ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
 
  Login Using Facebook
Twitter
 
     

E3 Impressions 2011

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 06/12/11 at 06:01 PM CT

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was pretty exciting. For one, it’s the first one for which Melted Joystick has been in existence! For another, it’s the first year that I’ve been able to take advantage of streaming video (hooray for 1.5Mbps!) to watch the proceedings live. Microsoft started the show, followed by Sony, with Nintendo and its mysterious console announcement bringing up the rear. Read on to see what I thought were the highlights and lowlights of E3 2011.

Microsoft
WANT: Kinect Fun Labs, Kinect search, new dashboard
NOT SURE IF WANT: “Minecraft
DO NOT WANT: More “Halo,” more generic multi-platform releases, Kinect functionality in ‘real’ games

Kinect has started to intrigue me a bit. Kotaku’s Mike Fahey has convinced me that Kinect Fun Labs’ ‘Build-A-Buddy’ feature is the single greatest thing ever to hit the Xbox 360. Combined with other new features, such as voice search via Bing, Kinect is beginning to look like a pretty cool gadget… that completely clashes with the raison d'être of the Xbox 360. If I could buy a Kinect, plug its USB cable into my Windows 7 PC, and get these functions within Windows Media Center, I would be all over it. As it is, I don’t see any reason for adding neat features like this to a closed console that serves as a pretty weak Home Theater PC substitute. My only hope is that the new Xbox 360 dashboard, which uses the same ‘Metro’ interface as Windows Phone 7 and the upcoming Windows 8, is the harbinger of a coming singularity for all of Microsoft’s devices.

Microsoft has never impressed me with their first party games. Without Western third party developers, Microsoft would only have the “Halo” franchise, which is pretty sad for a company that has been involved in PC gaming for as long as MS has. Needless to say “Halo 4” and “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” did nothing to pique my interest. However, Microsoft’s close ties to PC gaming have also granted them a rare gem of a console exclusive in the form of “Minecraft,” the inscrutably-popular set of grown-up building blocks originally created for PC by indie developer, Markus Persson. “Minecraft” isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I’m also concerned that putting a game that relies on openness and mods into a closed system like a console will drain it of everything that makes it popular among PC gamers. Even with third party support, the Xbox 360 lineup consists almost entirely of samey shooters, sequels, and multi-platform releases shared with the PS3 and PC.

Due to their love of Kinect, MS has also declared that all first/second party Xbox 360 games will support Kinect going forward. The examples shown were absolutely laughable. Speaking lines along with the main character in “Mass Effect 3”? Is MS targeting Xbox fans or drama club students? Until MS demonstrates some kind of responsive motion aiming to replace the right analog stick, I don’t foresee Xbox fans wanting anything to do with this stuff. “Kinect Star Wars” and “Fable: The Journey” only served as further proof that Kinect, while great for home media and random silliness, is awful for real games.

Sony
WANT: “Dragon’s Crown
NOT SURE IF WANT: PlayStation Vita
DO NOT WANT: $500 24” 3DTV, more generic multi-platform releases

I don’t know if Sony was too busy patching holes in the PlayStation Network to come up with a decent E3 presentation, but their showing was incredibly weak. Almost everything Sony had on display was old news, like the HD-enhanced collections of old PS2 games, half-assed Move functionality, and their Next Generation Portable, which we now know will be called Vita (for those of you who never took Latin in school, that’s pronounced ‘WEE-tah’ and means ‘life’). Aside from those, we simply received a heavy dose of sequels: “Uncharted 3,” “Resistance 3”… other series I have no interest in… yay? At least we learned that the lying “LittleBigPlanet 2” box, which says the game is compatible with Move, will stop lying come September and the release of that game’s first add-on pack (I predict a full version of ‘Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves’). The only PS3 game announced at E3 that I immediately added to my Wish List was VanillaWare’s “Dragon’s Crown,” a gorgeous RPG/Beat ‘Em Up that hearkens back to the classic Dungeons & Dragons arcade games, “Tower of Doom” and “Shadow Over Mystara.” It’s not first party, but Sony has always relied almost entirely on third parties to sell their hardware.

While the Vita announcement was old news, it wasn’t a complete bust, as Sony did reveal more details about the device, including its $250 price tag (for the wi-fi only version, the 3G version is $300), their commitment to making games that play seamlessly on both PS3 and Vita, and the potential for Vita to be used as a fancy controller with the PS3. Of course, that last one was a hastily-announced bit of scrambling after Nintendo’s big reveal. Sadly, aside from “Dragon’s Crown,” “LittleBigPlanet,” and “ModNation Racers,” Vita’s game library looks pretty bleak. While I really do appreciate Sony’s effort to make interoperability between their home console and handheld an important selling point, I won’t be sold on it until they demonstrate a way to push any game from the handheld to the big screen (including original PSP games).

Sony’s only all-new announcement was stunning it its stupidity: a 24” 3DTV that costs a whopping $500 but allows two players to play local multi-player without splitscreen. Instead, each layer of the 3D image shows one player’s screen, allowing two people (each wearing $80 glasses!) to share one screen without worrying about unseemly behavior such as Screen-Looking. If a third person wants to watch the game (they can’t play!), they will be treated to a blindness-inducing morass of both player’s screens superimposed on each other. AWESOME! That screen is nearly as small as a handheld… who would want to play on that (besides college students who don’t have room in their dorms… but also don’t have $580 to spend on a TV and glasses)?

