Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 2011

Hey guys, SlimKirby here, and welcome to my E3 Update! =D

First off, I do want to quickly apologize for not making my May 2011 post like I said I was going to do, but there were some things that came up, and I just didn't have the time to do it. I was definitely thinking about it though, so I didn't forget entirely, but when it came down to the final few days of May, I just couldn't fit it into my schedule. But now that E3 is over, I am going to make good on this promise and give you my thoughts and impressions, mostly for the Nintendo stuff. =P

But I did not only watch the Nintendo stuff this time. In past years, I mostly just read up on what Sony and Microsoft did, but this year I actually sat down and watched their conferences as well. I'm obviously not going to go to in-depth with this, because this blog is affiliated with The Blargg Pit, which is Nintendo-based, so my focus will mostly be on the Big N. However, Sony and Microsoft are competitors though, so it may not be a bad thing to take a gander at what the opposition is up to.

Microsoft: Ok, regardless of what console's side you are on, and whether you are a fan, a fanboy, or just neutral across all levels of gaming; I think the one thing we can all agree on (and if you don't, there is obviously some ignorance, obliviousness, or denial at play) is that Microsoft just didn't cut it this year. To me, it just felt like they had a very narrow-minded focus, and a focus that won't really help them at this point in the console wars. Their main focus was obviously the Kinect, as nearly every single game focused on "Kinectability" as I like to call it, and it just didn't seem like they brought anything that new or exciting to the table. Now, don't get me wrong, I do like the technology behind the Kinect, and I think it's cool how it works, but for gaming, I'm just not that sold on it.

Now, since I am obviously a big Nintendo fan, some of you might find that a bit hypocritical, especially since Nintendo was obviously the originator of a fully motion controlled home console, but I feel for the most part, Nintendo has limited that use to the point where it hasn't gotten too overused or repetitive, keeping the heavy use for party games like Wii Sports, the dance games, and Mario Party 8. I mean, look at the most popular Wii games....Super Mario Galaxy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Animal Crossing: City Folk...those games for the most part aren't fully-motioned controlled. You still move with the control stick (or pad), and the motion controls are really only used for spinning to find star bits, hand pounding the ground, or catching fish. Kinect seems to want you to use motion controls for everything, and that just seems like a bit much, especially for some games. In fact, two games that especially come to mind are Kinect Star Wars and Fable: The Journey. Because of the heavy motion control interface, it feels like those games were demoted to on-rail hacking and slashing games, when they could have been so much more than that. I don't know...it just feels like the whole purpose of Kinect is to overload on motion control as much as they can, when that was never really the intention to begin with, with Nintendo, and with Sony now as well.

And that was pretty much what the entire conference focused on....just that one aspect of the Xbox360. They didn't have a new console or any hardware announcements; just pretty much what they had last year, and that's kind of a shame, especially considering how hard Sony and Nintendo came swinging this year. So yeah, I was just kind of disappointed with Microsoft this year, and that seems to be the general impression of most gamers as well. I will admit that I've never really been that impressed with Microsoft anyway, but right now, this has just given me even more justification to stay that way and has not convinced me to purchase a XBox360 or any games, which is the opposite direction of what I think they should be going for. Who knows, maybe Microsoft will take this year as a lesson and analyze what they need to do to stay in the video game console market and come back next year with a lot more success. But for now, I feel like they just didn't pull off anything that impressive, and I don't think any Halo announcements are ever going to change that.

Sony: Aside from being a PS2 owner and being satisfied with that purchase, I will admit that I'm not much of a Sony person either. However, unlike Microsoft, I felt like Sony actually had a goal and a focus for this year's E3, and overall, they just had a better idea of what they were doing. Before the conference, I had a feeling that Sony was probably going to do the exact opposite of what Microsoft did and instead of overloading PSMove coverage, they would just drop it and not show anything. However, they actually ended up surprising me a little bit, and not only did they have PSMove coverage, I felt like they had just the right amount of coverage. And not only that, I also got the impression that they are only using it to enhance certain gameplay elements, not to overload the game with nothing but motion controls, which I think is a very good thing.

