Tuesday, June 22, 2010
E3 2010: The good, the bad, and the 'are you serious?'
Hello again all of you. There is a lot I could have written about E3, but I decided to write about what each of the big three (sony, microsoft and nintendo) had to offer. Enjoy!
Microsoft Motion Control
Microsoft shed new light on their motion based controls they call “Kinect.” It is kind of like the Wii, but without the controller. When it was first announced, it looked pretty cool. People seemed to receive it well and excitement was buzzing. Then they showed us a demo. While you will have to watch some of the videos for yourself I will say that they are horrible. The Kinect does not look fun to play…at all.
A prime example is “Kinect Adventures.” The demo we saw for this game was river rafting. If you looked on the screen you see two animated characters racing down a river in a raft. No problems with that. The actual human participation was the issue. If you looked at the people all you saw was two women leaning to the right and leaning to the left pretending to have fun. Oh, and I forgot that they would occasionally hop when they wanted to jump their raft. While the game does encourage participation and does this well, it is just not that exciting. It doesn’t look like the kind of thing that will keep someone playing.
Another game was “Kintect Sports” where the player commands a mighty running back running down a foot ball field. Now, you don’t really even run. Or steer the football player. All you do is perform correct movement to dodge the defense (jump, duck ect…) and that’s it. Again, not very exciting.
The real issue Kinect is facing is that the Wii has already done this and done it well. This thing is months from launch and it is performing like this? Not good. Its not like this is Microsoft’s first time they struggled at launch. Even the Xbox 360 was a failure when it came out. Consoles were breaking all over the place. So will they be able to rise out of the dust? I do not know. The only thing this technology is going to be good for in the future is more of a natural user interface when navigating menus. All of the menus are commanded by voice and touch movements. This is ingenious and probably the best part about Kinect. I am sure this type of interface will catch on in the future.
Maybe once more people get to play this thing it will end up being better than we thought. The tech it uses is nothing short of amazing. I mean, no one has done controller free gameplay before. While it sounds as if I am condemning it I will leave it open to the possibility of it being fun. I really, really want Microsoft to prove me wrong with this one because what we have seen so far isn’t so great. In short: Tech= awesome. Game play and functionality= not awesome.
Sony Motion Control
Sony also announced a motion control system. The “Playstaion Move” is taking more of a Ninento Wii approach with a controller. This one looks much better. Not only does it look more enjoyable, it is an all around better product. I guess you could say it is the Wii, but with real games. The games they are coming out with aren’t just “Playstation Move Sports” or “Playstation Move Adventure” they are normal games, albeit with motion controls. That means we will see shooters, platformers and the like. This is brilliant, because that is mainly what their audience plays. They saw their audience, and they acted. Microsoft should have done that.
They also announced that some already existing games for the PS3 will have a software update that will allow Move compatibility. While this is awesome, I am not sure that motion capability will make some of these games worth giving a second look. The move controller will be priced at $50 with some of the other accessories being slightly over priced. If the Move is as awesome as it looks, then price really shouldn’t be a problem. They also announced 3D capability that is coming to the PS3 system. The great thing about this is that all they will need to do is send out a software update. The Playstaion 3 system already has 3D capability.
Nintendo got off to a real rocky start with their presentations. They couldn’t even get the Wiimote to work during one of their demonstrations. Nice.
Then they showcased the “Nintendo 3DS” and people stopped laughing and were captivated. Essentially what the 3DS is, is a Nintendo DS system that is entirely 3D. You don’t even need any kind of glasses. Now, everyone was a skeptic, even me. Then they busted out this baby and let people try it. The reviews have almost all been full of “this thing is amazing”, and “wow, it really works.”
I am not alone in saying I will surely be buying one of these. Usually anything can impress the casual gamer. It takes a pot of gold and a rainbow to even make a hardcore gamer smile a little bit. But this is making them act like a bunch of giddy school girls. I am excited to see if it is really as good as everyone is saying.
It isn’t only the handheld itself that is stirring excitement, but the game library. A good set of games is going to be released with this thing. And another thing: the graphics are stunning. They took it to a whole new level of visuals with this one.
My favorite thing about Nintendo has to be how humble and quiet they are for this. Microsoft has been talking about their little motion project for quite a while now. The amount of hype was almost as much as the total letdown gamers received. Not a whole lot was known about the 3DS until they busted it out at E3. They had a trump card and they used it at the perfect time: game, set, match. Now we are just going to have to wait for the release to see if this thing catches on.
Out of all the companies, I have to say that Nintendo stole the show by far. If you haven’t noticed, Nintendo has become something of trend setter in the gaming world as if late: first motion controls with the Wii, now 3D on a handheld. Not to mention the monopoly they have on the handheld market with the DS. While the other game makers presented good technology Nintendo already has their ideas simplified and ready to ship. Well done Nintendo, well done.