Friday, June 10, 2011

The Mega E3 2011 Wrap-Up of No One Man Should Have All That Power!

So what have I learned from E3 this year??? Well, there are a lot of things that are telling where the game industry is at these days and heading towards for the coming year. The big three (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) have their pros and cons with their press conferences as there was no clear cut winner of who won E3, but if I had to pick one, it is Nintendo because of their showing of the WiiU. Their new console definitely shows promise and potential, but there are definitely some improvements that can be made. Plus, Nintendo didn't really handle how to release official information such as specs and features for the box itself is a slightly bigger Wii from what I seen despite focusing on the controller a whole bunch. Anyway, let's get going to what struck me at E3.


The number one thing out at E3 is that the oversaturation of shooters is at its boiling point to the point it felt like overkill. It is a sign that if you want to be a million dollar success, it has to be a shooter (whether first or third-person). It is pretty unfortunate that publishers and developers have to resort to games like these as an easy way to get money, but you know what, that whole plan can backfire because the competition is too crowded and people like me probably had enough of them. Even though some of the game of the show contenders are shooters, games that are trying too hard to be blockbuster/AAA quality would likely be left in the dust and the fact they probably weren't impressive at E3 this week. The heated battle between Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was front and center throughout the show as if you have to pick a side at this point, but cmon, might as well wait till the games actually come out this fall (BF3 at the end of October while MW3 is two weeks later). Seriously, I can compare this to this year's MTV Movie Awards, which happened recently, with the whole Team Twlight and Team Potter crap. If you're not Battlefield or Call or Duty this year (especially with military shooters), good luck trying to sell a million copies along with putting out a good game. If you don't have shooter fatigue yet, all power to you, but damn, I'm getting sick and tired of it.

Did Kinect and Move make their monumental leap in their second year at E3???

If I had to answer that, I would probably say no. Sure, we have to keep in mind these things have been out for a few months, but from what I seen, it seems to be more of the same as their launches with mini-game collections and an absurd amount of dance games. It is pretty safe to say that motion controlled dance games have replaced plastic instruments in the rhythm genre, but it is definitely something that still has a future as long it doesn't make the same mistakes the Guitar Hero/Rock Band franchises did (mainly Guitar Hero). Then again, the Just Dance franchise has quickly turned to the "Guitar Hero" of dance games as it is already in its third iteration this fall for all three consoles (Kinect/Move support for 360/PS3). Just Dance 3 seems to be more of the same with minor improvements (and still sell millions of copies) while Dance Central 2 (aka still the only reason to get Kinect now) is basically the Rock Band 2 of dance games, which is a good thing. We pretty much have our Rock Band/Guitar Hero rivalry again with dancing as Dance Central feels like the underdog despite being the better game (Harmonix knows what's up) while Just Dance is that "Guitar Hero-like" juggernaut that can eventually lose that status.

Yeah, Kinect and Move for the upcoming year is not just dance games, as other games supporting motion controls are trying too hard to be make a good impression. It is pretty telling during certain demos like Medieval Moves and Kinect Star Wars even though they're incomplete builds. I gotta give credit to Microsoft and Kinect though for finally branching out to more games which Move has been ahead of. It is nice that these options exist, but I'm surely rather play blockbuster games with a controller such as Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (which actually had a poor showing again this week). I just can't see myself doing that full body shooting animation, but surely there is an audience that will love it. The kiddy-targeted games will be fine such as Seasme Street: Once Upon a Monster (still awesome Double Fine is making that game) and Disneyland Adventures, but beyond that, Kinect and the Playstation Move didn't do enough to level up their game, but they're getting there slowly. For now, they're still only good for parties especially during drunken times.

On-Rail Segments = They're Getting Old Now...

