Not until I see every last trailer will I leave my desk…
Well its that time of year again and since I have an abundance of time I am putting up some E3 related stuff so that when Impz comes back he won’t yell at me for not posting. Yes, I understand that this is not a blog for video games but the fact that MS was touting Naruto makes it anime related so there. I’ll be continually updating as I go so pardon my bad English. For those interested in Sony stuff Garten is doing the same thing. So if you’d like stick around and check up every so often E3 may be smaller but there is a lot for one blogger to talk about. Sadly I dare not upload any trailers since I am not sure how much it can take, however gametrailers has plenty of bandwidth to spare, so get going and take a look.
One of the big announcements coming for the Xbox 360 is the release of the Elite for Canada and Europe. It is assumed that the pricing scheme will be similar to the one for North America though hopefully the new bigger hard drive will be able to hold all that stuff from Xbox Live. They then pointed to numerous statistics that showed how they were leading the video game industry. Bragging aside Peter Moore did look rather silly playing Rock Band, but then again don’t we all? Also Disney has signed up to offer a bunch of movies for sale via XBL with standard definition and HD versions. Games for Windows got a boost by the announcement of more partners and Gears of War for the PC.
Here’s the skinny on some of the most anticipated games for the 360.
GTA IV (360/PS3)
It is still surprising to me that Microsoft was willing to throw down a lot of money for some downloadable content thought since they did and every thing we have seen thus far is from the 360 build of GTA IV I plan on getting for the 360 unless Sony announces some exclusive content of their own. Since MS already threw down the money it can’t hurt to buy it for a larger experience. Still its no secret that the developer is for sale shortly after this since the closing of their European and New York offices. Its rumored that MS might buy them out. Either that or EA will have another studio to assimilate into their collective. Nevertheless I look forward to wreaking havoc in New York with an Eastern European accent. Let the controversy begin!
While the reception for the multi-player beta was rather lukewarm, the single player does look a bit better judging by the trailer. The story is still a big mystery though it seems that the Brutes are now kitted out for war. I wonder if in campaign co-op the players take on the roles of the Master Chief and the Arbiter respectively. I hope the develop the Arbiter a bit more as a character, but finishing the fight is my primary concern. Either way it looks sweet and toting around that chain gun looks mighty fun. Multi-player will probably be vicious as many of the beta players are going to be more than ready to trounce me the minute I join a game.
While this is a multi-platform game I plan on getting it for the 360 seeing as how I already own one. While it does resemble Prince of Persia slot the idea of becoming a Hashashin of legend is too good to pass up. While there was a glaring glitch where the 2nd guard was killed combat looks to be a bit harder than a button masher but more accessible than say Ninja Gaiden. The chases look decent with the bystanders getting int he way but leaping onto people to give them the coup de grace looks sweet.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360/PS3)
It still looks impressive and proved that the CG target for Killzone 2 was possible. This ones seems to be much more story driven than the other games in the series. However I am glad that they decided to move away from being just another WWII shooter. The cool thing was that they announced an open invite for the multi-player beta to those who rushed to charlieoscardelta.com. Its a nice gift from the developers and I can’t wait see more. In terms of game play its not anything terribly new from what I can tell, but who knows maybe there is something really new here to be found.
Simply amazing it looks to have a good epic story line and the single player ought to be gynormously long. While its different from Japanese RPGs its by Bioware the same folks who brought us Knights of the Old Republic. This time it seems that how you converse is going to be very interesting as allegedly certain thing lock and unlock depending on how you are communicating. The Lunar buggy looks like one fun toy.
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
I have never really gotten into arcade flying shooters, but this one looks interesting enough. It looks prettier than the past iterations and is a 360 exclusive. It looks to be standard Ace Combat fare with lots of missiles and plenty of dogfighting. What I am more interested in though is whether or not you can go online and form squadrons with your buddies. Even if its not a great graphics leap[ if they cram +40 fighters in one go the would be awesome. The battleground looks a lot more detailed too.
