Monday, 13 June 2011

The E3 2011 Recap:
For Once I Don't Have to Be Ashamed of Sony

E3, the big(gest?) gaming media circus around that may have once upon a time had some gravitas just recently happened again, and for probably the first time ever I actually watched majority of the live feeds of the main conferences. Here's a short-ish recap of E3 2011 from a guy who knows nothing about either E3 or the actual gaming business, nor cares much for that matter. I just want my Hitman: Absolution, God damn it!

Microsoft conference was the first I saw, and I think it was the first official conference as well. I know some companies had non-E3 events going on alongside E3, but nevermind them. Microsoft, from what I could tell, had two very simple goals this year: remind us that CoD series will never change, and admit publicly that Kinect was always a complete ass-tastic failure and a step backwards in gaming. I say that because 1) the Cod:MW3 demo looked just as boring as MW1, MW2 and Black Ops, altough it does make it easy for people to know whether to buy it or not, based on if they want another copy of the same game or not, and 2) every single game in the Kinect line-up looked atrocious. Well, maybe not the Sesame Street game and that dancing game sequel. No, seriously, every damn Kinect game was a crappy rail shooter, from the Star Wars Jedi knight game to the next Fable game. Yes, you read it right, FABLE as a rail shooter. Fable. Rail. Shooter. In-fucking-sane. And sad part is, it's not Microsoft's fault, Kinect CAN be used for interesting fun things I'm sure, it's just the stupid companies who lack innovation and imagination and who treat the Kinect as a cheap gimmick and something of a successor to PlayStation EyeToy and only aim to make quick cash-in games that are to blame. The games they showed aren't worth talking about, take my word for it for once.
In a shit nugget, Microsoft's conference was crap, akward to watch at times and boring overall.

EA conference was next, and dear oh dear, it wasn't very good either. Their main points were, sadly, Facebook. They made a big deal about every single upcoming game having the scoreboards integrated with online, whatchumacallit, social networking sites. Yeah, if you were tired of your Facebook "friends" spamming you with annoying updates about... the hell, pink cows?! then just wait till you get an update everytime somebody on your friends list scores a touchdown in Madden. Well, teaches you little kids to learn how to properly use Facebook I suppose. Yes, you would be able to avoid trouble on Facebook if you just knew how to use it.
The EA line-up of titles was largely disappointing. I think it was Need for Speed: Run that looked incredibly stupid for a driving game. Part of the demo was driving away from explosions, a large part of the demo was scripted events and doing one long quicktime event to run across rooftops, then stealing a copcar and another quicktime event after a scripted crash. A driving game turned into a scripted film about a felon fleeing partly on-foot from the over-enthusiastic killer traffic police destroying the city with missiles because of one man violating the traffic laws of Chicago. I think someone at EA may have just seen Blues Brothers very recently, eh guys? The one question I ask is, will this NFS game have split-sceen or not? The previous one didn't, and for a driving game all about the multiplayer chases it was a bad choice.

Another SSX game is coming. Going down a snowy hill, hitting a ramp and doing a flip, landing and going down a snowy hill some more. I think that is what the SSX games are all about. My only question is, and I ask this everytime I see an SSX game, how are they able to make females in winter clothing look so damn hot? If I played the SSX games a lot I suppose I would eventually only get an erection with women in thick, warm jackets. I already do, but not exclusively. Right now I still get an erection from everything.
Madden and Fifa. They're both football, one's about carrying a weirdly shaped thing through a field of padded guys, the other one has people using their feet to move a ball into large nets and faking injuries.
Insomniac had a new game coming called OverStrike I think. Didn't show any gameplay footage, only a trailer, but it looks like it might be something between Borderlands and Team Fortress 2 with 4-player co-op.
There was also... wait... I forgot. Nevermind.
And lastly Battlefield 3. Or is it Bad Company 3? Can't be Bad Company, it has nothing to do with Bad Company. It must be Battlefield 3. Gameplay clips looked amazing, and considering that the game is supposed to have open maps like the old Battlefield games, Battlefield 3 could be a must-buy.
The EA conference was bad, not solely because of some uninteresting announcements like social network integration with stats, but also because the speakers hadn't rehearsed their speeches too well and you could every now and then see them reading the teleprompter.

