Thoughts about E3 2009

monkey-thinkingIt’s taken me a few days to pour through all the information from e3 2009. Needless to say it was an impressive show! Apparently the organizers got the balance just right this year – not too big, but not too small. Plus the presentations focused on entertainment not boring numbers and sales stats. I hope it will be the same again next year!

Here is the list of games I was most impressed with that showed actual gameplay:

* Uncharted 2 – Loved the building collapse. Game of the show for me.
* God of War III – Looks to be the same great game with with next-gen polish and even more epicness.
* Assassins Creed 2 – The developers stated they are focused on bringing more variety and better missions than the last game 🙂
* Splinter Cell – Bringing a slew of original new gameplay elements to the stealth action genre.
* Modern Warfare 2 – The snow level looked absolutely stunning.
* Mass Effect 2 – Not much gameplay shown but the trailer looked awesome!
* Alan Wake – Impressive lighting.

Best cinematic trailer:

* StarWars: Old Republic – I’ve heard commentators say this clip is better than all the prequels. I almost agree!

Motion control:

All the hype was for motion control this E3 and it is easy to get excited about the prospect of running around in games like Oblivion unleashing fireballs, swinging swords, firing arrows and picking up items via motion control…. but I’m not buying into it yet. It needs to be a significantly better experience than using a standard controller otherwise it is just a novelty that soon wears off. I have no doubt it will be massively popular with the casual audience as the Wii has proven to be, but I’m still unconvinced that it is the best way to control AAA hardcore titles like God of War, Grand Theft Auto, etc. Still, all it would take is just one killer app to change my mind. Sony mentioned their solution could easily control RTS games which blipped my radar (Blizzard games for PS3!?). If it does become the preferred way to play games it’s going to be harder for developers to release multi-platform games because each of the platforms technology is quite different.

Disappointments:

* Dragon Age – It didn’t bring anything new to the table for e3 but I’m still looking forward to it.
* OnLive – No show
* Lack of PC games coverage

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2 Responses to “Thoughts about E3 2009”

  1. I have to agree about motion control. The best aspect of the wii mote has so far proven to be the IR pointing which really does replicate and even improves on the type of control a mouse gives you. you can very accurately pick off pin point head shots from miles away without any need for any degree of auto aiming that dual sticks require to make the analogue stick experience bearable. But as far as motion goes I don’t think it’s accurate enough and is too laggy. We will see what the Motion Plus brings to the table as I think Nintendo do have the right idea in that you need a fairly traditional controller with lots of buttons and analogue stick as well as motion controls in one package but to date the motion stuff is just not there. It’s laggy and often unresponsive yet it’s the motion that others are rushing to copy?! According to Sony their solution is extremely accurate so that’s promising but it’s only a flippin prototype with a few tech demos!? It’s true one to one responsiveness and unlike Microsofts solution you still have an actual controller in your hand (that the camera tracks) which has buttons and an analogue trigger etc on it but that’s just to say they will soon have (next year??) something that matches the feature set of Nintendo’s controller (now that they have motion plus coming soon) but devs have had years of practice working with the wii mote already. People have pointed out that there’s nothing to preclude someone holding a controller while using microsofts solution but the fact that it’s not a standard part of their solution that people can work with across the board is a problem. Is it up to every dev to make their own controller for each game they create? And as you pointed out this is a cross platform nightmare in the making. It’s been enough of a bitch for developers to have to make HD games for PS3 and 360 and then entirely different SD versions for the Wii but now they potentially have to deal with three very different control schemes as well!? In some ways this gen is one of the best there’s ever been with some of the most amazing games ever but in other ways it’s a complete cluster fuck and it’s only going to get worse where the customers are the beta testers?! 😀

  2. BTW my top games were…
    Uncharted 2 – I loved the action scenes but have heard and seen that the jungle levels and puzzles elements I loved so much from the first game will feature in this sequel too, they just don’t make for as good a trailer 🙂
    God of War III – As one IGN’er said regarding GoW III (slightly tongue in cheek) “I saw a painting come to life”. This game looks incredible!
    The Last Guardian – The wait for me is going to be unbearable?! I almost wish they didn’t announce this till the week before it was due to come out
    Heavy Rain – This game is getting a lot of attention. It looks stunning and promises to bring us “mature gaming” without “mature” just equating to more blood, guts and gore. The only slight worry is that the characters in it seem to be smack dab in the “uncanny valley” but hey at least they’re in the valley, that’s quite an achievement, most games don’t get anywhere near it 😀
    Scribblenauts – What more can I say about this game. What’s not to love about a game where a Kraken fights all comers but gets his arse kicked by God?! Or where a policeman chases a doughnut up a tree only to be swallowed up by a black hole!? It’s just a lot a silly fun with a bit of complete madness thrown in. It would be amazing enough if you could only summon anything that came to mind but the fact that they all interact with each other in logical and meaningful ways is just incredible?!
    Assassins Creed 2 – Despite it’s flaws I have basically played through AC1 twice so the prospect of a sequal sans flaws is just too exciting. My only fear is that by eradicating the old flaws they introduce a whole new bunch of em. I’ll still play it to death though 🙂
    Super Mario Galaxy 2 – More of the same? I hope so!

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