19 Jun 2010

Best of E3 2010

E3 2010 is over. Let's take a look at some of the more exciting stuff shown in the past few days.
Microsoft came into this year's E3 with much vigor and excitement over Project Natal (now officially named Kinect). A lot of money was put into hiring Cirque du Soleil to introduce Kinect with a performance which I heard was lacklustre. The device itself, however, seemed to work quite well. A bunch of Kinect games were shown off during the press conference and they all seem to control really well, especially the non-games such as Harmonix's Dance Central and Ubisoft's Your Shape. Seeing both of those games in action was amazing, not for the gameplay, but for the level of precision of its controls.

Game-wise, Microsoft had a rather poor showing. Yes, we had Halo: Reach, Gears of War 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops, but those were expected and, as exciting as they were, did not really wow the audience. The slew of Kinect games (like Kinectimals and Kinect adventures) just make me think they are imitations of Wii games (like Wii Music, Wii Play, Wii Sports). If Microsoft is going to release all these Kinect games in the same time period, the casual market would be flooded with too many games and they would not sell well individually as compared to Nintendo's well spaced out Wii efforts. Kinect will be out November 2010. No word on pricing.

Oh and Microsoft pulled an Apple on us. A redesigned Xbox360 was shipped to retail during the press conference. Has to be one of Microsoft's best kept secrets, since the news only started to leak a few hours before the conference.

And they also pulled an Oprah by giving everyone at the press conference their very own redesigned Xbox360. -__-"

Check out Manfred's blog for more information on Kinect and Microsoft's conference.

Nintendo's press conference was next. Most people there were excitedly waiting for Nintendo to reveal the Nintendo 3DS; and they did not disappoint.

Some features:
Top widescreen 3D, bottom 4:3 touch screen (slightly higher resolution than regular DS)
3D depth slider at the side to control the amount of 3D you want, or you could turn it down to 2D
A "slide pad" which acts like an analog stick
2 outward-facing cameras, which allow you to take 3D pictures at VGA resolution

The hardware is said to be Gamecube-level and, judging by some of the demos shown, seems to be true. At the moment though, the relatively low screen resolution prevents it from being "close to PS3 and Xbox360 graphics". Games for the system will look more and more polished as time goes on, but I doubt it will ever eclipse some of the best looking games on the Wii.

Game-wise, well, I'll let this list of upcoming 3DS games talk for themselves:
Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy
Chocobo Racing 3D
Dead or Alive 3D
Dragon Quest
Final Fantasy
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Kingdom Hearts 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Mario Kart 3DS
Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D
Ninja Gaiden
Paper Mario 3DS
Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle
Resident Evil: Revelations
Sonic 3DS
Starfox 64 3D
Super Street Fighter IV 3D
Ghost Recon
Splinter Cell
And many many more!

I'm well aware that most of these games are just gonna be cheap lousy games (like Assassins Creed was on the current DS), but some of these are actual full ports of the console version (SSF4, Snake Eater) or classics (Starfox 64, Ocarina of Time) with a 3D upgrade. Judging from some videos of MGS and Kid Icarus in action, these games are going to look real gooood. Like a PSP game. LOL.

Aside from the 3DS, Nintendo also had a strong showing on the Wii. A new, brighter, Zelda game that looks like a ton of fun to play, started off their conference. I really like old, 2D Zelda, and I haven't played a 3D Zelda game that I liked (did not try Wind Waker only). This looks like a much better Zelda and a step in the right direction. Kirby's Epic Yarn was impressively cute and imaginative too. The highlight of the Wii games for me was Disney's Epic Mickey. That game just oozes style, completely unlike the initial screenshots shown last year. The Steamboat Willie level was extremely good looking, almost like playing out the actual cartoon.

Read more about Nintendo's press conference on Manfred's blog.

Sony rounded up the trio of press conferences with some of the least exciting announcements. We expected PSP2; they announced a new ad campaign for the PSP. We expected a Premium PSN with lots of features such as cross game voice chat; they announced the Playstation Plus service (US$49.99 a year) with a some free PS minis each month. We expected Kevin Butler to give a keynote; he did appear, but only gave a cringe worthy "inspirational" speech. The PS Move had predictable pricing, similar to the Wiimote and Nunchuck attachment. The Move games package, however, paled in comparison to both the Wii and Kinect.

Game-wise, we had a visually impressive Killzone 3 live demo, a surprise Twisted Metal reveal, and an even more surprising Portal 2 announcement. Portal 2, a valve game, with Steamworks. On the PS3. It's a surprise because it was totally unexpected, but nothing to get excited about. I'm still gonna play it on a PC.

Oh and GT5 has a release date: 2 November 2010

Out of the 3 major press conferences, I think Nintendo did extremely well. Great hardware reveal and AMAZING amount of games. Quality of the games shown on stage were also top-notch. Microsoft did quite OK. Kinect worked really well on stage and has definitely made me interested in finding out more. Sony, on the other hand, had the most boring conference. Game-wise they were slightly better than Microsoft because they had good hardcore games and interesting reveals, but overall it was nothing compared to the appeal of Kinect.

Overall this E3 has been rather interesting. Microsoft slipped a little, but did not do too bad, while Nintendo went back to its glory days. I've posted some videos of interesting game trailers and gameplay below, so do check them out.


Your Shape: Fitness Evolved

Dance Central

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D

Kirby's Epic Yarn

The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword

Disney's Epic Mickey

Twisted Metal

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