Thursday, June 9, 2011

E3 2011 - A Journeyman's Lesson Learned (Day 2 With Wii U Details)

Throw your expectations out the window people.

As someone who is not shy to try new things, I have grown accustomed to being pleasantly surprised. Usually it's in the form of giving a new activity at try, or giving my taste buds a new morsel.

Today Kmartgamer put together a schedule that could make any avid gamer cry. Microsoft, THQ, Konami, Sega, EA, Namco, and Nintendo. THQ, EA and Nintendo were stand outs in my mind due to their excellent scheduling and dedication to making sure we saw as much as we could. EA's Mass Effect 3 demo was being extremely well received, so much so that it was difficult to tell that the door was for Mass Effect 3 because it was completely covered in Best of E3 nominations. Thank you to EA for making sure we were able to get in and see this highly anticipated title.

 *You were waiting a while without one of these*

The Mass Effect 3 exceeded my already high expectations, but there were two other companies that really opened my eyes after spending time with them.


I walked into THQ's booth thinking about all the titles they had on display, and how I had already decided that very few of them were going to be up my alley.
I wrote off Space Marine ever since it was announced because I was unfamiliar with the franchise and felt I wouldn't be missing anything interesting. I was mistaken. Space Marine really has been built to with nearly seamless switches from melee to ranged attacks and a system that rewards you with health for attacking. There are a lot of other games out there that will build up the main character as some sort of indestructible being, but during battle scenes the player has to use a cover system or continually hide. Not so in Space Marine and the gameplay felt fresh and fast-paced because of it. Space Marine went from a title I was ignoring, to one I'm researching.

I was also extremely surprised by how much I enjoyed the Saints Row 3 demo. When it comes to outrageous, over the top, and ridiculous... they have set the standard. Saints Row went there, and where they went was exactly where they needed to be. If you want a twisted and adult-themed title to look at, check this one out. Oh, and don't forget to drop your car off at the Saints Row VIP car wash for a free rim job. Yes, that is what I said. Now, on to something a bit more family friendly.


The Wii U. When the new console was announced at the Nintendo press conference I was in the Starbucks across the street from the convention center. As people started to talk about the announcement, the name was followed by laughter or sighs. As information about the console and controller were released, even more skepticism seemed to seep in. I was not liking what I was hearing and it did not seem like the folks around me second hand information

Remember when Nintendo announced that their project entitled the Revolution was now called the Wii? The response was quite similar. It would seem that Nintendo got the last laugh there. Our final scheduled meeting of the day came in the form of Nintendo and the Wii U would be the focus. Once we all stepped in to the demo room, the door was clothes and SEALED. It was like they were locking us in a vault. The  console itself was locked up and we were not able to get any specifications, but we did get our hands on the new touchscreen controller. Here is a couple important things we learned about the controller:

  • It's had two shoulder buttons, and two analog sticks, allowing for similar control scheme configurations to the 360 and ps3 controllers. 
  • Touchscreen, but controller also has an accelerometer and gyroscope built in as well.
  • There is camera on the controller, facing the player.
  • Will be released between april and december in 2012. 
  • Still supports Wii controllers and accessories (Wii remote +, balance board)
  • The new system will only support 1 touchscreen controller.

There is a lot of other information here, but the point that I need to make here is that I was wrong to assume Nintendo made a false step. After experiencing some of the tech demos for the controller, my opinion changed from fail to win. There is still a lot we need to see before the Wii U is ready for launch, but I am cautiously optimistic.

So, you have to remember that going in with expectations is not wrong, but you could be way off base. I found that just about all of my preconceived opinions were proven wrong today, and there is nothing bad about that. You aren't reading the blog of a burned out veteran of E3, but through the eyes of a fan getting his first taste of the pinnacle of gaming events. One more day to go, and still a great deal of highly anticipated titles to get my hands on. Keep your eyes here for more.

*KmartGamer covered my expenses for the trip as well as scheduled these meetings.

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