The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles wrapped up on Thursday. Lance Harris looks at the best and worst to emerge from the world’s biggest gaming trade show in 2010.
Coolest new tech of the show: Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo’s 3DS is an amazing little device that renders convincing 3D images without the player needing to don any geeky-looking glasses. The 3D effects are spectacular – near the quality of animated movies in cinemas – and all in a device that fits neatly in your pocket.
Best platform-holder at the show: Nintendo
Nintendo casually dropped a number of megatons at E3 with the confidence that comes from being the market leader. It gave compelling new info for and demos of games we already knew about, announced a long list of exciting new exclusive titles, and rounded it off by introducing the Nintendo 3DS to the market. Sony and Microsoft floundered by comparison.
Games of the show: Dead Space 2, Epic Mickey, Gears of War 3
Dead Space is one of this console generation’s most unexpected sleeper hits. The sequel, for the PS3 and Xbox 360, looks set to take everything that was great about the survival-horror game and improve on it in every way.
Game producer, Warren Spector, has complex and mature titles such as System Shock, Thief and Deus Ex on his CV. Choosing him to oversee a Wii-exclusive game based on Disney’s Mickey Mouse is a stroke of genius or insanity. Epic Mickey is a surprisingly ambitious game with a distinctive art style, a dark undercurrent and an engaging morality system.
Epic Games’ Xbox 360 exclusive Gears of War 3 looked very sharp in the on-stage demo that Microsoft showed during its press conference. The franchise is always a showcase for the latest additions and enhancements to the Unreal Engine 3, and the next version looks set to raise the visual bar yet again.
Rivalry to watch: Medal of Honor vs Call of Duty
The world’s two biggest third-party publishers will be going head-to-head this Christmas season in the first-person shooter market. EA’s Medal of Honor will be brought from World War 2 into the modern era to make it a more compelling competitor for Activision’s Call of Duty series. Medal of Honor looks a bit generic, but could give the Call of Duty juggernaut a run for its money later this year.
Quote of the show: Gabe Newell
“I’d like to thank everyone at Sony for their gracious hospitality and for not repeatedly punching me in the face.” – Gabe Newell, the outspoken MD of Valve who once described the PlayStation 3 as “a waste of everybody’s time”. He joined Sony on stage at E3 to announce that Valve’s Steamworks community system and its game, Portal 2, will be coming to the PS3 in 2011.
Best visuals: Killzone 3
This video probably says it all:
Most embarrassing moment: Kevin Butler at the Sony press conference
Kevin Butler, the funny guy that makes the American PlayStation TV ads such a treat, was awkward, obnoxious and decidedly unfunny on the E3 stage. He launched a couple of barbs Microsoft’s way, then rambled on for a good five minutes about why core gamers shouldn’t be so darned hostile to motion controls.
Best news for SA gamers: local launch of Xbox Live
Xbox Live, the online gaming, content and community service for the Xbox 360, is finally set to arrive in SA before December this year. Pricing details and an exact launch date have yet to be announced (we hear it will be on 26 October). Microsoft is looking into helping SA Live users with accounts in other regions to move to the SA region so that they can buy subscriptions and points locally without losing their gamer tags and achievements.
MIA at the show: The Last Guardian
Sony wowed E3 last year with the first trailer for The Last Guardian, the next game from its Team ICO studio. The absence of any new footage for the game at E3 2010 dashes any hopes that the next title from the Shadow of the Colossus developer will be out this year.