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E3 Overview: Day Three

Eric’s Overview: The information overload that is E3 has come once again. My head is still spinning from trying to keep up with everything and I’m not even in attendance. Let the patchwork of random E3 thoughts and observations commence! Starting off with Microsoft, going into their presser the game I wanted to hear more about was Forza Motorsport 5. Over the last two years or so, Forza has come to be my favorite Microsoft first-party franchise. Forza 5 had a solid showing. The graphics looked phenomenal, as to be expected, with the little touches like road grit sticking to the front of the car emphasizing the next-gen details beautifully. Returning from the abyss are Drivatars, A.I. that learns and recreates your driving style. This joins adaptive A.I. that, like Drivatars, learns your racing techniques and adjusts itself appropriately. There is a subtle catch to these systems; they’re handled ‘in the cloud’. Does that mean that offline gamers who choose to sign-in once every twenty-four hours and game offline the rest of the time will face sub-par opponents? While that’s a question for another day, we have gotten answers on night driving (a Forza Horizon highlight), weather effects (a Project Gotham signature), and rally racing (again, Horizon highlight); the answer is ‘no’. To call that a disappointment is an understatement. I can’t even hazard a guess as to why Turn 10 refuses to implement those features into a main entry Forza game.

Forza 5

As for the rest of Microsoft’s event, I really can’t say that I was impressed by anything I saw. The $499 price of the Xbox One was what most expected it to be. No surprises there. The Xbox One-exclusive Dead Rising 3 left me as cold as its own zombies. Nick’s uninspired voice actor was absolutely atrocious, painful even. The gameplay didn’t pull my opinion out of a nosedive, either. It looked far too similar to what we’ve already been playing for years. That doesn’t mean that DR3 will be bad, but I’m not chomping at the fleshy bit to play it. On the shooty-shooty front, Master Chief made his contractually-obligated E3 appearance in a dramatic, “who is that? Oh! It’s him!” reveal trailer. I thought it was a crafty move by Microsoft to pan to the wide-angle crowd shot when the Halo logo came on-screen to cover up the fact that the number “5” (or any other title, for that matter) was absent from that trailer. Generic Halo announcement is generic. If nothing else, at least Microsoft was true to their word about E3 being all about the games.

Moving on to Sony, I’ll start by smacking them on the nose with a wet newspaper (remember those?) for not dropping the Vita’s price. It’s killing an otherwise incredible piece of hardware and the lack of many big-name game announcements isn’t helping, either. I don’t think many people were convinced to pick one up after seeing Sony’s presser. On the other side of the coin, I am happy that the PlayStation 3’s price is staying where it is. My completely selfish reason for this being that I just bought a PS3 about a week ago. Forgive me, people who wanted a price drop!

Dead Rising 3

I’ve been watching E3 press conference live-streams for years and never have I seen a better example of how to “win E3″ than what Sony did with the PlayStation 4. Going into this year’s event, there was a tremendous amount of anticipation for Sony’s briefing. Were they really listening to the fan backlash over the Xbox One’s DRM? Did they pay attention to the social media #PS4NoDRM campaigns? To thunderous applause, Sony confirmed that the message was received. The PlayStation 4 will not use the same Digital Rights Management setup as the Xbox One. You can buy and sell used games, loan games to friends, or ‘keep them forever’. This announcement alone would have won E3 for them, but they weren’t done with the megatons. PlayStation 4; $399. A full one hundred dollars cheaper than Microsoft’s heavily-crucified black box. Upon hearing the pricegaton (I’m coining that term), I exclaimed, loudly, ‘Now THAT is how you f***ing win!” And win Sony did. David “CheapyD” Abrams of CheapAssGamer.com recently tweeted that pre-orders for the PS4 through his site have outsold those for the Xbox One by 69%, a trend that is being echoed elsewhere, as well. If Microsoft doesn’t do some serious back-pedaling on both, the price and the DRM of the Xbox One, this could end up being a disastrous generation for the company.

