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jalexbrown

E3 2010 Preview Part One

By: jalexbrown May 6, 2010 | 6 Comments

Check out my first of a couple articles laying out what E3 2010 might look like.

I don’t need to tell you that E3 is upon us.  It’s that time of the year again where rumors and speculation run rampant; everyone wants to get their say in what the next E3 will hold.  I’m not going to take too much time to indulge in speculation, although I admittedly might throw a claim or two that is sheerly based on my own guesswork, but most of what I’m going to assume we’ll see at E3 is based on announcements made and things saw at last year’s E3.

So the big three: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.  These are probably the guys you most want to see, because they usually set the stage for all the awesome exclusives.  And I’d say everyone can rejoice, because we’ve got good reason to believe that all three will be showing some slick exclusives and brand new things.              

First, let’s look at Nintendo.  I broke news on Gouki about the Nintendo 3DS, and since it’s been officially confirmed, I see every reason to believe we’ll see Nintendo showing off their plans for the 3DS launch.  As far as what properties could be present at the 3DS launch is anyone’s guess at this point, but I don’t think expecting to see a new Mario or Zelda 3DS is too far out of the realm of possibility.  Aside from that we could potentially get a new Pokemon game (perhaps the rumored Pokemon Black/White) or a portable Super Smash Brothers game (they must know that the fans have been asking for it).  And speaking of Zelda, I’m expecting to see some Zelda Wii stuff on display as well, and possibly even some Metroid: Other M stuff since it got a pushed-back release date.  There is some speculation about seeing a Wii HD, but I have a feeling that no such announcement will come from Nintendo at this year’s E3; I think the 3DS will be enough from a hardware perspective.

Let’s move on to Microsoft.  Last year Microsoft unveiled Natal; this year I expect them to kick up the presentations twofold and probably put it out for demo as well.  Microsoft knows how skeptical people have been since last year’s Milo presentation, so they might take the perfect opportunity to comfort all of the Natal naysayers.  But Natal won’t really be the big fish in the sea, because that will go to Halo Reach and Fable 3.  Both of these games are getting a spectacular amount of hype, and much like Natal both titles have a fair amount of naysayers.  Microsoft, Lionhead, and Bungie will be a force to be reckoned with.  I’m expecting a campaign demo for Halo Reach (the only thing I can imagine since the multiplayer is already in private beta), and some sort of hands-on for Fable 3 (perhaps showing off the Natal features).  I also wonder if Microsoft won’t maybe have a trailer for Mass Effect 3 in store; I’d say it’s a strong possibility.

Out of the members of the big three, we really know the least about what Sony’s got going on.  With the exception of Move, most of what they showed off last year will be out by this year’s E3.  At least we can safely assume that Move will out for demonstration, and I’m sure Sony will be pushing hype on a bunch of titles that will use it.  I can imagine that we’ll maybe get to see a trailer for Resistance 3 (after the whole billboard deal was circulated), and perhaps even LittleBigPlanet 2 (a rumor, I’m afraid).  But there is a ray of sunshine in all of this: there are endless possibilities for franchises that Sony could take interest in revisiting or moving to the PS3, far more than I could consider listing.  So I guess what I’m admitting is that Sony’s show will be the most up-in-the-air, but I’m optimistic that they have some great surprises in store.

So I think that’s going to wrap up part one of my E3 preview.  Keep reading, because I should get around to getting some third-party speculations up before too long.  In the meantime don’t forget to make Gouki one of your stops for E3 coverage and information!

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Nintendo press conference

By: jalexbrown Jun 15, 2010 | 2 Comments

My impressions of Nintendo's keynote inside.

Okay, so I already posted a story about the Zelda announcement that headed Nintendo's keynote.  Since I already talked about that, I'll invite you jump to that article instead of me having to talk about it again.  So please, feel free to go read it and then come back - but please come back, because otherwise you will miss some incredible announcements.

You back?  Okay,  Good.

After Skyward Sword, Nintendo immediately went on to show a trailer for Mario Sports Mix.  I'm not a big fan of the Mario sports games of the past - but being on the Wii and having a mixture of sports in the same game, this actually looks pretty awesome.  There was a nice mix of sports including soccer, basketball, and volleyball.  And while Mario Sports Mix wasn't quite jaw-dropping, it was still a really nice announcement just the same.  Mario Sports Mix will be out in 2011.

