Friday, June 18, 2010

E3 2010 Roundup - Part 1

I've been to E3 a few times, but not for the past several years. I followed this year's convention from home, and here are the things that stood out to me:

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (Official YouTube Channel)

It's an all-new game, but it plays like a Marvel-ized update of Tatsunoko vs Capcom. TvC was an awesome game, but it just didn't attract enough players. Many blame the Wii, but I blame the cast. Most of the Tatsunoko characters are unfamiliar to players -- I'd never seen any of them before -- and 90% of them wear similar suits and helmets. Marvel characters solve that problem nicely. Also, the game is more colorful and fast-paced than the current mainstream sensation, Super Street Fighter 4. Will players flock to it like they did to SSF4? I hope so. A fighting game is only viable when there is a wide player base. I think MvC3 has what it takes to attract a huge audience.

The Nintendo 3DS

3D is a gimmick, and nobody likes it... except when the 3DS does it. When Iwata introduced the analog sliding switch to adjust the 3D effect, I knew that they'd struck gold. People perceive these 3D displays differently. That is one of the huge problems. With the adjustment, it allows everyone to fine-tune the effect to minimize their discomfort. Early reports are that it is amazing. Even assuming that the adjustment doesn't provide the desired 3D effect for everyone, it allows the user to switch off 3D completely.

Assuming the worst, that one finds the 3D effect intolerable, why get a 3DS? Well, the early 3DS demos show it capable of displaying PS2-level graphics. There's even a demo of Metal Gear Solid 3. Also, there are tons of great games on the way. Remakes of Ocarina of Time and Starfox 64, a new Kirby game that looks amazing, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Professor Layton, Pilotwings, and even a reportedly-impressive version of DJ Hero. The PSP, which has no announced successor, is in trouble.

There is also a seemingly innocuous feature that might be a major hook in future games: the stealthy wi-fi connectivity. The hardware has a built-in sort of "Bark Mode" ala Nintendogs. You can have the system in a low-power sleep mode in your pocket/backpack/briefcase, and it will communicate with other systems nearby. It can trade information, pull down updates, or even obtain in-game items automatically. Since this is built into the hardware, one can assume that it is able to recognize all of the games you have installed or have save files for and update them accordingly. It doesn't sound like much, but it could be a major facet of the system's use as adoption inevitably increases.

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