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Yet another E3 has come and gone, and now that the dust has settled I’d like to revisit the Big 3’s announcements and reveals, as well as rate each console maker on their keynotes.  Outside of the Wii U and PS Vita reveals none of the Big 3 really showed any brand new hardware, so it was an E3 dominated with game updates, and a few new game announcements.  Overall, I enjoyed each of the pressers that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo put on last week, but for the most part it was another E3 full of motion controls and updates, versus brand new reveals and “Oh F*ck!” moments.

Microsoft: B-

Microsoft was the first of the Big 3 console makers to present their case to the E3 media, and outside of a few game reveals, their main focus was on Kinect just like it was last year.  MS made it very clear that the Kinect is here to stay, and that it’ll be featured in many future Xbox 360 titles.  With that being said, Kinect is branching out from the usual motion oriented party games that have dominated the Kinect lineup with integration into big name titles like Mass Effect 3 and Fable: The Journey.  I like this direction, and each of those games seems to be using the Kinect in innovative manners that doesn’t cheapen the experience that fans of the franchises have come to love.  I think the voice controls in Mass Effect 3 can only heighten the gameplay, and it looks like Lionhead has some great uses for the Kinect in its Fable franchise.

Fable: The Journey Will Utilize the Kinect Sensor

Staying with Kinect, I like how MS released Kinect labs during E3 for gamers to get their hands on some of the new capabilities of the sensor; such as body scans and object scanning.  Plus, who doesn’t like a free download that also provides some easy to score cheves!  It’s very clear that Microsoft is standing behind their motion control system, and with it being used in hardcore titles like Mass Effect and Fable, it seems as if they’re trying to get more of their hardcore audience on board versus the casual gamer.  We’ll have to wait and see how well the Kinect works with more traditional games, but it’s obvious that the Kinect is Microsoft’s new favorite toy.

Earth Gets F*cked Up in Mass Effect 3

Outside of all of the Kinect news, the biggest reveals at Microsoft’s presser have to be the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, and the announcement that there will be another Halo trilogy featuring the Master Chief.  The HD Halo remake wasn’t a surprise, but the fact that it was confirmed for a Holiday 2011 release was.  Picking up that game will be a no brainer for me as it was my first foray into the FPS genre, so I can’t wait to see its new HD digs.  As far as Halo 4?  Yes please!  What self-respecting Xbox 360 owner isn’t happy to know that the Chief will be making a return to a console near you?  I can’t wait to see how this new Halo trilogy plays out, so hopefully we can get a taste of it sometime in 2012.

The MC is Back For a Brand New Halo Trilogy

I gave MS a B- for their E3 2011 presser, because it really didn’t cater to the hardcore gamer.  Outside of the Halo and Fable reveals, most of their E3 event focused on the Kinect.  I like that they’re not giving up on their motion control system, but I hope that they don’t forget about making high-quality first person titles in the process.  With games like Gears of War 3 and Halo HD coming out this Fall I have no doubt that Microsoft will see another profitable year in gaming.

 

Sony: B

Sony started their E3 presser 20 minutes late, but their tardiness didn’t take away from the heart felt apology that opened up their event.  I’m glad they touched on the PSN outage immediately, and I felt like Jack’s apology was sincere.  From there, just like MS, Sony started focusing on its Move motion controlled system.  Sony showed off how Resistance 3 will utilize the motion controller, as well as the PS3’s 3D capabilities.  I must say that the Sony’s use of 3D in its first party games is motivating me to take the plunge into the 3D TV arena.

With high quality games like Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3 utilizing the 3rd dimension I feel like I’ll be missing out if I don’t experience them in 3D.  From the looks of Uncharted 3 I think it’ll look fantastic in 3D, and I can’t wait to get back to the adventures of Sony’s treasure hunter.  The same can be said for their alternate history sci-fi shooter Resistance 3.  Both of these first party franchises make owning a PS3 mandatory for serious gamers, so I’m pumped about playing the next titles in each of these masterfully created game franchises.

