An E3 to remember

I really enjoyed E3 this year. As far as the games go — and really, what else is there — this was by far the best line-up I can remember. Outside of the severe lack of downloadable stuff (the quality was up, but the quantity was way, way down; a sign of devs jumping ship to iPhone development?), there were dozens of excellent games, all over the spectrum. Attending my first show as something other than press was…weird; not having to constantly run back to a hotel room or media room to type up rushed previews was a nice change of pace, but it was no less exhausting. Between having a few meetings, checking out the booths of every relevant publisher, and catching up with dozens of industry friends and equally friendly strangers (if you took a second to say hello, again I thank you), it was quite overwhelming. Especially considering my two day, one night whirlwind tour.

I’m also glad that E3 is somewhat back to its grandeur of old; it makes everything a little more exciting, and having everyone and everything in the same place just has a certain energy that the Santa Monica setup lacked. Anyhow, I thought I’d throw out a few personal awards, since a) this thing could use an update, b) it seems like the hip thing to do, and c)  I just finished watching Independence Day on A&E, and if I can’t make a Bill Pullman-esque motivational speech to the last survivors of earth, I may as well update my geek blog for geeks.

Lamest anything related to E3: Leaks
Seriously, if The Last Guardian trailer hadn’t of leaked the bulk of its contents a couple of weeks ago, it would have easily been the talk of the show. And when people have had months to speculate on the details of a hardware announcement like the PSP Go, it can’t help but be a bit anticlimactic when it’s finally unveiled. Hell, remember a few years ago when Reggie said “Now I know you haven’t seen this…” and whipped a GB Micro out his pocket? I almost shat myself with excitement, even if I didn’t give a damn by the time I walked out the room.

This is how you show a game award: Uncharted 2.
A face-meltingly awesome live press conference demo, a crazy cinematic new trailer, a same-day multiplayer beta release, and a badass floor demo, all in the service of showing off one of the most promising games, well, ever.

The “Remember when this was called Alone in the Dark and you hated it?” award: Alan Wake
I think Alan Wake looks great. It also looks a helluva lot like the last Alone in the Dark game, while was almost universally reviled (did anyone like it besides me?). So, really, I have no problem here; it just irks me that people are getting excited for something that looks so similar to something else they hated. Hey, fuck off, it’s my blog.

UPDATE: Ha!

Most promising/awesome game you probably forgot about: Borderlands
I’d never seen the game before in person, and seeing a couple missions played out in front of me blew me away. The new cel-shadedish art style is totally gorgeous, and allows them to get away with all sorts of cheeky humor (melting the faces off midgets, for one). The game itself is a rad FPS with all sorts of RPG elements like loot popping out of dead bad guys, and different skill trees to level up for each of the four quite different characters. It’s basically Fallout 3, minus all the reasons I didn’t get into that game, plus a whole bunch more awesome ones. Throw in four-player drop-in co-op, and unless something goes horrible wrong we’re looking at one of the best games of the fall.

Coolest game coming out only on the competition: Shadow Complex
Chair are ridiculously nice people who make damn fine games, and I was worried when they were eaten outright by Epic. But it only seems to have helped them make Shadow Complex even more badass then previously thought possible (I’ve known about it for a while as Empire). They wear their Super Metroid/SoTN influence on their sleeve, and that’s a good, good thing. And while the structure takes its influence from those older games, the visuals, physics, narrative, and core design are all completely up to speed with current standards, making for an incredibly promising package overall. It was odd that the XBLA line-up was so lacking, but Shadow Complex almost atoned for it single-handedly. (runner-up: Crackdown 2, which was essentially only an announcement in name, but I’ll be there Day 1).

Best game that will obviously be amazing: The Last Guardian
SoTC is my favorite game, by a wide margin. Those feelings of isolation, awe, companionship, and pure exploratory satisfaction all look to be present in The Last Guardian, and since almost no other games have even bothered to try those sorts of things since SoTC, I’m looking forward to it more than ever. The trailer is astounding, and will be my most-anticipated game until the moment it comes out. If you’ve seen it, you know.

Best anything ever, period: Scribblenauts
I know I’m not alone in this opinion anymore, but I was one of the first, dammit! Find me a game-of-the-show sentiment uttered before my tweet from 12:54 on June 3rd, and I’ll show you a Nick Suttner proven wrong. Anyhow, Scribblenauts is one of those rare games where if it executed on its concept 100%, it would automatically be amazing. Imagine if Spore had actually done that! In Scribblenauts, you write or type out the object you’re thinking of, and it appears. Any. Object. Chupacabra? That works. Manticore? that too. Durian? Unfortunately, yes. I didn’t even get to the puzzle-solving aspect (which sounds fantastic) in my two sessions with the game; I simply futzed around on the title screen sandbox and giggled with glee as my imagination came to life and acted accordingly. I wish I had been recording my playtime, but check out some video if you haven’t yet (including one with a surprise guest!). I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this game and the things I want to try since the show, and I have a feeling it’s going to live in the back of my brain until it finally comes out in the fall. Oh man.

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Published in: on June 7, 2009 at 10:52 pm  Comments (5)