked this particular item on account of my love for Final Fantasy along with reading books (even if the majority are comic books). I was quite touched by this, and plan to cherish it forever.
In any event, E3 2010 is now upon us, and I certainly can’t stay silent about that. Tuesday is where things really kick into high gear, with a triple whammy of Nintendo, Sony, and Konami all giving presentations the same day, and each offering announcements that I’ll be very interested in witnessing.
But a day has already passed for E3, so let me break it down.
Microsoft: I honestly wonder if Microsoft’s planner wanted to intentionally create some new memes for the online community. Mere hours before their official keynote, the internet was already knee-deep in jokes involving ponchos, robot elephants, and bewildered journalists.
The actual presentation started well enough, offering previews on Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gears of War 3, and Halo: Reach. No surprises here, but it certainly cements the Xbox as the premiere console for shooters. The real highlight came with Metal Gear: Rising, a short but oh-so-awesome teaser of Raiden cutting, cutting, and cutting some more, slicing up buildings, vans, soldiers, and poor defenseless watermelons with deadly precision. Aside from the fact that Kojima may have outdone Itagaki in visceral ninja gameplay, the footage also has me frothing at the possibility that this title will support the Playstation Move controller. I will hope with all my hope that this is the case.
Then came the Kinect portion of the show, something we all knew was coming but were probably never prepared for. One online person commented that Microsoft’s controller-less motion gaming can never be intuitive enough for the simple fact that people won’t know when to stop moving. It’s a valid argument, truly, when you consider that for a device that requires you to run in place, jump, punch, squat, and so on, the lack of any physical cues on when to stop (like, say, vibration from a controller) can result in some potentially awkward gameplay. If someone where to come up with a one-on-one fighting game for Kinect, what would the results be? Neither player would stop flaying their arms or legs even if their onscreen avatar is recoiling back from damage, so what would no doubt happen is something resembling a Dragon Ball Z battle, only not nearly as exciting and a thousand times more embarrassing.
Then there’s the whole feature where you can interact with other people online with the Kinect camera, including real-time chatting, video messages and photos. All I have to say to that is two words: Chat Roulette.
Simply put, I have no interest in Kinect at this time, simply because there are no launch titles that interest me. All the games cater to the “casual” demographic, and that’s how Microsoft wants it. At least with the Playstation Move, there seems to be a bigger emphasis (but as to how much bigger, it’s hard to say) on reeling in hardcore players, especially with support from accomplished developers. We already got SOCOM, LittleBigPlanet, and Resident Evil 5 supporting Sony’s controller, so that’s already an advantage over Kinect. As it stands, the most interesting game in MS’ motion controller launch is Kinectimals, and thanks to the creepy (and I mean internet creepy) preview with the little Asian girl, no one who is over 10 and male will go near it.
They do get props for looking to Sega for inspiration, announcing a new Slim console that would be available in stores “right now”, then pulling an Oprah and giving everyone in attendance a shiny new, whisper-quiet 360 Slim.
EA: Most E3 conferences feel like timeshares to me; you get a couple of potentially awesome games getting some decent screen-time followed by half an hour of pointless drivel that you’re forced to sit through until more good titles are unveiled. Such was the case with EA, who quickly had a good start with Dead Space 2 (which looks like more of the same, but expands with more enemies along with a less claustrophobic environment), Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (not familiar with the series, but was certainly intrigued by what I saw), and the newest Medal of Honor (which looks shamefully like Modern Warfare….but also looks fun as hell).
Then came about an hour of EA Sports, including a plug by a very nervous Joe Montana, who seemed determine not to look directly at the audience while on-stage, followed by a sleep-inducing plug for The Sims 3 on consoles. Then we were sparred the boredom with a look at Crysis 2 (which still needs to turn on its V-sync for consoles) along with Bullet Storm (which quickly won over people with its inspired kills as well as some truly brilliant dialog. Right away people were discussing the quickest route to “Explosiontown” as well as what would be sufficient in scaring one’s dick off). The Star Wars: Old Republic trailer also proved (yet again) that anyone other than George Lucas would have made a far better prequel trilogy.
Still, the EA speakers were a bit more easygoing and less focused on “razzle dazzle” as MS was want to do. I say they had the best presentation of the three.
Ubisoft: Well…..at least it wasn’t as worse as last year’s. But man, they sure did try.
Again, they started out well, showing a lengthy look at Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, which looks much more awesome than I expected for a quickly-made sequel. I really enjoyed ACII and I’m most certainly looking forward to this one.
Shaun White Skateboarding had a unique feature of creating rails from thin air and transforming gray areas into colorful skating grounds, so at least it gets points for originality. Ghost Recon Future Soldier dipped more into MGS than MW for inspiration, but it looks pretty intriguing.
Then we got laser tag. And a vitality sensor. And Wii Fit. And some corporate brown nosing by people with some very thick accents.
I also knew there was going to be a Micheal Jackson game. I felt it, instinctively. I didn’t know Ubisoft would be the ones to capitalize on it, but I knew it was going to be announced.
On to tomorrow’s big presentations. I wonder if I’ll sleep tonight?