After spending (some would say wasting) a good chuck of yesterday watching Nintendo's, Microsoft's and Sony's E3 2012 press conferences (I wasn't able to watch Sony's or Microsoft's live on Monday), all I can say is: Woof. As in, "woof, all three of them sucked, didn't they?"
OK, so saying they sucked may be a bit harsh. Saying they were awfully underwhelming, though, is as close to the honest-to-goodness truth you're going to get, in my opinion.
Why? Read the following blurbs to find out. I combined my thoughts on Sony's and Microsoft's pressers, by the way, because I only had a few things to say about the latter conference and I felt bad about leaving it out in the cold, so to speak.
Sony and Microsoft:
* Beyond: Two Souls looks nice, but that's all I can say about it--I have to give it to the crew at Quantic Dreams for coming up with graphics that nearly, but not completely, put to rest the notion that game consoles are unable to produce human characters that aren't at least a bit creepy. Unfortunately, that's about all I was able to glean from the trailer shown for this upcoming PS3 title, which features Academy Award-nominated actress Ellen Page, as it showed no actual gameplay footage. I'm guessing it'll follow in the footsteps of the developer's previous product, Heavy Rain, but it would be nice to know that (or not) for sure.
* The Last of Us was the most intriguing game of Sony's presser, and maybe the most intriguing game of the whole event so far--PS3 and Xbox 360 games look so good these days that it's hard to impress me anymore. That said, The Last of Us (above) impressed me. It looks amazing, the banter between the main characters was about as natural as you could hope for in a video game and the gameplay seems diverse. Can someone remind me why I don't yet own a PS3? Oh, yeah, it's because I can't afford one right now. I may have to buy a copy of this game, though, as soon as that situation changes.
* PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale: Most boring name of the event?--I sure think so. Granted, I've yet to come up with a better name for this Super Smash Bros. clone, but I can't help but think anything would be better than the current one. Thankfully, few gamers are going to care about its name. Will they care enough about its gameplay to add it to their collections? I'm guessing so, although I can't say it appeals to me all that much. (Full disclosure: I find Super Smash Bros. and its sequels similarly unappealing.)
* South Park: The Stick of Truth was the only Xbox 360 game that impressed me during Microsoft's press conference--Which is kind of sad, as this Obsidian Entertainment-developed RPG isn't even an Xbox 360 exclusive. OK, so I also kind of liked what I saw of Fable: The Journey and Resident Evil 6, but the former requires Kinect (which means it gets a big "hell no" from me) and the latter is a game I'd much rather watch someone else play than play myself. Oh, well.
* Vita? What's a Vita?--You know a system is having problems when the company producing and selling it barely mentions it during one of the biggest events of the year. Honestly, I think some people may have blinked and missed the Vita segment of Sony's conference altogether. That's how short and underwhelming it was. A few games were announced for it (including the above-mentioned PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale), as was PSone Classics support, but that's about it. Sigh.
* Does anyone else think the Wii U may support a few too many controllers?--As of now, players can use Wii U GamePads, Wii Remotes (and Wii Remote Pluses, along with Wii Nunchucks), Wii U Pro Controllers, Wii Classic Controllers and Wii Balance Boards while playing games on their Wii Us. Although I'm glad all of the peripherals I bought for my Wii won't just sit around and gather dust after I pick up a Wii U, I can't help but wonder if all of the control options will overwhelm some consumers and even developers.
* I'm not so sure NintendoLand is the killer app Nintendo thinks it is--That said, the Animal Crossing- and Luigi's Mansion-inspired portions of this mini-game collection (Animal Crossing: Sweet Day and Luigi's Ghost Mansion) look like a lot of fun. Personally, I think Nintendo should include a copy of NintendoLand with every Wii U console, but I'm not at all confident it will do so. If not, here's hoping it's no more than $19.99. Otherwise, I have a feeling a lot of gamers--myself included--may give it the cold shoulder upon release.
* New Super Mario Bros. U is more of the same, but I'm (kind of) OK with that--Although I'm not the biggest fan of the art style used in the New Super Mario Bros. series (I find it a bit generic), I am a fan of the tried-and-true gameplay that takes center stages in these titles. New Super Mario Bros. U looks to be the best yet thanks to the inclusion of the new flying squirrel suit (I'll die if the chicken suit is in here, too) and some adorable baby Yoshis. Oh, and some impressively detailed backdrops.
* Pikmin 3 looks and sounds wonderful, as expected--Not only that, but Nintendo wisely decided to allow gamers to use their Wii Remote Pluses and Wii Nunchucks (or their new Wii U GamePads, of course) while playing this, the latest entry in the vaunted Pikmin series. Combine that with the news that Pikmin 3 will include new captains and, well, you've got yourself a game that will be picked up by yours truly the day it's released (or the day I purchase a Wii U, whichever comes first).
* Uh, where's the rest of your games, Nintendo?--Nintendo only showed off a handful of first-party games during its presser: New Super Mario Bros. U, NintendoLand, Pikmin 3 (below) and Wii Fit U. (I'm not counting LEGO City: Undercover or SiNG.) That's pretty paltry, especially when you consider two of those titles were shown and one was announced at last year's E3. Hopefully a few more will be revealed by the end of this year's event (or in the coming weeks, at the very least).
* Wii Fit U will be bought for one reason, and for one reason only--With that reason being that it can be used while watching TV. Honestly, one of the only reasons I haven't used Wii Fit Plus in a few months (I used to use it two or three times every week) is that I prefer watching TV while I work out at home.
* I'm completely sick of the "let's have four guys (OK, maybe one girl) stand on the stage and seemingly play the game we're currently talking about" strategy employed by each of these companies--I understand what they're trying to do (make us believe that what we're seeing on screen is actual footage of the game they're promoting), but it's always seemed rather lame to me.
* Next year, let's hear from some new "suits"--I'm sure Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime, Microsoft's Don Mattrick and Sony's Jack Tretton are great at whatever they do when they're not on stage at E3, but when they are on stage at E3 they are about as awkward and unappealing as can be. No personal offense meant to any of these men, of course; I just wish their employers would ask someone else--someone with a bit more personality and presence--to front these particular press conferences.
* What's up with the 10-minute-long gameplay videos?--Both Microsoft's and Sony's conferences could have been a good half-hour shorter, if not more, had they limited gameplay videos to about three minutes. Instead, they went with gameplay videos that seemed to last an eternity. A good portion of the live crowd seemed to enjoy them, but I found them to be snoozefests.
So, those are my rather long-winded thoughts on E3 2012 so far. If you've been paying attention to this event, what do you think of what's transpired?