Touted as one of the three pillars of the 360′s RPG round up this looks very impressive. Its from the same guy who created Final Fantasy so it can’t be all that bad. You plays as a person who has lived for over 1,000 years but remembers none of it. Interesting premise and it allows for the different worlds to be drastically different tech wise. It remains to be seen though if it will just degenerate into a simple grind and fetch quest though I do have high hopes.
This is so not your average run of the mill shooter, the idea of a city underneath the sea makes for an interesting locale. Besides what other game allows loli-cons to drag around little girls before the big daddy shows up to pummel you to paste. Graphically it looks just like a screwed up utopia and is suitably eerie as well. From the information released thus far it looks like a very tactically oriented game with the manipulation of various enemies to fight against one another. The genetic plasmid use look dreadfully hideous in a good way.
Army of Two (360/PS3)
While it got nary a mention from MS or Sony, my guess is that it was too politically charged for their tastes. In any case this looks to be the Co-op game this holiday season. EA allegedly created this game as a way to highlight the number of mercenaries in Iraq. Regardless of the message, the humor they have shown thus far is my kind o f humor two guys going off to war ragging on each other the whole time. I hope this turns out well I like playing games co-op rather than solo gives me more of push to finish games in a timely fashion. Hopefully its gonna be the best piece of liberal propaganda I will ever play.
Rock Band (360/PS3)
After getting the boot from Activision the creators of Guitar Hero have teamed up with MTV to bring us Rock Band. Now there’s more than just a guitar, but a mic and a drum set to take part in imaginary tours. Hopefully since MTV has a stake in this the track list is going to be sweet. Though I wonder if new songs will be available via PSN or XBL.
Final Assessment: Well it looks like the 360 has one heck of a holiday season in store. For the Naruto fans Naruto: Rise of the Ninja might be a safe bet if any one was keen on exploring the Hidden Leaf Village. Viva Pinata and Banjo Kazooie are also coming but given that the 360 is very much a hardcore system these titles might not do so well economically, not that they’re bad games. I think they might run the risk of getting lost in the shuffle during the madness of the holidays. As for leading the industry, that remains to be seen. What surprises me the most is that there was no price cut on their front even after Sony announced that there would be 100 USD price cut in North America. My guess is that since MS is having difficulty shifting more units at 399 USD that anything more expensive is of no concern, pretty bold of them I’d say. They also announced a new game based of Scene It that comes with 4 new remote styled controllers packed in. It seems that since Nintendo has done such a good job with pack ins MS is following suit. I hope so because pack-ins are great.Lastly where the hell is my Alan Wake?
After being mauled last year by Giant Crabs, and sticker shock Sony seems to have begun to make a come back. Thus far things were not looking good in PS3 land but take heart for your shiny black towers of technology still have a bit of fight left in them. PSP owners fear not for games are also coming to save your platform and you now have a spiffy new PSP redesign to boot.
The Sony crew was being real campy this year something about hamburgers in a virtual world. In any case Home is really stating to shape up and not so reliant on the notion of having every thing in your PS3 so more connectivity to other devices 4TW! Little Big Planet looks pretty much the same since GDC, hopefully his will take off, since it looks like a good way to kill time. Most importantly however Sony has cut the price of the PS3 in North America by 100USD, and an 80GB SKU with Motorstorm pack-in is on its way to NA. However rumors of new rumble six-axis controllers have not been confirmed for the new SKU. Still no news on similar price cuts for other territories. PSP got a bit light and slimmer and plans are in the works for silver, white, and special edition Star Wars Battlefront PSPs as well. The new PSP will retail for 199 USD.
It seems that Sony has reached something very close to the CG trailer of infamy. However not to rain on thier parade or anything, but it seems to me that the colors aren’t vibrant enough. Nonetheless kudos to the developers who have avoided crucification. Killzone 2 does look very impressive and apocalyptic. Hopefully the AI is up to par this time around, I haven’t seem much about Killzone 2 game-play wise but if Sony keeps up momentum on this they could surprise us all.
Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots
If there is one game that can sell PS3s its MGS4, sadly it will have to wait until after the holiday season though Kojima has promised a simultaneous release. So for those in the US there is still some reason to rejoice as the price cut means that to experience MGS4 only costs less than 500USD. I believe that come Winter 2008 piggy banks will be broken, bonds will be cashed, and loans will be taken out to get PS3s. Even if 500USD is too hard to swallow for newcomers at least we get this awesome trailer. Old Snake is getting more wrinkly with each trailer though if Kojima forbid he fails Raiden will have to pick up the slack to kill Liquid Snake. Let Snake’s final journey begin!
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
While boasting huge framerates and other graphical coolness Uncharted is a new IP that Sony hopes you will enjoy. Part Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones it looks to be a nice way to showcase the hardware.
Its like there’s a new game in town with a more womanly mahou shoujo that kills monsters by sucking in their souls. Some what gothic in atmosphere but hopefully it plays as well as it looks.
While the Sony nightmare of E3 2006 has been laid to rest Warhawk has come a long way fo0rm rather awkward way to show off six-axis to Battlefield 2 arcade style. Not that its a bad thing from the look things it seems very cartoony, but if your coordinate well then you can dominate the field.
Final Assessment: Well Sony has avoided the fatal error of last year and has announced some interesting titles for 2007. However given the scarcity of exclusives this year Sony is facing an up hill battle for consumer dollars. Given that MS has come out with a year head start Sony is still playing catch up. The PSP hopefully has a longer battery life. Perhaps this time around it will be more consumer friendly media device as many PSP users I have met seem to enjoy their fair share of hacking PSPs. Tretton has set a very ambitious goal of having an install bas of 11 million by the end of the year with the new price cut, perhaps they’ll reach it but given how much they have to sell even at 500USD that is no impulse buy for most Americans. Given the number of IPs no longer staying exclusive with Sony Konami has been grumbling that even MGS4 exclusivity is in doubt though Jack Tretton insists that it will be exclusive, whether that simply means timed exclusive remains to be seen as Kojima himself remained quite on the matter.
As for UMD sales booming I think it has more to do with Gamestop and EB offering movies for 5 USD than any new content. I still think it was a horrible movie format when they could have enabled the memory stick to do the a same thing. Still no more racist ads for PSP okay Sony? Home seems to have lost the mall feel with more open spaces hopefully these Home ads won’t be every where.
What disappoints me though is the MGS4 is in 2008 and there was no mention what so ever about FFXIII. I guess we’ll have to wait for the Tokyo Game Show before we get any announcements. The PAL territories got kicked to the curb again as they are still paying very high prices for the the same SKU worse still they did not announce the new PS3 80GB SKU for any PAL territories. Whatever Sony does they need to be on their A-game for 2008, its doubtful many Playstation fans will tolerate lack of games and a continual high price point in Europe when Japan and NA get discounts. If HD penetration booms this year then Sony may yet come out on top however if standard def remains the norm 360 and PS3 will have to really push to convince the legions of PS2 owners and Wii owners that HD is worth the extra thousands. Still Sony has given the Hardcore something to cheer about, keep it up.
Stay tuned for Nintendo, but I need sleep right now… Sleep is for the weak.
It looks like we can all expect continual shortages this holiday season since there was no announcement of a massive injection of supply. However there is some ill will over the latest push for WiiFit. Despite the fact that it was their major time killer there were enough announcements to keep most mild mannered Nintendo fans happy if you discount the presentation.
As the pecking order goes Nintendo was not on fire this year it seems that the success of the Wii has robbed them of any good way to balance the hardcore needs and casual needs. I have to say they did not wow me like I hoped they would though 2007 still looks like a good year for Nintendo.
Super Mario Galaxy
Mario’s next adventure looks very interesting with planets as levels and Bee Mario. Still any game of this pedigree deserves a closer look. The new addition this time around is that there is an option for having a helper that can use their controller to collect chips that can be spent to stun enemies or even better stun Mario if you piss them off. Not true co-op but its something you and a sibling or significant other to do together. Too bad that the trailer was intermixed with feedback from a family.