Should I skip Wii Party?  If you take Mario Party and replace the Mario characters with Miis, then you've got Wii Party.  I just don't get it.  But oh well, I'm not going to dwell on it.

Just Dance 2...pass.

Next was a trailer for Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.  The trailer looked amazing.  This is classic JRPG that I've been wanting on the DS.  I'm really pumped about this game - a lot more than I expected to be prior to Nintendo's keynote.  I'm just...wow, this is going to be amazing.  If you're a Golden Sun fan, or just a JRPG fan in general, then you have to check this game out.  It will be out during the holiday season of 2010.

Goldeneye 007 Wii was the next announcement.  Now, I must say: the trailer - it looked like utter crap.  The visuals here were beyond disappointing, and the gameplay didn't really look like anything all that amazing.  Anyone that has played a Wii first-person shooter will already know that this probably won't end up very well, but still...it's Goldeneye, so it's definitely going to be a big deal for a lot of people.  It comes out during the holiday season of 2010.

Warren Spector came out to commentate on an Epic Mickey demo.  At first I was pretty skeptical; the beginning of the demo looked pretty lame.  But then Mickey jumped into a movie screen, and it went into a side-scrolling level themed after the Steamboat Willy cartoon - complete with black and white visuals.  At that point I was interested, but I really wish that the whole game was going to be 2D platforming; the 3D areas still looked like boring garbage.

The trailer for Kirby's Epic Yarn was...well, I'm not really sure what to say about it.  It's not my cup of tea - I can say that much for certain.  I think that the art style is charming enough to some people, but I just wasn't feeling it.  A Kirby fan might be into this; since I'm not a Kerby fan, I can't say much about this - except that it comes out in the fall of 2010.

There was a new trailer for Metroid: Other M that makes it look even better than it did last year.  The action looks to be amazingly smooth and fresh.  I think Metroid: Other M has a lot of potential to be amazing.  Team Ninja and Nintendo together - at first I was pretty skeptical, but now that I've seen more of it in action, I think it could just blow a lot of people's minds.  And the best part is the release date: August 31 of this year.

And then...and then...oh man, I think I'm going to faint!  Donkey...Kong...Country...Returns!  They showed off a trailer of this game, and I immediately had a nostaligic geek-out moment.  I literally jumped out of my chair in excitement.  The premise is that they're basically taking Donkey Kong Country and giving it the New Super Mario Brothers Wii treatment - and let me tell you something: it looks amazing!  As hard as it is for me to believe, this announcement totally owned Nintendo's keynote for me hands-down.  And it's coming out this year!!!  I'm...*passes out*

Nintendo revealed what Project Nora really was - Kid Icarus Uprising.  This is going to be a 3DS game.  The trailer looked really intriguing and fun.  And if the trailer gameplay is really any indication, then the 3DS is capable of some truly amazing graphics - because these looked almost like Wii graphics; I kid you not.  I'm...well, this could be really good.  I'm paying attention Nintendo; wow me.

The end of the keynote was the announcement of the actual Nintendo 3DS.  The whole "3D without glasses" concept was a bit overplayed, and unfortunately watching the keynotes on television offer you no way to see how this will actually look.  But we know that all you care about is the games, and Nintendo chose to focus on the third-party with a crapload of fantastic third-party titles in development:  DJ Hero 3D, Kingdom Hearts 3DS, Saint's Row 3DS, Madden and FIFA for 3DS, Resident Evil 3DS, Batman 3DS, Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy, Ridge Racer 3DS, and...Metal Gear Solid 3DS(!!!).  Nintendo wasn't telling us anything about these games besides the fact that they're in development, but that's undeniably an amazing lineup of third-party games.  The only first-party that Nintendo mentioned was the aforementioned Kid Icarus Uprising and Nintendogs + Cats.  If Nintendo can keep a strong focus on the third-party, than the 3DS could end up being a real winner.

