So E3 2012 has come to close. What was good? What was bad? Well here are my thoughts on this year's expo. It's a bit of a lengthy blog so I hope you bear with me :P. So to start off, let's discuss the big 3 conferences.
Microsoft was the first conference and kick started the whole event on Monday morning. To say the least, they definitely started off on the right note....and that is with something that the gamers actually wanted, and that was Halo 4. I'm a huge Halo fan and the demo looked beautiful, intriguing and mysterious. Everything I want out of a new trilogy starring none other than the Master Chief. The new enemies looked interesting, maybe a bit too 'sci-fi' if anything and the new weapons and hud looked a little Metroid-y. But overall, I was impressed with what I saw simply because it is the start of a whole new trilogy, and a different approach to Chief?s surroundings while still staying true to the core gameplay and atmosphere with the covenant and memorable characters are definitely what makes Halo 4 so promising.
Next on Microsoft?s agenda was Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and it was definitely impressive. I'm not a huge Splinter Cell fan, although the smooth and quick gameplay had my eyes glued to the screen. Not to mention, it was one of, if not the only cool use of Kinect I've seen yet, I mean, how cool was it when he distracted that soldier by saying "Hey, you.", I thought it was pretty sweet.
Now is where Microsoft started crashing and burning. EA was nothing short of a "show off the kinect" presentation, and I could have cared less. Following this, we had trailers for Fable: The Journey and Gears of War: Judgement. Fable still looks pretty bad to me, and still stands as a reason why the kinect is not being used correctly, if there is a correct way to use it and justify its purchase and use. Now is where my ranting starts, with Gears of War: Judgement. To put it simple without spending too much time of the subject, I don't like it. I really don't like the idea of "Judgement". The Gears trilogy is a landmark of gaming, and anyone who can have a reasonable discussion about gaming would agree with me. It was great and had a satisfying ending that didn't leave me wanting more. Gears 3 also perfected the beloved Gears multiplayer in my opinion. To make a prequel like this, it just doesn't seem right. I don't want it, I don't want the characters, except Cole Train, but he's not in the spotlight. What good could come of this prequel? I don't know, and I have no expectations for the game. Not to mention the class based multiplayer? What? That's not Gears to me. Moving on though.....
Kinect....kinect kinect kinect. Come on Microsoft, do you see the faces of your supporting gamers? I bet if you took a good look at the crowd and not at your lines on stage, I bet you would have seen their sighing faces. So you improved the Bing search engine and added some more entertainment to Xbox Live, cool, but why? We want GAMES. We understand that E3 may not be all about games, and there is room for social and entertainment aspects to these systems. But they are GAMING systems. Xbox Music? I think many of us who can afford an Xbox 360 and a gold subscription each year also have some kind of music player of our own. Sure, Last.fm is great, because its free streaming, but I think I'll stick with iTunes if you want me to pay for your music. And also, Nike training....kinect, bore, don't really care.
The best part of Microsoft's conference was also their worst. I know, how? Well, because it was something new, but it?s also something totally unnecessary. SmartGlass. I like the idea of using other devices such as my Android phone to interact with my entertainment, social, and gaming experiences. Being able to further enhance the story to a show like 'Game of Thrones' is definitely awesome and joining a multiplayer game in Halo 4 from my phone is outstanding. But really, why would I do this? Unless they really find ways to make SmartGlass essential to my TV shows and games, I'm won't be spending much time using it.
The new South Park game looks fun, but it was also the only brand new unannounced game we got from Microsoft....oh...what?....another RPG?....called Ascend? Oh, ok, sorry. 2 brand new games. Not exactly what I wanted, and I don't know about you guys but I won't be bragging to PS3 and Wii U owners that we have South Park and Ascend and they don?t. We also got a demo of Tomb Raider, which just recently got delays until March 2013 or so. Here's what I thought of Tomb Raider. It looks nice and was impressive, but the state I was in from watching everything Microsoft just did made me not care. It seemed like an Uncharted clone with more cinematic action sequences (I.E. falling down a waterfall and paragliding). The fact that it doesn't even come out this year turned me away from my TV too.
