Thursday, June 9, 2011

E3 2011 Reactions

Here's some truth for ya:  this is the first and last year I'm going to get so excited for any E3.  I got hard core, watched all the trailers, wrote up an entire pre-show post, and everything.  Now I can basically conclude that it was all a waste of time.  You know how bad it got?  I actually sat watching the GameSpot live-feed of the Sony conference, listening to some Used Car Salesman in an ugly suit tell me how great the PlayStation Move is going to be.  It was at that point that I realized that I had reached a brand new low.  Me, in front of a computer showing a blurry video of some corporate piece of shit spill meaningless crap with his hands folded like a Bond villain.  "Never again" I told myself - and I meant it.

Alright, I'll try to not be so negative for a second.  Negativity is probably the number two issue with the so-called "gamer culture" right now, the number one problem the ludicrous concept that you need to belong to an exclusive click of nerds in order to play "Half-Life 2".  So let's be positive.  Give love instead of hate.  "Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" was everything I wanted and more.  And there's an new one on its way for the Nintendo Wii U.  "Final Fantasy XIII-2" seems determined to correct the many mistakes of its predecessor, starting with adding Moogles for extra fun.  And there were at least three more games that looked really great.  The PlayStation Vista Vita has potential, as does the Wii U.  Finally, that chick in the "Bioshock Infinite" trailer has some huge.... lightning bolts.

But E3 really was a mixed bag for me.  Half of the games I really wanted to see more of weren't there at all, and there were only one or two surprises that caught my eye.  The rest was... "Halo 4".  The kind of meaningless mediocrity you'd see staffing a DMV.  Read on for more.

So the one thing I think that's on everybody's minds are the new consoles revealed by Sony and Nintendo.  Poor Microsoft didn't have any new hardware to show off, and tried its best to make the Kinect seem new and innovative.  They failed.  Now we have the Nintendo Wii U and the Sony Vita to represent the brand new glorious future of video games.  Its a bit too early for me to declare them great consoles, since neither seem to have any "must play" games yet to announce, and they're all some time off.  Despite having never been in the same time zone as either of these systems, I'll give brief summaries below now:

The Sony Vita especially seems like a good idea to me:  Sony is admitting to defeat to Nintendo and making their next console essentially a one-screen DS with two nubbies.  They even have DS-style flashcards instead of those moronic UMDs* - but this also means the Vita has no backwards comparability with my PSP games.  Unless of course, I buy them on the PSN - pay full price again for games I already own.  Sony might think that they've smoothed things over after the huge PSN hack, oh, but we are not square.  Not at all.  (Glares)  Anyway, the graphics are great, but that doesn't really mean all that much to me, personally.  The PSP had great graphics, do I really want to pay a full $250 for that?  Ultimately the Vita is going to need some games, right now it has "Gravity, and nothing else.  Of course, I'm definitely buying the cheaper version of the Sony EnagaddaVita, because I don't need 3G.  Do I want a cellphone?  No!  I want a game platform!  When will these companies learn that the only useful features on consoles are games, game downloads, and Netflix.  I don't want a camera, I don't want a phone, I don't want a "reality-augmenting entertainment device".  What it all boils down to in the end is games, and I don't know if the Vita is worth an investment yet.

Wii U is Nintendo's stupidest sounding console yet.  And I am totally behind these crafty bastards.  Name their console something stupid and leave the gaming journalist world spouting gibberish for the rest of the time - crazy like a fox.  They get bonus points for the "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" reference.  (And I'm an evil genius by doing all this text-only.)  That will show them all for calling the GameCube "a purple lunch box".   Now the Wii U has given HD graphics to the old Wii, which again means nothing to me.  The Wii has fine graphics, anybody who complains about them are clearly extremely spoiled and whiny people.  "Oh, its not 777,000p!  It looks awful!"  Grow up.  The big gimmick this time is that the Wii U has the world's most massive controller that holds its own touchscreen.  Somehow this giant thing is supposed to lead to motion controls, um... not so sure of that.  As far as I can see, the giant screen can only really be used to play the console without a TV.  Or maybe as an X-ray visor in a Batman game.  I certainly won't work as a WiiMote, that's for sure.  But luckily WiiMotes are backwards compatible with the Wii U, meaning all Wii games will work.  Except for those that require a GameCube controller, because that's out.  This means that ultimately "Super Smash Bros" will forever be unplayable on the Wii U, sorry.  But again, its all up the games.  The Wii U for me is promising some kind of HD Zelda game, but details on that are sparse - it may only be a tech demo like that horrible cocktease PS3 "Final Fantasy VII" demo.  And there's a vague "Super Smash Bros" game too.