So Nintendo's conference was amazing - no need to tell you that.  Nintendo basically made all of the announcements that we've been speculating about for the last two or three years.  Bravo Nintendo.

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Sony Press Conference

By: jalexbrown Jun 15, 2010 | 2 Comments

My impressions of Sony's E3 2010 press conference inside.

Sony, Sony, Sony...whatever would we do without you?

Okay, so I'm going to jump right into it: Killzone 3.  There was a demo of Killzone 3 that literally blew my mind.  I enjoyed Killzone 2 immensely, and Killzone 3 just looks so much better - amazing.  Sony was also really pushing the fact that Killzone 3 would have native 3D support and native Move support.  Rather or not I care about either is still up in the air, but you can't deny that it's a great incentive and great features for the people that are demanding it.  Killzone 3 will be released in February of 2011.

Sony talked about a few other games that would have native 3D support, including Mortal Kombat, Sly Collection, and Gran Turismo 5.  Sony is really spending a lot of energy to push the 3D support on people, and I really believe that 3D is part of the future of Sony's business strategy.

Sony talked about the Move, including the release date and pricing.  Sony Move will officially be released in the US on September 19, 2010.  The controllers alone will retail for $49.99 for the controller plus $29.99 for the navigator controller.  There will also be a bundle including a Move-based sports game for $99.99; the hundred dollar bundle will be packed in with a PS3 for $399.99.

Sony showed off a few Move-based games, but it wasn't as much of a focus as I expected.  The first game they showed was Sorcery, which looked like it could be quite an interesting premise if it's executed as well as it looked on the stage.  The move controller functionality looked really good and responsive.  The game had sort of a darker Harry Potter feel to it, but at the same time it really did look like it could be a lot of fun to play.  Sorcery will come out in the spring of 2011.

Next up EA showed off Tiger Woods 2011 using the Move.  It looks like a more accurate version of the Wii, which I guess is good if you're in the mood for that sort of thing.  The thing that I noticed that I thought was a big deal was that there was a lot of lag between the swing and the game responding to it.  I wasn't quite impressed by the technology here, but it's still early, and I'm sure it'll be fixed.  The Move support will be released via a downloadable update in the fall of 2010.

Next Sony showed a trailer for Heroes on the Move.  This game is like an amazing mash-up of Sony's best platforming properties: Sly Cooper and Bentley, Jak and Daxter, and Rathet and Clank.  The trailer looks like this could be an awesome platforming experience mashing up Sony's best-known mascots.  I am pretty sure - as the name seems to imply - that this game will be fully Move-optimized, although support for traditional play is apparently unknown at this point.

Next there was God of War: Ghosts of Sparta.  This looks like it will be a much-improved version of Chains of Olympus - which was in itself quite a good game.  I'm pretty pumped about this game for two reasons.  One: because it's nice to have a PSP game I can be excited about; two: because it looks like it's pushing the PSP to its limits.  I think this will be an amazing game when it comes out in fall of 2010.

*Insert break here*  (I went to shower...sue me.)

I come back in time to catch Sony talking about Little Big Planet 2.  As you probably know, Little Big Planet built a great foundation and then allowed the players to build most of the experience.  I have a small problem with this style of game philosophy in that most of us just aren't game designers.  But for those of us that are, Media Molecule is claiming that you can now create games from different genres instead of just making platforming levels.  The trailer for the game looks like there is tons of creativity going into this game, and even the levels in the box appear to be varied and unique and fun.

Sony then had Electronic Arts talk about some content on a couple upcoming games that will be exclusive to the Playstation 3.  Medal of Honor will come complete with a remastered, high def version of Medal of Honor Frontlines; Dead Space 2 will come with a Move-optimized version of Dead Space Extraction.    Additionally Sony announced that other games like Mafia 2 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood will also have Playstation 3 exclusive content.

And who would come on stage?  Gabe Newell.  Yes, that's right; Gabe Newell - the guy that talked all kinds of trash about the Playstation 3 a while back.  He came out to announce that Portal 2 will come to the Playstation 3 on top of the previously known platforms.  Then they showed a trailer for Portal 2 that I thought was amazing.  I really want this game to come out.  The game will come out sometime in 2011.

