|Posted on June 14, 2010 at 7:15 AM|
Another year, another E3! Journalists and gamers flocked to Los Angeles last week for the annual video games expo, with the theme of 2010 being motion controls and 3D gaming. Microsoft unveiled its long-awaited (though meagerly anticipated) hand-free gaming peripheral, Kinect (previously titled Project Natal, with reports indicating the name change occurred mere hours before the conference), as well its slim, shiny new Xbox 360 console. Dubbed the S model, this version will shut down when it begins to overheat, thus reducing the chances of RROD. Progress of a kind, I suppose. Sony showed off its version of the WiiMote, the PlayStation Move (previously titled the Sony Wand/Sphere/Gem/Arc). Demo’s indicate it possesses a similar detection capacity as the Wii Motion Plus, though the technology is somewhat reversed, with the Move’s camera being located in the actual controller, rather than its sensor bar. Apparently, the nunchuk-like peripheral lacks any motion sensing, though wireless control is a nice touch. God knows how many times I whipped my own face playing Red Steel 2. After the standard Gears of War and Halo trailers, Microsoft’s conference shifted primarily to the Kinect’s software line-up, with an obvious focus on the casual/family-friendly market built up by Nintendo. Sony’s Move-exclusive titles were a little more mature. If you consider slicing up human carcasses in sickening detail a sign of maturity (see: Metal Gear Solid: Rising).
The star of the show, however, was Nintendo. I may love the Wii, but I can admit the last two E3 conferences delivered by Nintendo bored my to tears. This year, however, was all about pleasing the fans. Reggie gets up on stage, and BOOM introduces Miyamoto with gameplay demo for the next Zelda title, Skyward Sword. Technical issues aside (apparently the WM+ wasn’t calibrated properly, though floor demos work perfectly), the game looks and feels great. The visual style seems to be a mix of Wind Waker cell-shading and Okami water-colour, with developers apparently being inspired by French artist Paul Cézanne. Sword-play appears 1:1, with orchestrated music promised. Some, including myself, were disappointed by the how little the graphics had advanced since Twilight Princess (having been spoilt by the likes of Monster Hunter Tri and Metroid: Other M), though Miyamoto has stated the final product (slated for an early 2011 release), will look much sharper. After a quick casual detour with Just Dance 2 and Wii Party, we were back to core titles with the announcement of a GoldenEye 007 remake, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and (my personal favourite), Retro’s Donkey Kong Country Returns. We also saw an extended demo of Epic Mickey. The gameplay videos of Epic Mickey were a little mixed. The sidescrolling looked fun, but the 3D environments were a little dull. It’s a shame the developers have moved away from the awesome concept art released earlier in the year. Kirby and Donkey Kong were both brand new titles and look fantastic. Kirby has employed a sort of patchwork art style that is just stunning. The last third of the conference was dedicated to the Nintendo’s new handheld system – the 3DS. Technically, the system seems to be on par with the GameCube, but with a 3D screen that can be adjusted for depth and doesn’t require glasses. Obviously the 3D can’t be experienced online, but reports for the system have been universally positive. Titles shown included installments of the Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil series, as well as a new Kid Icarus game. Overall, a fantastic E3 for Nintendo fans.