For Big N, I felt their pre-recorded Nintendo Direct was a train wreck. Not based on the games themselves, mind you, but the fact that their “event” was the only one of the top three where the company-supplied streams were literally unwatchable. I had to track down the European feed (which was slightly different from the American one) in order to see any of the show at all and even that was choppy. Why wasn’t the video simply uploaded to YouTube? Thankfully, Nintendo had a strong line-up of games to counteract the technical difficulties. The debut of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (tasty name!) on Wii U, while not shocking in the least, was a pleasant surprise. It’s November release date is much sooner than I would have guessed. Rounding out Wii U’s major 2013 titles are The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World; a Zelda port and a 3D Mario title. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Nintendo is trying to duplicate the 3DS’ momentum shift on the Wii U. Without a doubt, 2014 is looking to be the year Nintendo convinces the holdouts to give the Wii U a shot. Not to downplay Mario Kart 8 or Super Smash Bros. For Wii U (that’s the official title…not joking), but I’ll specifically name-drop Bayonetta 2 here. Any fears about Nintendo influencing the direction of the game disappeared the minute the camera focused between Bayonetta legs. When the action heated up, it was as clear as day that the queen of action games is finally back. The game looked phenomenal in more ways than one. After seeing it in motion, I’m completely sold. I want it and I’ll buy a Wii U to play it.

MarioKart 8

In closing, I feel the order of victory goes Sony in first, Nintendo in second, and Microsoft dead last. Sony grabs gold for hitting back-to-back grand slams in the same game. If they can manage to keep the momentum rolling through the end of the year, they’ve got this console war in the bag. Nintendo gets my silver medal based solely on the games. Of all three companies, I liked their roster of titles the best. Nintendo (or should I say Bayonetta 2?) put the Wii U on my radar. Bronze heads Microsoft’s way for failing to sell me on the Xbox One. As it stands now, my relationship with the Xbox brand will not continue into the next generation. What an interesting and entertaining E3 this has been!

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

53 comments

  1. Good write up, all!

    I’m really looking forward to some of this new tech. (ok, maybe everything but the Xbone).

  2. Recently tweeted that pre-orders for the PS4 through his site have outsold those for the Xbox One by 69%.

    I can’t believe that figure. It’s got to be much higher than that. Who says “I’ll take DRM and pay $100 for the privilege?”

    • I believe the number was 47% on Tuesday. If it’s jumped that much in just a couple of days, the margin must be growing by the hour.

      • Out of ALL my gamer friends, I don’t know a single one who wants to get Xboned. Even the guys who owns Xbox and 360’s and never bought a PS3 are going for a PS4.

  3. Did OtakuRobert post his NISA impressions yet?!?

  4. I’ve been really excited for Oculus Rift. Hopefully, Sean’s hand is ok.

  5. Where’s the Steampunk interview Sage? BTW: the amberstreet site isn’t loading for me.

    Great to bear your impressions. Sounds like you guys had a great time.

  6. Not really interested in the weird jrpgs, but most definitely in the Octulus Rift.

  7. Not really too much info on NISA’s game that I didn’t know already. Do you know what new classes are in DD2?

  8. @Blue “For Big N, I felt their pre-recorded Nintendo Direct was a train wreck. Not based on the games themselves, mind you, but the fact that their “event” was the only one of the top three where the company-supplied streams were literally unwatchable.” Good to know I wasn’t the only one, I had a hard time for like 10 minutes trying to find a decent stream. Eventually I ended up watching it all via YouTube after it was done, I could catch up on everything I didn’t know I had missed.

    • I couldn’t watch it either. I tried different websites that advertising that they were streaming it but the source was the same. Lucky me, I caught it on replay.

      sadpikachu.gif here

      • What was sup with all the glitches this year? No sound for two MS games? Pulling the plug on Assassin’s Creed 4? Even Nintendo Direct failed.

        • Seems clear that none of the big 3 were ready for E3.

          Personally I see the new consoles doing a Wii U and not having games for a while after launch. Also: expect shitty ports.

  9. Witcher 3 won 52 best in show awards? Wow, I didn’t even know that many outlets gave awards.

    • I’m sure every outlet has awards, wait…where there T-G awards?

      Best loli game? Best Monster Hunter game that isn’t Monster Hunter.

  10. Am I the only one who feels I haven’t seen/heard/read enough about the new generation to make the jump.

    I see video, but it’s hard to see the improvement in visuals. Games still putting out 1080p, just with a few more polygons. To be this feels like a 32X kind of leap.

    • I was pretty excited about how this E3 came together but fact is – it does feel like there has got to be more to the next generation hype than we have seen so far.

      • I hope so. Because right now, theres no need to upgrade. The games dont look all that much better or play different.

  11. Can I just tell you, I really like reading through 4 pages and not having to sort through like 30-50 articles?

    Of course, you guys are probably doing yourselves a disservice.

  12. You guys here about this: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Microsoft-Sends-Employees-to-Wii-U-Best-Buy-Events-to-Promote-Xbox-One-Report-361089.shtml

    MS was crashing Nintendo’s events. DESPERATION will make you do that.

    • I read about it yesterday too, I guess it’s just as you say – desperation will push them to that.

    • Thats just stupid. With cameras everywhere youre asking to get caught. It just make MS look worse. Another reason to hate them.

  13. Id love to see a Turtle Beach giveaway. Their headsets are the best.

  14. Needs more Xbone game impressions.

  15. Any picks for game of show?

  16. Sean is the first casualty in the VR wars.

    Hope the walls were padded.

  17. RIPD and the game look like a double dose of diarrhea. Protip: Avoid anything with Ryan Reynolds at all costs.

  18. So the notion hit me during E3 that I may stop gaming soon.

    Microsoft’s “We’ll do what we want” attitude is total crap. Some of their statements and seeing Major Nelson grab microphones from people is douchiness I can’t support. (“Backwards compatibility is for backwards people” drove me nuts.) Everyone is getting behind Sony, but when they cancel interviews and don’t want to talk about DRM, I worry about them as well. Which leaves Nintendo, which goes on making the same games I played when I was five. In a way, their Wii U is the Japanese version of the Xbox one: We’ll make this and you’ll love it. I don’t feel any connection with the people that are making the hardware and I feel software is heading in the same direction.

    • The thing that drives me nuts is when you make a statement like “Backwards compatibility is for backwards people” while you sell Xbox original games on your service. Way to make fun of your own audience Microsoft. I’m sure they’re going to try to sell you old TV shows, movies, and music. Does that make people backwards for not wanting the latest media?

      Seriously, fuck them. If they think they’re going to call me names AND get my $500, they are in for a rude awakening.

    • Right and after Sony sent PSASBR and Little Big Karting to die (because like some have said Sony didn’t have money) I wonder if they will be able to compete this generation.

      I’d like to give my money to them but Killzone, Infamous, and some indie games aren’t convincing me to drop $399. I have a feeling the software glut is going to be bad again this generation.

      • Microsoft is pushing the boundary, the others are not. I know where my money is going.

        • Dude, I’ve seen your posts. You’re a known Xbox shill that probably should be banned.

          Either that or you’ve been brainwashed and need to get your head out of the “cloud”.

        • They seem to be pushing the price boundary.

  19. Man, this site has some of the some jaded, grumpy-ass people I’ve seen on the internet. It’s video games people. Remember, something to have fun with. You guys are thinking way too much.

  20. Smooth McGroove may well me a great guy. He’s certainly a good musician. But as far as I know the guy hasn’t written or recorded a word on games or developed any. This year, E3 had way too many many YouTube people who were only tangentially affiliated with gaming. If that continues, E3 is going to be the same as PAX, which will piss off people like you and I who actually write about games.

    • I actually thought this year was better than years past. I didn’t see any outlets offering contests to get in, so the cosplayer/swag-collector demographic was a lot lower than it was last year. I also noticed a lot less goofy video crap from bigger sites (Polygon’s weird scavenger hunt being the eye-rolling exception). I don’t really mind the YouTube crowd getting in as long as they stay professional. I know Smooth McGroove is not the press, but he IS still media, and he has something to gain from the contacts he could make at an industry event. For example: Konami might want to hire him to help with the marketing of the Metal Gear Legacy Collection, or perhaps commission a Castlevania album to offer as a preorder bonus with Lords of Shadow 2. Those are legitimate reasons for someone on the entertainment side of things to be there.
      The thing that we as “traditional media” need to remember about E3 is that it isn’t a press event, it’s an INDUSTRY event. In fact, its REAL purpose is for manufacturers to show wholesale buyers what is being offered so that they know what to stock their shelves with in the coming years. There was a time when writers were considered the outsiders, so I’m not opposed to welcoming our new-media brethren, as long as they don’t make E3 more of a spectacle than it already is. McGroove was very professional, and I respect that. What I didn’t like last year was all they Jackass-Style prank/stunt shows that filmed on the show floor. E3 is not the venue for that. Save that for the fan conventions.

