E3 Press Conferences – Monday

June 7th, 2011 -

All right, so I’ll admit that I didn’t think I’d have to really write anything today. Chris and Ryan were going to watch the press events and then do a podcast about them, and I was just going to relax. Turns out I watched them all and they didn’t see any (except part of the Sony one) – this being the case… Get ready for my review of what happened today. If you don’t want to see details, scroll to the bottom for the day in a nutshell.

MICROSOFT


 

Typically not the best for E3 press conferences, they did a bit better this year. While they did say Kinect about 23,405 times, they brought out some exclusives that fans of the console will more than likely love (Gears 3, remake of Halo 1, introduction of the new Halo trilogy starting with 4), and of course the multiplatformers like Modern Warfare 3 and Mass Effect 3 (no new IPs outside of Kinect – one such game being the new Sesame Street one created by none other than Tim Schafer of Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle fame. Or, more recently, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Stacking, and Costume Quest ). They announced that the 360 can now play Youtube videos, use Bing, and play television (on a television… weird), as well as the Kinect having more functionality. The celebrity of the press event was Ice-T, who played the Gears of War 3 demo with Cliffy B. Ice-T announced he’d be getting his band Body Count back together for…  a song about Horde mode in Gears. Oh yeah, awesome. A good year? Well, when you put it like I just did, it sounds like it kicked a lot of ass. I left out all the boring parts… reading about a press event is usually a lot better than seeing it (aside from the fact that you don’t get to see the trailers and gameplay live – but you can probably find better quality versions of the videos now). Oh yeah, that Star Wars game for Kinect was shown. I thought it looked pretty cool, and then they showed how it played. My brother put it pretty well when he said “I think the Force Unleased for the Wii is a big competitor for this.” Overall, I’d say they delivered a B-, thinking about it in my head (grading on a curve…). If you asked me right after it, I probably would’ve said worse.

EA


9 developers, 9 games, no need for celebrities. Basically that is what was stated at the beginning of this press event. It started off with Mass Effect 3, saying it’s the best in the series. I would certainly hope so, being that you always want to do better than your last attempt (see: Assassin’s Creed series) in anything. I didn’t start running to get worse at it… In any case, other games included Need for Speed: (on) The Run (I say on the run because for whatever reason, the game includes you getting out of a vehicle for getaways in a Heavy Rain QTE fashion), Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (what looks like it started off as an MMO and got turned into a single player game with minds of the Elder Scrolls games, Todd McFarlane, and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling working on it. Whahuh? It looks cool), SSX (the reboot of the action sports snowboarding series), Overstrike (the new Insomniac game that looks promising, as usual), sports stuff (during this point, three football players came out… what was that about not needing celebrities?), and Battlefield 3 (the true Modern Warfare killer, without a doubt). Again, I’m remembering this a lot better than it actually was. We’ll go with a B for this one.

Ubisoft


They’ve been around for 25 years now… did you know that? As long as Mario and Zelda. Crazy… anyway, aside from the ridiculousness of the people hosting (and the AWFUL Mr. Caffeine (Aaron Priceman) who made dick jokes and Wayne’s World references. Not funny references, just the noise and gesture when he “went back in time.” Oh, and it was pertinent to mention dick jokes, because he himself justifies it), the line up looked halfway decent. Rayman Origins looks beautiful, and goes back to 2D platforming. Driver: San Francisco looks better than the previous couple iterations in the series, but we’ll see. Far Cry 3 looks… okay. A bit outlandish; think a more serious, fps version of Just Cause. Brothers in Arms: Furious Four is Borderlands meets WW2 (I’m somewhat looking forward to this, despite disliking BiA games). There were some less interesting games (Just Dance 3 is now on all current gen home consoles. Ghost Recon looks… bleh. TrackMania 2 is… Modnation Racers. Some more Kinect stuff.  Rocksmith, which Ryan wants to try, but what they showed was boring), and they closed it with the new Your Shape game, where there is more Kool Aid to be made (if you recall our reaction podcast last year to E3… you may laugh at that)! Well, and then they actually finished it with Assassins Creed Revelations, which is… the next AC. Yup, it’ll be cool. No Beyond Good and Evil 2. Thanks a lot, Ubi…  C+ because of your host.

Sony


Well, this company really stands out in my mind next to Nintendo at last year’s E3… so did it do as well this year? Starting off they apologized for the PSN issue. Kind of. It wasn’t that great, it was more of a joke. Uncharted 3 is shown, it looks gorgeous (obviously). Resistance 3 is next, which looked decent enough – lots of things happening on the screen at once (not sure if it was all ambient, or if you could interact with it). 3D television that is Playstation branded looks… pretty awesome, actually. For 500 dollars you get that, a 6 ft. hdmi cable, Resistance 3, and 3D glasses. The best part of the tv is something I saw on the news years ago, and it’s the first I’ve seen in real life: split screen is no more, because now you wear glasses and see your screen and the other person sees theirs. One tv, “two” screens thanks to the 3D tech (or something – I forget the actual technical aspects behind it). Ken Levine came on stage and said Sony bought him out, PS Vita (PSV as  the STD market calls it) was announced as the NGP’s final name. Uncharted for the PSV was shown; it looks great. So do the other games like Modnation Racers and Ruin. The controls seem to be easy to maneuver between, which include normal controls (face buttons), on screen touch, and sixaxis tilting. Overall a solid system, priced at $249 and $299 for the non-3G and 3G versions, respectively. It was a decent show, but nothing that really grabbed me like Gabe Newell at last year’s conference. But I’d say the best for the day, with a B+ or A-. Here’s hoping Nintendo will steal my heart as I’ve been hoping ever since I covered it last year for our podcast.

UPDATE: Nintendo didn’t steal my heart. But they did a decent enough job. I’d say tied with Sony, maybe a little less.

TL;DR


Don’t want to bother with my rambling banter concerning the press events? Well, here’s what I thought of the conferences in school ratings that don’t mean anything to anyone.

Microsoft – B-

EA – B

Ubisoft – C+

Sony – B+/A-

Don’t agree with what I thought? Did I miss something you were stoked about? Let me know why or what I missed in the comments.

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