Ubisoft conference was surprisingly interesting. It was clear that they had planned ahead and knew what they were going to talk about without sounding too rehearsed or staring at a teleprompter, although I do think they should get Mr. De-Caf to host next time to avoid the show being so annoying at times.
I'm not a big Rayman fan, in fact I've only ever played one Rayman game for about two minutes, but the new 2D Rayman game called Rayman Origins Ubisoft showed looked interesting for a budget title. It has fun looking levels and 2-player offline co-op, and the demo was clearly not scripted. A big problem with E3 demos is that they always tend to look scripted even when they're supposedly being played live, but the Rayman game demo was clearly not pre-recorded and it gave out a good, casual feel for us gamers.
The new Far Cry game looked pretty fucking cool and interesting with nice action sequences and stealth kills, but at a glance so does Far Cry 2, so who knows what the final result will be.
Assassin's Creed... uhm... Revelations I think, the last part of Ezio's story I would presume, didn't show anything new that people didn't already know would be in the game. Combat looked the exact same as in all the other AC games so far, climbing looked the same, everything looked the same. Maybe it might be a little bit more "grand" in the way of action sequences as towards the end dozens of ships were blowing up and sinking, but it seems to be largely the same core game as AC2. Although, it really doesn't need to be too different yet since it's basically just the conclusion of AC2. It's AC2 pt. 3. Once AC3 comes out, it might be a good thing if that one was distinctly evolved from AC2, but that's in the far future. So, the AC:R bit of the conference was lackluster since it gave us nothing new.

The last thing I remember from this conference was the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon stuff, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and a free online Ghost Recon game. The free game is, well, free as far as I could understand, and Future Soldier seems to be heavily focused on teamwork. The demo showed off some pretty neat and complex team-strategy stuff and if I had any friends I would definitely consider getting Future Soldier. One the reasons I'm a singleplaying man by choice is that very few co-op games actually force players to rely on each other and strategize and trust each other and work in sync, and the ones that exist aren't that popular with the mass. Many co-op modes have you resuscitating fallen comrades, sure, but that alone isn't enough to make players feel like a team and this is especially noticeable with people crying about kill-steals in many online games. If you're a real team, you can't steal kills from friends. Most co-op and team modes in games are the same thing as singleplayer modes, you just have a couple of extra characters on screen that you shouldn't shoot, but Future Soldier seems difficult and more boring to solo which in turn will, or rather should be it's strength in the multiplayer market once it's out. So, I'm sort of excited about the new Ghost Recon, although I will probably never buy it.
Hey, by the way guys, we should totally all play SWAT4 online co-op together some day. Guys?! Anyone out there?! No? Aww....

Sony conference probably blew a lot of people away. If I may assume something, I think a lot of people expected Sony to once again make asses out of themselves, especially after the recent hacks, but if we have to pick a winner of E3 like the sad gaming enthusiasts online do every year, Sony won. Put your hand down, son, Sony won and that's final.
They started off with an apology for the PSN downtime and thanked fans for support, but forgot to apologize for having some of the worst security in recent history and putting customer data in danger.
After the apology Sony showed off Uncharted 3, and Uncharted 3 looks to be just what you'd expect Uncharted 3 to be. Uncharted is the second greatest thing that Naughty Dog, despite having several good titles, has ever done. The best is of course Rings of Power, but nevermind my shitty taste in games.
Sony also showed us Battlefield 3 demo. EA showed only clips, but Sony had a demo of the game being played. Guess what! The demo looked INCREDIBLY boring, as it was all about this guy driving a tank slowly across a vast open desert with very little happening. Took him like 5 minutes, maybe more, to accomplish nothing. Guys, Battlefield 3 may be awesome and maybe when we get to drive the tank ourselves in the context of the story we'll be excited about it, but you really shouldn't just show us a slow progression through a fucking desert and expect us to get hyped up. The only thing we gamers collectively jizzed over at a relatively same moment (exact time varies due to stream lag) was seeing the EA clip of the player TAKING DOWN A FUCKING SKYSCRAPER WITH EXPLOSIVES! Destruction, show it off. It's cheap to offer quick thrills without a context knowing full well gamers will fill the blanks with more action, I know, but these demos and trailers are meant to get people excited about the game. Everyone but war-nerds with tank-fetishes were looking at their watches while the guy on stage was driving the tank towards one direction with barely anything impeding his progress.
Sony also advertised, cheap money-grubbing bastards as they are, their 3D television. It's a GAMING television. Okay, Sony, we know you make electronics and we know you want 3D TVs and glasses to catch on because YOU are the leading manufacturer of 3D technology of this kind, but save the adverts for shopping networks, okay? I know E3 couldn't be of less value if all they had were trained monkeys trying to panhandle with B-grade actors faking enthusiasm in the background and with marching bands playing music over some long and pointless montages of old games people don't want to see when they're here to get the NEWS, largely because that's all it is already and we can only go up from here. Point is, don't whore yourself out Sony. Or rather, don't whore yourself out more than the competition. I still love you.