      • devildakimakura

        Someone has as Smooth man-crush. Haha. He’s better than than the girl who sings the Pokemon song on the podcast.

        I heard from other sites that it was super crowded with swag hunters and friends of developers, though. Didn’t hear about the stunts? Who did that?

      • The issue isnt Smooth McGroove, its the crown of people that make LP video and just swear non stop. They have no real talent and shouldn’t be at E3.

      • Buyers wont sell units unless press covers a game. Look at PSASBR or LittleBig Karting.

        Dont sell yourself short dude. Theres a place in the ecosystem for press.

    • I have to voice my agreement with Sean. While on Wednesday there was suddenly a surge of swag hunters as compared to tuesday and thursday (which might explain what you heard, devildaimakura), even that was SIGNIFICANTLY less than last year. This year felt much more professional, calm, and industry focused than the previous years I’ve been. Even the evening events had a lot less gimmick and flash. For example, the year when one party touted Macy Gray as their DJ and part-time performer, and made a huge deal, and then she pulled a prima dona and didn’t even show.

      There are a lot of faces at E3 that are video game-related web stars, like Ashley Burch, or voice actors, like Aisha Tyler, who aren’t media. However their presence at the event encourages more participation in the industry as a whole, in addition to Sean’s point about web celebrities being for promoting games and gaming.

      • Calling Ashley Burch a star might be a stretch. Macy Gray maybe. Aisha Tyler is a star, but after watching her host Ubisoft’s press conference last year I had my fill of her.

        At least Toby and Caffeine guy weren’t their right?

      • Ashly Burch (No “E”) is an accomplished voice actress, having roles in Aliens: Colonial Marines and a major role as Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2. Look for her in DLC next week.

        You might want to do a little thing called fact-checking before you post. It’s what real journalists do.

        • If she’s such a major star, how come I had to IMDB her?

          Oh and if you’re her agent. Chill out. No wonder why she doesn’t get much work.

        • Ted–that’s cute that you think I don’t do “fact checking”. Really. And I’m being a little demeaning since you decided to attempt to be a little condescending.
          “Accomplished” voice acting is sort of an subjective matter. You think that voicing two video games, one of which tanked and the other of which was written by her brother, makes her accomplished. Point in fact, she is more commonly known, if known at all–see Odin’s response, for the web-series, HAWP (hey ash, whatcha playin’, for those unfamiliar). I would consider “accomplished” voice actor’s those who have an established career, such as Tara Strong or E.G. Daily. But to each their own opinion.
          And if it’s of any interest to you, the reason I chose to refer to Ashly by her web videos is because I figured more people would recognize her from that venue, an opinion which is perhaps buttressed by Odin’s comment above. I will be sure to let her know you are such an avid supporter, however, the next time I see her. Im sure she will be thrilled.
          Pixeler–I used the word “star” as a subjective indicator—perhaps I should have put it in quotation marks above. And yes, a year without caffeine guy suited me just fine.
          Hellbringer– it is interesting, i think, how one person’s “internet nobody” is another person’s source of adulation. However, if it gratifies you to know, I am not on the “hype wagon.” Again, I probably should have put the word “star” in quotations in my initial post.

          • I have no idea who any of these people are. But I have heard of the legendary Sektor. Did you run into him at E3 by any chance?

      • “Ashly Burch and Aisha Tyler” (rolls eyes) I cant stand either. Neither can act their way though a YT vid without being nails on a chalkboard. Please get off the F class internet nobody hype wagon.

        • Well, if we’re being 100% honest, most of the “real” celebrities we’ve seen at E3, I haven’t realized are famous until after the fact – like when Blake Griffon checked us into the Bethesda booth, and I just thought he was some dude. Same thing happened with Daisy Fuentes, although she’s probably a rung lower than Aisha Tyler. Oh, and we stood next to Danica Patrick for a while, and I thought she was just a booth attendant.

          • What are you serious? They are all working at E3 or do you men people who looked like them?

  21. “Next we went to Atlus, where Robert and I had a difference of opinion on pretty much everything we saw”.

    Nice to hear nothing’s changed. 😉

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