But aside from that, obviously the big news was that Sony is releasing the next Playstation handheld, called Playstation Vita. At this time, I'm still kind of unsure what to think of Vita. I mean, it looks like a neat piece of hardware, and unlike handhelds of the past, will actually provide Nintendo with some competition in the handheld market instead of getting stomped on by the iron foot of the Game Boy and DS, but a part of me is still just not that interested. For the time being though, it does look pretty cool and looks like it will have some sweet software to back it up, so it's at least doing its part in improving on the PSP....not that it was a hard challenge to beat.

Sony did a good job though and I definitely give them major props with what they had to show. I wouldn't say they had anything ground-breaking, but likewise, I can't really say there was anything I didn't like or hated either. Definitely a big improvement from last year, at least in my opinion.

So yeah, that's really all I am going to say about the Microsoft and Sony conferences. I'm sorry if you were expecting a little more, but I'm going to be saving most of my comments and thoughts for a podcast I will be doing soon with Odinspack33 and ShadowMarioXLI. I'll talk more about that on my channel though when the podcast actually goes up, so stay tuned for that!

Anyway, let's move on to Nintendo!

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Nintendo:

3 years ago, Nintendo had a pretty bad conference. 2 years ago, they brought it back together. And last year.....last year was just amazing and was a hard year to beat. Did Nintendo beat it this year though? With the announcement of Project Cafe (aka: Wii U) and with more news on the Nintendo 3DS and Zelda: Skyward Sword, Nintendo had good ground to start with. But what is the verdict? Let's start going through the actual conference from the very beginning to the end.

Zelda: Skyward Sword and Zelda 25th Anniversary - The first part of the show was pretty heavy on Zelda. They talked a little about future releases including Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time 3D, Link's Awakening for 3DS's eShop, and Four Swords for DSi Ware. They didn't really show much gameplay aside from trailers and the like, but so far, it's a lot of Zelda, which should make a lot of people happy. They also showcased the orchestral music of Skyward Sword and for the 25th Anniversary Celebration, which was pretty cool. However, as I said, it was pretty heavy on Zelda at the beginning there and could have used that time on some of the other games that were shown after the conference.

3DS Titles:

Mario Kart - Mario Kart meets Pilotwings.....why are there hang gliders? XD Ok, the hang gliders were kind of odd at first, but I think Nintendo knows what they are doing and I'm sure things will seem a bit more sensible when the game is shown more. I am excited though because I do love Mario Kart.

Star Fox 64 3D - Not much extra was really shown from last year, but it is interesting to see what they are doing with the multiplayer and how they are using the 3DS camera.

Super Mario 3D - This game is looking really good so far. The platforming looks as impressive as it is in Galaxy, and that's a really good sign. Also...the return of the Tanooki suit......EPIC! =O

Kid Icarus: Uprising - As I said at the end of last year's conference, this title is definitely shaping up to look truly amazing, and I feel pretty much the same right now as well. Interested to see how the multiplayer works as well.

Luigi's Mansion 2 - Biggest software surprise of this year by far. I was definitely not expecting this, but there it was! Interested to see how big this game actually is, since it is apparently not just one mansion, but I am glad to see a new Luigi in production.

Nintendo Wii U:

There were a few other things in the conference before the WiiU closer, but they were very brief and pretty much had to do with the new console anyway. That aside, the Wii U is looking great! It's still fairly early, and even I'm still a little unsure of all the features that will be included, but for now....graphics look great, tremendous 3rd party support, and a very interesting premise when it comes to the controller design, which is perhaps the biggest thing about the Wii U. It seems like Nintendo wants to put a little more emphasis on handheld gaming, with the ability to use the controller like a portable version of the system. I'm sure this will definitely bring out a lot of criticisms from gamers, but in a way, I could almost compare this to what Sony is doing with the PSV, as it also had a similar feature as well. Again though, it is still fairly early, and I am really interested to see how this develops. Also, who is to say that this is the end of the features? I'm sure there will be plenty of more things revealed about the WiiU as time goes on.

