Reviewer Rodeo: E3 – Heads Held High or Hung Low?

Welcome to the ZTGD Reviewer Rodeo. Each week, we’ll grab on to the hottest issue, hold on for dear life, and wrassle it to the ground.

Now that E3 has stormed through the gaming community raising (and dashing) hopes, the ZTGameDomain crew is ready with our personal opinions on the proceedings. This is just the tip of the iceberg as we’ll have a full breakdown on Monday with episode 201 of the N4G Podcast. Let us know what you think. Agree with us? Disagree with us? Think we’re crazy? We want to hear your thoughts. Drop ’em in the comments.

John “Dubya” Whitehouse
What an E3! There were some shocks and surprises for all to be had. One of the biggest shocks was the relatively poor performance by Microsoft, whose conferences are nearly always exciting. This year it just seemed to be about Kinect. If a game wasn’t completely Kinect enabled, it had something in it that was. Even massive hardcore titles, such as Mass Effect 3, Ghost Recon and FIFA have all had Kinect inserted somewhere. But the biggest shocker was that the only real hardcore franchises that were touched upon were Gears of War and Halo. From being a company that really focused on the core gamer, they have turned in to a machine that now only wants to focus on the cash that casual gaming used to bring in. It is such a shame and there were millions of people disappointed that there were so few core game offerings.

On the flip side of that was Nintendo. With the announcement of the Wii U, they are trying to win back the hardcore gamers they lost so many years ago. The console promises slick HD graphics (although it has now been confirmed that their montage of 3rd party games was created using 360/PS3 footage), backward compatible hardware and a new way to play games. The whole conference smelt of desperation, Nintendo knows that there is little money left in the casual market and now wants to secure their future. I thought the tech itself looked interesting, but I couldn’t help wondering who this console is actually for? The hardcore already have their consoles and as for the casual gamers, well they will either continue to be happy with their Wii and Wii Sports, or they will be weary of forking out more money that will likely sit under their TV’s gathering dust, like so many Wiis!

Nintendo did offer some new games for the 3DS and, although it was nice to see it get some love, 4 of the 5 1st party titles seem to be little more than remakes of old classics! It left me wondering if, like Microsoft, Nintendo have completely missed the mark when it comes to the needs and wants of their fans/consumers.

In my opinion, Sony won this year’s E3 hands down. Anyone who knows me or listens to the podcast will know that I am no fanboy. In fact, I play my 360 more than my PS3, but I will no doubt get a lot of hate for what I am about to say!

Of course, Sony opened up with an apology. It sounded genuine and was the best way to open up the conference, but from there on in, it was all gaming goodness. Sony hit the balance between core and casual perfectly. They announced only one Move-only title, Medieval Moves. All the other big games had Move compatibility built in, but only if you wanted to play them that way. It was the best way to do it, give us the option instead of forcing it down our throats. Sony also had plenty of exclusive games, something that MS sorely lacked, there were even some that weren’t expected.

As well as all of the game announcements, the NGP was given a massive airing. Now called the PS Vita, Sony showed it off to the max. With plenty of 1st party games (all looking great), and a swell of 3rd party support, the PS Vita looks like it will be the Sony handheld we have finally wanted. They also gave us the price: a staggering $250/£230! Mike and I were watching the stream together and you could hear both of our jaws hit the floor when that got announced! The 3G version does cost a little more, but not much.

When E3 comes around, I always want all 3 companies to show well, as that would only mean more for us. But with Microsoft spiraling out of control and Nintendo lost in the wilderness, unsure of where their place is, Sony seemed to be the only one to be comfortable in their position. They have come out of the last few rocky months stronger than ever. They talked like they knew what we wanted to hear and boy did they give it to us!

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