Mushroom Soup For The Pixelated Soul
Two of the heaviest hitters in one day meant little to no venturing outside for me. Sony and Nintendo stepped up to strut their stuff, but which of the two companies were the struttiest?
Nintendo: I think it’s pretty telling how Nintendo’s conference fared this year when the new Zelda reveal was actually the most disappointing thing about the show.
That isn’t to say the game itself looks fantastic. It’s everything you could want in a Zelda game and more, with a new experimental art-style that combines the more realistic fantasy (yes, I know that’s an oxymoron) style of Twilight Princess with the colorful and cartoony shading and lighting effects of Wind Waker. This results in a colorful game that should please both fans of either camp.
The sole disappointment of Skyward Sword’s debut was the technical difficulty Miyamoto experienced while trying to show off the motionplus features of the game. Had this unresponsive flubber happened in either MS or Sony’s show, the jaded fanboys would be all over it, but apparently Nintendo gets a pass on this one. I give them one too since I hold Zelda dear to my heart, but I would have preferred an extended trailer over a wonky live showing (which, incidentally, we still got). The other letdown was its delay into 2011 (and even then we don’t know where in 2011 it’ll fall), but I can’t say I was surprised by that one considering how rarely Zelda games meet their original deadlines.
What was surprising was everything else in the show. Sure we got the standard Mii and Dance games, but that barely contributed even 10 minutes overall to a show that continued to drop announcement after announcement. We got a 2D Kirby game with an adorable Yoshi’s Story-like presentation (just hope it’s longer), a redefined return of Donkey Kong Country (an instant buy for me), and a new look at Metroid: Other M that recaptures the hype felt by its first unveiling.
And let’s not forget the 3DS, which certainly has an attractive model design (including an analog nub that looks comfortable to use, hint hint PSP), along with a bevy of announced titles that haven’t set foot in a Nintendo console in years (Metal Gear Solid, Super Street Fighter IV) or ever (Dead or Alive….I knew 3D boobs were coming, I just didn’t think they’d come so soon *that’s what he said*).
But for the second time in a row, Nintendo finished strong with a major reveal: the return of Kid Icarus. I was never one of those people who demanded a new game, having liked the original but ultimately neutral on a revival, but the time seems well spent as the upcoming title looks fun as hell.
An unprecedentedly excellent show for Nintendo.
Sony: Well let’s face it, there was no way Sony would be able to top that. On the upside, their presentation wasn’t nearly as bad as Microsoft’s. On the downside, there was almost as much filler to sit through before the good stuff arrived.
Charts, demographics, developer speeches, 3D advertising, and more guest speakers than games, Sony’s keynote nearly put its audience to sleep. Fortunately once the games got shown, there was some promising footage and news to be had. The Move controller has pretty much trounced Microsoft’s Kinect effort by appearing more responsive as well as hosting a more attractive library of titles (including Sorcery, which has a generic fantasy look but some really cool spell mechanics). But the best news of all was that existing PS3 games could be patched with optional Move controls, rather than re-released with the feature. The fact that Heavy Rain is getting a Move patch gives me another incentive to adopt early.
Still, I have to express my overall disappointment with the Sony conference on the grounds that there were almost no new games announced. We did get confirmation of a new Twisted Metal title, a series I haven’t really dabbled with but anticipate more than Gran Turismo 5 thanks to the gameplay shown, most of the titles we really wanted to see (The Last Guardian, anything by Square) were either skimmed over or not shown at all.
The Portal 2 confirmation was nice though, and if that game ends up using Move, I might just grab the PS3 version over PC.