E3’s been over for a good while, and with the dust settled, now’s the perfect time to reflect on the highs and lows of this year’s show. Contemplate the trends, and speculate on direction the industry is taking. You know -- that stuff. So a bunch of us decided to get together and express our thoughts on the matter. Enjoy!
I have mixed impressions post-E3. Whilst I’m disappointed that there were no major announcements in terms of next generation hardware -- I don’t personally count the Wii U in that bracket -- I am hopeful for the future of gaming, at least on a visual level with games such as Star Wars 1313 on the horizon, which is a stunningly beautiful game. It may not be confirmed as a next-gen title per say, but I’d be shocked to discover something on that scale was achievable on current consoles.
Then you have PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, which is way too long of a name to be saying out loud, or even in your head. The on-stage demonstration had everything I wanted, and that was to be as close to a lawsuit with Super Smash Bros. as physically possible. I don’t want some poorly made fighting game that’s original, or whatever; I want to play as all my favourite Sony characters in the exact same way I’ve played as all my favourite Nintendo characters, and I feel this game can offer me that.
Next up is Pro Evolution Soccer 13 and FIFA 13 that collectively left me underwhelmed. I was hoping for some big new feature to be announced that completely revolutionized the genre, but instead what I was left with is news of updated rosters, more social network functionality and slightly more control over the way I play the game. Should I be asking for more from annually released franchises? Maybe not, perhaps it’s my own fault for raising my own expectations.
Finally, I’ll finish up with the aforementioned Wii U that I just don’t see as a next generation console, and not just in terms of graphics, but in terms of how far -- or not so far in this case -- they’ve pushed the boat out. New Super Mario Bros. U was the highlight of their press conference and it’s that game alone that makes me want to their new console and that makes me hate myself a little. Nintendo have always done best with 2D Mario and I’m glad to see them sticking to what they know best.
For me, E3 was rather odd this year. Why yes, it had some splendid titles for everyone to enjoy, but it also oozed of corporate interests and cash-grab marketing. Now, one doesn’t necessarily overthrow the other, but we all know too much focus on money can harm the focus of artistic creativity and overall quality. However, it was also a year with some pleasant surprises. Nike shows excellent form for Kinect, EA is going all out with SimCity and even adds it as an expansive Facebook app and Ubisoft leaps over Deus Ex with Watch Dogs. Still, Sony is head and shoulders above the rest again this year with a range of strong titles. It’s harder to choose a clear winner this year, but both Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us look astonishing. We’re blessed with great looking games this year and the severe tension both of these hold could make for some gripping gameplay. The same goes for this year’s trailers. We’ve entered the golden age of clips and the upside to this capitalism thing is that we can at least view some very high-end material to get us stoked.
Nintendo is still stubbornly walking its own path, but at least the Wii U is looking better and better. Mario Wii U and Rayman Legends seem like strong starters, but more importantly the more covert Project P-100 is the one that has me piqued with its crazy, fast-paced action. Let’s just hope that Platinum Games can manage their current workload adequately, as they’re also making Anarchy Reigns and Metal Gear Rising. Yet, once more there were only 4 third-party games for 3DS shown and that in a meager 40 second clip. At least those games included a traditional Castlevania and Kingdom Hearts, so yay.
This year’s E3 has been unlike any other, but that's not exactly a compliment with no real hardware announcements and a pretty lackluster showing overall.
It was predictable that Microsoft and Sony were going to focus on their hardware sales rather than disclosing clues on their next-gen consoles, but why should there be any harm in knowing what’s cooking in the kitchen. There’s nothing new in knowing that gaming is leaning towards social aspects. What else have you got?
As for Nintendo, haven’t we heard enough about Wii U over the past 12 months!? This console might be on the right path, but what we're looking for is a supporting title with that wow factor, and New Super Mario Bros. U doesn't seem to be it.
Thankfully there were some very good showings, title-wise, in Watch Dogs, Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us, to give us some renewed hope; each looking pretty exciting in their own ways.
World of Warplanes, Dishonored, and Hawken are worth a mention too. Exclusives like Halo, and sequels such as Tomb Raider, SimCity, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Crysis 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3 will surely keep gamers busy for the next 12 months.