Sony also showed off some Move game about a medieval knight. Looked... bland. Since that was so short, I'll waste the lines reserved for the indepth game description by telling you why I think Move is better than Kinect: Move lets you at least potentially play real games with characters moving freely while you swing your ice-cream cone shaped wiimote around, Kinect only lets you flail around in rail shooters until you die of exhaustion. Some PS3 titles have already been patched to support Move, and surely many upcoming titles will have support from the start, and these games are real games, big games, where you control your character's movement and jumps and climbing and whatnot. Kinect is only truly useful and admittedly unbeatable with dancing games, and companies developing games with Kinect in mind are only able to produce games comparable to -I don't want to say it but I must and already sort of did above- PS EyeToy. I find it silly when people claim Move is the EyeToy clone, when Kinect is much closer. Move is only a Wii clone and Wii is better than EyeToy.
I think Kinect COULD be used for more, but it seems the companies don't care. Just go look at the E3 Kinect stuff and tell me those games are worth more than 10 bucks a pop and you shouldn't be able to keep a straight face. Sony is more interested in using the Move to ENHANCE the gameplay of titles already designed with a controller in mind, taking nothing away, only adding another method of playing. I also have a weak back due to my own utter stupidity as a kid and couldn't be able to play Kinect games for extended periods of time, but Move... doable.
Anyway, that was much more E3 2010 stuff than 2011. Let's move on*.

The big big... thing, of Sony's conference was the NGP or as it is now called PlayStation Vita. It's got touch screens and touchable back and buttons out the ass, so many pushable parts it has in fact that it is indeed a large button in itself. A large, stylish, high-tech button that can play Uncharted 3 and let you create stages in ModNation by just fondling the backside of it like it was the new Lara Croft in flesh. That's not the biggest surprise, though, PS Vita being so awesome isn't the reason Sony will dominate handheld markets this and next year. The big fuss is it's affordable price, $250 for the wifi and $300 for the AT&T powered 3G version. And, sadly, 250 euros for wifi and 300 euros for 3G in Europe... assholes, that's not how you handle the currency values! The numbers are supposed to be different! To me all those prices look awful but according to the modern hipster-gamers it's not a whole lot, and I don't know whether AT&T is good or bad since at E3 the audience BOO'd when they heard it's AT&T and after E3 I've heard that the company's actually a preferable choice for the consumer. I really can't say, I live in Finland and until last year AT&T might have as well been a lawfirm for all I knew. The PS Vita will hit the stores by next Christmas.
So, in the end Sony may be a big whore, have subpar software design for their console, sometimes hire annoying pricks for customer service department, own an unhealthy attitude when it comes to criticism against their product and save the extremely private customer information in unencrypted .txt files in basically public folders, but somehow they still manage to stay afloat. Well, what can I say, it's all just business and every company is far from flawless. We just like to pick on Sony for some reason, I can't imagine what that reason might be. I still love you, Sony.

Nintendo conference was the last and I must admit I missed a portion of it due to some of my own personal computer trouble, but if you think the following recap doesn't accurately depict Nintendo's conference then post a comment and tell me what I missed that was so great. I know that after the ESRB leak about Project Café people took it for granted that Nintendo would dominate E3 and that this year E3 would be awesome because of it. Nope.
First, we looked at an overlong montage of Zelda. I have owned only two Zelda games, Oracles of Seasons and Ages, and never beat either one of them. I got so bored towards the beginning of the 8th dungeon in both that I just quit. After the Zelda montage, I think they announced some 3DS titles, possibly MGS3, and I think maybe also a new Paper Mario game. Now Paper Mario series, that's what I could get behind. They look fun. Of course, I missed the 3DS part of the conference so maybe neither of those two games were announced, but who cares.
The big announcement everyone and their mother were watching Nintendo's conference for, the fabled Project  Café... it's a controller with a screen on it called WiiU, and along with it comes promises of third-party support in 1080p. Yippe-do-daa, Nintendo will, at last, let the hardcore Nintendo fans who fought the urge of buying a 360 and a PS3 play games we guys have been playing for years now, and they get to do it on a small screen if they dont want to use a television screen. Say what you will, but I don't think a controller that allows video gaming at the same time someone watches TV is such a big deal. Sure, it may be useful to some people, but I really don't think it's going to attract any more customers to the new console than what the prospect of playing Battlefield 3 on a Nintendo console will. In fact, the controller may be more harmful if it's uncomfortable to use. The actual new console the WiiU controller is only a part of remains a mystery to be solved later.
So, you can see why Sony won. Nintendo announced very little this year, with the worst part being that everyone expected them to reveal a complete new console with innovative new features, and it was just a controller with a touch screen. Even the release date of WiiU is still unknown to us, as all they could say was that it'll come out sometime 2012. Nintendo couldn't win this year's sad little popularity contest, because they didn't give us anything concrete, only promises of potential. Sony promised something neat for next Christmas and actually did show it off live.