2 New Smash Bros. Games - No footage given, but the announcement of 2 new Super Smash Bros. games is something to definitely get excited about! One for the 3DS and one for the WiiU! Perfect! =)

As for the actual conference, it did end at the WiiU, but there were plenty of other game revelations. I'll go over a few of them right now!

Mario Party 9 - Yes guys...I am aware of this, and I have to say that it is about time! And not just for the game either......I was getting a little tired of all the "Will you do Mario Party 9 when it comes out?" comments when there was no confirmation of the game whatsoever. But no...the game is coming, and I couldn't be happier! I watched the trailer and it's looking really good! It seems like there will be a lot of different modes though, as a lot of the footage revolved around all of the characters traveling together in a car across the board, while there were also solo movements as well. It'll be interesting to see how this game develops, but I am looking forward to it!

Kirby Wii and Kirby Mass Attack - Two new kirby games? That's pretty sweet! Especially this soon after Epic Yarn...but I guess that was a different company that worked on it. Anyway, both games look fun, especially the Wii game! There looks to be a lot of very interesting powers, and the ability for 4-player co-op? (that's at least my impression from the trailer) That just makes it sweeter! =P I'm still not sure what to think about the DS game Mass Attack though. I would love to see more, but it looks pretty unique so far. Kinda has an Amazing Mirror type of gameplay, but with more stylus controls....which is definitely interesting.

Paper Mario 3DS and Animal Crossing 3DS - I grouped these two together because they were technically revealed last year, but with no major developments this year....just that they are still in development and with some new screen shots. Both are still looking good and I am definitely looking forward to both of them. Animal Crossing seems to be adding a few new features, which is cool, and Paper Mario looks to have the same, incredible gameplay of the other Paper Mario games and Mario RPGs, so both should definitely be hits. =)

So yeah, those are just some of the things Nintendo is working on! There is obviously a lot more going on that I didn't cover, but again, more is going to be discussed during the E3 podcast when we get around to it. I just wanted to cover a few things for this entry. Overall, I thought Nintendo did great! The focus was obviously a little more on hardware this time around, but I don't think that was necessarily a bad thing, because they still had software regardless. In fact, the software coverage was perhaps on the device that needed it the most, the 3DS. So yeah, things are looking pretty good. Next year we should see a treasure trove of stuff for the WiiU and more exciting things on the 3DS, and Nintendo should continue to be in a great position. Good work Ninty! =)

Things I Think Should Have Been There - Nintendo.....where the hell is Pikmin 3? Are you just teasing us with the game now? =P Haha, the Pikmin 3 info, or rather, lack of info, doesn't really bother me that much, because despite it, they are still giving us some excellent stuff regardless. However, this is the 3rd E3 since they first briefly mentioned it was in production at E3 2008, and besides words, we haven't really seen anything or know anything about it. I know Nintendo probably has their reasons, but I was really looking forward to some answers this year and kind of left a little empty-handed. E3 technically isn't over yet, so something could still come out of left field, but if Nintendo really wanted to make a splash, I think Pikmin 3 could have created waves. Also, it's been awhile since we have heard anything from F-Zero, Star Fox, and Fire Emblem (just to name a few) as well. I mean, Star Fox has the 64 remake, and Fire Emblem is working on a remake of the 3rd Japanese game for America as well, but I'm talking original games here....and there has been a bit of a drought. I'm sure we'll hear something eventually, but still, an announcement of some of these calibers could have taken Nintendo above and beyond! Just my opinion....

But yeah, that's really all I have to say about E3! Keep in mind, these are just my opinions, and if you guys want to share yours, go ahead! Also, stay tuned to my channel for an update on the podcast I'll be doing for more information!

Thank you for your time guys, see you later! =)

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