I don't care how long I had to spend installing PSPs into some huge HOT styrofoam death trap on Tuesday, cause on wednesday I got to walk past the sweating nerd masses all huddled around the entrance (since 5AM no less) and flash my "exhibitor" badge and get ushered in. That is the quiet time. The time when it I get to basically GLOAT. I mean, there I was with like four or five other people all milling around the PS3 booth that would eventually be thronged with 1Up.com bloggers and their hangers on. And I got to be one of the first people in the WORLD to play a PS3 game. I dont' care how long I had to stand at the security booth later that day...it was fucking worth it.
So long winded, Ryan style intro out of the way here are my impressions.
Basically I feel like Sony really droped a big boring load. First off they stealing ideas from Microsoft (the Sony Online service) and Nintendo ( the motion sensor built into the dual shock shapped controller). Speaking of the controller they are removing the vibration fucntion becuase they say it will interfere with the motion sensor. The reality is that they are being sued by Imersion for violating the patents that Imersion had on vibration "force feedback" technology. Sony's line up was dirivitve boring crap with better graphics... I saw nothing innovative. The only things I LIKED were Heavenly Blade (which is just God of War with a hot red head) and Virtua Tennis 3. Neither of these games would make me even think once about spending nearly 700 bucks on a new games machine. I think that Clint Hocking Ubisoft Montreal's creative director said it best when he described Sony as taking a "Me Too" approach to the PS3's development. And Microsoft's Peter Moore summed up my feelings when he quipped, "Why spend 700 dollars on a PS3, just go out and buy a 360 and a Wii." After seeing what Sony had on offer, I couldn't agree more.
I never thought I'd find myself so firmly entrenched in Bill Gates' camp, but as an industry professional, working with Microsoft and Sony Dev Hardware everyday and playing games on the original X-Box and PS2. I have been secretly rooting for Microsoft to come out on top. Maybe it's cause the X-box has the soul of the Dreamcast...maybe it's cause I like adult FPS's and am not an avid J-RPG gamer...but I was not disapointed by what I saw. Now I know, the 360 has had a year to work out the kinks and I heard tell of our booth at E3 going through a few test kits during the intense demoing at the show...but those caveats aside the 360 games DOMINATED everything else. Even PC titles. I saw no less than 10 titles that I was suprisingly excited about. And a few that looked promising. My next console will be a 360 and if you are a gamer then I would strongly urge in that direction as well. Overall Microsoft is a class act both in hardware and software.
Thanks to J-Mac and Lexi, I scored a place in line at the Nintendo booth. Interesting story. Like I said my "exhibitor" badge got me in the doors well before the unwasehed masses could even dream of getting in. So on Thursday I decided to take advantage and show up at 7:30 and get a prime spot in line for the Nintendo booth. Well by the time I got to the booth, at about 8:15. The line was already stretched around the side of the booth for a good distance, according to the posted signs the wait time from the point where the line ended was 2 HOURS!!! and that was a line made up of only EXHIBITORS!!! The poor shlubs who had been waiting outside the hall since god knows when expecting to be let in were going to be sorely burned. And burned they were. I cut in line in front of a good mass of people by doing my best "I'm an important Game Developer so if you value your job at your labor of love game weblog you'd just let me go about my line cutting business" rutine. And about ten minutes later the main doors to the exhibit hall opened. A surge of swag T-Shirt wearing nerds stampeded towards the Nintendo booth. I haven't seen that kind of sad desperation since my ill-advised trip to mardi gras in 2000. At any rate these poor guys ran up to find the line filled with all those jerks with Exhibitor badges that had passed them by without so much as a sniff only minutes before. The craziest thing is that they CLOSED THE LINE at 9:15AM. As in "No more Guests for the rest of day fifteen minutes after the show floor opened". So for those poeple in the back of the line that was their WHOLE DAY. Standing in line to see the New Nintendo console. Was it worth it you ask. Honestly I was a little underwhelmed. But that is the Nintendo fan's mentality. they do not care. They will wait in line for hours to play a bunch of so so tech demos and see some new mario footage. The games by Nintendo were good. I liked Warioware. But I wasn't impressed with the 3rd party stuff. The problems are this: 1) after all the hype for next gen graphics it is hard to look at Nintendos cartoony current gen level stuff and get too excited. and 2) why do I need a new control scheme for a racing game? I can't say that all the games showcased gained anything from the Wii-mote. Having said that it goes without saying that the games made by Nintendo will be great and fun and use the hardware brilliantly. I'm still buying this system. But only for the genius inclusion of a classic console emulator (with announced support of Sega Genesis and Turbo Grafx 16 I'd say they'll give Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade a run for their money).
Other Thoughts and Impressions
A few games that deserve mention are:
Rainbow Six Vegas: Like most Tom Clancy games at this point I had sort of a been there done that attitude on this one, but after seeing it demoed I couldn't be more excited. Excellent AI, Amazing Graphics, this thing is going to be one FUN game.
Splinter Cell: See above. I was pretty much uninterested in this the fourth game in so many years...but I have to admit this one looks to be pretty exciting with lots of new broad daylight sneaking stuff. This game looks so much better than Metal Gear Solid...that I am suprised anyone even cares about Solid Snake and his hour long monologues about love on the battle field.
Frontlines: Fuel of War: this one is double cool becuase it is a THQ game that I had no idea was coming out and from what I saw of some PD guys playing it in the back room it looks AWESOME. Totally mindless FPS...but it's gonna be cool.
Supreme Commander: I don't wanna sound like a THQ homer here, but I'd say this game is gonna be sweet.
Dead Rising. Another great looking Xbox 360 game. I played it a little and it was a lot of crazy Evil Dead style fun. Can't wait.
Lost Planet: Scary alien sci-fi with good looking combat. should be tight.
There are a few others, but I didn't see any real in game demos so I can't say for sure. I am excited for Killzone on the PSP and Gears of War also I can't wait to see what the song line up for Guitar Hero 2 will be.
But enough jibber jabber here's several dozen pics: