This year's conference featured announcements from all the names in gaming; withanticipated titles from Capcom and Namco Bandai. Resident game enthusiast Peter Rizkallagives his round up of the recent L.A.-based event.
Who of you by show of hands has ever attended E3? That’s it!? On that note, who of you that has attended a previous E3 conference doesn't look back on fond memories of playing games before they come out, free loot, booth babes and ridiculously long lines? Of course, last year everyone thought that the grand spectacle that was E3 finally died due to the fact that it was even more exclusive that time around and that it was no longer being held at the L.A. Convention Center. Us media guys freakn' hated it because E3 '07 was held in three different locations so we had to actually drive to all these different places to get to all the different exhibits! It was a stupid idea.
This year the E3 exhibitors decided to bring back the awesomeness of E3 by bringing it back to the L.A. Convention Center. Still no free loot but this time around the whole conference was centered around press conferences and making appointments to visit each game developer to get a real good grip on what they have coming out. We haven't slept for a week but you're going to reap all the benefits.
I hate to say it but Nintendo was not very impressive at this year's E3! At the Nintendo press conference the president and CEO of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, stated that Nintendo's goal was to "destroy the psychological barrier between gamers and non-gamers." Fiscally, I'd say they've been pretty successful with the outstanding sales of the Wii console. Iwata also makes a playful crack by saying "Who would have thought we could sell so many bathroom scales" referring to the Wii Fit Balance Board.
A new Wii Sports title has been announced by Nintendo called Wii Sports Resort. Resort will be packaged with a new adapter called the Wii Motion Plus that makes the motion sensitive Wii Remote even more motion sensitive. I got to spend a little hands-on time with Resort and I'm happy to say that the Wii Motion Plus is actually amazingly accurate. Games like sword fighting and frizbee throwing are outstandingly sensitive. The president of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aimé, gave a little sword fighting demonstration and called himself "The Reginator" after beating the snot out of his VP of sales and marketing Cammie Dunaway. Reggie went on to acknowledge the critics that have been calling the Wii a fad. The funny thing is that not only did Reggie deny that the Wii is a fad, three days later the NPD announced that the Wii was now the top selling current-gen console in America selling 10.9 million units finally beating out the Xbox 360. Nintendo also announced a new microphone accessory for the Wii which will be compatible with the very social online title Animal Crossing: City Folk that should be released this November. Nintendo announced a new Star Wars fighting game for the Wii using the same art style as the Clone Wars animated series. It looked pretty good from what we saw so let's hope it's not just another crappy, rushed movie-tie-in title.
Nintendo has been really gunning for the casual market and their announcement of Wii Music is just more proof of that. Wii Music is a title that allows you to just push random buttons and pantomime to produce music. I got try it out and there really is no way to win or lose in this title. You just push buttons quickly or slowly and pre-composed music comes out so it's not really a game; it's more like a toy. Nintendo has announced that Wii music will feature 60 different in-game instruments and will support the Wii Balance Board.
A big announcement is Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars which will be released this winter on the DS! Getting a full-roaming GTA game to fit on the DS will be a huge accomplishment so let's just wait and see what happens. That's pretty much it. Nothing really that big except for Wii Sports Resort and the DS GTA and we didn't even get to see any footage of GTA, just the logo. I was expecting to hear some news about a Kid Icarus title for the Wii or a new Zelda title. Sure, Animal Crossing: City Folk and Wii Sports Resort look nice but there really wasn't anything that spectacular coming out of Nintendo.
A lot of great things came out of Capcom this year; they really brought down the house with some awesome looking titles! The first and foremost was, of course, Resident Evil 5. RE5 takes everything that made Resident Evil 4 so great and made it even better. The controls are the same as RE4 but the environments are brighter, the characters are more menacing, the story is more interesting, everything has been improved and it's not even finished yet! Another heavy hitter in the Capcom arsenal is Bionic Commando; BC is a current-gen, 3D installment of the Bionic Command series. So far it looks, plays and feels good with only a few irks. While using the bionic arm to swing, the developer advised me to "deny your instincts" and follow the subtle on-screen prompt. Telling the player to fight their instincts makes for a control scheme that's not very intuitive; on the other hand, this game is still in early development so were just going to have to see how it pans out. So far it's still pretty good. Dark Void was up next and by this time I'm thinking "Jeez, how many third-person shooters can one company make!?," but it was surprisingly good. Players don't just walk around shooting; they will be flying through space, climbing up cliff sides, highjacking flying saucers and blasting enemies the whole time! It's a wild ride.
Capcom is also releasing a truckload of really good looking downloadable games like Age of Booty which is a pirate based, "accessible" real-time strategy game. Flock is another great looking downloadable game; it's a lot like the old Lemmings games but with sheep, pigs, cows and chickens. Both of these games have customizable levels and will feature new downloadable levels on a weekly basis. In addition to the full-blown Bionic Commando for 360, PS3 and PC we are being treated to Bionic Commando: Rearmed! Rearmed is a remake of the original Bionic Commando for the NES with new 3D visuals, new character abilities, new challenges and the addition of multi-player fights. Now we come to Mega Man 9. This is an official sequel to the original Mega Man franchise and, man-o-man, is it oldschool! The graphics and sound look like they were ripped out of 1987. Everything about it may look retro but the game itself is a brand new adventure.
At last we come to the head piece of Capcom's exhibit; Street Fighter IV. This is the first 3D Street Fighter to be released since the EX series. After spending a lot of time with it SFIV is a welcome addition to the Street Fighter