The Dust Has Settled: Day 2 – Ethos

All right, guys. A lot went down today. Because of Microsoft’s lackluster showing, I forgot what E3 could bring. Nintendo gave a conference like they remembered who put them in their high chair to begin with, and Sony brought a solid if not slightly underwhelming showing of their own. At least Sony seemed more in touch than Microsoft.

In any case, like I’ve stated before, is not your source for news, so I’m sure I’m going to miss 982375493 things in my reactions here, but I want to hit you all with what stuck out to me today.

Kevin Butler’s “I Am Canadian” speech -
Kevin Butler really said nothing in his surprise appearance, but he nailed his performance and made me feel like Sony really isn’t pulling a Nintendo and pushing the hardcore gamer aside. It’s the sort of thing that makes one realize why propaganda speeches during wartime really do make a difference. Anyway, for those of you who don’t understand the reference in the title, just watch below. This was a big deal back when it aired in my little country.

Wait, I actually want to play my Wii again? -
Seriously, besides Super Mario Galaxy 2, I’ve had absolutely zero desire to even pretend to care about the Wii recently. Remember that Soapbox I wrote just the other week? I pronounced Nintendo a long-lost cause with Mario Galaxy 2 being a glimmer of a hopeful future.

Now, I still hate that the Wii refuses to go HD. Hate it. And Nintendo doesn’t seem to be picking up any of the slack in the online community department, but they somehow managed to make me want a bunch of games for that ridiculous console.

The personality is back!

The Zelda demo was a undeniable disaster, but the consensus from impressions on the showfloor is that it really was technical difficulties and the game controls well. It’s still motion controls, yes, but I’d far prefer working motion controls. And the enemy design seems to be discouraging straight-up waggle, so that’s a plus. I also love the art style. The Twilight Princess/Wind Waker hybrid has breathed personality back into the way Zelda looks. I just hope the game follows suit and brings back the life we haven’t seen on a console since Wind Waker along with the mystique and dense game worlds of the N64 iterations.

Then Nintendo surprised me by making me want two other games. 2D platformers, they may be, but wow do they ever look fun. Donkey Kong Country Returns is long overdue, and looks to have all the magic, challenge, and tight game design as the classic Rareware creations. The bigger surprise for game I want is Kirby’s Epic Yarn. It’s challenging Metroid: Other M for worst name, but it’s also in the running for greatest art style ever. It has a bit of a Yoshi’s Story vibe, but looks far more vibrant and creative. When I first saw Kirby’s picture behind Reggie, I remembered Kirby 64 and winced. But then the gameplay happened and now it’s another Nintendo title that I legitimately desire.

Oh right! And then there was Epic Mickey. The concept art rocked, then the screenshots looked terrible, and now the demo was sweet! It desperately made me want HD, yes, but it looked to be creative, fun, and more deep than I’ve come to expect from the Wii. Very strong showing from a console I thought I was done with.

"Sorry to keep you waiting"

3DSawesome -
That’s pronounced “Three Dee Ess Sawsome” by the way. And to conclude Nintendo’s already impressive show, they busted out the 3DS. We knew it was coming, but it still looks sleek, adds an analog stick, and had a very self-aware Kid Icarus trailer that showed off graphics rivaling the stuff we had just seen for the Wii. There are people who are saying it’s barely better than the DS’ current graphics, and that just baffles me. Maybe the trailer was fudged, but all the screenshots across the board are showing significant improvement in my books. Also, what’s up with all these awesome remakes?
-Star Fox 64
-Ocarina of Time 64
-Kingdom Hearts (although not necessarily a remake, I’ve heard reports of drastic changes…)
-Pilot Wings Resort (wait, is this an original title? Either way, it’s sweet)
-Paper Mario (another one that’s up in the air. Remake or new title?)

Either way, the software lineup has me extremely excited. But what about pricepoint and release date, Nintendo? Even Zelda was a vague “2011″, can’t even match that?

Right, not Nintendo -
Because of Nintendo’s surprisingly strong showing, I kinda forgot what Sony showed. LittleBigPlanet 2 looked really impressive, but a bit too daunting for me to be too interested in. Portal 2 for PS3 is really fucking sweet, and I never played the Sly Cooper games, so I’ll always take a HD collection. Even that Sorcery game for Move didn’t look terrible. But playing that would mean buying the Move, and I don’t have a reason to do that yet.

Golden Sun! -
That’s it, really. I’m excited that this exists.

Well I’m really tired and still need to eat. I probably missed a billion things, but you guys can fill that blank! What caught your eye or underwhelmed you from Day 2?

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21 Responses to “The Dust Has Settled: Day 2 – Ethos”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    HAHA, you’re the only one I’ve known to have had this negative impression of Epic Mickey. I’m still looking forward to it, and love the look of the platforming transition levels.