Another theme of E3 demos being shown off this year was the over usage of on-rail segments. These parts of the game are as scripted as it gets and we don't get to see the full potential of the game unless you saw at closed door theaters. Sure, I know developers want to show off the coolest scene they have of their game so far, but it doesn't have to be on rails (basically going from point A to point B without going back) to be cool. You can show an awesome segment of the game by just playing it normally, which is where the cool demos shine like Uncharted 3 and BioShock Infinite. Having limited controls because of these sequences for the E3 demos pretty much holds developers back because you're not showing the full idea and promise of your game. It makes wander how these game publishers and developers think of what to show for something such as E3, which was discussed during some podcasts I listened to (mainly Giant Bomb's ones all this week). They can get it right or just fall flat on their face, which was the case for some demos I seen so far. Yeah, we don't get to fully play certain sequences in games in today's world because of cutscenes and on-rail segments because they want that theatrical mindset in regards to the experience (which is also why games are becoming less than they should be and turning more to be interactive experiences). It is just something game designers have to consider for the future.

Disappointed with the lack of Japanese games at E3? Yeah, wait till TGS.

The high profile no-shows at E3 this year were mostly Japanese games have been looking forward for years now. The Last Guardian and Metal Gear Solid Rising were specifically the ones that weren't mentioned at all this week. It has been known that Japanese gaming has been on the downside on the current generation of consoles as they never seem to catch up to other countries. This is mostly due to the different philosophies both Japanese and others spread across, but it is the Japanese philosophy that has not seen any significant progression especially in recent years. Most Japanese publishers/developers have been stuck in the "if it ain't broke/don't fix it" mentality for years even though they iterate little by little, but their core ideas are still intact and getting old. This E3 was indeed the case seeing similar Japanese games we have seen for years as even though they might be good at the end of the day, they have done little to innovate. It is a little hard to get excited for games such as Final Fantasy XIII-2 (trailer above) and Ninja Gaiden III (Yet I do love my Ninja Gaiden), but there are some games like Dark Souls that still give hope for Japanese games. The important thing is most of Japan didn't show up for E3 as if you want to see exciting Japanese games, wait till the Tokyo Game Show this September.

With my main trends from E3 2011 out of the way (besides the Nintendo WiiU and Playstation Vita which I talked about those briefly in my press conference recaps), I might as well move on to what matters... my favorite games of the show from what I seen (keep in mind I didn't see every game in action and this is no particular order).

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

What else can I say after talking about this in my Sony presser recap? This game is just too good right now and I can't wait to play Nathan Drake's third adventure. Yeah, there's the multiplayer beta at the end of the month, but cmon, the campaign is what still matters and damn, as if UC2's campaign was amazing, UC3 seems to be ten times that.

BioShock Infinite

The only first-person shooter that is actually making evolutionary steps to take the genre to the next level. It is probably just the setting alone not to mention how beautiful the game looks. Plus, you just gotta love Ken Levine especially when he talks abut this game (there's a new Giant Bomb interview with him proving that). I just love how different this game is, which is similar to my time with the first BioShock. If there's one shooter to get for the coming year, get BioShock Infinite. (Yeah, its out early next year)

Mass Effect 3

Despite what I saw from the Microsoft and EA press conferences, the closed door demos of Mass Effect 3 sound great from what I heard. They were able to make me believe that it is still Mass Effect with all the combat improvements since I was fearing the game becoming more action focused. It is that, but BioWare was able to retain the RPG aspects intact along with giving us crazier setpieces Shepard gets involved with. March 6, 2012 seems far away for the end of the trilogy, but I still have faith BioWare will finish things right.

Of course, there are other games that impressed me at E3 this week, but not as much as those big three above. I already mentioned Street Fighter X Tekken, SSX, Tomb Raider, and some others throughout the week as they'll be fine when they come out next year. The game of the show contenders are definitely those three above and perhaps others I didn't pay attention to. I didn't mention any Nintendo games specifically the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as I'm still not excited yet for that game on the Wii and with that game out on the holiday season, who knows I would get it, but yeah, its Zelda however I'm been disappointed by a Zelda game before. E3 is always a good time to be a gamer seeing all the new reveals of what you care about, but I'm always more fascinated by the talk about the industry where it is now and how we can make things better. Till next year I guess!!!!

Oh... I forgot to say who is the MVP of E3?

Yeezy!!!!!! Kanye pretty much provided the song of the show with "Power" as multiple trailers used that song and I can't stop listening to it again now. Giant Bomb is right that any game trailer makes sense with that song. Who would of thought that one man had all that power this week?!?!?