Friday, May 29, 2009

Possible E3 Predictions?

Ahhh, it's finally here. We're officially on summer vacation. While summer often means swimming pools, cookouts, and beach trips, to the gamer it also means E3 is upon us. This year, the granddaddy of video game shows arrives a little early, hitting the LA Convention Center from June 2-4. And every year, I like to make some predictions on what the Big Three (Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony) might bring to the show floor. But first, let's recap last year's E3:

Microsoft went on the first day of the show, showing off the new 360 interface with avatars and all. They also talked about the new party system that allows players to join up together but play different games at the same time. A big advancement for the 360 interface is the addition of Netflix, allowing owners to stream videos via their XBox. They showed off a couple new games like Lips and Gears of War 2, but the real big announcement was the addition of Final Fantasy XIII to the lineup.

Nintendo's press conference was sadly disappointing, giving us nothing too big to talk about and pandering mostly to non-gamers. Their big game for the holiday season was Animal Crossing: City Folk, which they bundled with the Wii Speak apparatus. The game ended up being...just more Animal Crossing. They also showed off Shaun White Snowboarding with the Wii Fit balance board, Wii Music with a crazy drummer dude, and Wii Sports: Resort with the Wii MotionPlus attachment. No real strong first person title was showcased, leaving the hardcore gamers empty-handed.

Sony came in claiming 2008 to be the "year of the PS3". They showed off their social interaction program Home, once again adding avatars to the mix. While people clamored for a price drop on the PS3, Sony instead gave them twice the amount of memory for the same price; an 80 GB PS3 for $400. Games shown included Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, Little Big Planet, and Resistance 2. They closed off their conference with MAG (Massive Action Game) that supports up to 256 players per game.

Now for my predictions for this year's show:

- Main showcase shows off shooters (Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3 ODST, Bioshock 2)
- Bioshock 2 will attempt and fail at multiplayer
- More bundles released.
- Half Life 2: Episode 3 is shown
- Show a motion controller to compete with the SixAxis.
- Sega revives the Jet Grind series on the 360.
- More XBLA games utilizing the avatars are announced

- Once again, more "celebrity" guest stars make an appearance
- The DSi gets downloadable Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games.
- They play with virtual dogs via Nintendogs for the Wii
- Big holiday title is Kid Icarus.
- Will appease hardcore gamers by finally porting Mother 3 to the DS.
- Another expensive peripheral is announced.

- No price cut, but another better deal appears.
- The new PSP has a touch screen and slides up to reveal buttons and two nubs.
- The new Kojima game is not Metal Gear Solid 5, but Metal Gear Solid 4: Substance.
- Square Enix tries to make up for expanding FFXIII to the 360 by giving more useless titles to Sony exclusively.
- God of War 3 is the big title for Sony this year, and they milk it for all it's badassery.
- MAG is given a distinct release date.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review: Terminator Salvation

And we're back! Although busy, summer is nearly here, and my first summer blockbuster was Terminator Salvation. As always, never fear, as there are no spoilers here.
The first thing to begin with is the title. Several news outlets have stated that the title makes no sense without a colon. Clearly they haven't seen this movie. Moving on. Terminator Salvation's trailers showed a very dark film, including Nine Inch Nails music and all kinds of existential quandaries. Well, Terminator Salvation is not quite that same movie. It does stray from the usual sci-fi fare which actually made me proud of it, as it presented some interesting ideas within the Terminator world, however, it did not create any thought on a larger scale. This ended up being okay because Terminator is ultimately the most bad-ass of sci-fi action films. If there was one thing that I was disappointed about in Terminator, it would had to have been Christian Bale. He is one of my favorite actors, and I don't always expect much out of him, but in Terminator Salvation, Bale left me wanting more from his performance. Maybe someone was messing with the lights during his scenes, but in all seriousness the cinematography was excellent. The film has a darkly beautiful tone which is helped by the rich, obliterated environments. I must say that it was not visually exciting most of the time, as it just looked intriguing. A performance I was shocked at was that of Sam Worthington, whose character bears a great deal of significance throughout. Worthington also pulls out all the stops and his character Marcus becomes the bad ass that he was meant to be. Terminator is a very good movie, although I have yet to decide where it fits in the series. It is an enjoyable experience, having both the cheap thrills and memorable moments that we expect from the series, Terminator is quite satisfying for anyone looking for a great action movie. I must conclude with a warning that if you see Terminator, you must not expect the darkest of movies (tonally anyways, as the lighting is pretty damn dark) or you will be somewhat disappointed.