And that's it for hardware.  By the way, off-topic, I never reviewed the 3DS on this blog.  I'll do that now in one sentence:  it works, amazingly well.  Still waiting for anything to play on it though.  Now for games:

What Wasn't There:  "Metal Gear Solid Rising", "Kingdom Hearts 3D", "Final Fantasy Versus XIII", "Final Fantasy Agito XIII" (or "Type-Zero"), "Dragon Quest X", "White Knight Chronicles 2", "The Last Guardian", and "El Shaddai".  I get "El Shaddai" since that game is coming out in like two weeks, really doesn't need the E3 bump, does it?  The rest are all basically inexcusable as far as I'm concerned.  "Dragon Quest X" probably was canceled at some point.  But most depressing no-shows were "Xenoblade" and "The Last Story", two incredible-looking RPGs for the Wii.  In all likelihood now, they're never going to get exported to the rest of the world.  The Wii's remaining lifetime isn't very long, Nintendo just will not gamble on this.  Such awesome games... won't ever play them.  These no-shows are at least half the reason E3 this year pissed me off.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii):  Okay, this game is the one title that almost makes up for all the failing.  Link is flying on a bird above the skies, Zelda is his childhood friend, direct sword controls.  This game has it all.  Its the best game of the entire bunch this year.  It just looks incredible, I physically cannot stand the wait until release.  I am actually spinning in my chair at this moment.  The combat looks really good, since the Wii motion controls mean you have direct command over where Link swings his sword, meaning that asses will be kicked.  (This also leads me to question how the Wii U can pull off a Zelda game with motion controls, because that giant screen thing sure aint simulating a sword.)  Its just too awesome for words.  Nintendo is offering a golden Wiimote as a special bonus if you give them more money.  I WILL PAY THAT EXTRA FEE!  Coming this holiday season, sometime.

Bioshock Infinite (PS3, XBox 360):  I haven't really ever given the "Bioshock" series any love before.  It never really caught my eye until I learned that it was actually a giant parody of "Atlas Shrugged", the embarrassingly long and terrible book I read last month.  The new game, "Infinite" has absolutely nothing to do with the first two games, instead of taking place under the sea in a Randian nightmare, we're now in the clouds.  Its a White American Exceptionalism nightmare called "Columbia".  A world of Manifest Destiny where android monsters attack you with machine guns while surrounded by quaint Georgian structures out of a 19th century World's Fair.  If any time in American history could use a Take That, its the arrogance Imperialism and racist nativism of this time period.  Your character goes around saving some boobs attached to a woman using some psychic powers.  I don't usually like FPSs, but I'll make an exception here for a game with such a unique artistic vision.  I can forgive a claustrophobic perspective if the game lets me ride roller coasters across the sky to take out airships.  ...Yeah, its the roller coasters that have sold me on this one.  This looks really cool.  Coming sometime in 2012.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, XBox 360):  The first "Final Fantasy XIII" was... well, yeah.  The sequel seems to be a conscious effort to fix the many mistakes of the first one.  This isn't a straight-line tube game, this is a step backwards into what I liked about Final Fantasy.  There is exploration, forks in the road, you can revisit old areas, and choices.  You can actually make dialog choices!  There are multiple endings!  Square Enix has gotten the message on the first game, and seem to be trying their hardest with "Final Fantasy XIII-2" to make us happy again.  And almost certainly they're not going to make us play for twenty-five hours until the game is fully playable.  You play as Serah, Lightning's sister, searching for her along with a new male character, Noel CHRIST.  Yes, you play as THE LORD and SAVIOR.  That is just too epic for words.  Coming early next year.

