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Elder Scrolls Online. Hmm.

It seems an odd time to develop an mmo and while it is impossible to deny the staggering popularity of The Elder Scrolls games, it is very much an uncertainty whether or not Bethesda can lure the players of the strictly solo RPGs to jump online and share the world with other adventurers.

We always say that it is unwise to overly praise E3 demos, but it is equally unwise to be too critical, particularly with a hands off developer driven demo.

That said.

It looks sort of…bland. The combat, while action oriented and not old school mmo, still has powers and cool downs (despite what the Zenimax rep said during the demo). The idea of public dungeons seems taken right out of Warhammer Online and the public quest system. There are private instances, raids, and pvp with hundreds of people per side.

It is also a low min spec game, which should be laptop friendly and not too graphic intensive but should look sharp on higher end rigs. The demo we saw looked…ok. The vistas look fine but the character animations need work.

There are novel ideas here, such as branching storylines and bonuses for playing as a group such as turning a simple fire spell into an area of effect firebomb just by grouping with teammates.

There still didn’t seem to be too many features here that will entice those with mmo fatigue unless you are just itching to join forces In the world of The Elder Scrolls. I realize I may not be the target audience here, but I have played my share of mmos and I’m not sold yet.

B3 at E3 2012- Day 1: Nintendo

It’s time to update NHS’ B3 at E3 2012 coverage, what with Nintendo’s stunning press conference now over and the NHS crew probably laid up in their hotel room, still reeling from a night of eating exotic, rich folks food like “six cheese pizza” at CPK and wine coolers by the pool with Snoop Dogg and Tom Chick. Frankly, I’m ashamed that my NHS colleagues have not flooded the internet with E3 coverage. We should have posts every five minutes about stuff like Halo stickers in the bathroom and whatnot. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD TODAY, and NHS has dropped the ball.

Thank goodness for the power and journalistic might of B3. Now, about that Nintendo press conference…

After being the laughing stock of the last several E3 shows, Nintendo came fully prepared this time, with guns blazing. And by fully prepared, I mean with a zombie game and by guns blazing I mean a zombie shooter. It’s called Zombu: Electric Boogaloo or something like that. They also came prepared by showing some of last year’s top games like Arkham Asylum and Mass Effect 3: Intergalatic Booty Call working on their new Wii U hardware. Everyone seemed pretty excited to play old games while holding an iPhone, using Nintendo’s new Smart Glass technology. Or to just play a Nintendo game using the new “Regular Controller”.

But to kick things off, they showed a still image of Shigeru Miyamoto’s face for ten minutes on the big screens while the Super Mario Bros. theme played. Everyone smiled and nodded affirmatively, remembering the halcyon days of youth. A bunch of midgets dressed like Mario characters rode on stage on minibikes. Then, the man himself took the stage and apologized humbly and deeply in a very Japanese way for Wii Music. Then he said “Pikmin 3” and a bunch of Nintendo nerds got excited, thinking it might be a sequel to cult Wii hit Little King’s Story.

Then, just like on Iron Chef, the new Wii U console rose from the stage amidst smoke and a light show. The speakers emitted the “you found a treasure” fanfare that’s been used in every Zelda game since 1985, and again everyone smiled and nodded affirmatively in the warm glow of nostalgia. The new console will come in 35 different colors including “black” and “white” and can support up to TWO controllers at once without overheating and blowing up. Its MSRP was not announced, but fair market value seems to be about a hundred bucks.

Bulldog-faced weirdo Reggie Fils-Aime took to the stage and announced- to everyone’s surprise- that the Wii U will play the Mario game tapes as well as minigame compliations. It seems that Nintendo is banking on everyone’s nostalgia for the “Spirit of ‘06” and the magic we all felt about the Wii launch before we played it. But the Wii U will also feature internet connectivity and stuff like Netflix, which I don’t think the Wii ever really had.

Bob Hoskins, who portrayed Mario in the Super Mario Bros. movie as well as hardened gangster Harry Shand in “The Long Good Friday” was presented and talked about Nintendoworld Land, a new theme park or something opening sometime soon outside of Wasau, Wisconsin. Seedy carnies- their toothless visages hidden by giant foam heads of beloved Nintendo characters- will wave and uncomfortably hug your children while you dine on mushrooms and raccoon tails. The park will include a shrine to Miyamoto-san made of marshmallows and pixie dust as well as a special “edutainment” exhibit that will explain to children and adult gamers alike the evils of so-called “next generation” game-playing hardware.

There was something called MiiVerse, but I think it was just an announcement that they’re going to force you to look at your ghastly MiiParade every time you turn the console on. I hope that somewhere my Miis of David Bowie, James Brown, Glenn Danzig, and Tom G. Warrior were saved.

Of course, Wii Fit U was a big hit among attendees, their bellies fat with lemon bars and foie gras eaten off of the nude bodies of strippers, provided by Electronic Arts. The new edition will feature exciting minigames like “walking” and “standing”. With the new Wii U controller, players will also be able to hold it while exercising. The 3DS was also represented. Everyone squinted and tried to move to see the giant 3D images displayed of Mario and Luigi laughing in a giant pile of money. Then Mario pops out of the screen and says “Wesa told you so! Peepala poopala!”

I have to say that in all I was really disappointed. This year, Nintendo did not bring any kind of novelty, “gotcha” joke things like the Wii Vitality sensor.

That’s pretty much all I could see from flipping through a couple of Web sites five minutes before I wrote this. But hey, ANY coverage is better than none, right?

Abner at E3 Part I

So it’s a brisk morning here in Los Angeles. We arrived yesterday afternoon, missing the press conferences because we are here to see and play games not watch staged presentations about games. So I have no idea what was discussed yesterday at the press conferences but I am sure it was thrilling stuff.

Just to keep everyone up to speed, today we will be seeing:

Dark Souls PC
XCOM Enemy Unknown
Borderlands2
Dishonored

…and whatever else Bethesda, 2K, Namco, Codemasters, Sony Online, Warner Bros., 5th Cell, D3, and Larian are showing. Brandon is also getting a look at Summoner Wars on the iPad as he has a meeting with Playdek. Should be a fun day and we will report back with anything worth discussing as soon as we can.

Also, there WILL be an E3 podcast every night with riotous laughter and making fun of Todd. You won’t want to miss it.