I forgot when it was that we saw the new Tomb Raider E3 demo, but I have to say, I'm probably going to buy the game when it comes out. I've never been much of a fan of Tomb Raider to be honest even though I own 8 different games from the series and both of the movies and have some of the comics. Even when I was "fan of Tomb Raider" in my early teens it was just a family-friendly way of saying I fantasized about Angelina Jolie in hotpants when jerking off at night. The new game is a reboot of the series and seems much more grounded and gritty, with the fantastical jumping and swinging ditched in favour of slower paced survival through extremely hostile and scary caves and the ridiculously derivative "push blocks on top of marked squares" puzzles swapped with more varied interactive and intuitive puzzle sequences. At least I hope that's how the new game will be.
The new Lara is also naturally younger, has smaller tits and a larger ass, and if the demo is an accurate representation of the final product's voice acting the younger Lara also moans and screams like she's having the best sex ever. Turned me on a little but also made me feel quite a bit awkward listening to it alone in the context of things. I know I sound like a pervert, especially if we take into consideration that she's screaming and moaning in pain from breaking her arm and in fear of getting mutilated and being eaten by things lurking in the dark, and partly the pervert vibe I send is fully intended for the sake of my poor humour, but just look at the demo footage yourself and tell me you don't find her scream incredibly sexy. Certainly a game you must play with your headphones on if you don't want people to think you're watching  hardcore hardcore porn, and I like it. I'll listen to her moaning while thinking of the SSX series chicks and have me a bloody good time. Hope the voice acting stays.
Also, good idea to focus on the backside, after all it is what we stare at throughout the game. Don't have to do what Tomb Raider 3 did and have the game make the camera spin around 180 degrees every now and then to zoom in on the chest for no apparent reason.
I like women. A lot. And I'm lonely.

Also, I missed TES: Skyrim stuff so can't say anything about it other than what I've heard from other sources it sounds like shit, Gears of War 3 looked really crap and stale, and what little glimpse we got of Mass Effect 3 was rather unexciting compared to what the first game looked like. Never played any Mass Effect games or Gears of War games, I've seen gameplay footage like walkthroughs and think the games look boring, but the E3 stuff of those two sequels looked very inspired.
I also missed whatever they had of Batman: Arkham City, which must have been very little since I only had a few bathroom breaks, but we already know it's going to be awesome and compete for the GotY awards of this year with... uh... well, I suppose Skyrim will get a lot of unmerited praise, so we don't need to get any more hype. Our Arkham City hype gauges are full.
EDIT: After a few more looks at Skyrim from different sources, it's looking quite interesting and while I'm still skeptical of how much it will do right and how great it can be, it is looking very interesting. Still, Oblivion looked interesting and it was technically broken and in the end very boring.
Bioshock Infinite looks like something I might get. It looks real pretty and sounds to me like it will have a lot of very interesting features and a great plot.

Anyway, I guess I already accomplished my two main goals of proving that I'm a sad lonely pervert and completely oblivious to what modern video gaming, the industry and the media is all about, so I'll stop here even though I did catch a few unofficial, backstage, developer-on-reporter shows as well. It's a long unintelligent post, I know, but it's been a while since the last post and it's a God damn hell in here, I'm roasting like a pig in an oven and can't possibly concentrate on providing a thoughtful, to-the-point recap I could be proud of. Bye.

(* this was a subliminal message planted here to get you to buy PlayStation Move)


  1. I agree with everything apart from your statements on Gears of War and Mass Effect.

    Try Gears of War out first. Don't watch and judge; play and judge. You may be surprised...

    Same with Mass Effect. I don't like the first one to be honest cause it was so freakin' boring but SECOND one was bloody damn enjoyable. It's a game where your presence actually seems important for the game to progress. Like the graphics are amazing and plenty of hot chicks (and sex easter egg scenes). And exploring the interiors of your spacecraft and exploring the areas never gets old. Trust me on this one. Mass Effect 2 will definitely be fun and it's not that expensive now either. Seeing as you'll probably get more than 30 hours out of it(I still haven't finished it and I've had it since last Christmas, although I don't play it often now as I'm playing other stuff).

    AC2 surprisingly was better than you thought so take my word on Mass Effect 2. Don't just assume it's shit like I did at first just cause the first one was broken and unappealing to me.

    - Derek

  2. I know, they might be really good games, but right now I'm not into third-person shooters like Gears of War so I'll wait on that until I feel like shooting crap again. Mass Effect 1 and 2's story interaction actually does sound VERY good to me and I would definitely get them if it wasn't for the awful looking combat. Basically everything I have seen of Mass Effect 2 has been combat and all of the combat has looked tedious.

    Even if I do take your word for it that they're great games and I'm judging them unfairly, neither of the series will be very high on my "to be bought" list at the moment.

  3. Sony always seems to pull something out of the air to excel, even just a little bit. PS3 system was such an amazing system that it was able to even turn the people who hated it (Valve) into partners, for at least one game anyway. But that was ground breaking and might I remind you that the PS3 was delayed by recalls early on, it was a come from behind victory (that sounds dirty, right?). I like Sony...I like them a lot...