Kid Icarus Uprising (3DS):  Honestly I have nothing more to add, since my Christmas List post covered my thoughts on this game.  But it looks really good still.  Now they've added some dude with a giant sword.  And um... multiplayer.  Video game journalism is hard... uch.  Pit's voice actor is bad, but I can deal with it, he's at least sincere.  Coming some time this year.

Tomb Raider (PS3, XBox 360):  This was probably the biggest surprise for me personally.  This game is intense!  Eidos, I mean, Square Enix, has made something very interesting here.  Since this is a reboot(?) of the "Laura Croft" series, Laura seems to be completely new to entire "tomb raiding" business.  In the gameplay she seems truly frightened, and just her realistic screams are enough to scare the living crap out of me.  Previously "Tomb Raider" was just a dull action frachise I cared about as much as ballroom dancing, but now, I'm into it.  I know Laura is a video game character, but watching this demo, I am very concerned for her safety.  I've actually called the cops a few times warning them about what's happening to this woman.  ...They don't want me to call again.  Coming some time in 2012.

Sonic Generations (PS3, XBox 360, 3DS):  I've been meaning to play a 3D Sonic game, the 2D games are great.  But in the last few years Sonic Team has made things that were... well, horrible.  So horrible in fact, that they managed to attract my morbid curiosity and so I played a lot of the 2D games on my DS.  But "Sonic Colors" has proven that Sonic finally can be in a decent 3D game.  This new title, "Generations", has Sonic appearing with his past self or son or something, running around doing the whole fast-paced platformer thing.  Half the game is 2D, half is 3D.  So if the 3D parts suck, I still have half a game.  Coming November 22nd.

Gravity Daze (Vita):  Here we have a cel-shaded action adventure game where you play as a chick with one special power... she can control gravity.  This is basically my "Lost in Shadow" of 2011, essentially a platforming game with an interesting twist.  (One can only hope that this game will end up better.)  From what I can see in the trailer, you can basically fly using the gravity powers, and the world is a complex 3D environment to explore.  "Super Mario Galaxy" proved that gravity-based platformers are awesome, and this one seems to be adding a bit more action style into the mix.  And of course, I just love cel-shading in general.  I have no idea when this is being released.

Journey (PS3 download):  The guys who gave us the extremely pretty and subtly brilliant video game, "Flower" have returned with "Journey".  In "Journey" you play as a woman(?)** dressed entire in red desert robes wandering the wilderness in some kind of adventure.  It seems to be a beautiful game of slow exploration.  Not an action thriller where the environments are just set pieces for another series of boss fights, rather a game where you move across the land enjoying the wonder of the art style.  And in the trailer, I did spot some kind of metallic sandworm thing.  Very cool.  "Journey" will be out in a few weeks, so I've heard.

Out of all of E3, those five games are the only things really worth talking about.  Yeah, there's a new "Mario" game on its way, and I will play that, but its Mario.  We all know what's its like, we all know we love it, I might as well review bacon.  "Kirby" had some nice outings, but I never found those games to be any fun.  And everything else was an FPS.

Next year, if I do anything, I'll make it only one post.  Easier to write.  And my writing will be peppered with less emotional agony of knowing that I'll never play "The Last Story".

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* Honestly, does anybody actually know which direction a UMD is supposed to enter a PSP with?  Every single time I have to put in a new game, I never know how this thing fits inside.  The fact that the PSP includes absolute NO visual hints as to what orientation is needed does not help at all.  I have gotten so many UMDs stuck inside that tray... Uch.

** I don't actually know if the figure in this trailer is a woman.  It might be some kind of "glass half empty" psychological test.  Half of humanity decides one scenario, the other half decides another.  I don't know.  From what I can see, she has some curves, definitely female.

20 comments:

  1. hey wait a miniute didnt' i tell you about bioshock. in atlas shrugged ? and arkham asylum
    well its a sneaking game but also combat and exploration based. about bioshock if you played the first one you would be scared if you walked in the dark.