To end Microsoft?s conference, we got a look at Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Like always, we got a big and exciting action packed demo of the campaign. It didn't really impress me, even though I support Treyarch's CoDs more than IW's, simply because I felt like games with WaW and Black Ops, there was some improvement to multiplayer, not to mention ZOMBIES. When it comes to Black Ops 2, I want zombie DLC and multiplayer. I didn't see much of that at E3 2012, so we'll see about it.
Overall, Microsoft was pretty uninteresting and expected. I only want Halo 4 from them. That's basically it.
Oh yeah, and Usher performed. Best part of the conference! :)
Next up was Sony, and in fact, they started off really strong. I was more excited to see what Sony had in store this year than anyone else, and after the first twenty minutes of their conference, I was nearly convinced. We say a brand new game, Beyond, which by the way looks gorgeous and an actual full game of Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, which I am very excited to play and see who else will star on the roster. I was expecting a little more than just two characters revealed at E3. Nathan Drake was pretty much expected but the Big Daddy was definitely a nice surprise. I also think that the cross-platform compatibility between the PS3 and Vita are awesome, the only problem is you'd have to basically pay for the game twice if you want to play it at home AND on the go. It's definitely a plus for me though.
After the first two games, I was expecting heavy focus on a possible Vita lineup, and all we really got was an improvement to Playstation Plus, which I can't complain about and two new Vita games. Black Ops Declassified just sounds like it'll either be a direct port or a dumbed down version of Black Ops 2, and I probably won't pick it up if I already have Black Ops 2. The other game announced looked pretty cool though. That was Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation. It introduces a whole new character in the same time period as Assassin's Creed 3. I prefer this than a direct port of AC3, and anything to enhance AC's story is a plus for me. I'm also interested to see how it will look and play on the Vita. So that was basically it when it came to Vita news, and I was a bit dissapointed to say the least. My dissapointment for this, though, has nothing on my dissapointment for what followed.
Wonderbook. Really, Sony? Now I know I may seem a bit generic when it comes to complaining about something like this, but at first the technology actually seemed pretty cool, and to have J.K. Rowling on the project definitely made it seem a bit more convincing, but that stage demo was painful to watch. Not to mention they spent a good half hour portion of their entire conference on Wonderbook. It was the lowest point in their conference and I didn't think it was possible to recover from it, but they managed breath a little more life into their conference than I expected with a nice looking demo of God of War: Ascension and the highlight of their conference, The Last of Us. Does it not look beautful and intense as hell? I think The Last of Us looks great and I'm really excited to play it. Having been announced though, that it won't release until 2013 is a bit like a slap in the face to me, and I'm sure many PS3 owners feel the same way.
Overall, Sony's conference had a strong beginning and end, but the middle segment just didn't cut it. While the demos we were shown of the great games we nice, I really felt as if the conference was incomplete, and I wanted more from it. If Sony replaced their wonderbook presenation with a whole half hour dedicated to the Vita and a possible future lineup and new features, than Sony would have won E3 for me. Just sad that didn't happen.
Nintendo began pretty well too, by having a funny Pikmin filled intro for Mr. Miyamoto and then announcing Pikmin 3 for the Wii U and showing some gameplay. I've never played a Pikmin game, but I've heard nothing but good things about the series. The demo looked fun and crisp. It definitely looks like a must play for anyone planning on owning a Wii U.
The thing with Nintendo's conference is that didn't excited me as much as moments from other conferences (such as Halo 4 or The Last of Us). The rest of Nintendo's conference bored me, starting with Reggie introduing Netflix and Amazon Instant Video on the Wii U. To no surprise, we also have a new Super Mario Bros. U on the way and New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the 3DS. I couldn't tell the difference other than Reggie was bragging that there was a lot of gold or something in the 3DS game....whatever. ZombiU, the new first person zombie shooter made specially for the Wii U's control functionality actually looked pretty fun, but it seems like it's going to be a game that really just serves to promote the new controls of the Wii U, meaning it won't be a very memorable game, and I don't like playing unmemorable games.
