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E3 2012 Impressions |

Most Anticipated Game

Beyond: Two Souls: Out of every video game across every device (console/phone/PC) that we’ve seen during the past six years, the one that really captured my daughter’s imagination (who is now 13) the most was Heavy Rain. She normally doesn’t play video games, almost every other game shown wouldn’t grab her attention, but she has literally played through Heavy Rain. Even her friends (who also don’t play games) are tempted to buy a PS3 for this one title. I’m dying to get this new game for her and see her experience it.

Last of Us

Can someone explain how this is different from Uncharted? Uncharted is great, but I have to say, I was hoping for something a little more distinct.

Best E3 Interview

Microsoft Overall

Microsoft wants to own the platform, the OS, the technology standards, and the software dev tools. They want to minimize their involvement in the creative content side of things, and this shows: there are tons of great non-exclusive games to keep the crowd happy.

SmartGlass is pure vaporware in that there was no kind of product to show and it was all just presentation and marketing materials. I like the concept, but it’s pretty safe. We are seeing an explosion of interest in smartphones and tablets and a proliferation of those devices, it is inevitable to see more ways of interconnecting different gadgets to each other.

Wii U

There’s enough great content that I’ll eagerly buy one, but still, for a new 2012, non-portable, dedicated gaming console, this is underwhelming. Also, that tablet controller looks completely ridiculous. It sounds like everyone is saying the same thing. I thought Wii Sports looked dumb (I still do), so I’m not a good sample of the mass market consumer.

Stereo 3D

Sony carefully avoided any stereo 3D talk. Clearly, it’s a sore subject and the PR implications are negative. Believe it or not, many of us, actually enjoy stereo 3D in games. Can’t we at least get a 3D option for the 2012 sizzle videos? Mainstream stereo 3D seems inevitable if head mounted displays (video glasses/goggles) take off, but until then, it seems like stereo 3D will be a small niche.

Mobile (Android/iOS)

For all the consumer adoption and excitement around these platforms, there is a shocking lack of serious games. On second thought, this isn’t so shocking, when you think of why:

  • Touchscreen/tilt controls haven’t found a hit genre. Strategy RPGs and 4x games seem ideal for touch screen, but those haven’t taken off.
  • Storage space. Apple imposes a 2GB limit for iPhone apps. This makes sense given that even the base model of the latest iPhone 4S only has 16GB of total storage which isn’t upgradeable and must be shared by all games, photos, music, movies, and the system itself. On PS3, each game ships on its own Blu-Ray disc, which can hold ~50GB of content.
  • The market expects to pay much, much lower prices than they do in the console world.
  • Fragmentation. Android is known for fragmentation, but even iOS is highly fragmented among hardware revisions and smartphone/tablet form factors.

Overall Show

The quantity and quality of innovation shown in game development is staggering. In past years, I felt like the show was overwhelmed by mostly simple shooting games, and that was definitely not the case this year. Sony is the strongest source of quality content as usual, but there were tons of quality titles from other publishers, and independent studios.

There was no major new hardware, and I’m glad to see games get the focus of the show this year before next year, when it will probably be all about hardware again.

  • Oly

    Last years E3 was much better than this one with a few exceptions.

    The Wii U was lame.. although it had some neat features, the handheld was kinda dumb. The graphics look no different from the Wii, I won’t be getting one.

    The Last of Us looked great, as did Star Wars 1313. It’s different from Uncharted in the ways it needs to be, and the same in the ways that we all love.. Don’t change a good thing right?

    Borderlands 2, was just what I expected.. insanely great! I can’t wait!

  • Saying that this years E3 was lackluster would be this years understatement. The Wii U has features that I don’t understand the purpose of, and I suspect they’re targetting an audience that doesn’t exist. Microsoft…had…ummm…yeah, no real idea there. And sony had a statistics report.

    Watch Dogs looks nifty, But I think it will have the same issue that prototype does: causing cataclysmic gets dull after a while. Dead Space 3 looks fun but misses the whole “what the devil was that over there?!” terror (similar to RE5).

    Lost Planet 3 and Borderlands 2 looks like where it will be at for me. They looked delicious (though the pseudo borderlands preorder bonus thing has me worried)

  • @Oly: Wait, what? What games did you play that looked like Wii games? Because New Super Mario Bros Wii U, ZombiU, Pikmin 3 and Plat-100 sure as hell don’t look at Wii games. Textures, models and lighting are waaay ahead of what the Wii can do.

    I still don’t understand why Sony neglected the Vita during their conference, as if the portable was selling one million units a week. I look forward to The Last of Us and the next game from David Cage, but no The Last Guardian really made me sad.

    @Abkanis: See the ZombiU video to understand how the tablet can enhance gaming. Also, Netflix on the tablet will be great for me, and the same goes for playing games on the tablet, streamed from the console, when the TV needs to be switched to something else.

