Sunday, June 16, 2013

Making The Grade: E3 2013


Another E3 has come and gone and this year was certainly one of the most memorable in quite some time. We witnessed the reveal of two brand new consoles from Microsoft and Sony, respectively, as well as a bevy of new and intriguing games. With both Microsoft and Sony taking wildly diverging paths with their press conferences this E3 was truly one for the ages. Surprisingly though, Nintendo decided to not have a press conference at all this year. The Big N instead opted for one of their Nintendo Direct videos starring Satoru Iwata showing off all of their new games. So, let's see how they did, shall we?

Microsoft
Following their May reveal and a flurry of rumors about the Xbox One, Microsoft revealed a striking gameplan for their upcoming entertainment console. You've all seen the headlines about necessary internet connections and an always-on Kinect so I won't rehash those here but needless to say the reaction was decisive. Microsoft showed off quite a bunch of games but so few of them caught my eye and truly impressed me that I was actually getting more bored as their conference continued.


At first I was ecstatic that Killer Instinct was finally returning after an overlong hiatus that's lasted since the days of the Nintendo 64's Killer Instinct Gold, but as details have started to emerge I've lost almost all interest in what could have been a must-have game in my opinion. 


The fact that all except one of the characters are going to be DLC and that this once technical fighter has been reduced to mere button mashing is a major disappointment. Sure, the game looks fantastic in action but graphics aren't everything as has been proven with many fighters in recent years.

  
Respawn Entertainment's Xbox One exclusive Titanfall was the game to beat at Microsoft's conference. This multiplayer FPS seems like a total blast with both on foot and mech battles coming at 60fps. To tell the truth Titanfall is the only game for the Xbox One that really grabbed me, from the released footage this release looks like a total blast and I'll definitely try it when it is eventually released.

VERDICT

Overall this was, with the exception of a few good points, a downer of a conference from Microsoft. The anti-consumer angle they're going for truly rubs me the wrong way and the $499 pricetag isn't very enticing either. A D+ is all I can muster for Microsoft this year.


Sony


This year Sony really took the fight to Microsoft in almost every way possible. From a price point $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, digs at the used game "controversy", to a heavy showcase of indie developers, Sony didn't falter in their mission for the Playstation 4 to be the home for gamers in the coming generation. Along with the new console they also revealed a few games that were beyond intriguing.


The Order: 1886 from Ready At Dawn Studios and Sony Santa Monica looks to be a truly original beast. Ready At Dawn, known mostly for their PSP releases, seem ready to take the step into the home market with this alternate history take on Victorian London with a heavy technological vibe. 


Though no actual gameplay was shown, the in-engine trailer was gorgeous and gave a bunch of hints as to what to expect when this game finally releases. In The Order the Industrial Revolution was basically enacted in order to better fight the monsters that plague the human race, using a bunch of neo-futuristic weapons and impressive facial hair. This is definitely one of my most anticipated PS4 releases.


Though not a PS4 exclusive, Bungie's ambitious new game Destiny seems like it will turn a lot of heads once released. Billed as a "shared world" shooter by the developer, Destiny will be an ongoing multiplayer battle for the liberation of the planet with MMO elements and on-the-fly matchmaking. 



From the looks of it, this seems like a more serious take on Borderlands with just as much, if not more customization involved. The Public Event that was showcased encompassed a few separate platoons trying to take down a gigantic walking tank. Bungie's design seems better than ever and I couldn't be more excited to play this the day it comes out.

VERDICT

This was a particularly strong showing from Sony this year, righting many of the wrongs from 2012's conference. Though they didn't really show off many games for the Vita, in fact they only showed a few logos, the Vita's second screen capabilities for the PS4 seem like a great fit for the struggling handheld. The Playstation 4 looks to be a fantastic console with some great potential, this Winter should be a very interesting time. I'd have to give Sony a solid B+ this year.

Nintendo


Nintendo, for intents and purposes, made the smart choice this year by not having a flashy press conference like Sony and Microsoft. They chose what was basically a video press release and I'd say it suited them just fine. Nintendo was able to be quick and to the point and show off some pretty cool looking games that they have in the pipeline. 


One of Nintendo's big hitters and a potential system seller for the Wii U, Super Smash Bros. was the game everyone was looking forward to. A high-def sequel to one of the company's biggest and most popular franchises, this entry looks to be bigger than ever and was the one game that everyone has been talking about. 


Though they've only announced three new characters so far, I'm sure that many more will be announced over the next year leading up to the release. Mega Man, the Animal Crossing Villager and the Wii Fit Trainer have all been announced so far and their move set seems pretty intriguing to say the least. Mega Man's ability to steal his bosses weapons looks to be his main draw in what I can only imagine to be a very difficult character to master come next year.



While everyone else was clamoring over Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario 3D World, the Nintendo game that got me more excited than anything else would have to be Monolith Soft's upcoming open world RPG, codenamed X. The highly anticipated follow up to the fantastic Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii, this game seems to be an experience huge in scope and ambition.


 Planned to have a large scale open-world with near seamless exploration, this game will probably push the boundaries of what the Wii U can do from a technical standpoint. Featuring giant transforming Mechs called DOLLS and battles taking place on land, in the air and at sea, X looks to be a crazy good time and is currently my most anticipated Wii U release.

VERDICT

Nintendo did their best this year to drum up excitement for the struggling Wii U and although they certainly didn't hit it out of the park, Iwata and Co. showed off some truly impressive games. As always with them though, third-party support was lacking, but that's par for the course for Nintendo at this stage in the game. So for their exclusives alone I'd have to grade them a decent B-.




So between the two heavy hitters at this years E3 we had two companies with vastly different ideologies that went after different kinds of gamers. We also had Nintendo stop by and say hello with a few great exclusives to show off. Who will win the Next-Generation of the "console war?" Who knows? At least it will be an interesting ride come November.



1 comment:

Doug Hack said...

Gotta agree with you one the battle between Microsoft and Sony. Personally I feel that the PS4 is primed for success. Regardless as to how many good exclusives the Xbox One may have, I really do not think it will be able to beat the PS4. So I have to ask, what do you think of the new Smash Bros. so far and Nintendo's limited showing? I'll be getting Smash for 3DS and while I think Megaman was a great addition, the Villager and Wii Fit Trainer didn't really impress me. Still waiting for classic characters like King K. Rool to make it.