E3 2011 - Thoughts on the Last Three Days
Believe it or not, E3 exists outside of the big three's opening press conferences. Here are some musings on a handful of the biggest games and announcements from one of the largest gatherings of twenty and thirty something year old males, outside of prison.
I have avoided topics that were covered in detail during the opening press conferences, unless significant new information has since been released. For a round-up and opinions on the press conferences, click:
Insomniac's (Ratchet & Clank, Resistance series) new IP has been revealed as a multi-platform shooter. The trailer looks very promising, expertly mixing Insomniac's expertise by offering an OTT shooter and exotic weaponry with humour and more exaggerated character models. It is slated to be a 4 player co-op experience, though there has been no word on what it will be like for Billy-no-mates, though I'd hazard a guess some capable bots would step into the shoes of imaginary friends. I will definitely be trying my hardest to make at least 3 friends in the next 12 months just so I have someone to play with when Overstrike arrives in 2012.
Depending on your familiarity and fondness for the originals, there were either a number of great remakes announced at E3 or far too many regurgitations of the same old things. Everyone seems to be getting in on the action, and from a business stand-point why wouldn't you want to milk an existing property that is guaranteed to be a success, instead of taking a risk on something new. Its not exactly healthy for creativity and innovation, mind you.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, one of my all time favourite games, is the subject of not one, but two updates. Last week, in their pre-E3 press conference, Konami announced that MGS3 will be getting the HD treatment this November as part of the MGS Collection. For me, this news made the 3DS remake as good as redundant and means I'm far less likely to buy a 3DS this year. Unfavourable hands-on impressions of the portable remake have re-enforced this conclusion. As much as I love Snake Eater, just the one remake will be enough for me this year.
Far Cry 3
One of the best trailers of E3 was Ubisoft's violent reveal for Far Cry 3. The non-linear sand-box shooter is back, and this time is set on a South American jungle island, populated by the violently insane who make brutal use of a pool, rope and an ample supply of breeze-blocks. The action comes thick and fast and is instantly recognizable as being Far Cry. I want to say its like Hearts of Darkness, minus a river but with more helicopters, but that would would be stupid. We will be free to explore the depths of both insanity and the jungle in 2012.
I know i'm starting to sound like a broken record, but wasn't this supposed to be a sure thing? TS4 was already in development..........bought out by Crytek.........shopping a new IP earlier this year......rumours of a E3 reveal etc etc. Each morning this week I started my day by scouring Twitter and the IGN, Kotaku and Gamespots of the world for news of Crytek UK's impending announcement. It seems every other video game series got some sort of sequel shown at E3 this year, but there was no room for a monkey with a rocket launcher. These are strange times we are live in.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
This looks very similar to XIII, as you would expect, though we are being told that it is far less linear and will feature open towns and branching storylines. I think I may have burnt myself out on FFXIII, as in spite of the impressive trailer my overwhelming reaction was "I really can’t be arsed to do that all over again". Probably not what Square-Enix are looking for, but I reserve the right to skip any further instalments of XIII after being funnelled through Pulse for upwards of 100 hours last year. It looks pretty, though.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
I’m not sure why Nintendo were unwilling to share much footage of their latest Zelda during their presser, when clearly they have some to show. The Nintendo booth offered three different demos which included a flight sequence, the ability to change your environment and lots of hack and slashing which i'm sure will delight the Zelda faithful. However, as much as I tried to get into it, the trailers left me cold. Someone who grew-up with Zelda probably sees a new entry in a series which they love, whereas I see another distinctly "Wii" game which I can probably do without. Different perspectives, and all that.
The PS Vita will be region free. That is all.
Saints Row: The Third
Not even Kanye West could save by far the worst trailer I saw last week. A brash, tasteless two minutes of unappealing, generic looking characters shooting-up a club, in slow motion. I had to swallow a bit of sick when I first watched it on my PS3. Its not outside the realms of possibility that the game may actually be good, but its going to take a lot of impressive in-game screens and footage to help me forget this predictable trailer.
Nintendo probably aren’t getting the reaction they envisioned when they announced the Wii U. First came the news that shares in the company fell to a five year low, a worrying sign of a lack of investor confidence in their chosen direction. Then they also received a chilly reception from the press and gamers when it was announced that most of the footage of third party developed games shown during their marquee press conference was in fact taken from PS3 and 360 versions, something which was not made clear at the time. News that Nintendo only intend to ship one tablet controller per Wii U console, without the option of buying another separately, didn’t sit well either. On the plus side, most press outlets are giving rave reviews for the new system and its unique controller, and Nintendo have begun to offer more information on the Wii U’s specs. One way or the other, Nintendo definitely succeeded in getting people talking.
And The Rest
Unfortunately no one will pay me to write about games, so I still have to go to work each day where, regrettably, my job description does not include laying into Saints Row and pining for a new TimeSplitters. This means that the time I have to write about video games is extremely limited, so a sentence will have to suffice for the rest of these E3 stand-outs.
Assassin's Creed Revelations: Ezio is up to his old tricks, looking older and wiser.
Batman Arkham City: Balletic combat looks as appealing as ever - now with Catwoman.
Battlefield 3: Continues to garner more attention tha MW3, and from what we have seen thus far, it is well deserved.
Binary Domain: You cant really go wrong with cyborgs, guns and Toshihiro Nagoshi.
Dark Souls: Atlus still have no sense of humour, which is good news for the masochists amongst us.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: A contender for game of the show which continues to impress with its epic sense of scale and fantasy action.
Hitman Absolution: Has the woman in the shower earned her fate at the hands of our protagonist, or is morality going to be a bit less clear-cut in our return to Hitman?
Killer Freaks From Outer Space: Made it here on the strength of its title alone.
Lord of the Rings: War in the North: Orc heads will roll, as this latest LOTR is clearly not afraid of a bit of the old ultra-violence.
Mass Effect 3: It looks beautiful and Shepard's new melee combat moves are intriguing.
Need For Speed: The Run: Love the in-car stuff, but not convinced about getting out from behind the wheel.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Business a usual, with stumps and severed limbs aplenty.
Pikimin 3: The first (unofficially) announced in-house game for the Wii U is as secretive as the console itself.
Prey 2: That trailer gave Tomb Raider and Uncharted 3 a run for their money.
Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City: A memorable trailer shown from the perspective of the antagonists, which looks to turn the series on its head.
Resident Evil Revelations: A return to the series roots of scarce ammo, tight spaces and big scares.
Sonic Generations: Its looking good, but I still don't want to jinx it.
SSX: Loving the idea of snowboarding down Mt. Fuji, with the usual thrills and spills of SSX.
Super Smash Bros.: A real crowd pleaser that looks set to sell millions of Wii U units.
What caught your eye over the last three days?