E3: Every Element Expected
The biggest gaming conference of the year, Los Angeles's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), this week gave Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo the opportunity to talk about why their console is better than everybody else's console (and why their dad can beat up your dad) as each company held its usual exclusive press conference. How disappointing was this year's shameless hypefest? Only you can be the judge (but The Phoenix can help you see the truth).
In their conference, Nintendo attempted to make amends for last year's utter failure by announcing several entries in their most adored franchises, including 2 new Mario games and a new Metroid game. As far as Mario goes, whatever. We've seen it all before (literally; Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii are direct sequels to previous Mario outings).
Metroid: Other M for Wii is being developed by none other than Tecmo's Team Ninja. That's right, the team that has previously graced the gaming world with such overrated action games as the Ninja Gaiden series and oversexed fighting games as the Dead or Alive series is handling the much anticipated next entry in one of Nintendo's most revered franchises. Good idea? I seriously doubt it.
Unfortunately for us dedicated gamers, Nintendo has learned that unique, envelope-pushing games like Madworld and No More Heroes sell for peanuts next to heavy hitters like New Super Mario Bros.: Super Old Gameplay and Wii Fit Plus Hardcore w/ Motion Control Extreme Control Peripheral Plus Edition.
But wait! Nintendo is also bringing us the future of gaming with the "vitality sensor" peripheral for Wii! It "senses" your pulse, blood pressure, mood, calorie intake, sense of well being / inner peace, the last time you took a dump, and if there is an Xbox360 or PS3 in the room. Why does it do these things? Nobody (not even Nintendo) knows!
Sony's atom bomb announcement was that the next entry in the Final Fantasy series, coming after Final Fantasy 13, will be inexplicably known as Final Fantasy 14 (weird!). It's an MMO. I'm a big FF fan, honestly, but nobody asked for this. Other big games dropped included God of War 3, which is old news even though it's not even coming out this year, a motion-capable controller peripheral (fucking yawn, seriously), and a non-GTA Rockstar project, which everyone knows will be shit (anyone up for a quick match of Table Tennis? No? How about some Manhunt?).
Oh, and let's not forget that announcement of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PSP. The internet is abuzz with the "plot implications" of the multiple Solid Snakes seen in a few snippets of the trailer, but my question is, what plot? Does anyone really understand this shit? Metal Gear's fiction is as convoluted and nonsensical as Final Fantasy VII's plot experienced through the eyes of a drunk, high, overweight ten year old (and we all know what that was like.. ah, the salad days of our lives as gamers).
And speaking of Final Fantasy VII, the PSP port is currently available for download. That's right, right now. Great. Now where the fuck is my remake?
Finally, what could have been Sony's biggest announcement of all surprised no one, as info about the PSP Go has been leaked on the interwebs for about 100 years.
Microsoft showed off a total of ten "never-before seen" games, half of which had definitely been seen by a lot of people, before announcing new partnerships with social networking giants Facebook, Twitter, and Last.FM. So just in case checking your Facebook notifications or tweetering about what kind of cereal you just ate hasn't become compulsive enough for you, now you can't even play a god damned video game without having to check your friend requests first.
The other big announcement, known as Natal, is supposed to revolutionize the way we play games, or something. Your Xbox somehow (probably black magic) senses your body movements and your voice (not magic, that's just a microphone) and translates that information to game controls. You can move around the 360's dashboard using swipes of your hands. Or you could just use a control stick and Microsoft could concentrate their energy on things that people actually care about. Whatever.
Actual game related announcement included Metal Gear Solid: Rising (why the fuck this franchsie is so popular is something I will never understand), Forza Motorsport 3, Crackdown 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Alan Wake. Bungie was present to toot its own horn by announcing that a multiplayer beta key for the just-announced Halo: Reach will be included with every copy of September's Halo: ODST, a move which sold thousands of copies of Crackdown when they did the same thing with the Halo 3 multiplayer beta two years ago. Milk that cash cow!
Finally, I actually think getting the remaining half of The Beatles to come on stage and hawk Rock Band: The Beatles, which I doubt they could give two shits about, was quite the "achievement" (haha). Why would Paul McCartney want to pretend to play his own basslines on a plastic controller modeled after his own guitar? Yeah, I'm sure.
Better luck next year, everyone!
-- Mike Rougeau