More E3: Nintendo and Sony press conferences, Metal Gear Solid 4, more Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3


Quick and dirty analysis, based on reporting from the scene here, here, and here: Microsoft didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know, Sony impressed by actually revealing new info, and Nintendo basically took a huge shit on everyone's head.

Well, maybe the last one isn't entirely accurate. You can argue fairly that Nintendo is in the process of accomplishing their goals with the Wii, namely bringing games to the non-gamer market. The problem is that they seem to be doing this at the expense of the actual gamer market, whether it's someone who plays for three hours a night, or two hours a week. Nintendo did unveil a Wii version of Mario Kart, and gave more details on already-announced titles like Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl (no online play, it seem), and Metroid Prime 3. They also revealed a goofy and redundant zapper, and a really cheesy-looking steering wheel.

All that is fine, but what's bugging people is that the "big news" is WiiFit, a "game" that will be played on a Power Pad-like "balance board" and consist of a series of fitness-related mini-games. Nintendo's heart is in the right place, but it seems like the kind of thing that gamers are going to scoff at and non-gamers will simply not give a second thought to. To our eyes, anyway, it certainly looks pretty damn silly. Yet Nintendo devoted a large chunk of their presser to it, and seemed to suggest it would be the kind of thing they'd be doing more of in the future. For those who've gone to great lengths to get this system, it wasn't great news; these people have been forced to suffer through enough mini-game collections as it is. Let's get some content, here, Nintendo. What's going to happen when you run out of crowd-pleasing franchise updates? Do they think "Check Mii Out" will get people excited? At least the DS is getting a pretty sweet Zelda game.

Sony, on the other hand, didn't exactly bring out the big guns, but they did announce some good-looking PSP titles as they try to narrow the gap with the DS in the handheld wars, and they delivered some actual good news for those who shelled out $600+ for a PS3. Unreal Tournament 3 is going to be a PS3 exclusive. And Infamous, from the people who brought you Sly Cooper, will be hitting the machine this year as well. And, of course, in the not-distant future, Metal Gear Solid 4 will come out for the PS3. This will be the last game in the saga, at least as far as creator Hideo Kojima's involvement is concerned. Did somebody say "trailer"?

Meanwhile, Harmonix's Rock Band continued to put the Neversoft-produced Guitar Hero 3 to shame. Rock Band announced that Steven Van Zandt will be heading the game's "music advisory board" (expect some garage.) They also announced that full-album downloadable content will be a part of the game, starting with The Who's Who's Next. And finally, they made a shitload of fanboys happy by announcing that Metallica will be on board with the game. We've been waiting since the first Guitar Hero two years ago for that. Guitar Hero 3's big announcement? Slash will be a boss character. It's cool that he's in the game (and playable, too), but there's something about a boss battle in a Guitar Hero game that just doesn't seem right to us. Combined with the new battle mode, it seems that the concerns about Neversoft's involvement with the game may have been well-founded. Color us guarded, at the very least.

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