The Richie Report: EEE special E
Es are good. Es are good. He’s Ebeneezer Goode. Es are good apparently, so three of them in one place has to be a good thing, right? Absolutely. So, it was off to the E3 expo in Los Angeles for the GamingLives E3 Expedition (GLEE?) while the rest of us watched the major conferences via the magic of streaming internets. Now, I enjoy sharing a packed conference centre with a bunch of whooping imbeciles as much as the next man, but it was up to me to hold the fort back here in Blighty and so I watched… oh yes, I watched as Carter J. Burkes in suits told me about the future of gaming. Chronologically speaking, they went Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Sony and finally Nintendo but here’s how it went down in reverse order of merit.
By far the fuckest-uppest failbeasts of E3 were Microsoft. They opened with Halo 4 which, by my reckoning, is actually Halo 6 (or 7 if you include Halo Wars but don’t do that’; it was balls). It looked like Halo 3 but in hi-def (for some reason Halo 3 looks like it is running on the Minecraft engine) and must have been set to ‘Remedial Difficulty’ as things actually died as soon as they were shot (as opposed to the usual bullshit of having to unload entire clips into alien bastards before they even think about falling over). A few minutes of just-like-every-Halo-game-ever footage later, the screen went off and the crowd half-heartedly whooped like a bunch of stoners cheering invites to fight in Iraq.
Which segued beautifully into the next game, Splinter Cell: Whatever, which was set in some other fucked, sandy country. A man who didn’t fit his own skin drifted onto the stage. This meat-sack in a wig tried to get the crowd going with some footage of said Splintycelly but, oddly, the game was about as stealth-based as R-Type and looked like every other recent Tom Clancy game with all sorts of instructions pasted up on walls and whatever. A huge twenty-man gunfight ensued, further cementing the thoughts that they should have just called it Rainbow Six: Gunishment instead. No return for the octogenarian Michael Ironside either. Ah well, he did make Sam Fisher seem like he was about to give me his Werthers Originals in that last game.
With the crowd shell-shocked by all the virtual gunplay, it was time to calm everyone down with some fucking abysmal looking Fable thing, before a not quite-good-enough-for-a-4 Gears title and Forza all got mediocre receptions and it was looking bleak for Microsoft. They had to pull something out of the bag. Something big to get us all back.
Cue half an hour of the following bullshit. All the TV and music app shit you never wanted your Xbox to do followed by a big presentation about how Nike and Xbox are working together to badger you into running. Someone please tell these fuckwits that gaming is for the couch. If I wanted to run, I’d be away from the couch, but I’m not. I’m sat on the couch playing fucking EDF or something. Leave me alone, Microsoft. You’re like a fucking PE teacher and every PE teacher I ever had wanted to bum all the kids, so stop it.
Then mediocrity descended into horrible farce with the announcement of Dance Like A Cunt 3. To further reinforce the notion that everything was going wrong, a badly-in-need-of-auto-tuning Usher flapped around the stage like David Seaman auditioning for Glee, at which point Los Angeles was rocked by the collective dropping of hundreds of jaws. Yep, Microsoft went there and we hated them for it.
However, the moment of E3 was just around the corner. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the minds behind South Park, hit the stage to announce The Stick of Truth, a new South Park flavoured RPG. Now the game looked pretty good and you have to love a bit of South Park, but it was the way Trey introduced it. “How many times have you been watching an episode of South Park and thought I’d like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device which is being controlled by my tablet device which is hooked into my oven all while sitting in the refrigerator?”
The debacle ended with what felt like five hours of CoDBlOps 2 footage which looked like an overly-beige Ross Kemp wet dream. Just like all the Call of Duties do.
The next worst were Nintendo. Now the Nintendo one happened a whole day after the Microsoft one, and so they knew that the trick was to keep it all about the games. Fuck the Netflix/Youtube/MuVu bullshit and Nike bollocks. Just win back those ‘core’ gamers you lost three years ago when you started whoring yourself out to grannies like a gaggle of Japanese Wayne Rooneys. Come on, Nintendo. You can do it.
Oh dear. The game title that sums up Nintendo is New Super Mario Brothers 2. The fact that Nintendo can still put ‘New’ in the name shows just how delusional they are. An hour of kids’ games – higher definition versions of all your old favourites – wasn’t exactly anything to get excited over and seeing Nintendo executives acting like cutesy pricks over the latest Pikmin and Mario games isn’t just embarrassing, it’s getting creepy. They are becoming the Michael Jackson of gaming.
That illusion was made complete when they announced Nintendo Land, some sort of horrific virtual Neverland ranch. I can’t remember what it was apart from a collection of Mii things playing shit mini-games. How fucking quaint. Isn’t this just Mario Party but with more cunts? I don’t know, but I don’t like it.
