Editorial: E3 2008 Impressions
Another E3 has come and gone, and while I wasn't there (I handled coverage from afar while Arnold attended), I saw Sony's press conference and in updating our videos, I've seen many of the games that were on display. Hence, I've formed some impressions. Oh, stop rolling your eyes; they're legitimate, even though I was 3000 miles away!
First of all, I must say I was more than a little impressed with what we saw of Resistance 2 during the press conference. That first video they showed - Massive Monster Gameplay - was just plain awesome, and from what I could tell, it definitely "wowed" the crowd. It was a great way to kick off the conference, primarily for two reasons: 1. it was an excellent gameplay video; not just FMV or CGI, and 2. it reminded us all that the PlayStation 3, despite losing Final Fantasy XIII, still has a lot of great exclusives on the way. Too many people were glossing over R2 going into this year's E3, in my humble opinion, but from what I've seen so far, I couldn't possibly have higher expectations for it. I think it will be more than a match for Gears of War 2, and that's saying something, considering how good I thought the original GeoW was. Furthermore, Killzone 2, still set for February, is just another great reason to own a PS3.
Secondly, I must say, as trivial as it may seem to some, that using LittleBigPlanet's Sackboy to help with the usually boring business and statistics information was very clever. You can hear people laughing in the audience when you watch the video, and it really added a nice amount of understated flair to the presentation. Thirdly, even though I'm most certainly not a fan of MMOs, I have to admit that M.A.G looked absolutely incredible. 256 players at once on a massive real-time battlefield is a concept that even appeals to me; someone who is staunchly set against the idea of the MMO. Something like DC Universe doesn't really interest me, but M.A.G...just, wow. As for one downside I have to harp on, I was really hoping to see more of God of War III, which supposedly has a tentative release date of early March (according to GameStop). The teaser trailer was cool and everything but it didn't quite cut the mustard.
I am not, however, hinting that GoWIII will be surprisingly mediocre; I'm fully convinced it'll be completely kick-ass from top to bottom, and if it's not a Game of the Year candidate in 2009, I'll be very surprised. I'm just saying a wanted a little something more at E3. Returning to exclusives for a moment - just because it's all anyone can talk about these days, after the FFXIII revelation - I can list out a great many more promising PS3 exclusives than I can 360 exclusives. While the 360 does have Too Human, Fable 2, Gears of War (which I still say will come to the PS3 at some point) and another Halo if Bungie does it, that's not good enough. I really don't think that can compete with what we already have in MGS4, Warhawk, Heavenly Sword and Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, and what's to come with Resistance 2, Killzone 2, LittleBigPlanet, M.A.G, Gran Turismo 5, God of War III, SOCOM: Confrontation, InFamous, Heavy Rain, etc. I'm trying to be as reasonable and objective about this as possible, but I can't come to any other conclusion.
Furthermore, if I had to examine the console war now, I do believe the PS3 - for the first time since the launch - is in the best position of the three. Blu-Ray has won, the Network is still free (and gaining on Live with almost every passing firmware update), the reliability is far and away superior, the games are here (with many still to come), the Store is shaping up quite nicely, PlayStation Home could be both innovative and revolutionary, and the PS3/PSP connectivity is always a nifty bonus. If one takes all this into account, and further believes Sony that the PS3 is a "10-year-vision" (and I do), then one must conclude that their flagship console is in a very good position only 20 months after its release. I hope everyone remembers the doom and gloom of the first few months, because the contrast between then and now is so extraordinary, it's difficult to put into words. In th end, I think I saw a lot from Sony at this year's E3 that I had either forgotten about or had never seen before, and when I put it all together, I come up with the aforementioned thoughts.
That's what I've got to say, but if you want more E3, make sure to check out all Arnold's Impressions for each game he got his hands on, the screenshots he will soon have for you, and the special E3 news and videos I've provided to bring you into close contact with this past week's goings-on at the L.A. Convention Center. We did what we could to deliver the best coverage possible; hope you all felt covered. :)
7/18/2008 Ben Dutka