Tuesday, June 14, 2011

E3 2011

E3 this year seemed generally disappointing. Many new things we where hoping for either didn't happen, like a release date for Star Wars MMO, or left us confused, like with the Nintendo Wii U. Here's some of the stuff that caught my attention.


Hideo Kojima is one of those creators I idolize because of the sheer amount of both quality and crazy they bring to their products. The new announcement from Kojima is their new feature called "Transfarring". The idea is, if you want to keep playing a console game - you can transfer you're progress and information to a PSP, and visa-versa. This really only seems applicable with games that can be supported, graphically, by both the PS3 and the PSP. I'm sure Sony's next generation PSVita is also going to be in on this gimmick, but right now that's all it appears to be: a gimmick. Maybe video gaming culture in Japan is different, and mobility is a real issue - but over here I just can't see many people taking advantage of this. Heck, I play most of my portable games at home --something like Transfarring just seems silly. Plus, how many people play video games this much, where they can't even take a break when they go out of the house? Kojima has often proved himself to be a genius, but that doesn't mean all of his ideas are winners. What is genius, though, is this self mocking ad G4 showed. (The video below.)

What is worth being excited about is the HD Package Re-release of Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, and both Zone of the Enders games. While being able to play Metal Gear Solid on a modern console is cool, I've played those two games so many times, playing through them again isn't that appealing. Plus, if their looking at selling an MGS collection, then I have to ask why Metal Gear Solid 1 wasn't included? Zone of the Enders, games I've never had a chance to play, sound like the best part of the deal.

Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

This video really helps clarify many of the immediate questions people have about the Wii U. It's going to have much improved HD graphics. The biggest shock is no doubt the iPad style controller. This looks like it could be a real mess for Nintendo, and I'm only just happy that this system will essentially be able to act like a graphically enhanced Wii, because any games using this overly complicated and strange remote are going to be left waiting until I more fully understand what the heck it is. Nintendo kept saying it's giving developers more options. More options doesn't necessarily make for a better gaming experience. I distinctly get the feeling Nintendo might just be trying to innovate for innovation's sake - which really makes us, the gaming public, the ginny-pigs in a big experiment. I might have a different opinion later in the year, as more information comes out, but right now I'm just confused.

As for the 3DS -- this is a system I wanted to buy, but I'm simply not going to spend $250 until there are some decent games for the system. I think my sentiments are echoed by most people, as the 3DS has had a dramatic drop in sales, especially after having the largest launch-sales for a handheld ever. This could be a very good system, long term. But 3D, no matter how good it is, might not necessarily be the wave of the future everyone in entertainment is hoping for. The games announced, like Mario Kart and and Starfox 64 sound good, but games like Luigi's Mansion make me think Nintendo is running low on ideas. The only game I was excited to see was Mario 3D - which looks like a combination of Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Bros. 3. The return of the Tanooki suit sounds great. Over all, I'm seriously disappointed to not see more news about upcoming games. Maybe that's for the best - I don't want to go out and buy the 3DS any earlier than I have to. Heck, maybe it's simply a system I'll be skipping. I thought the exact same thing about the Wii U, maybe I won't buy this generation of Nintendo console. That seems pretty damning for Nintendo's future, all things considered. Nintendo soared so high these past many years - and if they aren't careful, they could come crashing down really easily.

Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword

Even as a longtime Zelda fan, I was very skeptical when they announced Skyward Sword. One of the great things about Twilight Princess was the ease of play and light integration of wii-motion controls in what was otherwise a standard-controlled game. Now we're getting a Zelda game designed completely around the Wii-Motion Plus controller. First off, I've successfully avoided having to plop down any more cash to get a fancier controller, so buying Skyward Sword would force me to make this additional purchase. Also, even if the controls are as accurate as everyone hopes (of moving the sword exactly like you move the wii-remote) - it sounded both tiring and irritating. (At least for me). I personally have yet to play a sword-based wii-game that didn't just involved hacking as fast as you can. (Dragon Quest Swords is the closest the concept ever came.) The added complexity, of having to actually think about how you swing the wii-remote... it's just not been as successful so far. Not saying complexity can't be fun - but Zelda has never been a short game, and it's simply the mental hurdle of learning to play video games differently than I'm use to. So I just wasn't that trilled about it.

Now that Nintendo is finally releasing more info about the game? My opinion is changing, and if there's any title I might put the extra effort into learning how to play differently, it's Zelda. The features and gameplay elements look fun. Will it work for such a long-term gaming experience? We'll just have to want and find out. But I am deeply impressed by the art-style, which at first seemed cartoonish, but now seems very atmospheric. The story seems very Zelda-esq, but with the significant twist of starting the game up in the sky. Again, I'm still weary of this new Zelda game - but it's quickly looking like a title I'll be trying anyway. The hope is my initial fears will be proven completely baseless. (Let's hope!)

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Being a big fan of Fallout 3, you'd think a game from the same celebrated developers would be a natural favorite for me. It's not, despite how impressive the game looks. I got and played Elder Scrolls IV. Despite feeling completely out of my depth, I managed to defeat the first demonicly under siege town. I haven't played the game since. I think it's the sheer breadth of the game that scares me, if anything else. And Skyrim looks to be even bigger and more detailed. It's a good game, to be sure, but not one I'm particularly interested in.

My sentiments regarding this year's E3 where really summed up in the "Hey Ash" Gametrailer episode, here:

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