E3 2008: Disappointments, Darlings, and Delays

Things are about to get ultra busy between work, E3, and NfamousGamers. I don’t know how much I’ll have time to post here (I’ll link to whatever I have that goes up elsewhere) so I thought I’d take a look back at a less hectic E3, E308. I dug up my blist (which is now socrada or something equally silly sounding) and I hope you’re ready for a whole year of disappointments, darlings, and delays.

Forgettable and Unforgivable
I haven’t even attempted to play Velvet Assassin based on its horrendous reviews (or non-reviews) but a year ago I was all for it, saying “A female lead that’s NOT a slutty caricature of a woman? Based on a “real person”? Looks sorta like a WWII-era Splinter Cell.” I’m still interested to try the game but it really fell apart in development.

Though Big Bang Mini looked like “Geometry Wars meets Boom Boom Rocket” the final product turned out to be more strict puzzle solving than frantic puzzle action and really kind of boring.  I was wise to steer clear of X-Blades as I predicted while both Defendin’ de Penguin and Ninjatown let me down on the tower defense front on the DS. But the biggest disappointment of all has to be Samba de Amigo on the Wii. A year ago I mused that the waggle control couldn’t possibly be worse than the Dreamcast’s wacky infrared sensor control… but boy, was I wrong!

On the Up and Up
Although I didn’t get to it until I found it on clearance, Mercenaries 2 entertained in a big explosive open world way, just as I had hoped a year ago. It still wasn’t on par with the exemplary original but it was dumb fun with explosives and that’s definitely worth the discount price I paid. LittleBigPlanet is a game I still hold near to my heart (even though I probably only spent 3 months with it), Flower was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with a game and Pixeljunk Eden is probably the best from Q Games (although I ended up not enjoying it much in the end). Rock Band 2 was indeed full of improvements and a gob of new songs (most of which were pretty lame to me) as expected and Zubo was as surprising as a final product as it was on my first look, I just didn’t stick with it for long.

??!?!
What’s more surprising than Zubo’s gameplay is how many games I was eagerly anticipating that I still haven’t even played. The list of shame ensues:

  • AWAY Shuffle Dungeon
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Tomb Raider Underworld
  • Killzone 2
  • Mad World
  • Prince of Persia

What the hell was I doing all year? Surely I could’ve rented one or two of these in even the last six months right? I definitely need to catch up this Summer with some of my free Blockbuster game rental coupons from e-Rewards! I can’t let that many great games from this E3 pass me by!

The Lost (but not yet Damned)
In a way it’s a good thing that so many captivating games from E308 have yet to be released because they’d probably have wound up on the list above. I still haven’t heard, read, or seen any more on Raven Squad, This is Vegas is now in development limbo as Midway spirals down the drain, Our House remains one of the few Wii minigame collections I’m still interested in, and Yumi’s Odd Odyssey on PSP was such a horrendous port of the Japanese original that it caused boycotts in Japan and may explain why it’s still not out here, but Afrika is once again on its way to us. Then there’s a whole other level of Lost-ness with games like I Am Alive, Infinte Line, MAG, and the ever-ethereal third title from Team ICO that practically refuse to exist and that will probably be just as mysterious after this year’s show.

Looking back, I think what I’ve learned is that I need to play more games this year. I feel so guilty about having missed out on all those games I listed to spend my precious free time beating myself up over some frivolous post about a Pac-Man art installation. I’m desperately close to losing touch with the industry I love writing about and that’s only going to turn me into some kind of crazed Dvorak-styled gamer. As entertaining as it’d be to blog (and read), that’s not what I want to become. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got one afternoon to catch up on dozens of games before I lose myself in E3 ’09 coverage.

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