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  2. Hell! Tomb Raider actually got scary! I never expected that from this franchise. Thanks for posting the trailer, it looks like a very interesting new take on the series. And fingers crossed for FF XIII-2 (even if I do keep buying the games regardless of reviews)

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  3. I always had that problem with UMDs too... I figured the blocky end would be at the top but sometimes I just couldn't close the damn thing, very confusing!

    FFXIII-2 kind of irritated me, they are trying but I'm not holding my breath, unchanged battle system, cinematic action sequences - KH2 flashback, not particularly inspiring stuff. Plus the Moogle looks like has a serious case of the mumps, or has been punched in the face. Poor thing. The developers claiming the towns from VII-IX would be boring HD clearly aren't aware of what fans want. XII worked spectacularly well and they didn't build on that instead, they completely ignored it. Stupid. End rant. Why does FF make me angry now instead of excited?

    Tomb Raider on the other hand, I rarely get excited for Lara Croft's adventures but I'm intrigued. Really intrigued.

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  4. its like everybody somehow dosent see arkham asylum. oh well.

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  5. sadly no matter how much nintendo does someone out there complains out there.

    the guy who couldent spell

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  6. wait a minuite where any of those half life games or halo oh boy!

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  7. I'm starting to consider putting blocks up for Anonymous comments, because I can't tell if its just one guy constantly posting over and over again, or if its three different people. Any ideas?

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  8. I have one: E3 is just a giant comercial with not breaks. Everyone knows it.

    So I believe the most promising console there was the vita. For a turn-based RPG lover like me, the handhelds are the last line of defense. The PSP had a mountain of good games, and as long as this one has retrocompatibility, it's set already.

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  9. The most important thing at E3 was the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It will be the greatest RPG of all time.

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  10. Blue:
    About the Anons: I know there's atleast two different anons (me and the guy above)
    I'll start posting a name-tag at the bottom for help ^.^

    And about the Wii-U zelda game: That's actually an HD Version of Twilight Princess, and at this point it truely does look just like a demo. Check out Zeldadungion for concept pics, you'll find the items are the same ones from Twilight Princess (the spinner/top for example is in there, along with the same style of bomb)
    Just a heads up so you don't get too hyped up for something that most likely and sadly won't happen. Although perhaps it could turn into a Twilight Princess Sequal! :D *fangasm*
    -- Vincent

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  11. just put in nametags works for me
    i dont think its possible to combine two artistically diffrent games

    the guy who couldent spell

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  12. Oi Blue you neglected The Witcher 2, wchich is the best RPG as of now. Skyrim might be better but it will be a tough competition

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  13. for e3 my christmas list was filled. assassins creed revelations trailer looks awesome.
    no super mario rpg 2:( or that final fantasy vii sequel they are going to make a sequel you know it or at least ix or vi. or they are going to rape those games as well.

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  14. wait a minuite i just realized something a gold wiimote is impractical. isnt it heavy or something ill check it if i get it but idont like it. i might give it to some random sucker who wants a heavy wiimote

    the guy who couldent spell

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  15. I'm not going to cut out anon comments. Any interest in this blog is welcome, even from spammers and flamers.

    @Spellfail: I am a sucker.

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  16. @Spellfail:
    I'm a sucker who will take a golden wii-mote that actually works and has the triforce inscribed on it :D
    *mumbles* and then I'll sell it in 20-30 years to some other sucker who's a collecter for some unfathomable price...
    cue Blue Highwind! :P
    -- Vincent

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  17. Yoi guys should really watch Spoony's video about Nintendo on E3. I LOL'd a lot.

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  18. @blue and vincent

    spellfail lol. i might give it if i can send it.
    ah e3 might be a fail but the games wont be
    then some idiot will bitch a lawer will complain companies will have less respect for some of their customers mor take thats in thier games we buy games e3 comes again ah gaming life
    any way ijust thought of something games do have multiple choices you can play great or terrible think about it. here's one thing you can bitch about tactics 2 on console never coming at all
    spell fail

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  19. fuck it happend again.

    my computer sucks

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  20. Im super excited for a new smash bros. but i will have to learn how to play with a wii classic controller i guess, still NEW SMASH BROS

    NEW SMASH BROS

    *echoes forever*
    btw i bet 50 bucks that it will be out after 2013 (assuming the world is still around)

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