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Checkpoint: Post E3 2009 Edition

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E3 2009 is over. Thanks to the numerous leaks, not a lot of surprising news came out of it. In fact, thanks to Nintendo’s tight lip and closely guarded secrets, it came away with the most surprising announcements including Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Metroid: Other M.

Press Conference

But let’s not take leaks and accidental announcements into consideration when grading the big three press conferences. They should stand on their own and be judged by the presentation and content alone.

Microsoft

Presentation: A
Content: A

Lots of exclusive games for the Xbox 360 and well paced. The new motion controller was lots pipedream stuff, but at least it was demonstrated in a convincing manner. If only it wasn’t a tad too ridiculous and awkward with flailing arm girl, Milo and very brief appearances by the Beatles. Overall, Microsoft did well this year.

Nintendo

Presentation: C-
Content: B+

Fake banter and repeated (from E3 2008) Wii Motion Plus demonstrations marred Nintendo’s conference. And how can I forget Nintendo’s latest hardware accessory, the Wii Vitality Sensor which measures your pulse – that was just ludicrous Nintendo. On the plus side, they announced three Mario games and Team Ninja co-developed Metroid, so it was worth it in the end. If only the conference was dedicated to the new stuff and less of a retread.

Sony

Presentation: A-
Content: A+

Exclusive game after game for the PSP and PS3 made this conference for me. PSP go hardware details may have been leaked, but the games and the announcements for those upcoming PSP games got me excited for the platform once again. My only gripe with Sony’s conference was the length. The could have spent less time showing off the games via montages to cut down on the length. Their motion controller presentation was less “wow” and “magic” than Microsoft’s, but it was a believable demonstration; no smoke and mirrors.

Winner: Sony

It was a very close race this year, but I had to give it to Sony. In the end, content wins and while Microsoft had quality, Sony had both quantity and quality. I think Microsoft’s press conference up until the Project Natal stuff was right on track and I hope they continue this format. Nintendo? They can do whatever they want and it shows.

Motion Controller Wars

Now that Microsoft and Sony have officially entered the motion controller wars with Nintendo, which one do I like? All of them have their pros and cons, but I think Sony’s “Wand” is the one to look forward to. Let me explain.

Microsoft’s Project Natal

The lack of controller may seem great, but don’t underestimate the tactile feedback of rumble enabled controller. If you ever navigated the Wii menu interface, you know what I’m talking about. In addition, I’m very skeptical of the accuracy and feasibility of Natal. The demo was very controlled with only a handful of live demonstrations which were reminiscent of EyeToy/PlayStation Eye.

Above all else, the fact that Microsoft has no release date, no pricing details (rumored to be over $150) or even a name for this has me wondering if this is another one of those IPTV or Live! Anywhere vaporware announcements Microsoft is known for. I want to believe, Microsoft.

Nintendo’s WiiMotion Plus

Out of the three, the WiiMotion Plus has the highest chance of success. It’s simply a cheap addon to an existing controller which increases the chances of developers supporting it. Red Steel 2 may not be the best example, but it is real and it is coming. You can’t say the same with the other two manufacturers.

Sony’s “Wand”

It’s similar to the Wiimote and it uses a wand an the PlayStation Eye. It’s doubtful that this controller will be in excess of $59.99, seeing how its more-or-less a Wiimote with a light on it. It’s incredibly accurate and it’s imminent with a set release window of Spring 2010. Whether or not “real games” will be developed on it remains to be seen, but the device exists and it works as seen in the demonstration. True 1:1 3D motion sensing is exciting – especially on a high definition system.

Top 5 Games of the Show

In no particular order here are the top 5 games which were more than just teaser trailers.

  • Splinter Cell: Conviction (PC, Xbox 360) – Holiday 2009 – Developer Walkthrough – It was announced long ago, it went away and now it’s back with a new look.
  • Mass Effect 2 (PC, Xbox 360) – Early 2010 – Gameplay Trailer – Looks like an improvement from the original in every regard.
  • God of War III (PS3) – Spring 2010 – Five Part Developer Walkthrough – The finale of this epic series looks better than ever.
  • Scribblenauts – (NDS) – Fall 2009 – Developer walkthrough – You can do practically anything in this! Including summoning the “keyboard cat”!
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) – November 2009 – Gameplay Demonstration – Damn! It looks good.

And that was E3 2009. I’m almost done Valkyria Chronicles (second last chapter). It’s one of the most unique games I’ve played this generation. My Uncharted 2 multiplayer beta impressions are up if you haven’t noticed. The more I play it, the more I enjoy it. In many ways, I wish Metal Gear Online played like this.

inFamous? I got it and I hope to play it very soon. Cannot wait. Just like I couldn’t wait for the deal. Sad face.

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