How did the big “elephants”, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA and Ubisoft, do on their respective press conferences? How many exciting games or futuristic hardware did they present? Here are my thoughts, insight and highlights of the big press conferences of this year’s E3.
Most of the conference was either about shooter games or some new ways to find movies a few seconds faster than before, so not much to write home about… Most games seemed like their previous iteration, with a few highlights, one of them being the new Tomb Raider. In this restart of the series it has gone down a more “serious” road; although the action seemed quite classic FPS, there are many nice cinematics and not only “all-about-the-guns”. Of all the new services, I found the Xbox SmartGlass to be a bit interesting, if they can get all the devices to really work together without too many pre-requirements. I could imagine playing Dark Souls on the Xbox while I had the map, stats and inventory on an iPad.
To summarize Microsoft’s press conference: Nothing much new, even the new gameplay from Resident Evil 6 didn’t managed to get me excited (I almost feel less for the game now, when it seems so action oriented.). Where are the new ideas, Microsoft? Yes, we get merged services, but most of that has been available on computers for years now; I want some new types of games!
I am grateful that the Sony press conference was focused more on games compared to the Microsoft one. I for one feel that Sony had some good things to show off. The Wonderbook looks like a cool kind of peripheral, but I am not sure how many players it can reach out to. I have always had a problem with buying extra hardware for an already existing system, especially when you don’t know how much support that particular piece of plastic will have in the future. I am really hoping it will do well, so we finally will get some more augmented reality into our mainstream games and games suppliers.
On the game side the Sony press conference had a few gems. Even though Beyond look more as a movie, at least from what we got to see at the presentation, but if I can control it and it looks that good, I want to play that movie! The Last of Us also looks incredible, like a beautiful mix of Enslaved, Crysis and the movie The Road. That is another way how survival horror can be like; in daylight, with normal people which are desperate to stay alive just as you and me, with limited supplies and ammunition.
To conclude, I have to say that Sony beat Microsoft this year, at least press conference wise!
I always have high hopes for Nintendo, but again they failed to deliver at E3. Last year was ok, when Wii U was unveiled, but this year I expected more. There was no explanation how the Wii U controller works together with the Wii motion controller; we only got to see the Wii U controller in use on screen. The games were not too much to hooray for either… I am quite sure that New Super Mario Bros U for the Wii U and New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS will be good games, but the Mario games have unfortunately and strangely stopped interesting me, at least the 2D ones. I have always liked the Mario games, but after Super Mario World they only got “worse” in my eyes. The Super Mario Galaxy series is cool and have some new thinking, and think that is needed for the Wii U also (Super Mario Galaxy 3, coming soon? Fingers crossed!). As with the all other big press conferences, I am amazed how bad and uninspiring speakers the chief executives and producers are! Why can’t they hire someone that can engage the audience a bit more… One game that looked fun was Lego City. Some of the Lego games have made me laughed and this one seems like another good one. I could imagine using the Wii U controller to add extra control value to the game.
To summarize, the Nintendo conference was as equally bad as the Microsoft one. Too much “another iteration of the same thing”… I need to get my hands on a Wii U to give a better verdict on the machine itself, but as a presentation this was quite boring.
For the major publishers it is all down to the games, since they don’t have any hardware of their own to show. EA has always been a sequel company (how many NHL games are there now? 20?) and this year seems to be no different. Their press conference was quite boring, where they mostly focused on new variants of old games. Of course, sequels can be good; one of the games that seemed quite promising were SimCity, the old classic, in a new, lively shape. Lately I haven’t played so much strategy games, but this one made me want to sit down and plan and build again! Another sequel that got me hooked is Crysis 3; even though the play style and graphics looked almost the same as Crysis 2 I got a feeling for it. Hope I can try it out soon.
Finally a good speaker with some engagement! Ubisoft made a good descision when they hired Aisha Tyler for the job as speaker. So, what about the games from Ubisoft? As with all others, it mostly circulated around the sequels to well known brands, like Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3. I didn’t get so engaged as I wanted to play them now, but maybe my mind will change if I get my hands on them later.
A game that stood out was Watch Dogs. You play as a guy that has control over a whole city’s infrastructure and you can manipulate communication, dig into intelligence and take part of surveillance footages. I have always liked the idea behind the GTA games, but never liked the brutal angle of those games. Watch Dogs seems to change this. It is an open world game where you can have control of everything from a person’s cell phone to whole grids of traffic lights.
As a conclusion it is easy to say that the big companies can, without losing any audience, surely cut down a lot of their presentations. Try to focus more on good things, have better speakers or just skip the presentations totally. Stay tuned; soon I’ll give you my insight into the best games that were presented at E3 2012. Surely there must be some good games, even though the press conferences were boring as h*ll!