Besides two bustling convention halls and journalist-filled meeting rooms, E3 brought on an influx of new games. While I’m happy that the stress is over and the news flow is weak, it doesn’t stop me from piecing together my thoughts.
The expo’s biggest shift this year was its high focus on motion control. Microsoft brought Kinect and Sony brought Move. While there were people in the audience amazed by what these two pieces of technology can accomplish, I kept thinking to myself: do we really need motion control? Don’t get me wrong. It’s cool – moving around, looking all silly – but I tend to enjoy sitting on my behind, controller-in-hand, Coke on my left, TV remote on my right, and kicking back to a good ol’ game with my favorite pad.
Kinect is where I feel weary. Move can be adjusted for couch play, but Kinect is constant ‘up and in the action’ movement. We haven’t really seen any “good” games from Kinect, either, besides generic games like Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, and the overflow of sports/fitness titles that third-party publishers like Ubisoft and Konami are developing. I guess Star Wars Kinect and Child of Eden pardon that claim, but even so, Child of Eden can be played with a controller and we’re not even sure exactly how Star Wars plays yet, considering we’ve only seen a tiny clip of it. The only types of games I can see being played with Kinect are the types that Microsoft and third-parties have already announced and potentially future racing games. Other than that, how would you play an RPG, action, or sandbox game with Kinect? Maybe my imagination isn’t big enough, but as far as I’m concerned, you can’t. Think about it. Will you ever experience a game as epic as Halo or God of War on a motion controller such as Kinect?
Move, on the other hand, is a bit different. Sure, there are some games that require you to get up and ‘move’, but there are plenty of games – SOCOM 4 for instance – where you can sit in that hole in the couch, yet still feel immersed into the action. Thanks to the controller’s navigation stick and buttons, playing an RPG, action, or sandbox game is possible because you have the ability to ‘move’ around in-game.
While I’m not convinced on both controllers, I’m more lenient towards Move only because it allows that reality developers are trying to immerse players into in any type of game. Not only this, but it accomplishes this without making you look like an idiot.
I’m still on the controller bandwagon, though. You’ve got to love that thing.
3D was a big part of the expo, too. Sony was its biggest supporter with Killzone 3, The Sly Collection, Motorstorm: Apocalypse, MLB 10: The Show, and other first-party titles, but there were third-parties that took on the feature, as well. Crysis 2, Tron Evolution, and Shaun White Skateboarding are only a few examples. Final Fantasy XIV is running an experiment on it, the list goes on.
I’m not really bothered by 3D integration into games. It’s optional and if I had a 3D television, I’d probably kick back with the old glasses, too. I won’t be shelling out two grand for a 3DTV anytime soon, though.
Moving away from the motion control and 3D fad, let’s move into the games. The games are what’s important, as a man named Kevin Butler once said. It’s why we were at E3.
First-parties aside, Konami probably had one of the most impressive lineups (in my opinion) at the show. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Hard Corps: Uprising, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Silent Hill 8, and the newly announced NeverDead – that packs one hell of a punch. Tangy punch, too.
While other third-parties did bring plenty potentially good games to the show, it was probably Konami’s excellence brands that had me going. Here’s just a small list of third-party publishers that brought a selection of potentially good games to the expo:
- 2K – Mafia II, Spec Ops, and XCOM
- Activision – Call of Duty: Black Ops and True Crime
- Bethesda – Brink, Fallout: New Vegas, and Rage
- Capcom – Dead Rising 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- Electronic Arts – Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Dead Space 2
- Ignition – El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
- Sega – Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Vanquish
- Square Enix – Final Fantasy XIV, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Dungeon Siege III
- Ubisoft – Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Driver: San Francisco, and Ghost Recon: Future Warfare
- Valve – Portal 2
It was a massive lineup. Look at all those slants. It was great to see so many games in harmony with each other at one massive expo. Oddly enough, my biggest impressions came from the first-person shooters. I say it’s odd because I’m not that big of a first-person shooter guy. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Portal 2, Rage, and XCOM all have now have a special place in my heart. Portal 2 came out on top for me out of all of them, though.
The floor was great, too. I played a lot of interesting games. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 to name one of them. I played a few rounds, but I honestly don’t think I played enough to preview it. I won’t lie, I was honestly just mashing buttons. Those buttons made Dante do some super outrageous attacks, though. Dante is one of my new main characters now.
I played a bit of a lot of games. I tried out TRON: Evolution, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Time Crisis: Razing Storm, Vanquish, Enslaved, Splatterhouse, Brunswick Pro Bowling, and many others. I played Killzone 3 for a few minutes with the 3D glasses – that was great. I got to play around with the jetpack, too, which you can equip and take off in a matter of a second. Twisted Metal was another fun one I got to check out. There were, of course, many others, too.
Overall, I think it was a good show. Sure, it was a bit of a letdown on surprise announcements (unless you’re Nintendo) and had too much of a focus on motion control, but there were a lot of good games present to make up for it. Twisted Metal, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Gears of War 3 and all the above are just the start.
Bring on Tokyo Game Show 2010… even though there’s no way in hell that I’m paying for a flight to Japan. We’ll happily cover it from home.