E3 2012: The highs and lows of the big three
E3 press conferences are over and the show floor is open. Who got most of the attention? Which press conference was the best? Well, lets start by saying - E3 2012 press conference's overall was pretty bad. While there were amazing game demo's, the overall presentation for the big three left a bad taste in my mouth. With Microsoft's Usher performance that came out of nowhere, to Sony's Wonderbook, to Nintendo having awkward discussions on stage, each press conference made me shake my head in disappointment. Here are the highs and lows of the big three's press conferences.
+ Great third-party game demos - This shocked me in Microsoft's press conference. Game's like Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and even Resident Evil 6 made its appearance at the Microsoft stage, impressing the audience with a live gameplay demo.Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell is definitely on my to-buy list. Resident Evil 6 though I need more convincing. Is it even Resident Evil anymore?
- No new exclusive Xbox 360 titles - This is what I was hoping to see during the press conference - A reveal of a new title that could stand side by side with Microsoft's most beloved franchises. Instead, we got the a safe lineup - Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgement. People will still love it I'm sure, but just one new title would do for me.
+ Microsoft SmartGlass - Microsoft revealed a neat application. This is their answer to Wii U's gamepad features and pretty much offers the same deal. An extra screen and yet another way to control your console. What makes SmartGlass amazing is the fact that you can use this application on any smartphone or tablet device. As long as your device is being runned by Windows 8, iOS, or Android, you can use SmartGlass. Pure genius Microsoft, but what a low blow.
- Kinect heavy announcements - Sadly, this was inevitable. If we had to predict what Microsoft would do for this E3, it would be them going heavy with the Kinect, and that's what they did. Kinect's voice recognition was presented in a lot of presentations. From Splinter Cell being able to use your voice to call support, to Madden 13. They also announced a number of Kinect games as well as a game that has a similar concept to Angry Birds. Kudos to Microsoft though for jumbling those Kinect announcements with third-party game demos. It was bad enough seeing them, but seeing them revealed one after the other is bad.
- Dance Central 3 reveal with Usher performance - Yes! They actually had Usher show up and perform. And were not talking about a 1 minute short performance, I'm talking about a whole song. When Dance Central 3 was revealed, instead of just showing the same old game(Because thats really what it is) they dumped the crowd with Usher, with the Dance Central 3 being shown in the monitors during the performance. I vowed never to see an Usher performance, but I did thanks to Microsoft. It was a trap!
+ Reveal of David Cage's new game - Beyond: Two Souls - Sony always states that they are always in the mercy of core gamers and they tried to show that by starting the show with a new title exclusive to Playstation 3. Exclusives are pretty rare now, and I'm happy to see new 1st party titles showing up and taking the risks. Beyond: Two Souls is Heavy Rain creator's next game. To sum it up real quick - Its Heavy Rain with a lot more action. That's how I understand it. The trailer did not give much on how the game is played but Quantic Dreams are aiming to bring the same quality shown in Heavy Rain but add more excitement to the gamers. The protagonist is also played by Ellen Page. Funny how she is sort of linked to two PS3 exclusives.
- Wonderbook - This was pretty unusual, Definitely aimed for the casual market, Wonderbook is a new peripheral for the Playstation 3 that serves as an augmented reality device. You place the book on your lap, and with the help of the PS eye, you can see intractable images in Wonderbook in your TV. Think of it as 3DS's augmented reality feature with the cards. It's a good piece of tech but looks a bit raw for now. The fact that it only has one title for it called the Book of Spells (being collaborated with J. K Rowling) and that you need the PS Move and the PS Eye as well to make it work. Its a educational device for children but we need to see more.
- Not many PS Vita announcements - We all know the PS Vita is only a few months old, but we also know that the handheld market is pretty darn crowded these days. They needed more titles to keep people interested and prevent dust from gathering on their devices. Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified and Playstation: All-Stars Battle Royale cross play was a good start, but it's not enough. I'm sure Vita owners agree.
+ The Last of Us Gameplay Demo - This is what I was waiting for - First look at The Last of Us gameplay, and boy, did it deliver. If Ellie's AI is actually a reliable source in the game, then Naughty Dog succeeded. We all know how much of a pain AI companions can be, so hopefully they found a solution to that problem. Sony is really pushing exclusive titles for the Playstation 3 and kudos to them for taking such risks. New IP's are always a risk since its unfamiliar to the market.
- No Kevin Butler - Come on Sony! We all know he is the perfect host for E3. No KB on a Sony press conference feels wrong and you know it.
+ Pikmin 3 announcement - Nintendo needs exclusive titles, and Pikmin 3 felt like a good start. But from how they revealed the game gave you an idea that this wasn't their focus. While Pikmin 3 looked great with better graphics and such, most of the presentation was about the Wii U gamepay and what it gives the player.
- Third Party support feels a bit weak still - With Nintendo having third-party support, I was expecting a world premiere of a game coming from a big company. Instead, we got Batman Arkham City : Armored Edition - A game almost a year old with some Wii U features. No matter what they say, it's still an old game, and putting new costume, and new ways to play the game doesn't make it worth the full retail price.
- Too much emphasis on the Wii U GamePad - It really felt like part 2 when they revealed the Wii U. We know what it can do already, but can you give us a reason to buy the Wii U console? I consider the new controller amazing, but with so much focus on it, and no focus at all on the console, can you make the GamePad a compatible with the Wii? So I can buy it separately for it? Because you brought a good presentation for it, and now all I want is just that controller. Screw the console.
+ Zombi U announcement - This is what we needed to see, but that was just it. Zombi U is exclusive to the Wii U and it looks amazing. A perfect way to use the new features of the console and I really can't wait to see more if it. This is what we wanted from the Nintendo presentation - Game reveals to make us want the console. Not a detailed explanation of how to play Luigi's Ghost Mansion with the Wii U GamePad features. Seriously, that was just too long.
- No Zelda, Smash Bros, Mario, Metroid for the Wii U - I really don't understand Nintendo. They announce third-party support and graphics somewhat in-par with current consoles, but they don't give any flagship exclusive to get us all excited inside. Yes we do want a Zelda or Mario game with the same graphics power as the 360 and PS3. At least one big game announcement like that would cover core gamers, but sadly we'll have to settle with Pikmin 3. Better than having nothing at all I guess. It was announced that a new Mario game for the Wii U would be revealed. But all we got was Super Mario Bros. U, exactly the same game now on the 3DS and Wii, just added features thanks to the GamePad... again.
So there you have it. Not the E3 press conference I was looking for. Especially with Nintendo, they are first in line to bring us the next-gen console. Sadly, this doesn't look like it... yet. It was make or break, impress us or leave a bad first impression forever. Who won E3 among the three? None. If I had to pick a press conference, I'd go with Ubisoft. Have you seen Watch Dogs? Great reveal.
E3 is not over yet. The press conferences may be over but there are still two days for other companies to show off their games to the public. Go ahead to Gamespot or GameTrailers to see live coverages of each third-party game in E3.