Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 Press Conference Impressions

Although E3 2011 officially kicked off today, all the major press conferences are now over. Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony all went yesterday (Monday), while Nintendo went today (Tuesday). In the following paragraphs I'll briefly sum up my thoughts about the press conferences (or at least what I can remember), and give a grade to each one.

Microsoft- This gets my award for best press conference. Mass Effect 3 looks great and the way it will use Kinect (voice commands) looks like it might actually be worthwhile. I'm not a big Gears of War fan, but if I was I would have been excited to see Gears 3 in action. And Ice-T is pretty badass. Most of the Kinect stuff looks mildly cool, but a lot of it is obviously aimed at a younger demographic than me. Even though I don't know if I'll play it, I think it's very cool that Minecraft is coming to 360 with Kinect.

As someone without cable TV though, I am very excited about Live TV coming to the 360. This will obviously depend of how much it costs and if there are any good channels, but I'm definitely interested. The new dashboard that will come out this fall looks like an improvement over the current one too.

The Halo 1 remake looks okay, but I doubt I'll get it when it first comes out. Halo 4 really caught me by surprise though, and they already announced it's going to be a new trilogy (so 4, 5, and 6). I'm not a big Halo fan, but it was pretty cool to see Master Chief in action again, even if it was only a teaser. Also, the small part of the new Tomb Raider game they showed looked pretty cool too.

On a final note, the whole beginning of the Microsoft press conference started with a live gameplay showing of Modern Warfare 3. Here's my question: does anyone care about Modern Warfare/Call of Duty anymore? Am I the only one completely tired of it? Unless something drastic changes, I have absolutely no plans to purchase MW3 this holiday season. I really think they need to give Call of Duty a break before they wind up running that franchise into the ground just like they did with Guitar Hero.


EA- A solid, if unspectacular press conference. Mass Effect 3 looked good (coming out March 6, 2012), Battlefield 3 looked good (coming out Oct. 25, 2011), but I'm a little upset that we still don't have release date for The Old Republic. We have a date for Mass Effect 3, which is definitely coming out next year, but we don't have a date for TOR, even though they still say it's coming out this year. I smell B.S. If I don't get a release date very soon, there's a very good chance that I will not cancel my pre-order. And like I said before, Battlefield 3 looks really good and like it's ready to take the throne from Call of Duty. And I for one can't wait for that to happen.

When they first brought out Ray Lewis, Clay Matthews, and Peyton Hillis, I thought "Hey, this is cool!", but near the end it started to get awkward. As for Madden, I probably wont be buying this year's copy: A) Because as a general rule I buy sports games every other year (and I bought last year's), and B) Because there might not even be a football season this year, and I refuse to support the NFL at all if they cant get their crap together. Besides that, nothing really interested me. I don't play FIFA, Need for Speed, The Sims, or anything else that I can remember them showing.


Mr. "Huge Douchebag" Caffeine

Ubisoft- Since I've been watching E3 (which actually isn't that long), Ubisoft has always had bad press conferences. The mistake they continually make is instead of having game developers talk about their games and occasionally make the "not-funny" joke that no one laughs at, they hire a semi-professional comedian to host the event and make constant "not-funny" jokes that no one laughs at. "Mr. Caffeine" filled that enviable role this year. In fact, the only funny part of the press conference was how much of the FarCry 3 demo they had to "bleep" out because it contains so much foul language (also, because it was live, one F-bomb definitely slipped though. I wonder if G4 will get fined by the FCC for that). Also, Randy Pitchford did come out to pitch a new game Gearbox is doing with Ubisoft (Brothers in Arms: Furious 4), and that's the only thing that will keep this press conference from getting a "F".

As for Ubisoft's games though, because I don't really play any of their franchises I'm not really a good person to judge them. However, lack of qualification and understanding has never stopped me from judging anything before, so...


Sony- If there's one thing you can say about Sony, it's that their press conferences are always stronger than their firewalls and encryption. Seriously though, Sony had a pretty good press conference, and I liked how the first thing they did was apologize to their customers and developers. I did want Kevin Butler to be there though, and I'm disappointed he was MIA. But Uncharted 3 looks great (no surprises there) and the PlayStation Vita (the new PSP, pictured above) looks absolutely amazing. And it looks like Sony learned their lesson from originally pricing the PS3 at $600, because the Vita (Wi-Fi only model) will only cost $250, which is very reasonable considering the tech.

My favorite part of the press conference though would have to be when Kobe came out and played NBA 2K11 with the Move. Not because of the Move (which I still think is extraordinarily lame), and not because of NBA 2K11 (which I've heard is very good but never played myself). It's because it reminded me that for years I've been telling Lee Brewer that Kobe's my boy and that he's much better than LeBron, while Lee defended LeeBron for years until finally recently admitting that I was right. Sup, Lee?

FINAL GRADE: B- (for Sony)

FINAL GRADE: F- (for Lee Brewer calling LeBron years ago)

Nintendo- I'm very "meh" about the Nintendo press conference. I guess all the upcoming 3DS games look cool, but I don't own a 3DS nor do I have any intention of buying one (if anything I'd wait and get the Vita for the same price later this year). Skyward Sword will probably be great, but unfortunately I've never been a Zelda fan, and Skyward Sword probably won't change that.

Also, Nintendo did such a good job explaining the new "Wii U" that I had only one question at the end of the press conference: "What the hell is this thing?" It's basically the new Nintendo console with HD graphics, better online functionality, and a controller that's a mix between a PS3 controller and an iPad. Seriously (the picture above is an actual picture of the new controller). It's definitely... interesting, but its success will really depend on if developers take advantage of the hardware. That was the same case for the original Wii, and unfortunately most of them didn't. But we'll see. Either way it wont be out until holiday 2012, and if it's anything like the Wii you wont be able to find one in store until summer 2015.


Also, on a side note, I saw the live E3 demo for Skyrim twice, and that game looks more and more amazing every time I see it. Can't wait.

As always, feel free to chime in and let me know what you think, especially if you watched some of this stuff. But feel free to even if you didn't