10 Things E3 Did Get Wrong

1) Microsoft's Conference: Besides Halo 4 and the surprise Splinter Cell, plus a little thing called Tomb Raider, there wasn't much for Microsoft to crow about. Yes, Gears of War and Forza were there, but as teaser trailers that barely said anything (or did anything for that matter), and a bunch of tech related to Kinect that I really don't care about. Something they didn't mention that has since been confirmed is an AFL channel, since E3 was all about US sports. There's no doubt that Microsoft are holding back until next year, when the next console is finally revealed.

Also, when two non-game developers take the piss out of your own presentation in the middle of said presentation, you know it's not going as well as planned. Though credit to Matt and Trey, who easily stole the show with the best moment of the week.

2) Nintendo: Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to look forward to, but this year seems like a failure to me. What could have been a massive list of announcements, one big title after another, was nothing but a bunch of titles we already knew about and three separate conferences that went over the same stuff. Mario's there, Pikmin's back, but without Zelda, Metroid and Starfox, it felt fairly empty in terms of long term releases. There's always the chance that another Nintendo only event will occur before the Wii U launch (similar to the 3DS events last year), but for now, we'll have to continue waiting. And waiting.

3) PS Vita: The lack of announcements doesn't bode well for a handheld that's not even a year old. There's a few things there, but nothing near the support the 3DS is quickly starting to build up. Just like the good old DS vs PSP days then, I guess some things never change.

4) Call of Duty: Looks like COD is just about set to jump the shark. Perhaps a year off might do the trick, yeah?

5) Rare: So I was wrong about the return of an old favourite. Allow myself a moment to weep.

6) Kinect & Move: The two biggest things of last years E3 are almost dead in the water. Kinect only exists to serve as a tool for things that aren't gaming related, and Move is ... well ... I don't really know why it was there in the first place. Since Nintendo are taking the a few jumps away from motion control (though the Wii U still uses the Wiimotes as a secondary control option), it seems like the motion fad is just that, a fad.

7) Killer Instinct: *whimper*

8) The Big Finale: Remember the days when E3 used to end with 'oh, and one more thing', followed by a huge game no-one saw coming? Microsoft thought showing off Call of Duty Black Ops II was just that. Nintendo finished with ... well, not much of anything. At least in Sony's case, despite the fact it wasn't a surprise, The Last of Us was fun to watch. I just with E3 was more like the old days.

9) Killer Instinct: Hear that? That's my heart breaking. Again.

10) What ever happened to: The Last Guardian, Fire Emblem 3DS, Monster Hunter 3G, Uncharted 4, no new 3DS redesign (though that was always a long shot), all of the big Nintendo franchises outside of Mario. Just a short list of the stuff that wasn't there, though some were briefly mentioned in passing.

11) Killer Instinct. No really, why do this to me?

10 Things E3 Didn't Get Wrong

1) The 3DS: Yes, largely overshadowed by the Wii U (lack of) announcements, the 3DS still has a ton of content incoming over the coming months, none more important that New Super Mario Bros 2, Luigi's Mansion 2 and Paper Mario. Coupled with some good quality 3rd party content, the 2nd year of the 3DS looks warm and cozy.

2) Watch Dogs: Is it me, or are Ubisoft the only company in existence willing to take a risk? They dumped Rayman for Rabbids for Wii's launch, brought Rayman back in arguably the best 2D platform game ever made in Rayman Origins, redefined Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell more than once (more on that in a moment), and are now set to do the same to Assassin's Creed, a title that itself was a risk way back when. Watch Dogs is another new IP set to the same beat, trying something new. It looks polished for an early development, though we may be waiting a while, but this looks promising.

3) Beyond: I already chatted this one up in my last post, but Ellen Page could be up for an award or two if the early trailers are anything to go by. If all goes to plan, this could be huge.

4) Assassin's Creed III On the High Seas: Do I need to explain?

5) Halo 4: The last hurrah, perhaps, for the Xbox 360. Gorgeous to look at, and seemingly with plenty of new content to make it stand out from the past three (not including Reach and ODST, though both were awesome in their own right). The visual upgrade is clear as day, but it seems there will be more cut scenes and intercut storytelling than Bungie's efforts were known for. Intriguing.

6) ZombieU: The Wii U still has a ton of stuff Nintendo are yet to reveal, but again Ubisoft are in the middle of it all. Between this great looking shooter that uses the new gamepad almost perfectly, to the wonderful looking Rayman Legends, at least we can be guaranteed of some high quality produce for launch.

7) Splinter Cell: There's no Ironside involved, but the reveal trailer seems positive enough. The last two Splinter Cell titles have been largely miss more than hit, but Black List might get Sam back on track. If nothing else, seeing him in the middle of a war zone should add some spice, though why there hasn't been a Splinter Cell/Ghost Recon combined title yet I'll never know. Actually, why not have one massive Tom Clancy game with every franchise involved?

