Last week was one of the most exciting times for video game fans, and the forums were buzzing with the squeals of excited fanboys (and girls!). Listen, no matter what changes E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) has gone through in the past, it is still the number one place for the game industry to shine. Companies shell out their money in huge ways and they save all their biggest announcements for this week.
Oh what I’d give to be in Los Angeles! For us sad sacks who couldn’t get into the convention, which is now mostly just for media and creators, the news kept flying out on Twitter, Facebook, G4, and live blogs from the event. So let’s take a look at the best scream-worthy news from E3 2009.
Microsoft started right out on the first day with a huge mass of announcements, and they certainly did not disappoint. There are two new Halo games coming out (Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach), Left 4 Dead 2, Modern Warfare 2, Metal Gear Solid finally coming to the Xbox 360, and oh yeah, remember those two guys that were a part of that band called The Beatles? I think their names are Paul and … Dingo? Just kidding. Hells yeah to The Beatles: Rock Band, bringing one of the most influential bands to the video game worlds. They better have Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on there, or I’ll be heartbroken.
Microsoft intends to up the Xbox Live awesomeness to a new level, pushing more Netflix and Zune partnerships, integration with Facebook and Twitter, and apparently even streaming HD over the Live network. Geez, guys, way to take over social networking and home entertainment.
Oh, and did you hear about Project Natal? Yeah, they’re working on you never having to use a controller again and becoming Tom Cruise in Minority Report … with video games. Using gestures, spoken commands, and that sort of thing, you can use the Xbox system. WiiMotes will be a thing of the past. It’s going to start out small, mind you, with more kid-friendly kinds of ideas, but who knows where this will go.
It’s Nintendo time! So they have a new version of Super Mario Bros. for the Wii that lets you play the game multiplayer, up to four players. They definitely wanted to throw in cool things about the Wii so you can shake the remote and do interactive movements while playing. It looks old fashioned in the only way that we like Mario, so it’s groovy. There’s also a new Wii Fit Plus with new training exercises and plenty of new games to make it more fun. I suck at the balance board.
They showed off MotionPlus with the Wii Sports Resort games, and hopefully MP will keep gamers from complaining about the sensor being way off. We also can’t use that as an excuse for losing Wii Bowling anymore. Damn. They announced games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (YAY), Kingdom Hearts for the DS, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Golden Sun DS, and – drum roll please – Super Mario Galaxy 2. For those of you who never played the first one, stop reading immediately and go play it. And if that wasn’t enough for awesome old school games, there will be a new Metroid game, developed by… Team Ninja (Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive)? And I shed a tear in happiness.
Sony had a lot of competition this year in the awesome department, what with both Microsoft and Nintendo making me cry a little. They too are jumping into the motion-sensitive world with a new controller, which is good since it is necessary to at least compete with the two big names. Sure there were some great announcements such as Uncharted 2, God of War 3, Final Fantasy XIV (Online!), Gran Turismo 5, and The Last Guardian.
The games were pretty exciting, although the PSP Go left me a little cold. It’s just too pricy to compete with some of the other systems, and let’s face it Playstation, you’re not winning the new mainstream market over with your high prices. Nintendo might be flimsy in graphics, but it is kicking your butt in sales. Honestly Sony just proved it will hold up against the competitors, but didn’t really wow anyone. Fine, just coast along.
Those are the three big names, but what else made this year worth watching? Well, come on, The Old Republic of course. This MMO takes one of the most beloved RPG’s of all time, Knights of the Old Republic, and throws it into the online multiplayer realm. PC Gamers everywhere have to change their pants. This is also the first fully voiced game, meaning they probably had to get thousands of voice actors just to cover the NPC’s. Super freaking impressive Electronic Arts/Bioware. EA also showed off a new game called Brutal Thoughts, Dragon Age Origins, EA Sports MMA, and EA Sports Active along with Grand Slam Tennis. Then there is Mass Effect 2, which wins. I don’t care what other game is out there; Mass Effect 2 will always win.
Then Ubisoft brought on the awesome with Assassin’s Creed 2, Petz, Avatar, TMNT (turtle power!), and Splinter Cell. James Cameron himself showed up to talk about Avatar which was pretty great, and he insists he wants to have a hardcore video game to go with the movie. Cameron, you had me at hello. They also displayed Red Steel 2 which will work well with the Wii Motion Plus, so you can swing your sword and jump around like a samurai. There were a few new sports games which pretty much made me yawn, but Academy of Champions is a soccer game that looks pretty fun for kids. Who cares, because Splinter Cell Conviction is going to make the stealth of Chronicles of Riddick look pathetic. I’ll admit I never have the patience for stealth games, but it looks faster paced than usual. Be careful watching the Assassin’s Creed 2 trailer, though. It will make you play Assassin’s Creed again and lament that November isn’t next month.
To make a very long story short: Microsoft wins, Nintendo stays groovy, and Sony has to stop sulking in the background. ‘But I’m so much prettier and smarter than them! Humf!’ Last year was a pretty great one for video games, but with The Beatles, two Halo games, Left 4 Dead, Assassin’s Creed 2, Metroid, Splinter Cell, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 … I think 2009 might just be worthwhile for gamers both casual and hardcore. Plus I now have to buy a PC to play The Old Republic. Damn you Bioware. Well it’ll be worth it when DCU Online and the new Star Trek MMO come out too.
Thanks for coming on this exciting E3 journey with me. Check out the games mentioned above; I promise they’re worth the interest!