After that we got to see a new Final Fantasy XIV (yeah, that's the one that's online - no, that was Final Fantasy XI; this is the new one that's going to be online) trailer, and it looked amazing.  I mean, it might not be The Old Republic amazing - but it will definitely be interesting to anyone that cares at all about Final Fantasy (like myself!).

Next was the new Gran Turismo 5 trailer.  The graphics in this game look to be ground-breaking.  I mean - wow.  I think that there are points where I wouldn't know the difference between Gran Turismo 5 and real life; it's that amazing.  I don't even care a bit about racing games, but this is something that has me blown away.  And the best part - there's a release date finally: November 2.  Yes, that's November 2 of 2010.

The next announcement was Infamous 2.  I was a huge fan of the original Infamous; I thought it made the sandbox experience really fun and interesting, and to make things better it gave you powers to use while running around - and it was indeed a blast to play.  But the trailer for Infamous 2....wow, this really looks like Sucker Punch is one-upping themselves here.  Not only are the visuals here really great for a sandbox experience, but the trailer boasts what should be some really interesting gameplay additions - like being able to charge up melee weapons with lighting.  It also looks like Infamous 2 will have a much more varied and interesting level design between the different districts.  Infamous 2 will be out in 2011.  (Oh yeah, and if you're interested then you can learn more; Infamous 2 is the cover story of the new Game Informer magazine.)

Last but not least...something I thought I'd never see again...something that I thought had just sort of fallen off the map: Twisted Metal.  And this wasn't just a trailer (well there was a trailer, but it was just sort of uninteresting), but there was also a full-fledged multiplayer demo.  The gameplay here - it looks something like Twisted Metal Black; the design has that dark and gritty feel to it.  I've got to admit: I'd like to see Twisted Metal come back with the campy vibe of Twisted Metal 2, but that's not to imply that this is losing anything by being like Twisted Metal Black.  In fact it looks great; it just looks...sort of like it blends in to all the other brown and black games we're seeing so much of lately.  Oh well, it's Twisted Metal - and Twisted Metal is awesome.  It will come out sometime in 2011.

So there you go.  All the conferences are over - but the expo is just beginning.  We've got people on the show floor, so keep hitting F5, because we're bringing all the best from E3 here at Gouki.

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Ubisoft press conference

By: jalexbrown Jun 14, 2010 | 0 Comments

My impressions of the Ubisoft keynote speech.

When Ubisoft started out their keynote, I wasn't quite sure what I was watching.  I thought maybe I'd changed the channel and turned on the Stoner's Channel - but I hadn't; Ubisoft was just showing off Children of Eden, a super-trippy game that is supposed to be (I think) the spiritual successor to Rez.  I might have been impressed, but I can't tell, because I had no idea what I was seeing.  It was trippy - I'll give it that - but all I saw was some guy wailing his arms around and colorful blocks doing crazy things.  I don't know about this Ubisoft; I mean, it was cool on the PS2, but really?

Next they showed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood with a demo that looked amazing.  Mind you I've never played either of the first two Assassin's Creed games, but this demo automatically made me want this game to come out already.  There was just something about it that was so cool looking.  In my opinion it seemed to have a bit of a Prince of Persia feel to it with the acrobatics and combat, but that's certainly nothing bad at all.

Then they showed Shaun White Skateboarding, which - okay, I really like the concept of this game; I think it sounds really cool to skate around and change the world.  I think this has the potential to be the next-gen version of what a really cool Tony Hawk game could have been.  To be completely honest I'm quite excited about this game, and that's saying a lot since I don't care much about skateboarding games.

Battle tag - what?  That's not a video game at all.  I'm not even really sure what to say about this - but I can only assume that you wouldn't care about it if I knew how to explain it.  Where is the 'video' part of video game here?

Innergy?  Wait a minute - where have I seen this before?  Oh, I know...this was the Vitality Sensor that Nintendo showed off last year.  Yes, that's right; you put it on your finger and it reads your vital information.  Mind you it doesn't look there's any real game here.  Where the battle tag crap lacked the 'video' part of video game, this lacks the 'game' part of video game.  Okay, so moving on...