  2. SiliconNooB says:

    -Also, I’m not a huge Zelda fan, but that art style makes me want to play it. I think the soft cartoonish graphics will probably suffer less from being SD, than would a more realistic style like Twilight Princess.

  3. Ethos says:

    I agree about the Zelda graphics. I’m excited for the game. Not crazy hyped like I used to get for Zelda, but my optimism is back.

    And I only had a negative impression of Epic Mickey from those screenshots, the concept art and the e3 demo sold me. I’m in.

  4. SiliconNooB says:

    Well, if I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times; don’t base strong opinions on unrepresentative bullshit.

  5. 7thCircle says:

    Unanimous RPGamer staff opinion while we watched the conferences yesterday was that Nintendo was amazing, and for the first time since…. I don’t know, the 90s?… we all have a handful of upcoming Nintendo games we plan on buying. I haven’t seen a lineup this strong from Nintendo since the SNES days.

    We also all agreed that Sony’s conference was 45 minutes of boring trailers, 5 minutes of Kevin Butler being awesome, and then 45 more minutes of sleepy trailers. I stopped to cook lunch in the middle of the presentation because it was so dull.

    So the E3 press conferences were well below the painfully embarrassing standard I’ve come to expect after the last few years. MS was lame, but not lame enough. Nintendo was awesome instead of terrible. Sony was boring. My need to laugh at people was not met.

  6. Ethos says:

    @Glenn – It’s because e3 hasn’t sucked as hard as it has in recent years. People are taking it seriously again. And yeah, like I said above, I’m the same way with wanting to buy a great deal of Nintendo titles, which hasn’t been the case in a long while.

    @SN – I thought the screenshots sucked, I didn’t rule out the game. Obviously, because a strong demo easily turned me from “those screenshots sucked” to “this game looks great”.

  7. SiliconNooB says:

    The screenshots didn’t even look real.

  8. SiliconNooB says:

    Wow … Konami’s conference is really dull …

  9. Constipated_Cow says:

    The personality is BACK!? Why? Because of the graphics? It means the game will have personality?

  10. SiliconNooB says:

    Cartonish =/= character.

  11. SiliconNooB says:

    LOL *cartoonish*

  12. Ethos says:

    Well no, cartoonish does not equal character, Wind Waker proved that, but it does show that the visuals have more character and are more inspired than Twilight Princess was. That is the sort of thing that can spill over. Not saying it necessarily will, but my optimism for the title has returned. I’m not expecting anything groundbreaking, but Skyward Sword has my eye.

  13. Ethos says:

    Like I said in the article:
    “The Twilight Princess/Wind Waker hybrid has breathed personality back into the way Zelda looks. I just hope the game follows suit”
    I said it has breathed personality back into the way it LOOKS, and I hope the game follows suit.

  14. SiliconNooB says:

    I thought Twilight Princess just looked like a Zelda game …

  15. Ethos says:

    Yes, but you also don’t really care for Zelda and so don’t have your eye on it in the same way.
    People freaked at at Diablo 3’s graphics and it just looked like Diablo to me.

  16. SiliconNooB says:

    I liked Zelda on the NES and SNES, IMO they looked more like Zelda than the new stuff, 3D Zelda looks like 3D Zelda …

  17. Ethos says:

    I was going to make the distinction, but I assumed that you would assume it.

  18. 7thCircle says:

    I’m with Ethan there. The new Zelda graphics style is better and more inspired than TP’s was. It reminded me of LttP’s style or child-Link’s world in Ocarina. Definitely a great move that makes it look mature without overly relying on cold, dark, and saturated colors like TP did. I didn’t like Wind Waker’s look, but I’m cool with Zelda having a colorful, happy world.

    Now does that mean I’ll buy it? No. Not unless someone I know well and trust convinces me that it’s better than LttP and OoT. I’m definitely over Zelda games.

    Side note: I finally started Shadow of the Colossus this week, and I’m disappointed. No one warned me that the interface was a trainwreck. The artsy uniqueness of it is amazing, yes, but I expected less completely-awful-in-every-way controls from such a recent game that so many people love. I should admit, though, that I have a very low level of patience for spotty 3D platforming.

  19. Ethos says:

    Yeah, I don’t expect SS to be better than OoT or LttP. I’ll obviously keep you posted.

    And what about the controls bothers you with SotC? I’ve played it recently and haven’t been bothered…

  20. 7thCircle says:

    I do like the game and I don’t need to let off steam about it, so don’t give me an angry voice in your head as you read this. Think like I’m just flatly stating this apathetically.