They also revealed some games that will be coming to the Wii U, such as Darksiders 2, Mass Effect 3, Scribblenauts Unlimited and some others. Oh and Arkham City Armored edition, which is a pleasant surprise for Nintendo fans who haven't played Arkham City yet. The only thing that annoys me with Nintendo and their lineup of Wii U games is that we have either played them, or they will just be multiplatform. I didn't understand the big applause that Mass Effect 3 got when it showed up on screen. It's as if the Wii U is being used to port games we've already seen, and not being utilized to its full potential, which is what we want to see. Even though the system hasn't even been released yet, I want to see something that really justifies a purchase and separates it from the other systems. The only thing I've seen that differs in terms of ways to play is the controller, but its arguable as to whether it is a gimmick or if it really is a game changers. We can only see on its release. If I were to state my favorite aspect of the Wii U, it would be its Miiverse. To me, its Nintendo taking a step in the right direction of current gen gaming. Nintendo needs a decent social component to its sytems, and the friend code system wasn't cutting it. The miiverse seems like it bring a new type of interaction between gamers and friends online.
The best part of Nintendo's conference for me was without a doubt, Lego Undercover. I know, seems silly, but it looks fun as hell! It actually looks like a really fun game that can take advantage of the Wii U's controller, not to mention the Miiverse. I also don't have alot to say about Nintendoland, which will launch with the Wii U as a type of "Wii Sports" for the Wii U, and it consists of familiarized areas from various Nintendo games like Zelda, Luigis Mansion, Animal Crossing, etc. Definitely a fun inclusion to the Wii U, showcasing its controls by playing the various minigames. The Luigis Mansion minigame with 4 players walking around and 1 playing as a ghost on the tablet actually looked fun.
Overall, Nintendo bored me, and didn't really give me a reason to purchase a Wii U, which was what I was looking for. I expected a new Mario game and I've already played games like Arkham City and Mass Effect 3. I don't see myself owning a Wii U and spending alot of time with the games that Nintendo showed during their conference. I'd spend more time playing a Mario game on the go (on my 3DS rather) than at home.
Other E3 stuff
Besides the conferences, there are alot of other games I'm excited about for the coming year. This year, the spotlight is on Ubisoft with their great lineup of games for later this year. These games include Farcry 3, Watch Dogs and of course, Assassin's Creed 3. Farcry looks like alot of fun, with an interesting story and fun 4 player co-op, but I'm mostly excited about AC3 and Watch Dogs. Watch Dogs has to be one of my favorite games at E3 2012, probably the best surprise of it to be honest. It's what gamers want, a BRAND NEW never before seen or announced game with a totally new concept. I'm loving it, and I can't wait for it.
EA's conference was not too surprising though, as there was already some buzz around Dead Space 3 and Need for Speed Most Wanted. I'm definitely going to rent Dead Space 3 once it releases, I mean its been the year of threequels, so why not Dead Space 3? Plus, the co-op might add a fun addition, although it might decrease the fear aspect of the game for me. I was never a big fan of Sims either, so SimCity will not be on my must play list for the year, but fans will probably have some fun with it. I was interested to see what Battlefield Premium was though, and it seems that I'll probably purchase it since I love the Battlefield 3 multiplayer, and the discounted and early release DLC for Premium members is definitely a plus.
I did not see many demos of footage of Black Ops 2 multiplayer or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I want to what kind of improvements Treyarch may be incorporating into the CoD multiplayer, as well as zombies. Revengeance doesn't really excite me though, mainly because I'm not a huge fan of hack and slash games anymore, and having to be taking place AFTER MGS4 kind of turns me away. I thought MGS4 was the perfect wrap up to a franchise, and I am more interesting to see Raiden's transition into a cyborg ninja and go after Big Boss' body with Big Mama before MGS4.
This E3 was not too surprising and a little boring, although it serves as a transition year in gaming, meaning without any huge announcements this year, such as the reveal of new consoles by Sony and Microsoft, we can only be in store for some big reveals and possibly welcome the next generation of gaming in 2013. Who knows? We might finally even get Kingdom Hearts 3 announced. Now THAT sounds like a good E3. We didn't even get many release dates during this E3, which was kind of a dissapointment, and though we had good demos for upcoming games, most of them seemed expected. With this said, I think it might be the final year for current gen consoles like the Xbox 360 and the PS3 to really deliver a good lineup of exclusives and games for each system and finally be able to smoothly transition into next gen.
Until E3 2013 then! Oh please give us Kingdom Hearts 3........
Thanks to anyone who read this and please leave feedback and comments with your thoughts of this years E3, what you liked, didn't like and what you hope E3 2013 will have in store for us. See ya!