Next Ubisoft showed a couple Kinect games.  One was Motion Sports, which dare I say is Wii Sports for the 360.  I literally saw nothing here that impressed me, and nothing really that looked new at all.  I'm not sure why Ubisoft expects anyone to care about this, especially since Microsoft had a nearly identical game they showed during their keynote speech.  I'll pass.

Ugh, another fitness game?!  They already showed off Your Shape: Fitness Evolved during the Microsoft keynote, but apparently they thought it was good enough to show again.  Well guess what - they were wrong.  In fact it wasn't worth showing off the first time.  Next.

There was a little video for Raving Rabbids Travel in Time.  None of this video was gameplay, so I'm having a hard time figuring out what kind of game this is.  It's exclusively for the Wii, so my expectations are next to nil.  But to be fair, I can't really say anything for certain, because all they showed was a gameplay-free trailer.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - this is what everyone wanted to see.  And I'm glad to say that it didn't disappoint.  There was a demo that looks freaking amazing.  I really can't wait for this game to come out!  I wasn't the least bit interested in this game before, but after seeing it in demo form...wow.  There's a nice mixture of stealth and action.  The graphics looked amazing, and this isn't even the final build.  Just wow.  The demo left me speechless.

They showed a demo of Driver: San Francisco next.  I'm just...well, I remember the old Driver games; they weren't that great.  Driver was a series that I was fine with being gone.  I felt no need to see it brought back.  But since it is being brought back, it looks...meh.  You drive around doing cool chase scenes.  It's pretty much what you'd expect, and it doesn't look like it offers much more than what you'd expect.  This might be the perfect type of game for someone, but not me.

They showed a trailer of a game that is being called Project: Dust right now.  The trailer doesn't really tell you much about the game, so I'm not sure of much about it.  The premise was certainly interesting; it appears to be about some ancient civilization trying to survive or something of that nature.  I'm not sure what genre of game this will be, but I think that if the gameplay can match the premise, it might just end up being pretty good.

Rayman has been gone for a while, so I'm surprised that we got to see Rayman: Origins.  There's something you must know about this game if you didn't see the gameplay: it's freaking cute as hell, but that's not at all a bad thing.  It really does look like it's a very charming game, and I think it looks like it could be one of those games that is just pure fun, which is something I've been wanting for a while.

ManiaPlanet isn't a game at all; it's a platform to allow people to make their own games.  TrackMania is something that has been out for a while, and it's been quite popular.  Now it's being branched out into a whole platform that will have TrackMania, ShooterMania, and QuestMania (racing, FPS, and RPG accordingly).  This has that whole LittleBigPlanet feel to it where it's focusing on the gamers as creators.  The problem I have with this is that most of us aren't game designers, and I don't want to have to sift through loads of crap from artistic wannabes to find one gem.

Apparently there's a Michael Jackson game of some sort.  I don't know; some people came out and danced to Beat It.  Whatever.  Just Dance: Michael Jackson?  Meh.  I'd rather not Just Dance if it's all the same to Ubisoft.

Yeah, Ubisoft's keynote was just horrible.  There were a few interesting games, and a few great looking games, but...there was just too much that disappointed me.  I'm feeling that Ubisoft is becoming one of the major advocates of casual gaming.  With things like Innergy in the pipeline, I'm just...I can't get behind Ubisoft on this.  Terrible.  Tsk, tsk.

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jalexbrown

New 360 Slim Announced

By: jalexbrown Jun 14, 2010 | 2 Comments

During Microsoft's conference, they announced a new 360 model.

Okay, so Microsoft's E3 conference was admittedly pretty weak.  But there was a highlight moment - at least for some - at the end of their conference.  Microsoft announced a new 360 SKU - a 360 with a redesigned case and built-in WiFi.  The new 360 SKU will supposedly release at $300, probably phasing out the old Elite models.  There is one other big deal here, and this one some might consider HUGE: the new 360 SKU will be released this week!  I'm a bit surprised that the retailers were able to keep the news under wraps for so long, but I guess keeping it a secret paid off; surprise is rampant, and I'm sure that consumer interest in the 360 has just been respawned.

 

Keep checking out Gouki to get the most up-to-date news on everything E3 2010!

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