Drake Takes the Jump to 3D in Uncharted 3

Outside of the first party game updates, and some Move announcements, the biggest reveal of the Sony presser was the announcement of the PS Vita.  Gamers knew of the device, but up until E3 the handheld was known as just the NGP.  Now it has a name, and more importantly a price.  Many insiders feared that Sony’s PS Vita would be priced out of this world due to all of its features such as touchscreens, HD graphics, 3G, and WiFi.  To the surprise of us all Sony revealed that the WiFi only version of the PS Vita will cost $249.99, and the 3G/WiFi version will run $299.99.

Introducing the PS Vita

I’m definitely pumped up for Sony’s first party game lineup later this year, but I’m not entirely sold on the PS Vita.  Now that I own an iPad 2 I can’t really see myself needing another mobile gaming device, but I will admit that the PS Vita looks intriguing as all hell.  I think Sony did a good job addressing their PSN issues, highlighting their awesome first party games, and formally introducing their next handheld system at this year’s E3 event.  I wasn’t blown away by any major reveals though, so that’s why they get a B.  Although, if I do end up with a 3D TV it will totally be due to the fact that Sony is fully supporting the technology in their big budget franchises.

 

Nintendo: B+

Even though I’m not much of a Nintendo gamer anymore, I have to say that they had the most impressive E3 presser of the Big 3.  Obviously they had the Wii U announcement bomb, but they also had some great reveals and updates for their fledgling 3DS handheld system.  The 3DS had a horrible launch lineup, but it seems to be getting a heavy helping of first party titles which were shown off at Nintendo’s E3 event.

The 3DS will be getting some fantastic games by the end of 2011 with the likes of Starfox 3D, Super Mario 3D, Mario Kart 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Luigi’s Mansion 2.  I would have thought that some of these would’ve been ready for the 3DS launch, but obviously they were not.  Luckily, most of these new 3DS games will be out later this year just in time for the Holiday Season.  I may have to break out my 3DS from retirement to give some of these new games a go, but they’re going to have to be amazing to pry my mobile game time from the iPad 2!

Everyones Favorite Plumber is Back and in 3D

Without a doubt, the biggest news coming out of Nintendo’s presser, and all of E3 2011 for that matter, has to be the Wii U announcement.  Formally known as Project Cafe, the Wii U will be Nintendo’s first foray into next-gen gaming.  In an attempt to keep up the innovative gameplay of the original Wii, the Wii U will feature a revolutionary touchscreen controller.  This tablet like controller can do everything from touch controls to displaying Wii U games on it.  I must say it looks magical, but I’m still not sold on the fact that it’s made for hardcore gamers.  To me, the Wii U still seems kind of gimmicky, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that its features and potential are out of this world.

Reggie Showing Off Nintendo’s Next-gen Wii U

I think Nintendo did a great job pumping up its 3DS game lineup, and for the most part I’m interested in their Wii U project.  I may have grown apart from Nintendo, but I respect them none the less.  I think their Wii U will push both Sony and MS to do something unique on their own, and it will also give game developers a great tool for coming up with new gameplay techniques.  For their innovation I gave Nintendo a B+ for their E3 2011 event.  They may not be my first choice in gaming anymore, but they’re still one of the most creative organizations on this Planet.

 

Final Thoughts

E3 2011 wasn’t full of new game reveals, but it was full of new details about games we can’t wait to play.  I think each of the Big 3 did their part to shape the rest of the 2011 gaming landscape, and what we can expect to be playing in the months to come.  Nintendo stole the show with their Wii U reveal, but both MS and Sony had successful pressers that should keep their fans happy for months to come.  Outside of the Wii U, I’d have to say that the Battlefield 3 tank demo was the most talked about event from E3 2011.  If you still haven’t seen it yet you can catch it here.  It’s amazing to say the least.

Well that’s it for E3 2011!  I hope you enjoyed our coverage, and like me I hope your excited for the rest of 2011.  With games like Gears 3, Resistance 3, Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3, MW3, it’ll be the year of the 3’s, but each one looks to be a solid entry in their respective franchises.  Like I’ve been saying, September can’t come fast enough!  You’ve been sad to see another E3 come and go…

 

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.