Grading E3 Press Conferences
In order of appearance, using the school grade system scale.
KONAMI - Grade: F
Konami’s Pre-E3 presser was extremely lame. Nearly everything they showed off or talked about was already known from the previous year, with the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance gameplay trailer being the saving grace. The Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 trailer was saved as a surprise, but everyone already knew about it by the time the video aired.
Konami’s video pretty much says that they haven’t had much new since last year. The social stuff was yawn inducing, and the Pro Evolution Soccer went on for way too long. They gave zero effort.
Plus the Mega64 skit was REALLY lame.
MICROSOFT - Grade: D+
I predicted that Microsoft would have the exact same show as the past two years. And I was right. At least partially, because they did mix up the order in which things were shown. Halo looked like Halo, and they really should have shown multiplayer, because that’s what people care about. The Gears of War teaser was insultingly brief, ending with Black Ops II was anticlimactic, and the sports and Dance Central portions in the center didn’t retain attention.
And there was SmartGlass. My. God. I’m sure it’s fascinating technology and could have a bunch of potential, but showing it didn’t do SmartGlass any favors. I feel like that technology needs to be used to be understood, which does not bode well for “disruptive” innovations. Almost all of their games were sequels to get more money prepping for the next generation. But hey, Splinter Cell was cool.
ELECTRONIC ARTS - Grade: D
SPORTS. My god sports. Most Wanted was the best part of the show, but it would have benefited greatly from an actual stage demo instead of a gameplay trailer. The first Dead Space 3 gameplay made everyone cry out “betrayal” (although their fears are unfounded, more on that later). It was not a good way to show Dead Space 3, even if the co-op is going to be cool. Crysis 3 is way too similar to Crysis 2. Star Wars: The Old Republic screamed desperation. The Sim City stuff needed a little more time to be appreciated.
Then it went back to sports. Even the announcement that UFC sports are now going to sport under EA. Even with the sports sections removed from the show, it was an average show that had games not presented well.
UBISOFT - Grade: B-
Let me get this out of the way: Yes, Toby/Tobuscus is god damned awful. Aisha Tyler could have handled the whole show easily on her own. Their banter was painful.
That out of the way, Ubisoft had a lot of good games shown off. Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed III, Rayman Legends, and Watch Dogs were all excellent. Far Cry 3 did not impress me, boobs and all. That game will be played solely for the main villain.
The games that brought the show down was that eSports Arena shooter (which was filled with awkward introductions and an awkward battle of the sexes) and Just Dance 4. I know a lot of people thought that Ubisoft had the best showing overall, but I have a feeling that’s because it ended on such a strong note with Watch Dogs. Which it deserves, because Watch Dogs is a great looking original idea… until he pulls out a gun and it becomes a third person cover-based shooter.
Sony - Grade: B
Sony really impressed me this year. They had a lot to show. Well… except for Vita games, which is the one of the few things that hurt them. That and Wonderbook, which I’m sure kids will love. I guess I’d rather play that than Eye Pet.
But lots of heavy hitters were there. New gameplay revealed for Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed III was a strong hit. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and God of War: Ascension were big hits too, even if both of them did not sit well with me. New ideas like Orbis at the very least intrigued me. The Beyond: Two Souls trailer didn’t do anything for me personally, since there was zero gameplay shown. But Sony really did concentrate on showing games, unlike say, Microsoft.
And they ended the show with The Last of Us, and if that game doesn’t get you just a little bit turned on watching it, check your pulse. You may be dead inside.
NINTENDO - Grade: C+
Nintendo had a very solid showing, despite what many may claim.
Starting with Pikmin 3 was excellent, and the game itself does look splendid. I think Lego City Stories or whatever it’s called will be a good game too, even if it *we’re* not its target audience. ZombiU I think really impressed people with ideas and innovations with the gamepad controller. The brief time that the 3DS got was for three really strong games. The third party sizzle reel had great games in there, especially with surprises like Mass Effect 3 and Trine 2, but I am a little concerned at how few companies were represented in it.
If any conference needed to be more than an hour, it was Nintendo. They were the one company that needed on stage demonstrations above anyone else. Sadly, the only on-stage Wii U demo that we got was for Just Dance 4.
I think a lot of people felt like Nintendo was shit because it had such a weak ending. Nintendo Land is a novel game, probably worth a few laughs, and will do its job of introducing players to the functionality of the Wii U. The explanation of the Luigi’s Mansion mini-game was far too long than needed, which again, could’ve been quickly done with an actual on stage demo. But that ending, “Let’s return to Nintendo Land one more time” promises something huge, and… fireworks. In-game fireworks and light show.
We all may have left confused and a little bitter, but there was a lot of good still in that show.