What worried me most though is the mounting pressure from two rising giants in the gaming industry; Apple and Samsung. Their promises in starting cloud-based gaming and capturing a major gaming segment could over-awe and shake the very core of the console business, especially if things don't start moving at a more rapid pace for the “major 3.” I doubt that the small innovations such as the SmartGlass, Wonderbook, and the Unreal Engine 4 will fire off any real warning shot.
Let’s hope that the E3 2013 is everything I hoped for this time around and will come packed with some groundbreaking innovations or next-gen razzle-dazzle and free us from all sorts of speculations and fears.
Maybe it's because I attended the show this year (sorry for the wait on the previews, folks; didn’t have a computer at the show, so couldn’t get any writing in) and therefore makes me biased, but I feel the complaints about E3's dullness this year to be exaggerated. The myriad of shooters at the show, the lack of surprises, and the absence of new console announcements (which we all knew wasn't coming, as both Sony and Microsoft stated as much beforehand) seem to have put a damper on everyone's excitement. Understandable, of course, but really now: But what did they expect? We're on the tail end of the current console cycle. Very few, if any, are going to take risks with new games right now. They're saving that for when the new consoles arrive. We're lucky enough to have gotten Watch Dogs (which looks super cool) out of the show. It's not like nothing is coming out in the next year, nor anything interesting was at the show, so what's the fuss?
But I digress: E3 was great. The atmosphere was fun (and loud), the people were nice, and the games marvelous. Here were my highlights:
Getting some hands-on time with the Wii U. Thing's looking pretty cool, though I'm still a bit skeptical of the controller's potential. Haven't yet seen that one game that justifies the tablet. So far everyone seems content to toss menus and maps on there and call it a day. Practicality is nice -- I’m sure there will be plenty of games that will be made better for it -- but I can’t see that carrying a console.Rayman Legends and Nintendo Land seemed to be the best uses so far, even if either aren't exactly innovative. Makes a strong case for multiplayer opportunities, even so, the latter especially. The Pac-Man Vs.-like Luigi’s Mansion minigame alone sold me on the system. Good fun. Biggest surprise was how light the controller was. Could hold it with one hand easily. A bit bulky, but comfortable. Do wish the screen were multi-touch, though. Feels weird having to use only one finger for some of the actions. A stylus might not be a bad inclusion, either.
Playing Sly 4. Because I'm a big Sly Cooper fan. Preview should be up by the time you read this (still working out a few kinks in the article as of this writing). Spoiler: it's totally Sly Cooper and its awesome.
Watch Dogs. This wasn't playable on the show floor (people I talked to said it was being shown behind closed doors; not playable there either, though), but man, that game looked cool. A topical premise, an interesting set of mechanics, and even a potential multiplayer mode? That last scene in the demo at the Ubisoft press conference was quite suggestive of such. Really looking forward to seeing more.
E3 2012 for me was met with disappointment (yeah, I’m with that crowd, deal with it). Conferences were boring and I feel some of what was shown isn’t entirely indicative of what those games (or otherwise) represent. With the fairly recent release of a high-powered handheld and another platform that’s possibly on the eve of its launch, support for both was either largely absent or not represented well. Where hath the Vita gone? With reports saying that Sony reps decided to cut the Vita segments for the presentation, you’d think they’d show more support than that. Do they really want the Vita to succeed? Or are they sending the “this thing’s a dud” message? How about some more first-party/original titles, Nintendo?
Other than Rayman Legend -- which I think is the only game worth playing on the Wii U -- I don’t think games that came out about a year ago, and are readily available on other consoles will become system sellers. And what’s with all the unnecessary applause from the audience? Much of the media briefings were entrenched with needless praises; it made me think these publishers (Sony, EA, Microsoft, etc.) paid the viewers to cheer at anything presented onstage, no matter how dumb or crazy these ideas were (Usher, e-sports, to name a few).
But… that’s enough cynicism for one E3; I sincerely apologize for that. Despite my rant-y behavior for half of the expo last week, there were a handful of games that still managed to impress. Tomb Raider looks brutal and is shaping up to be a great Lara Croft origins story; Far Cry 3’s single player campaign looks insane; The Last of Us demo looked fantastic and holds much potential, and Watch Dogs was the surprise of the show, and the hacking stuff they showed looked neat.
My game of the show ended up being Assassin’s Creed III. I pretty much had this stupid grin on my face every time they showed a portion of the game. Ubisoft continues to streamline its combat and free-running gameplay elements, and all of that looked fantastic. Sure, Assassin’s Creed III doesn’t introduce anything radical to the franchise, but I think Ubisoft’s on the right track in finishing their conspiracy theory meta-universe on a high note. All my pessimism aside, I still think the gaming industry is in good hands. With blockbuster titles such as Halo 4, Dishonored, Borderlands 2, Hitman: Absolution, and others, the rest of 2012 (and next year) show promise.
E3 just didn’t pop like last year. The conferences, Ubisoft aside, were weak all around. It was disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. The whole conference felt like an ad this year—more so than usual. Nike and ESPN stumbled onto the stage to vomit subscription services, Nintendo bungled the Wii U for the second time out and Sony had that moronic Wonderbookthing (along with everything but The Last of Us).
As for the games, yeah, there were some good ones. Watch Dogs has a lot of potential that it probably won’t fulfill, although I sincerely hope it does. Lego City Undercover looks like Lego-meets-Saints Row 2, which is reason enough to give it a look. Rayman Legends is Rayman Origins, with extra insanity (yes, please!). And hate on Call of Duty all you want, but Black Ops 2 looks fantastic—and it’ll be the first title since Call of Duty 4 that I’ll buy.
But what else was there? It was a mish-mash of things we’d already seen. It seems like this is the year of cynicism, but E3 feels more like an advertisement every year. The fun goes away, little by little. The excitement fades into awareness. Kind of a bummer, huh?
And now, E3? The event is over, but the memories and the excitement became so that innovations presented during the event have just begun. It is after all the euphoria of last week we can really analyze what was E3. Despite not being the best edition in terms of announcements and demonstrations available, I had a few games that I have enjoyed. Some disappointments? Sure.
Despite the lack of startling announcements, E3 had great times in which the players went wild. The biggest example was the presentation of Watch Dogs, which left many people speechless with stunning graphics. More than that, the plot seemed to be equally interesting, mixing elements of The Matrix with Assassin's Creed. A very promising project.
I cannot fail to mention The Last of Us as one of the most anticipated games of E3, I was hoping that the event would be the opportunity of Naughty Dog prove that the game was much more than a post-apocalyptic Uncharted -- and I was right! The first images of the game ended with any questions and showed that the title has a footprint entirely different.
Electronic Arts also played nice. Medal of Honor: Warfighter won the FPS fans along with the visual spectacle of Crysis 3. For those who are crazy about speed, the demo of Need for Speed: Most Wanted showed that the franchise is back on consoles speeding up . Not to mention Dead Space 3 and FIFA 13, two titles that I might take a closer look. Capcom was a little shy and presented few games for the event, but all long awaited. This was the case for Resident Evil 6 -- which won a special room completely set in China --DmC: Devil May Cry 3 and Lost Planet 3.
E3 2012 had its ups and downs -- and sometimes, some higher and others lower than normal. Check out some of the most embarrassing moments, or simply disappointing.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale -- the game with the longest name in the world of games makes the list not because of its quality, but because he is a blatant copy of Super Smash Bros. Not even the presence of new fighters Nathan Drake and Big Daddy was enough to leave me excited during the conference.
Before the event, every gamer had a list of games they would like to see at E3. And although some were not clearly appear, many others simply did not have expected the presence, in contrast to many believed. This was the case of Rockstar, who did not attend the event -- so we did not have any information of GTA 5.
Wonderbook -- of all the items in the list, it definitely deserves the award for worst moment E3. The book of augmented reality that "transforms" the PlayStation Move into a magic wand did not work during the first part of the presentation, resulting in several minutes of sheer boredom until everything was fixed.
Callum Rakestraw, NoobFeed.