  • @EdEN: Netflix is hardly a reason to own a console. However, I do like the streaming games thing. I stream games w/remote play with my PSP all the time and I love it. It’s actually one of the only things I use my PSP for nowadays.

    @Oly: Definitely excited about Borderlands 2. It’s probably the only thing that will get me away from Diablo…

  • wolfkin

    What the heck is Stereo 3D

    Also i’m completely stoked for the WiiU. Honestly I found the WiiU to be the most impressive aspect of all the conferences. The tablet looks silly sure but there are ways around it. You can still use the WiiMotes or the Pro controller. Honestly they’ve done way more than I thought they would to make “traditional games” portable to their console and I don’t think they get nearly enough credit for that.

  • @Isli: Trust me, once you’re married and have kids, being able to easily stream Netflix or games from the console to the WiiPad will be aaawesome hahaha.

  • @EdEN: Or I’ll just use my laptop for netflix as it has the better interface and search function :p I’m still not convinced tablets are the future of gaming, but the Wiipad and the new razer thing have me interested.

  • @Isli: Nah. Laptops heat up like crazy, and I like the interface on Wii/PS3 better. After seeing the demo video for Netflix on Wii U, I can see me buying one for that and all the games and extra features.

  • @EdEN: Laptops heating up from watching a video? Maybe if you are using one from…ten years ago? My issue with the search on the consoles is that you can’t be as specific as you can on the computer. You also can’t freely customize which categories are shown and which are not.

  • @Isli: Well, they do heat up from the wi-fi modem and whatnots running on the background.

    Anyway, your thoughts on E3 2012?

  • @wolfkin, Stereo 3D = stereoscopic… With the glasses where you different left eye/right eye displays for depth perception.

    @Oly, the Wii U graphics look like a *major* step up from Wii. They look like PS3 level, which is disappointing for a new console, but is way better than the Wii.

    @Abkanis, I thought E3 was awesome. I think my expectations are set right. Lots of people were disappointed but they had unrealistic expectations (PS4, etc). I’m dying to play at least ten games that were shown.

    @Eden, I have kids. But I can stream Netflix to my smartphone, my wife’s smartphone, my Vita, our chromebook, and we will soon get a tablet too. Streaming netflix to the Wii Tablet is ok but that’s not a selling feature for most people.

    And sure, the actual conference didn’t show the Vita much, but they had a ton of great Vita games on display which is what really matters.

  • Jay

    Sony spent too much time on the WonderBook at the conference. Cut some time from that and focus on some Vita would have been sufficient, but, as stated, the Vita still had a nice showing regardless of what the conference had.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to Watch Dogs, Beyond: Two Souls, maybe The Last of Us, maybe Dead Space 3 (which is debatable, as the series seems to be getting more action-oriented as opposed to survival horror like the first title), Assassin’s Creed III, and GoW: Ascension. Not sure what else on the top of my head.

    With that said, I do think the Wii U is going to be quite underwhelming and I think Nintendo is getting too comfortable in its position and is poised to fail eventually.

  • Oly

    Darrin were you at E3??

    VITA displays.. pfft.. only thing worth checking out was LBP, and it was the same thing I played a year ago. 95% of the other games are already released or have demos available..

    ok, ok Wii U is better than the Wii, but still not as good as the PS3.. the tablet is interesting, but blahh… I wasn’t impressed

    Oh and I forgot to mention.. God of War 4 player was dumb.. and Metal Gear Rising pleasantly surprised me.. it was actually pretty fun.

  • wolfkin

    @darrin oh it’s shorthand. i guess I’m pretty successful at avoiding 3D stuff. never seen it shortened like that before. I just assumed he meant some sort of 3D sound.

  • wolfkin

    i find it amazing how often people say that, well in various ways PS3 graphics are disappointing. Of all the things I want in a new console so called graphical improvements are very far down the list.

  • @wolfkin, I definitely want a graphic + technology bump on my home console. I’m disappointed that the Vita and the Wii U didn’t really push things passed PS3 level.

    @Oly, GoW:Ascension looks amazing. The player looks dumb?

    No, I didn’t attend, just watched coverage. Did you attend? If you did, I hope you will write more. I’ve attended the live events in Austin, TX, and I didn’t feel that my physical presence really added much.

  • Oly

    I haven’t really enjoyed any of the GOW games, so just not my sortta thing I guess.. I found the whole MP experience pretty lame…

    Ya, PaulFierce, Foobear and I were all there.. writing more as we speak, just that RL getting in the way a lot lately.. 🙁

  • Kind of late to the party, but I couldn’t understand why there’s no mention of Borderlands 2 in your post. It seems like the overall consensus that it’ll be the GotY 2013.

    Perhaps you haven’t played the first one so you might not understand what the game is, but honestly, I hate FPS and I was hooked from the first shoot all the way to my platinum and all DLCs. The game is simply amazing and B2 looks like perfection!

    @Isli definitely looking for a game to get me off Diablo, I’m liking Dragon’s Dogma so far, but I’m not sure how long it’ll last.