In gaming news today and as the E3 is drawing to a close we can finally start to sit back and relax (a little).
Guitar Hero: World Tour to Feature 3 Jimi Hendrix Songs
Activision stroke back with a vengeance today when they announced that the new Guitar Hero would feature not one, not two but three! songs from Jimi Hendrix. And not the least known ones either: Purple Haze, Foxy Lady and Little Wings. During the Microsoft conference at E3 2008 Harmonix announced that they would finally feature AC/DC in Rock Band 2, but they are only featuring one single song, Let There Be Rock, which gives Guitar Hero a sudden edge. The music game battle rages on!
Knights of the Old Republic Online is finally confirmed!
Portfolio.com got the story today form the horse’s mouth, Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello, that EA is indeed working on the next KotOR project and that “yes”" it is an MMO. No release date or any other details have been announced yet but it seems the name might be “The Old Republic”.
Alan Wake to Be Shown at TGS
A Vista promotional page hints at the fact that the game will finally be shown at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. The game was strongly missing for E3 2008 and one can wonder about the validity of showing a PC game in Japan which is a very console oriented market.
Wii Sales Above 360 in the U.S. for the First Time
As of June, according to numbers released by the NDP, the Wii has sold 10.9 million units whereas the 360 has sold 10.4 million, officially beating the Microsoft console for the first time in the U.S. It is worth noting that worldwide the Wii has been above the 360 for some time selling close to 25 million units as opposed to 19 million for the latter.
id Software to Quit Activision for Electronic Arts
Right before E3 id Software (John Carmack and the guys who brought you Doom and Duke Nukem) announced that they would partner with EA to publish their upcoming title called RAGE ending their long time partnership with ActiVision. The deal however is only good, so far, for RAGE so we have yet to see what will happens once the game is released…..when it’s done.
Valkyria Chronicles coming on the PSP… Oops no Wait! I Meant the PS3
On the other front it seems Sony can’t do anything right this year. After a very solid presentation at E3 we might have thought they were back on track. Well apparently not. During their conference Sony unveiled Valkyria Chronicles as one of the major upcoming titles for their PSP. According to Kotaku, the problem is that is was never planned for the PSP but actually a PS3 title, they just messed up with the video. Sega quickly denied any rumor that the game was coming on the portable console. Ouch.
Aside from the conferences there where obviously several trailers, gameplay footage videos and more being shown at the summit. And since some conference were somewhat lacking on the game front I’m going to share what so far has gotten me most excited.
Best Trailers of E3:
- Star Ocean – The Last Hope. This one looks really really nice and has got me much more excited than Last Remnant or Infinite Undiscovery.
- Dawn of War II. I’m not really a Strategy fan but this trailer is very nice.
- I Am Alive. Now this trailer took me by surprise and wow! of course this could translate into a nice game or complete crap with a 50/50 chance. But the trailer is sweet.
- Singularity. Looks promising, we’ll have to keep an eye on this one.
Now we all know trailers in the end….don’t mean anything, a great trailer can precede a great game and a crappy one. Likewise with a bad trailer. So I want to share what I’ve seen so far that has gotten me really pumped! either entirely new or something announced previously that I though was “OK” but now looks freaking amazing (I’m looking at you Prince of Persia!)
Best Excitement of E3:
- Prince of Persia!! When Ubisoft unveiled the new PoP with the new design my main thought was “why not”. It looked nice but didn’t appeal to me much more than this. Now this demo looks amazing! the design is sumptuous, the gameplay looks fun and engaging without being frustrating, it’s open world…
- Braid. An XBLA title that looks really nice and reminds me of what games ought to strive to be: fun! again it looks challenging without being frustrating. the Graphics are completely charming and the gameplay looks very fun and intuitive. The game should be comprised of 5 stages with 4 levels in each stage.
- Far Cry 2. Looks might sweet! The graphics look amazing and that’s on the 360!! Very impressive. One aspect that has me excited also is that they dropped the whole mutant/alien gig and now it’s entirely human enemies! Yes!
- The Force Unleashed. It already looks great but it keeps getting better and better. Sweet timeline, sweet Lightsaber grip, awesome physics and now sweet lightsaber/force hold/lightning combo, character leveling and lightsaber customization a la KotOR… I can’t wait!
- Lego Batman. Yay! I’m a huge Batman fan so I’m very excited about this game. Seems to bring all the goodness of the Lego games with the roster of the Batman universe, the gritty feel of Gotham, the insane feel of the Joker funhouse and a soundtrack by Danny Elfman!!!
I will add more as I come across them.
Special thanks to GameSpot for their awesome Stage Demo feature which I discovered during last year’s E3 (or Entertainment for All Expo, whatever)
If there is one thing that Sony is good at it is producing trendy tech designs. From the very first minutes with the buttons symbols shining all over the room to the Little Big Planet genius presentation it was in my opinion the most professional presentation delivery of the 3.
Here is what they announced:
- New PS2 bundle with Lego Batman including DC New Frontier DVD announced for $149, sadly no Batman logo. New PS3 80GB Core Pack announced for $399.
- New PSP Entertainment Pack including the Silver PSP, Ratchet & Clank – Size Matters, National Treasure 2 UMD, 1 GB Memory Stick and a voucher for Endochrome. All this for $199.