Nintendo
WANT: WiiU Console, “Zelda: Skyward Sword”
NOT SURE IF WANT: WiiU Controller
DO NOT WANT: Anything to do with 3DS, none of the ‘big three’ confirmed for localization

Despite confusing numerous journalists with their ambiguous reveal, Nintendo stole the show at E3 with their new console. While it has been the source of many rumors for the past two months, the mysterious device codenamed ‘Project Café’ has finally been revealed to the world as WiiU. The ‘U’ in the name is apparently supposed to represent Nintendo’s new focus on the individual (which really makes little sense coming from the company that invented 4-person local multi-player) through private screen streaming. As such, the WiiU console will include a single WiiPad: a giant, tablet-like controller featuring a 6” touchscreen, dual analog sticks, a d-pad, two triggers, two shoulder buttons, four face buttons, a strip of function buttons, an accelerometer/gyroscope, a microphone, a camera, stereo speakers, rumble, and an IR sensor bar (and perhaps the kitchen sink, as well). The main feature Nintendo touted was the ability to free-up the TV by playing games on the controller screen, which I find to be completely useless and a shameless attempt to make a console more like a handheld. Fortunately, they also demonstrated other uses for the controller screen that mostly involved the display of supplementary information.

The console itself was played-down and shrouded in secrecy: all we know about it is that it is capable of 1080p output, has an ATI GPU and a multi-core PowerPC CPU, reads Wii discs and its own proprietary 25GB WiiU discs (but not Gamecube!?), and is compatible with SD cards and USB hard drives. At launch, it will support up to 5 simultaneous players through the use of 4 Wiimotes but only one (?!) WiiPad. It’s possible that two-WiiPad support might be added later if there is enough demand for it.

While the fact that Nintendo is finally producing a modern console is great, as is the fact that WiiU will allow us to play our Wii games in glorious upscaled HD, the WiiU reveal wasn’t all rainbows and kittens. There were no actual games revealed (not even the “Pikmin 3” that Shigeru Miyamoto promised back in 2008): instead, Nintendo had a variety of first party tech demos and a highlight reel of promised third-party support, all of which were just ports of multi-platform games that already appear on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

Nintendo does not need to court third parties who make generic, brown, gritty, realistic shooters. The mainstream gamers who like those games will not buy a Nintendo console no matter what, because they perceive Nintendo to be ‘kiddie.’ Instead, Nintendo should be seeking to serve the real hardcore gaming audience of geeks and nerds, who have been poorly served by both MS and Sony. In fact, Nintendo is sitting on a goldmine of titles that would instantly make them the heroes of the hardcore if published in North America: “The Last Story,” “Xenoblade,” and “Pandoras Tower” (and in my opinion, the lesser known “Takt of Magic” and “Zangeki no Reginleiv”). Yet when asked about these games, Nintendo had ‘nothing to announce.’ Instead, they showed off a hypothetical “New Super Mario Bros. Mii” that used Miis instead of Toads for extra players and some sort of multi-player shooter in which up to 4 Wiimote-controlled Chibi-Samuses on foot tried to take down a WiiPad-controlled Chibi-Samus flying around in her ship.

Yes, the current Wii was all but ignored at E3. Nintendo reassured us that we will be getting “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” this year (bundled with a golden Wiimote+), and a few Wii titles (including the destined-to-be-epic “Kirby Wii”) found their way into a montage at the end of Nintendo’s presentation. Other than that, Nintendo spent all of its time on WiiU and the portable abortion known as the 3DS. With the exception of “Super Mario 3DS,” which looks like it has major camera and level design issues (much like “Mario 64”), the 3DS library was dominated by remakes… of N64 games… *shudder* No, the return of the Tanooki Suit doesn’t magically make everything okay.

Considering the hardware similarities between WiiU’s controller and the DS/3DS handhelds, if Nintendo doesn’t announce a ‘DS Player’ soon, it will be a crime. But if they do announce one, I will buy a WiiU as soon as possible just so I can play my DS backlog without going blind and transforming my hands into misshapen claws. Regardless, I can guarantee that the only way Nintendo will get me to care about 3DS exclusives is to take a cue from Sony and make them playable on WiiU.

Share:    
MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed
Comments
0 comments
Name: 

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   



 

Bloggers

Previous Blog Posts

Archive

All Posts

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

 
Log In
 
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me
 
 

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

The Deep Paths: Labyrinth ... game review by Nelson Schneider
The Vagrant game review by Nelson Schneider
Avadon: The Black Fortress game review by Nelson Schneider
Strange Brigade game review by Chris Kavan
Satellite Reign game review by Chris Kavan
Watch Dogs 2 game review by Chris Kavan
Soldner-X 2: Final Prototy... game review by Hurain
Dead Cells game review by dbarry_22

New Game Lists

Top Super Nintendo (SNES) Gam... by Jonzor
Backlog by Nelson Schneider
Games I Own: Switch by dbarry_22
Top Game List by SIngli6
Top PlayStation 4 Games by Megadrive
Top Game List by Barmak
My Backlog by Chris Kavan
Games I Want To Play by Shaneo99

 

 

 

Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us

Jobs

About us

SiteMap

 

Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use

Privacy

Hitfix.com

Amazon.com

OVGuide.com

   
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?