Smash Bros Brawl
Its finally coming in December 3 in North America. Though I can’t wait to see the final line up though since Solid Snake will now live forever in Smash Bros. this is most definitely a must have. Still holding out for online play.
Freaking sweet with three games (Ghost Squad, Medal of Honor Airborne, and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles) announced for it already this SMG looking controller will be packed in with a game from Nintendo for a mere 19.99 USD. Long live the pack-in! If this lives up my expectations I will play many an FPS with this control scheme, nothing beats gesturing a rifle butt it’s so satisfying. I can’t wait for this new toy its so cheap. Lots of potential though hopefully force feedback works well with it.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Its finally coming this holiday season with some very good controls according many sources. Targeting system looks interesting.
November 5 Firemblem Comes to America! How long I have waited for this day I am at a loss for words…I feel so happy I could almost cry.
Mario Kart Wii
I find it a bit galling that Mario Kart was given so little time given that it is one of the few games with online play. It comes with a plastic wheel that in all honesty seems pretty much useless if the Ubisoft one was any indication. However a pack-in is pack-in.
I can’t believe that EA has made this look even half way decent its just screams to have a legion of people making some goofy videos. It also helps that the presenter was a really nice bloke. Look at the blubber fly. Not in any other other game can you have a guy dancing in his underpants and not get an M rating.
Legend of Zelda: the Phantom Hourglass
I was skeptical about the DS controls at first but man has this come a long way This time boomerang controls won’t kill the camera. The map functions should really come in handy for note taking. It also helps to know that there are also a bunch of Japanese otome who have picked this game up, hopefully it will be the same here in the US.
Mario Party DS
They barely mentioned this at all due to the WiiFit push, but I am sure it will have its time in the sun as well in due time.
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
One of the first games to use that spiffy new Wii Zapper, RE is going back to its roots with zombies lots and lots of stupid zombies!
Final Assessment: It looks like Nintendo really did not come prepared this time, but in all fairness this is the first time they really had to balance out the casual with hardcore needs. Hopefully this is the first and last time this happens since they need to marshal more support for the Wii. The DS is still the undisputed king of the handheld space, but the Wii still needs to fight off the cloud of being a fad. I really am disappointed that third parties did not get more aggressive with their Wii games given that Nintendo put up a rather weak showing. It seems that they still have not announced anything for 2008, but so has MS. I hope they have a stronger showing at TGS since they need to recover from this.
In regards to the WiiFit it seems that they had a glitch during the conference and it really did kinda kill it. However judging by the feedback from the gamer press it is interestingly enough addictive, but not something you can do for hours on end. The peripheral however would lend itself greatly to skate and snow board games. Its true that the hard core is going to baulk at this, but this is rather short sighted. If this catches on with the casual gamers and women who like to do yoga then the base has again expanded. In that regard it will be funny to see Jack Thompson try and fight video games that promote exercise.
However despite their mismanagement they did intoduce the snazzy SMG Wii Zapper and plenty of games for 2007. Its just a real shame that they did not show these games to sate the hardcore. In regards to Fire Emblem I am freaking giddy, its been many years in waiting and hopefully with WiiWare (another part of their online strategy) we may yet get the older games digitally. It seems doubtful that Nintendo is going to lose steam because of one bad E3 they still can redeem themselves at TGS and E for All. My concern is what new IPs that they plan on launching Kid Icarus? Pikmin? I would like to see what new ideas Miyamoto still has. Nintendo’s online strategy is still a bit vague WiiWare helps but I guess time will tell if more online games will take hold. Hopefully when the enough consoles are connected to the internet Nintendo will be able to offer something more concrete but in the meta games there isn’t much of reason to push it this early in the cycle. We all know how much Sony suffered trying to launch PSN while pushing PS3s out the door. Whatever the future holds it seems clear that MS and Sony are going to fight it out for the hardcore audience, while Nintendo is going off to bring the whole world into video games. E3 it seems is really now just for the press, but it will be interesting to see how E for all shapes up as that one is open to the public.