    The camera does horrible things to the point that I sometimes wonder if the developers made the camera stupid on purpose so the game is harder. The horse intentionally stands in your way. I’ve tried finding ways to kill it in colossus battles where the damn thing keeps crossing my path and blocking my view when I’m already fighting the camera constantly, but it is immortal. The horse controls themselves are terrible. The most frustrating part of the game for me is getting to each colossus, and the horse’s annoying desire not to run in straight lines, or after I pull it to the side, having it turn right back to the direction it was facing before, or when a tiny shrub is in the way and the horse comes to a dead stop and takes several seconds to get back to a decent speed.

    During colossus fights, I guess I want the game to have an Assassin’s Creed 2 level of tightness. I’m not saying I expect to sprint up the thing’s leg right up to its head, but the platforming has lots of pauses and stutters built into the motions. The protagonist’s movements in general are janky and awkward, which I assume was done on purpose, but I wish it was implemented in a way that didn’t make climbing around, jumping, and catching ledges feel so jerky. Combined with the camera issues, a lot of times I feel like I give the game an input, and fall, then give it the exact same input in the exact same spot the next time, only this time I succeed and catch the next ledge.

    The easiest buttons to press — X and Square — do the least useful things while platforming. The most used buttons — Triangle and R1 — are awkward to press and hold while also holding the controller. Weapon switching is a disaster, and when I need to change weapons quickly while running, which is necessary in some fights, I’ve had to bring my right hand over to the d-pad while my left hand used the analog stick, which feels retarded.

    The colossi trying to shake you off is crucial, and I love it, and it’s important to the game. But damn some of them shake too much. Once I’ve figured out how to scale the thing, I get annoyed when it shakes so often and so long, I just sit there, bored, holding R1, waiting for it to stop. It puts a pause in the game right when I’m ready for the climax. In many cases it’s not a big deal, but for a few of the ones I’ve killed it’s been distracting and annoying when they shake so much.

    Then there’s the inconsistency in the protagonist’s movements. For the most part he’s awkward and janky, as I complained earlier, but then when he can hold on to a colossus’s fur with one hand while it shakes with tons and tons of torque, it makes me wish he was that resilient when it came to platforming. His iron grip is that nasty, but he grunts while he slowly shimmies around walls? He has to stop to unsheathe his sword? When standing, a colossus barely moves and he tumbles off the side?

    And when certain hits knock him out, it infuriates me. You just sit there, looking at him, lying there, doing nothing, and you wait. And it lasts for several seconds. And this one bitchface colossus attacks so quickly, he was capable of hitting me multiple times before I could even get up. I found myself wishing he did more damage, because a game over and a reload would be faster than watching the protagonist get tossed around by attack after attack.

    Uh. That’s it. Just the camera, the button mapping, the pauses in movement, the stupid ass horse, the everlasting colossus shakes, and platforming controls that are super loose. When several of them combine — like when I’m climbing a colossus, miss a jump even though I felt like I hit the buttons right, then the camera pans away so I can’t see my character, then the colossus shakes and I hold R1 for a good while, then my grip gives up and I fall to the ground unconscious for 6 seconds, and just as I get up the horse runs in my way as I try to move and the colossus smacks me with lightning bullets and I lay unconscious for another 6 seconds, and then, finally, I get to start over climbing it again, I wonder why people love this game so much. I want that minute of my life back each time it happens.

    But I like it. It truly feels like I’m scaling a giant lovable puppy, and then stabbing it in the head over and over until it dies with a sympathetic whimper and makes me feel like the most horrible person on Earth. I just wish it didn’t frustrate me 90% of the time.

  21. Ethos says:

    I agree with some of your points, understand others, and disagree with others.

    I love the horse controls. I feel like I’m in full control after I understand the behavior of the horse, so it breathes life into the horse as a character.
    I agree that the collision mechanics for the horse are annoying and, frankly, terrible.

    I understand your camera complaint, but with the ability to “lock on” to the Colossi, I never had an issue and rather found the camera to be pleasantly cinematic.

    I understand your complaint about when Wander falls down. I liked that it added tension, but I can fully understand how it would completely piss you off.

    I agree about the dudes shaking too much sometimes. Completely.

    I agree that there’s an inconsistency in Wander’s skillset, but it never annoyed me. I guess I figured that fight or flight kicked in when he was scaling a giant beast as opposed to just poking around.

    Never thought of it from the standpoint of “easy to hit” buttons, and logically your argument is sound. Still, R1 is accurate for gripping as opposed to a face button and I personally never had issues, but I understand your frustration.

    Now I understand that I’m coming dangerously close to that fine line that defends shitty controls with an “it adds to the mood” argument, but I truly think Wander’s janky movements is vital to that feeling of desperation and helplessness against the beasts, and suddenly having a different engine for the exploration would be completely bizarre. Still, I will say that Wander does not control like Mario, and very few if any characters control like him. I think it’s intentional and effective.

    However, I agree that sometimes the same technique will produce different results. I think that’s more the fault of collision borders than Wander’s controls.

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