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E3: The Big 3 Press Conference impression

03 Jun

Just finished watching the press conferences of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony at E3. You can watch them at Gamespot.
Anyway, here’s my impression. Note that I don’t think I’m a hardcore gamer anymore. Although I still love gaming, I feel that I cannot keep up with games that are too time consuming. Maybe I’m getting too old. T_T. Also, even though there are some announcements made on specific press conferences, nowadays game developers cannot afford to be console exclusive anymore, and many games being announced are multi-platform.

Microsoft:
-Their press conference started with a bang, The Beatles Rockband. It started with a very nice animation of a cartoony version of the Beatles. And, Microsoft really showed everybody that they have money, by having Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared on stage, including Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. They didn’t say much or anything significant, but it felt like MS showing Sony/Nintendo that they have the $$$.
-Last.fm, Netflix and facebook on 360. I don’t know, but who cares? Plus, last.fm is only for XBL gold members. I can get last.fm for free on my iPod Touch. Besides, who wants to listen to music with the noisy 360 around? I can get Netflix streaming without additional cost on Vista Media Center.
-Monkey Island! Yay, they are remaking the original Secret of Monkey Island adventure game. I hope this will bring back adventure games on the map. I grew up and love adventure games.
-Squenix showing a playable demo of FF13 on the 360. Looks great. It’s like they’re giving a finger at Sony. LOL. Alas, it’s dubbed in English, and it’s already confirmed that US FF13 won’t have Japanese voice. 😦
-Hideo Kojima, announcing Metal Gear Solid: Rising for the 360, starring Raiden. He spoke in English. Why did I mention this? We’ll find out later.
-Project natal. It’s Microsoft’s attempt to counter the Wii motion control. Their approach is not with motion control, but with motion capture, no controllers at all. Instead, they have a camera capturing all your movements. The video showed some promises, but the live demo fell flat. It’s no way as responsive as the concept video. Sure, it’s still in development, but I don’t think MS can pull an effective motion capture at consumer grade hardware/prices. But that’s not the surprise. The surprise is Steven Spielberg showing up on stage. Yup, Microsoft brought Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and now Spielberg. Even Sony didn’t bring any celebrity on-stage.
-Overall, MS’ press conference is so so. Not a fans of the Beatles, so couldn’t care less about their game (Now if they make DJ Hero Eurobeat, I’m buying ^_^). I’m hardly impressed anymore with yet-another FPS game, let alone more Halo. Love to see more traditional adventure games. Project natal looks promising, but I don’t think it will deliver.

Nintendo:
-If you’re a Mario fan, you’re in for a treat. New Super Mario and Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii, and Mario & Luigi RPG for the DS. Yeah, Nintendo is squeezing more $$$ out of their mascot.
-If you have been reading any tech blogs, the Wii motion plus is nothing new. It will track how you hold the Wii remote, and create a lot more possibility of motion control on the Wii. Imo it’s also the most plausible tech that will actually work as advertised, compared to MS’ project natal and Sony’s motion control. Wii Sports Resorts gameplay is shown. Unlike MS and Sony, Nintendo is ready to ship this.
-Wii Vitality sensor. It’s just like those heart rate sensor on treadmills. Dunno how it’s going to be useful in gaming though, other than Wii sports and the likes.
-Team Ninja + Nintendo making a new Metroid game. Looks cool, but I’m not really familiar with Metroid in the first place. I might get the bundle of older Metroid games first.
-Misc other games: More RPGs from Squenix, a new Resident Evil game for the Wii (looks like a rail-shooter, RE officially becomes a shooter game, not a horror adventure game anymore), Dead Space for Wii, some games for the DSi, and more Nintendo bragging how they make games for everyone (read: more shovelware).
-Not terribly exciting either. I might get the Wii fit plus and Sports Resorts. Other than that, meh.

Sony:
-Sony is still selling PS2, and telling people to buy it. That means no PS2 backward compatibility in PS3 anytime soon. First fail.
-How many times Hannah Montana is mentioned? Pink PSP? Instead of releasing the various colors of PSP like in Japan, Sony is focused on Hannah Montana. Second fail. I mean is Sony really that desperate that they have to rely on Hannah Montana?
-PSP Go is official. 16GB, awkward analog thumb-stick, Memory Stick M2 so you have to spend more money instead of using your current Memory Stick duo/pro duo, not released till October, and $250. $250? Sony is just out of touch with today’s economy. For that amount of money, people would rather buy the iPod Touch/iPhone, which is highly more usable device with a really big potential as a gaming platform. Oh, and guess what, knowing Apple, they would release the 3G Touch in September, BEFORE the PSP Go is out. Oh, and what if you already have UMD-based PSP games? Well, you have to re-buy the downloadable versions. 3rd fail. I think developers and users would start avoiding UMD altogether. Oh well, at least a nail in UMD’s coffin.
-Squenix showing a video, yup only a video, not a playable demo, of FF13, unlike MS’ press conference. 4th fail. Oh, and the video showed the game dubbed in English. I think it’s official that US ver of FF13 will not have Japanese audio, even though PS3 uses blu-ray. F U Squenix.
-FF14 announced to be exclusive on the PS3. This is actually a surprise. However, FF14 is an online MMO, just like FF11, not a traditional JRPG. 5th fail. Why? Sony said it’s PS3 exclusive. Squenix, later on the same day, announced that FF14 will be released simultaneously on the PS3 AND the PC. Yup, that “exclusivity” didn’t even last a day. It’s obvious that this cannot be PS3 exclusive since an MMO needs a large user base, and the PS3 doesn’t really have that many user base to begin with.
-Hideo Kojima announcing a Metal Gear game for the PSP, speaking Japanese with a translator. Now, didn’t he just speak English at Microsoft’s press conference? LOL. The trailer is funny though, especially at the end, typical Konami.
-PS3 motion control. Looked like a black dildo with a lighted tip. LOL. Now, with Sony’s, you have to have 2 of the motion controllers to simulate a bow & arrow, while Nintendo could do it with just 1 motion controller (Wii remote + Nunchuck). Still, the tech demo showed some promises and it utilized the PS3 Eye camera, looked more plausible than Microsoft’s project natal. It’s still prototype though, while Nintendo is ready to ship the Wii motion plus.
-More hype around Playstation Home. It looks great, until you realize Sony nickel-and-diming every small things, and it’s just a glorified IRC chat room with long load times.
-Gran Turismo, finally for the PSP. How long have we waited for this?
-There is an exciting news at Sony’s press conference. God of War 3. Its gameplay looked awesome, and so brutal. I’ll be looking forward to this one. Other than that, it’s just another meh. No mini PS3, no price drops, nothing super exciting.

So, there you go. There are a lot of other games announcements. Overall, the main them of the big 3’s press conferences are next-gen game controls. Nintendo with its Wii motion plus, MS with its motion capture project natal, and Sony with its own motion controller. Nice concepts, but we’ll see how plausible they are in real life, with Nintendo being the most plausible and ready to ship.

I do hope classic point-n-click adventure game genre to be back on the map. With the focus of non-hardcore-gamers, I hope we will see more games in this genre. A new Gabriel Knight game would be awesome. πŸ™‚

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