- Several news for the PlayStation Network (PSN). Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty announced for $14.99 (the game should be about 3-4 hours long) coming out this summer. Several other titles include Siren, Eden, Fat Princess and more. Gran Turismo TV (not to be confused with the other GTTV), showcasing auto news, reviews, shows and more in SD and HD through the PSN starting August 1st. The Ratchet game looks really nice especially for this price and the GTTV looks very interesting if you’re into cars…otherwise…
- A bunch of improvements for Home as well. Home will start featuring many more TV Shows in SD and HD starting at $1.99. Likewise with movies starting at $2.99 to $5.99. All these will be transferable to your PSP through either the PS3 or your PC. Content will also feature progressive download so you can watch as soon as you start the download (similar to online videos).
- As far as games go it was a bit underwhelming. Some very nice footage from Resistance 2 (it’s all in the scale!), and a new game announced for the PSP Resistance – Retribution. For the PS3 God of War III was confirmed which isn’t a big surprise, Infamous was also confirmed for spring 2009. For PSP they confirms Valkyria Chronicles, Patapon 2, LocoRoco 2 and more. SOE unveiled DC Universe Online with Jim Lee as a speakers and even though the speech was nice, the footage wasn’t very impressive (and I have to say I’m doubtful as to how this game will work out in principle).
- The big game announcement that could become great was MAG (Massive Action Game) which seems to take the idea of Battlefield and Socom and expand on it, with 256 players at once, squads of 8 players and a system of RPG-like character growth. The game looks really interesting and the trailer was nice, now we’ll need to try it out to make sure.
Overall I thought that for the delivery the Sony conference was the best. The BIG highlight of the conference was the Little Big Planet presentation which quite honestly made everything else look stale. Sadly as far as games go, aside from a few good things like God of War III, Ratchet & Clank on PSN and the promising MAG, there wasn’t much to look forward to.
But on the hardware side this might finally be the time when i go to the store to get a PS3.
You can watch the full coverage of the conference here.
This morning Nintendo held their press conference and amongst all the smiles there were several interesting tidbits.
- Animal Crossing: City Folks was confirmed for the Wii with the Wii Speak feature announced. It will allow you to gather and chat with your friends in game while you partake in activities like fishing. The features sounds fun and the game looks really nice.
- One of the big announcements at the conference was the Wii Motion Plus, which is a somewhat small square piece of hardware that you plug in the back of your Wiimote and enhances the sensitivity of the sensors. It looks quite promising but we’ll have the wait for more tests to be sure.
- The release date of November 2 2008 for Pokemon Ranger on DS was announced and GTA Chinatown Wars was announced also for the DS (but no release date).
- Wii Sports Resort was announced as well as Wii Music. Sports looks like an extension of the original so nothing special. Wii Music on the other hand looks interesting. In Miyamoto fashion it seems very intuitive and you basically just press buttons any way you want to produce seemingly pre-recorded music. While it looks fun and easy to use, the novelty effect might wear off quickly if the music database is lacking so we’ll wait for more details.
All in all, I thought the Nintendo conference was a bit underwhelming. No big announcement (where is Kid Icarus??). There were a few forced joked which fell flat and a few uneasy silent after “big” announcements (like in the Microsoft Conference). Hopefully the Wiimote extension, Animal Crossing and Wii Music will deliver.
You can watch the full coverage of the conference here.
Today Microsoft held their press conference at E3 and is what I took from it.
- Complete revamp of Xbox Live with avatars. at first glance I’m not sure about the changes but we will have to see it and try it to make sure.
- Netflix is partnering with Microsoft to distribute movies on Xbox Live. To me this is THE announcement that’s worth a million bucks.Combining the cheap format of Netflix with the (almost) instantaneous aspect of Live download is a gold mine.
- The Fallout 3 gameplay felt very underwhelming to me. I’m pretty disappointed as I have high hopes for this game. We’ll have to wait and see some more.
- Final Fantasy XIII will be released simultaneously for PS3 and 360! Now this is another major gain for Microsoft and another blow to the PS3. Sony must be really glad they integrated Blu-ray in their console because otherwise…
- The online Co-Op modes for Resident Evil 5 (releasing Friday the 13th March 2009) and Fable II look very nice. Fable II gives a lot of promise and looks like another nice RPG that people will enjoy playing. Resident Evil 5 continues in the footsteps of RE 4 adding a promising cooperation mode.
- Confirmed release dates of November 7 2008 for Gears of War 2, March 13 2009 for Resident Evil 5, October 2008 for Fable II and September 2 2008 for Infinite Undiscovery (which looks like Lost Odyssey but has a kick-ass website).
- Other announcements counted Guitar Hero World Tour which looked OK but was overshadowed by Rock Band 2 and their announcement that AC/DC will finally be featured on the game. Rare confirmed Viva Piñata 2 and Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Geometry Wars 2 and Portal 2 are coming to Xbox Live Arcade and a few other details which weren’t that thrilling.
Overall the Microsoft conference was average with mostly confirmations and footage we had seen before. Still it included the big FFXIII slap and some nice new footage of Fable II, Resident Evil 5 and Fallout 3.
You can watch the full coverage of the conference here.
All I can say is I wasn’t very impressed with the trailer. It is too short to show much so I will wait to see more.
Reminded me of the battle of Helm’s Deep for some reason.
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