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E3 2012 Grades

After watching the show a couple weeks back, here are the grades I would award each of the press conferences. Because assigning arbitrary letter grades, from a regular video game player’s point of view, to a company’s presentation of its product lineup for the benefit of investors is something I like to do. No minus grades because I hate them.

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Konami

Castlevania is always welcome in my book, reboot, separate timeline, or whatever else. That Zone of Enders HD collection looks enticing too. But once again, the conference was pre-recorded, eliminating a great opportunity for Konami to be weird again.

Final Grade: n/a

Microsoft

I’m not the biggest Halo or FPS fan (I usually just play with others when they want to, not for myself), I found myself interested in the Halo 4 trailer, cheesy tagline notwithstanding. The visual comparisons to Metroid Prime (it’s a first person adventure, it’s different) certainly help. It was also cool to see Parker and Stone present their upcoming South Park RPG (despite it being multiplatform) at the conference. Throw in another Gears game and that’s about it. You could make a case for the Smart Glass tablet or ESPN depending on your situation, but neither of those really interest me. Oh yes, Kinect was there too, we can’t get this guy to stop hanging around us all the time.

Final Grade: D

EA

Last year I tuned in to EA’s conference solely to see Mass Effect 3’s new trailer, was kind of underwhelmed, reassured myself that they just showed the “action-y” bits of the game to lure in people who weren’t already interested rather than please existing fans, and went on with my life. Then the game came out this year and… yeah. This year was similar, only I’d replace ME3 with Dead Space 3. It fits TOO well, actually. Only this time you can’t fool me EA. I’m sticking with my initial judgement until it’s proven wrong. The 20 minutes of gameplay shown off later only reinforce my stance. Please, PLEASE don’t fuck it up. The rest of the conference was kind of a blur of disappointment and sports games.

Final Grade: F

Ubisoft

How do you “win” E3? Show games. And that’s what Ubisoft did. Passing up on calling back Mr. Caffeine for Aisha Tylor (and her girlwood?) and some other guy (youtube “celebrity” I guess) was a good start, and they just kept rolling from there. Assassin’s Creed 3, Farcry 3, more Rayman stuff and ZombiU all may not be up my alley in terms of games I’d like to play, but they all look interesting. And then their Watchdogs gameplay stole the show. Imagine that: showing gameplay rather than a trailer, and people actually liking it? What a world. Regardless of how scripted its events may or may not actually be, the game was the first surprise of E3 that really got me excited.

Final Grade: B+

Sony

I went in to this conference looking for a reason to buy a Vita. I came out of it having decided I’ll wait some more. Ignoring their new handheld really cost Sony during this presentation, with only one game shown (a new AssCreed). Other than that (and the Wonderbook) the conference was pretty solid. Sony Smash Brothers got some new reveals, with Big Daddy confirming that they’re willing to reach into third party characters for their slugfest. Beyond and The Last of Us are definitely deserve some attention too. It would’ve been close between Ubisoft and Sony if The Last Guardian was shown, but it continues to remain MIA.

Final Grade: C

Nintendo

I always look forward to Nintendo’s conference, and they usually tend to not disappoint me. It certainly seemed that way this year, starting out strong with Pikmin 3. But as the conference went on the announcements seemed to loose their steam. Batman on the WiiU over a year later? More identical looking New SMB games (which can be fun, but still)? NintendoLand? No thanks, Big N. The WiiU itself could still be alright, but as Nintendo only likes to show games that will be coming out by the year’s end, there still wasn’t a lot. With the announcement of a 3DS only show the following day my hopes rose up a bit, but found there way back down when the hour was devoted mostly to titles we’d already heard about. Why couldn’t you announce Fire Emblem’s localization then? Why did you wait until hours later? That would’ve been great. And some of the new SMT titles being developed? Where were they? There were some potential gems strewn about in Nintendo’s presentation (Paper Mario, Pikmin, the WiiU’s weird online service), but not even Reggie’s preparedness could save this lackluster performance.

Final Grade: D+

Now the wait begins for the Tokyo Game Show, where we’ll hear news of new and exciting games that may or may not be brought overseas to Western gamers. Until next year.

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