Welcome to another edition of the Game Ranter Banter. Five writers take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to give their opinions on some of the most compelling and controversial recent news stories of the game industry. This week, we discuss E3! Topics include: Star Wars for the Kinect, Call of Duty‘s new subscription option, beloved favorite characters in new games, Nintendo’s next console, and the surprise return of some ancient franchises.
Our readers are as knowledgeable and opinionated as our own writers, so here is the place for all of you to discuss these stories as well as any others that may have piqued your interest throughout the week.
The Force Better Be Strong With This One
Out of the plethora AAA titles set to steal the show at E3 this year, there is really only one that I have eyes for… and it’s one that hasn’t had much publicity. After the abysmal failure that was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, the world needs a genuinely good Star Wars title. It’s here at E3 that the tide could change for a better and brighter future for Force wielders at home.
While there’s been little said on Kinect Star Wars past last year’s E3 blip, it would be the perfect time to bring a knew sort of challenge to Microsoft’s Kinect. Anton Mikhailov (one of the designers of the PlayStation Move) said that the Kinect may not be apt for a lightsaber-crammed battle, but LucasArts has promised a new “high-quality” game, and what better way than to throw a Force Lightning than from the palm of your hand, literally, instead of the A Button?
Yet capturing the essence of a Jedi will be easier said than done, and while Kinect mechanics have grown exponentially, to design a game of that caliber around body movements is something else. To be a Jedi you have to be quick and agile. To wield a lightsaber it has to be a part of you. The Force has to flow through you. We’ll have to see if the Kinect can prove its value, and hope that LucasArts can make good on its claim.
More For Your Money?
Call of Duty: Elite seems like a fun idea for players who have at least a passing interest in trying to improve their skill in Black Ops or the upcoming Modern Warfare 3. The features on offer are significant and extensive for the free side however, the people who opt to pay for a subscription to the service are still in the dark regarding the full extend of what they will be getting.
Activision is definitely making sure the service will be available for everyone for free, first and foremost, but will not be detailing anything regarding the paid subscription until MW3 gets closer to launch. As a free service, no gamer should be opposed to using Elite as it does offer interesting features that can help players improve their game. As a paid service, if the price is more expensive than a Netflix subscription, is that something players want to also invest in?
A 360 user can expect to already pay around $70 for Xbox LIVE for a year. Throw in the added cost of a service such as Netflix, and the monthly cost of Elite Premium and gamers are really getting milked for what’s in their wallets. Hopefully, Elite premium will be only $5/month or so. Obviously, there are people out there who enjoy games enough to pay a subscription fee (WoW, anyone?), but until details are more clear regarding the paid service, I’ll be just as happy with my regular CoD game, Elite or not.
And if you really don’t want to deal with any of that, there’s always Battlefield 3.
Hello Again, My Old Friend
Even though E3 is always looked to as the place for the biggest surprises in gaming news, the things that I am most looking forward to seeing at the event are the old favorites. With an overabundance of sequels — many of which end in 3 — this year’s E3 is providing gamers with a lot of great titles, but many that they have seen before in one fashion or another.
It’s a popular pattern in the entertainment industry for a sequel to make the biggest splash at a press event, and for good reason. Getting to catch up with old friends like Nathan Drake and Commander Shepard is hard to pass up, especially when they bring new mechanics and adventures along with them. Sure, the event will bring some innovation — especially with Nintendo’s new console — but getting to see surprises from titles we thought had been run dry is what I am most looking forward to.
I remember overtly believing that Nintendo was going to come out with some kind of online component for the GameCube in an attempt to compete with Xbox Live, which was starting a revolution at the time. In my eyes, Nintendo was an all seeing company that would understand that the online space was the future of gaming.
The GameCube would end up getting support for only a couple online titles and then the Wii came out. While Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection does provide support for online play and buddy lists, it does it so awkwardly that it almost seems like Nintendo was trying to make its service feel inferior.
Naturally, what Nintendo has to say about online for the Wii 2 at this year’s E3 will be very important to me, but this time I won’t be getting my hopes up, especially after seeing the 3DS online services still lacking. Nintendo is late to a party where Microsoft brought the chips and Sony brought the drinks and they better be bringing pizza.
Who talks about DOS games for E3? This guy!
Of course, everyone is going to be wondering about all the big announcements and reveals during E3 – but let’s not forget about the little guys. Specifically, I’m talking about old labels like X-Com and Jagged Alliance.
These games used to be huge back in their old DOS-based days, and have since mostly fallen off the radar, completely missing most of the next generation of gamers. Is the fact that they were both turn-based tactical shooters to blame? Is X-Com right for heading in the first-person-shooter direction? What happened to these kind of tactical games?
Civilization certainly proved that you can garner mass success if you do it right, but they also had a budget that games like Jagged Alliance simply don’t have. The upcoming week will either provide us the answers we’re looking for, or prove to be one another rough year for the turn-based action genre as it fights from disappearing completely.