Nintendo had the chance to really dominate thanks to the Wii-U system and a much-anticipated revision to the 3DS. That last thing never transpired though and the Wii-U, while looking mildly diverting, didn’t look particularly interesting, especially when the remote screen gamepad thing looks too big to hold comfortably and the screen just seems to act as a menu on most games anyway. Also, it looks fiddly to code for so don’t expect a glut of decent launch titles and Nintendo still aren’t hinting at a price. I’m guessing somewhere between kidney and right arm.
EA, as expected, concentrated on the games but, for the most part, it was the franchises that they’ve been plugging for over decade. FIFA 13 continues EA’s tradition of making each successive game even more fucking fiddly to play with all sorts of iPad integration to worry about. The gameplay trailer wasn’t gameplay at all, and the only on-the-pitch changes were the usual fucking meaningless bullshit about better AI. At least that’s all I heard because it was hard to understand him when my brain insisted on screaming ‘shut up, cunt’ at him for the duration of his time on the stage. NFL didn’t fare much better either. He went on about Madden as well but I didn’t understand any of that apart from the word ‘downs.’
Eyebrows were however raised when the familiar ‘WE ARE LIVE!!!’ catchphrase of MMA fight-announcer, and walking ‘before’ picture for Just For Men, Bruce Buffer echoed around the arena, marking the coming together of EA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As an MMA fan, I was quite excited by this announcement. Even if it does mean the next UFC game will be an analogue-driven wiggle-fest. Dana White hitting the stage sealed the deal and, while EA will probably fuck the thing with all sorts of money-sucking DLC bollocks, it was certainly a big announcement and I’m looking forward to the game.
Criterion, best known for their last good game – Burnout Paradise – announced ‘Need For Speed: Not Burnout Paradise (But Similar)’ and once you got past all the gratuitous close up shots of shiny cars, it did look like it might be fun. The visuals are certainly impressive but it remains to be seen whether or not Autolog will complicate everything with endless reminders that other people on your friend list are better than you.
The second best conference belonged to Sony. Now, no amount of bare-faced lying will convince us otherwise: the PlayStation 3 got absolutely fucked by the Xbox in this generation. It seems like a good machine, but terrible marketing and inexplicable decision-making seemingly crippled it out of the gate and they never caught up. But with the collective apathy from Microsoft’s conference literally chilling the air, Sony didn’t have to do much to improve on things when it came to delivering their conference.
Two brand-new exclusive IPs were exactly what the audience want from a major E3 conference and Beyond – the latest intrigue-em-up from Quantic Dream of ‘Fahrenheit’ and ‘Heavy Rain’ fame – and The Last of Us – a nice looking post-apocalyptic despair-em-up survival game – both looked very promising and seemed to offer characters a little deeper than the usual gun-toting fuckpigs we usually get to play as.
God of War: Ascension looked to continue the tradition of hacking, slashing and quicktime eventing but received gleeful whoops from the Kratos fans in the audience. Playstation All Star Battle Royale – Sony’s answer to the massively overrated and utterly detestable Smash Bros – looked like a confusing piece of shit, but Parappa was in it so it can’t be all bad.
A total lack of Move, an announcement of lots of freebies for PlayStation Plus subscribers and some talk of PS1 games for the Vita were Sony’s way of subtly telling us all that those particular products are selling like hot piss. The bad times look to be continuing with some ill-concieved piece of shit called the Wonderbook – an augmented reality book that looks like it’ll ruin fairy tales for your kids. Expect it to sell rather less well than Gary Glitter’s next album.
As with 2011, the best conference belonged to Ubisoft, even if they were mostly focused on sequels, with plenty of time spent on the likes of Assassins Creed 3 (annoyingly set in boring-assed America during the revolution and not Victorian London which would have been ACER THAN TITS), Splinter Cell, Far Cry 3 (which had better not be 50,000 square miles of fuck all like the last game) and Rayman Legends. Star of the show was the intriguing hack-my-face-and-fuck-my-traffic-lights-em-up Watch Dogs which had everyone drooling like cunts. Me included. Details were sketchy but the in-game footage looked like a cross between Hitman, GTA and Bladerunner and we all want it. In our mouths.
Ubi also showed their support for the Wii-U with Zombi-U which looked as dull as a boxset of The Walking Dead, and just as rednecky. The remote screen was being used as some sort of rubbish scanner. Ugh! Although old-school gamers actually remember that Zombi was an icon-driven Dawn of the Dead homage that showed up during the 8-bit era. So that’s nice.
The big three of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo didn’t give us too much to get excited about – Sony and Microsoft are clearly saving their real games for the next gen and Nintendo are fucking idiots – and one well-anticipated game (the aforementioned Watch Dogs) does not a great E3 make, but the stars of E3 this year weren’t the games that got the big screen treatment in the conference hall but rather that sweet hands-on shit that GamingLives has covered this month in E3 articles so keep watching the front page.
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