8) Star Wars 1313: I'm kinda mixed on this one though. On the one hand, it looks great, and takes the best of Uncharted and throws it into a Universe I love. On the other hand, the same 'let's get down and dirty in the Expanded Universe' concept was used in the Force Unleashed, and that didn't exactly turn out the way I hoped. Can't we just get Battlefront 3 already?

9) The Last of Us: I'm quickly becoming a Naughty Dog fan, Uncharted is a franchise I'd play for a lifetime. But having watched the most recent game play footage of their next big hit, I've got nothing but good vibes. Except for one small problem, which I've already detailed. Will it get past our ratings board?

10) The Wii U: Okay, I was bummed by the lack of really big, blow my socks off announcements. But in the end, I was always going to buy the console, and seeing anything about it in action was good enough for me. Besides, Mario in HD was a system seller without them even announcing said game. There's a few minor things to take note too, such as Bioware working on the console, Ubisoft's continued support of Nintendo, and a ton of Nintendo franchises that will no doubt find their way to the console. And Nintendoland looks kinda cool too, I must admit. The end of the year can't come soon enough.


E3 Day One Wrap: The Last Watch Dog Beyond the Cell

So, thankfully, not all of my predictions came true. That's a good thing, although probably not in the case of Microsoft which, besides the surprise Splinter Cell: Black List reveal, didn't show off anything I wasn't really expecting.

There's a few interesting bits to come out of day one so far that we will no doubt see more of over the coming days. Sony and Microsoft came out swinging early in their press conferences with two big titles, Halo 4 and Beyond: Two Souls. Both look impressive in their own special way, specifically Halo's audio/visual overhaul which seems to be brimming with new content, and Beyond's reconstruction of the lovely Ellen Page as its lead protagonist who has a special connection with the dead. Beyond comes from the same development studio behind Heavy Rain. By the looks of the trailer, they've learnt invaluable lessons from that title with the same high quality visuals and compelling storytelling combined with hopefully a lot more action and traditional gameplay.

Ubisoft held their own conference, as did EA, but Ubi's was more impressive thanks to a concentrated effort on the next gen. Not only were there Wii U details (Rayman Legends' 5 player mode looks fantastic), but perhaps our first glimpse at a possible PS4/Xbox 720 title in Watch Dog. I say that since the visuals looked far beyond anything a current gen console can output, and no platforms were announced after the presentation. I'd say that's a healthy dose of teasing by Ubi right there and I can't wait to see more.

Of the two major players, Microsoft dropped the ball. Instead of a focus on games, it was largely all about Kinect integration, new sports apps and Internet Explorer on Xbox 360. What games we did get were small teasers, a new Gears of War (as predicted) along with a handful of titles with little to no information on what they really are. Of the other games on show, Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider show great promise, though both are 3rd party titles, while finishing the show with COD Black Ops 2 may have sounded like a good idea at the time, but a new IP or more Halo probably would have been a better option.

Sony's presentation seemed a little stronger, thanks largely to appearances by big name players God of War and The Last of Us, which is looking more and more impressive with each new trailer. Though I'm a little concerned that the level of violence and swearing, coupled with a young girl in the middle of the fray, may lead our local Australian Ratings Board to go all 'oh no you didn't' on us and ban the game locally. If they do, consider this my resignation letter from Australian gaming. But, man, I think Beyond may just edge out Watch Dog for my game of show right now. I'll wait and see what Nintendo present first, though, just in case.

Lastly, a few things people may have missed:

* EA confirmed NBA Live will return this year, putting the nail in the coffin of the NBA Elite brand name after the debacle two years ago.

* The opening video of Sony's presentation showed off a few other titles that didn't make another appearance during the show itself, namely the already announced Sly Racoon, LittleBigPlanet Karting and ... Portal 2? Or at least, something Portal related. Will Valve will announce exclusive DLC for the PS3 Portal 2 edition? Could it just be related to the upcoming map maker? Or maybe something new entirely? Curious.

* The Vita did get a few mentions, but it seems anything beyond the typical (namely Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty and Playstation All-Stars) will be announced outside of Sony. They did mention PSOne classics such as Final Fantasy VII though, and greater use of cross-platform play.

* Two new tech's were on show, but no new consoles. Sony announced Wonderbook, a book reading/game playing device that will bring with it new Harry Potter stories based on smaller, unknown characters and spells. Microsoft also confirmed SmartGlass that allows you to use any mobile phone, tablet or PC to interact with the Xbox 360 at home or on the road. In other words, your move Nintendo.

* Oh, and the next Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit can be unofficially be called Burnout Paradise 2. Yup, open world destructive racing that never ends unless you say so. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!