Monday, July 14, 2008

E3 2008: Microsoft Strikes First

I will be keeping a diary of the three major E3 2008 press conferences- Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Inspired by Bill Simmons’ NBA Draft Diary, the Sports Guy on ESPN, I will be sharing my minute-by-minute thoughts. Since I’m writing fast, a lot of the sentences will be fragments; excuse my grammar but, this way you get the most important information really fast.

E3 2008 Diary- Microsoft Press Conference- Watching G4 coverage.

1:09- Oops, I missed the first 9 minutes. This is good though, means I hear less from the G4 crew.

1:10- Adam (the guy in the purple shirt) looks like he’s having a seizure. Can he sit still? Wow, I haven’t since this discombobulated reporting in a long time. I hate G4.

1:14- Microsoft Press Conference coming at 1:30 Eastern Time. Microsoft has a lot to prove since most of the known games are sequels. Need something new, not a motion sensor controller.

1:17- Mulitplayer for Gears of War 2. Stopping power new element for Gears. Can’t just run up to people anymore or else you’ll get stopped by bullets. More cover-based gameplay. Meat shields are like a “get out of jail free” card. I didn’t know corpses like playing Monopoly. Are there on-going Monopoly games in Hell?

1:20- Second time I see a bunny getting coins as a commercial for Gamestop. I am a little frightened.

1:24-I hate these announcers. They interrupt each other and obviously not prepared. Very unprofessional. Thank goodness for so many commercial breaks.

1:26- Ah! Coin bunny again!

1:27- writes: “Portal: Still Alive? The game is hitting Xbox LIVE Arcade in 2008. It will feature single player and "a new challenge mode.” Looks like I’ll be spending time at my friend’s house who has an Xbox360.

1:29- Microsoft press conference getting underway. Can these G4 people stop talking? My ears are beginning to bleed. Adam makes a good point. Xbox needs new franchises.

1:31- Don Matterick-Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business speaks.

1:32- Loyal fans and for everyone. Brand new experience? All of the games he is talking about have a number at the end of them. Yeah I’m excited about Gears 2, but I need more too.

1:34- Black & White trailer. 1950’s home. “Prepare for the future with Vault-Tec.” Panoramic view of bombed area. Obviously we’re looking at Fallout 3.

1:36- Live demo of Fallout 3. Please reconnect controller. Lolz. Takes place in 2277, in Washington DC. Neat. Sharp graphics for Fallout 3. Good menu interface on the main characters wristwatch. Different styles of gameplay, stealthy, combat or persuasive.

1:42- Resident Evil 5. Straight to the demo, very good. Ah, I love the camera change they first installed in RE4. Not a fan of RE myself. But the online co-op mode in RE5is… wow. One sniping with the other using machine gun. I love co-op play and this looks like they really work well together. Chainsaw guy looks menacing. March 13 2009, US release. Hm, I don’t even like RE and I’m impressed. Again, looks like more of the same.

1:48- Fable 2. “Fable 2 is finished.” Um, then why isn’t it out yet? Beautiful landscape views, snowy town. Start as a little kid, grow into hero. Dog is an AI agent. Co-op over Live!? Sick. Orbs signify that people are playing one-player mode, and if you see them you can invite them into your campaign. No annoying lobbies. Efficient, nice. Your world and character are unique depending what you do. More non-didactic gameplay. Fully unique world. Very impressive. October release date.

1:53-Gears of War 2. Gameplay looks like carbon copy of last engine. Not that this is a bad thing. Quickly using the new meat shield element. Awesome new enemy designs. Moveable shield covers. Flamethrower bad guys? Killa sweet. Enemies much smarter too, they roll and dodge well. Chainsaw kills always rule. Excellent elevator sequence in burning building. I am really impressed by the gameplay. Fast-action, fast paced, very smooth .New horde mode announced that has 5 players with increasing waves of progressively harder enemies. Nov.7 release date.

2:02- Don Matterick again. Xbox360 is the biggest form of entertainment? Pompous much? Estimated $48 billion spending of video games. More than box office and DVD movies.

2:06-Tons of wanking about things Xbox Live already has. I congratulate you for making money Microsoft.

2:07- NBC partners up with XboxLive. Do I care? No. I’m a gamer.

2:09- More Live stuff. New interface upon putting on your Xbox. New avatars. Looks like Wii a little bit?

2:13- Oh fantastic. A random local commercial break midway through the presentation.

2:16- Multiplayer online game show? Cool or gimmicky? I can’t tell.

2:19- New geometry wars 2 coming next month. Looks like more of the same. Still probably loads of fun.

2:20- Cool! New Galaga. SHUMPs rule.

2:20- Portal still alive….and that’s it? Thank you for telling me about new levels and showing me NOTHING.

2:21- South park game? k….

2:22- I’m bored now. Less games and more movies. Great. Wait you can view Netflix on Xbox? Ho hum, my PC can do that too. Ah, you can share your movies in party though. Interesting.

2:26- New exclusive Banjo-Kazooie. I hope Rare doesn’t blow this one like DK64.

2:27- Viva Pinata- Get cards and scan them onto your Xbox game. Sounds like a money-making scam.

2:29-Scene it Box office Smash. Um… don’t care?

2:31- You’re in the movies. Don is running in clown pants. Looks… not fun? Oh look, they're slapping at wasps now. Sorry, I like innovation but this looks lame. The announcer voice is driving me insane too. Even the people playing the game look awkward. Ah, so the silly motions you make turn into a movie? Even the audience gives fake applause.

2:37- Music games. Here we go, Guitar Hero: World Tour. There’s the Drum Set, looks good, looks expensive. Metallica is releasing their whole new album on GHIII and GH:WT to download. That’s sick and smart, especially for Metallica. Wait, Metallica still makes albums? Aren’t they 60 years old by now?

2:42- Lips. Looks like you can take your Ipod music and make it into Karaoke style. Motion sensitive mics. Now this looks promising, but I really can’t imagine anyone spending more money on video game controllers. Neat musical performance. Did Duffy (whoever that is) mess up her own lyrics? Yes. Yes she did. Looks promising though.

2:49- Rock Band 2- Huge Set list. Something GH didn’t show. Rock Band gets Guns and Roses, Bob Dylan and ACDC (Let there be Rock!?). 84 tracks. Damn. Forward compatibility for tracks to Rock Band 2 from original Rock Band. 500 songs by Holiday ’08. Rock Band clearly had the better showing today over GH.

2:54 SquareEnix speaks. Infinite Undiscovery, Xbox 360 Exclusive. Sept. 2, release date. Star Ocean in Spring 2009. The Last Remnant, this holiday 11.20.2008.

2:57- Last Remnant footage. What, that was it? Graphics look pretty but I have no idea what kind of RPG this is. Man, this press conference is really underwhelming.

3:00- SquareEnix with a surprise? Text too small but looks pretty from far away… oh man, OH MAN, Sony will be pissed. That looks like Final Fantasy XIII. Yep, yep it is. Now that is big. Final Fantasy XIII to be released on Xbox360.

Well, aside from the FFXIII blockbuster announcement, this E3 press conference was pretty standard. The games look great as expected, the casual game look awful. No interesting new franchises were announced, and the sequels to previous games look like more of the same. In addition, the rumor of a new motion-sensor controller was left unaddressed. The FFXIII announcement now puts the PS3 under-fire though as that was one of their MAIN exclusives. Sony used to be the RPG leader, and Xbox360 just snatched that from them, right under their feet. I await Sony’s response tomorrow.

And who knows what bomb Nintendo may drop? It’s gonna be great tomorrow.


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