The first real day of E3 gave us Nintendo’s primary (though not only) press conference, as well as our first chance to get out on the showroom floor and get our hands on some games.
Did we like everything we saw? No. Did we hate everything we saw? No.
We did, however, hate some things. And loved others. That’s life for you, and that’s E3 for you as well.
What you’ll find below aren’t grades on everything that we saw. That’s boring. They’re just our picks for the day’s standouts and lowlights!
LEGO CITY: UNDERCOVER – What is this? Where did it come from? Where is the licensing? How do they keep making these LEGO games so damn charming? E3 used to be all about questions like that, questions driven by the excitement of something that’s new and which you actually like the looks of. Nice to see it’s a trend that’s not entirely dead.
AGNI’S PHILOSOPHY – As strange as it feels to put Square Enix in the winner’s circle following a games show, the Japanese publisher earned it tonight with its surprise showing of its next-gen engine, Luminous. Something new, something showing us the future…it may be total bollocks for all we know, but Lord only knows this E3 could have done with more gazing at the future instead of being stuck in the past.
PIKMIN 3 – It’s been nearly eight years since the last Pikmin game. That’s too damn long, Nintendo, so this was welcome news. Adding to the feel-good factor of the game’s announcement was the manner with which it was revealed: not by a grim executive or a developer awkwardly reciting buzzwords, but by a man genuinely enthused by the games he makes, and not afraid to share that.
ZombiU – It hasn’t been the blockbuster showing Nintendo was maybe hoping for with the Wii U, but one bright spot – particularly given the fact it’s a third-party game – has been ZombiU. Not only does it look good, but it uses the Wii U in compelling ways, making it much more interesting – and important to Nintendo – than the flood of ports that make up the rest of the console’s third-party launch lineup.
NINTENDO’S CONFERENCES – Nintendo held two conferences today. Continuing the theme from yesterday, they were both dreadful. After a bright start, Nintendo’s main press conference degenerated into a show reminiscent of the company’s dark days, full of neat ideas but light on excitement. For a machine launching this year, that’s a problem. Also, no launch date? No price? Come on.
Their evening “hardware conference” was even worse.
WII U HARDWARE – It’s got some promise, but we’ve also got some concerns. The battery on the controllers only lasts for 3-5 hours. At most. Use two pads at once and the framerate for games drops by half. Throw in the fact that nothing shown this week looks anything remotely like a “next gen” game and the Wii U as a piece of hardware isn’t off to the brightest start. At least some of the games are coming along.
THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE – Your game has serious problems when even a brief cinematic trailer – something even the worst titles can look good in – can only remind people yet again why this is one of the most crushingly disappointing games at the show.