Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wait, Haven't I Played This Already?

"Thank you sir, may I have another?" by Micheal Abbot, The Brainy Gamer

So, for the past few days, I've been mesmerized by all those sweet, sweet trailers and gameplay footages of exciting and adrenaline pumping action filled games shown at E3 2009. I guess this is precisely why I failed to really understand why I responded to each of big press conferences in the way I did. When I read the post I've linked above, it hit me: Everything shown here at E3 is pretty much the same thing I've enjoyed so far.

As Micheal puts, "[i]t's pretty much one male power fantasy game after another (featuring, by the way, powerful white guys presented on stage by loquacious white guys to an audience of mostly white guys.) Awe-inspiring technology aside, it's hard to see where the progress is." High-powered action FPS? Check. Brutal stealth game? Check. Cool cars? Check. How about meaningful, touching, and deep drama that reveals something about ourselves? Um.... not check.

As you can see, the line up of titles at the conferences tell what kind of audience they had in each hall: as Micheal quotes Heather Chaplin's rant at GDC, "[they] aren’t men. [They] are stunted adolescents." And thus, each companies showcased toys that'd make them go awe and yay about.

When I finished Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, I was truly satisfied; it was the pinnacle of what today's video game experience can bring about. However, it was released already two year ago, and I moved on. I want to see something different now. But Moden Warfare 2 demo, while intriguing, didn't seem like a full sequel; with same gameplay mechanics, it was more of an expansion pack.

The change I want is not here.. ..yet, I hope.

Sony... Well...?

So, E3 is officially underway, and Microsoft, Sony, and the Big N have had their two-hour-long press conferences. Nintendo held the same old presser with numbers, show-and-tell's, and some announcements; nothing that exciting for me here, not that I expected much out of it. Microsoft--my console creator, and thus, where my obligatory alligence lies (I kid)--pumped my adrenaline and left me happy and excited for contributing a chunk of my money to its big, fat bank account for it to get fatter. But Sony? For someone who wanted to be blown away by their vision, see a crazy dogfight between it and other companies with new and exciting titles, I must say I came out very disturbed. Disturbed because I wasn't excited at all.

Sure, they did announce next next Final Fantasy title, Final Fantasy XIV, but as soon as the word "Online" was shown, I stopped caring. (I am not about to start caring for any other MMOG than upcoming The Secret World.) They also showed many huge titles, like Assassin's Creed 2, God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, and so on, but nothing really blew my mind away. Well, except The Last Guardian.

But none of these were new, nor that intriguing.

AC2's gameplay was marginally better than the first. Sure they showed various things to do, but I think guys at Ubisoft Montreal got a wrong idea of what players actually want: variety of quests to do, not more gimicks and tricks.

God of War III also showed pretty much the same gameplay as the two previous games: chained blade action, check. Brutal finishers, check. Huge and action filled backgroud, check. So, what's new? Just better graphics, I guess.

And Final Fantasy XIII? SquareEnix has been teasing the game for like eternity that I feel like I've already played that game.

I guess I consider Sony to be the one to evolve the industry with its support to artistic games, more innovative narrative games, and so on. If they had shown Heavy Rain, or some more titles like that, I'd probably have rated this presser much, much higher than Microsoft's. But well, Sony thought they needed to mimic others, and so, they failed to impress me.

My score for Sony: C-.

Games shown at Sony's E3 2009 Press Conference that I care about:

  • God of War III
  • The Last Guardian
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online
  • MAG
  • Assassin's Creed 2
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • Gran Tourismo 5

Monday, June 1, 2009

Aaaaaaand Microsoft Hits BIG!!!

Image from Kotaku

And just like that, Microsoft Press Conference has come and gone. (You can view the full video here.)

Thanks to the conference and ever so thankful live streaming services (especially, today's productivity at work has been utterly pathetic--The whole thing was two-full-hours long!

The conference had Splinter Cell: Conviction, Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Forza Motorsport 3, working demo of Final Fantasy XIII (and it's surprisingly early release window, Spring 2010), and... Hideo Kojima's appearance and the introduction of a brand new title, Metal Gear Rising! (If you thought Raiden looked awesome in MGS 4, you're gonna love this--it's a whole seperate title with him as the main character!)

There were many, many more announcements and videos and demos, and my head's just mesmerized with all those goodies right now. My response to the conference is basically written out at Gamasutra.

PS. Today isn't exactly E3; it's pre-E3 conferences with E3 starting on Wednesday. Still, I can already tell, it's going to be a hell of a fun week. Now, I have to make sure I do get some work done...

EDIT: Games shown at Microsoft Press Conference @ E3 2009 (that I care about):

  • Modern Warfare 2
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • Shadow Complex
  • Crackdown 2
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction (!!!)
  • Forza Motorsport 3
  • Halo 3: ODST
  • Halo Reach
  • Alan Wake
  • Metal Gear Solid: Rising
  • Possible future title by Steven Spielberg...?

Non-Game features shown at the conference that I care about:

  • Project Natal (mo-cap feature add-on for Xbox360)
  • Nilo (Lionhead's Virtual Intelligence boy)
  • Netflix sharing
  • Facebook extension
  • Tweeter(!)

E3 2009 Is Here!

E3 2009 has finally arrived at LA Convention Center, and in about 2 hours, the highly anticipated Microsoft Press Conference will begin. (You can watch web streaming via Gamespot HERE.)

With two years (or was it just one year?) of scaled-down, or rather, dumbed-down show, this year's E3 is said to be the return to the former, glorious show with large show floors, extravagant booths, and, of course, booth babes.

E3 is the time when big players in vido game industry make numerous announcements of coming products and services, it is an exciting event.

And as a Xbox360 owner, I am psyched about Microsoft's press conference and what they have up in their sleeve!

How about you? Are you excited??