I think the most annoying thing to come out of the past week has been the endless onslaught of people asking me the most pointless question ever: “What was your game of show?”
In years past, this was a perfectly reasonable question! Everything at E3 was clustered together in two (and a half) massive convention halls, and it was a simple matter to pause and take a look at something that caught your eye as you trekked to your next appointment. Not so this year.
The E3 show floor was practically empty, and it was isolated several miles from everything else. The real action was scattered about half a dozen hotels and was strictly by appointment only. Unless you were simply at the show to browse and not to actually cover it, there was no real way to get a good feel for everything.
So what was my game of the show? I’m not qualified to say. I mean, without question the best games I saw were Mario Galaxy (which I have written about in great volume), Metroid Prime 3 (which I think is very good even if I’m leery of its potential outcome, okay?) and Phantom Hourglass (which I didn’t write about this week because I have much more extensive import coverage on the way). Were those the best games of the show? Unlikely. But I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t get to see anything I wasn’t assigned to. And besides the big Nintendo titles, my assignments were mostly little niche-y things… the bulk of which have been available in Japan for ages:
- Final Fantasy Tactics: I didn’t have enough time to write down examples of the new script, which was the only thing shown beyond what we’ve already covered via import.
- Contra 4: They showed one level. We saw four before E3.
- Touch Detective 2 1/2: The import’s been out a while but we skipped it because the original was sort of meh. Apparently this one is much better?
- Ontamarama: I’d never heard of this. Well, maybe I have, but there are so many quirky little DS games coming out in Japan that it’s impossible to know which ones are worth the trouble and which should be avoided. This actually looks pretty good, although it’s practically impossible for rhythm-challenged people like me.
- Trauma Center: New Blood: Totally new for E3! But no gameplay.
- Draglade: Another overlooked import. Rhythm and fighting, somehow combined in a big nougaty pile of nougat.
- Fishing Master: It’s… fishing. Basically the fishing minigame of Twilight Princess broken out into its own game. And you better believe I hated the hell out of fishing in Twilight Princess!
- Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings: I missed my interview with the dev team because the Miyamoto thing was crazy long, which was disappointing on one level (though very nice on the “I heard Miyamoto and Aonuma discuss their philosophies for two hours” level). I like the sound of the changes they’re adding to the U.S. version, although I sure hope Yiazmat isn’t as tedious to battle as he reportedly is in FFXII.
So yeah, that’s about it. Definitely the limpest E3 I’ve ever attended. At least it was easy to buy decent food this year since we weren’t at the LA Civic Center, located approx. the middle of nowhere.
With luck, they’ll either consolidate next year’s show a bit, or kill off E3 altogether and just have “press conference day” sometime in May.