Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sin Episodes: Emergence

Just thought I would write a little about this game since it did come out while E3 was going on. I've only played a couple hours of it, but so far I am pretty impressed by the game. I still say the Source engine does a really good job in game experience over a year since the release of Half-Life 2. I hope to have more once I actually beat the game, but so far I am enjoying it and think it's a pretty good pickup for $20 via Steam (or at your local store). I have no idea how long it is, but nothing quite beats seeing the main bad girl in skimpy clothing right at the beginning.

Remember that HL2 Episode I is only a couple weeks away from being released as well. That should be just as exciting and Valve has said it is their best single-player experience yet (which is high praise coming from them).

Post-E3 Thoughts: Games (Sony)

Sony, Sony, Sony...what are we going to do with you? I've talked ad nauseum about my thoughts of Sony's moves, but now we'll look at the games on their systems. Let's start with current systems and then get to the PS3.

Playstation 2

God of War II (Sony, February 2007): Sony and the Santa Monica studio can spin it however they want, but we should all be very afraid that this game is coming for PS2 3 months after the release of the PS3. There is no reason the GoW engine shouldn't have been moved and updated to the PS3 for this release. This game will be big, but I still question why it is being made on the current generation and not the next generation.

Final Fantasy XII (Square-Enix, October): It's about time this game comes out. The good news is that FF XIII will probably not be as long of a wait as there was between FF X and FF XII (the two single-player games). This game is set in the world of FF Tactics and that by itself will make this game great.

Guitar Hero II (Red Octane/Activision, Q4 2006): Never played the first game, but Bill Harris swears on it. I will probably pick up the game at some point and this is probably going to be a huge release with the whole duet capable thing. Bill and Gloria can do duets!

Yakuza (Sega, September): This game just looks interesting to me. It looks very Shenmue-esque, which is high praise coming from me. The same group isn't making Yakuza, but chances are this could be good. Only problem is it won't sell worth squat.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Midway, October): This is only coming out for the current generation, but it will effectively close this chapter of the MK universe. Every fighter to ever take part in the game will be playable in this game, almost an impossible undertaking from a balancing aspect. I wish them luck and I hope this game is as good as Deception was.


Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Konami, 2006): This game is a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3 and has the possibility of making the PSP a popular choice again. I don't personally have one, but games like this would make me think twice about it.

Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters (Sony, 2007): The awesome platformer goes to the small screen come early next year. This will be the first year this series has not had a game during the holiday release. If this is as good as I've heard Daxter is this could be another winner for the PSP.

Killzone: Liberation (Sony, Q4 2006): Set after the events of the first game this game features a top-down perspective versus a first-person perspective.

Coded Arms: Contagion (Konami, 2007): The first game wasn't well received, but if they fix the problems of the first one here they could have a really good game on their hands.

Lumines II (Buena Vista Games, Q4, 2006): The sequel to the popular puzzle game.

Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (2007): Even though Gamespot gives a 2006 release, I'm doubting that. This game is set before FF7 and seems to be quite interesting. If there is one thing Sony has over Microsoft it is that they have Square-Enix in their pocket and Microsoft has nothing from them.

Playstation 3

Resistance: Fall of Man (Insomniac/Sony, Launch): This game will supposedly be a launch game. It happens in a world where World War II never happened and aliens landed on the earth. The game looked cool in videos, but I get a very "been there, done that" kind of feel from this game. It has to show that it is bringing something new to the FPS genre or that it can standout over other WW2-era games, of which there are a plethora.

Warhawk (Insomniac/Sony, Launch): Also supposedly a launch game and will show off the gyroscopic controller. I remember playing the first game and enjoying it, however I don't know if I will enjoy the controls this time around. I think Sony is just creating a way to play the game differently, but that it just won't be the same as having a Wii controller.

Virtua Figher 5 (Sega, 2007?): This is a pretty big deal since it is exclusive to the PS3.

Final Fantasy XIII (Square-Enix, 2007? 2008?): Ditto.

Unreal Tournament 2007 (Epic/Midway, 2006? 2007?): This is an interesting game. Word coming out of E3 this year was that it was no longer exclusive to the PS3 on consoles, but no word yet from Epic or Midway on that.

I'm sure I missed a few here and there, but there really isn't much of anything yet to excite me on the PS3. Granted, the Xbox 360 didn't have the biggest games either. I shall wait until tomorrow to maybe get my PC game thoughts out there sine it is getting late...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Post-E3 Thoughts: Games (Microsoft)

I'm leaving Sony for last (except for PC games). This post will talk about Microsoft and 3rd party games coming for the Xbox 360 this year and into next year.

Gears of War (Epic/Microsoft, Q4 2006): This was evidently shown behind closed doors, but it seems some people got to see it. I think Tycho put it best today in his newspost today in that this game was an experience and easily the best game of the show. For Microsoft to open their pre-E3 conference with this game was powerful. With Halo not showing up until next year, this is the game that will power Microsoft this holiday. It looks dark and gritty, but it will probably be one of the first games to show off the Unreal 3 Engine. Keep your eye on this title, it is going to be big.

Viva Pinata (Rare/Microsoft, Q4 2006): Yep, many of you laughed at this game, but laugh at this: Gabe says it has "lots of potential" and Bill Harris thinks much the same way I do (6th paragraph). This game is going to be hot for children...red hot. Like Bill said, "Here's one other thing about Microsoft: if Viva Pinata was a Nintendo game, people would be bursting with proclamations about how it demonstrates the genius of Nintendo. That game is going to be huge, and I'm not sure anyone quite realizes it yet." You will soon realize it!

Too Human (Silicon Knights/Microsoft, Q4 2006): Many people had low expectations for this game as well and I think when they actually played it they thought differently. This will probably not be the blockbuster that Gears of War will be, but it will be right up there.

Forza Motorsport 2 (Microsoft, Q4 2006): Yes, it was only shown via CGI pre-rendered movies, but the first game was red hot and I expect this one to be as well since it will be a second generation release. Peter Moore said it would be out by the end of the year, hopefully that is true. In addition they will release a wireless wheel controller, something never seen from Microsoft in the Xbox life cycle.

Fable 2 (Microsoft, 2007?): I can only guess at the release of this game. It was also shown in pre-rendered CGI. I was not a huge fan of the original, mostly because of the length of the game. On the aspect side of things the original was Aces, it just wasn't long enough. Now that Lionhead is owned by Microsoft I can see this game being quite big.

Mass Effect (BioWare/Microsoft, Q4 2006): I don't for one second believe BioWare will have this out by the end of the year given their track record. This game, much like Too Human, is set up as a trilogy. That could be a boon or a curse depending on how you look at it. Given how great KOTOR was, chances are BioWare could strike gold again with this one.

Shadowrun (FASA/Microsoft, January, also on PC): For most people this game will be seen as a tragedy, much like the MechAssault games (although those were good in my mind). Throw away all the things you remember about the original RPG IP and FASA is about to re-write the Shadowrun world. This is an FPS which is pissing a lot of people off. However, if it sells anything like the original MechAssault it will be a big release for Microsoft...they'll just piss off fans of the series and the SNES game.

Alan Wake (Remedy/Microsoft, 2007): Remedy may not have showed the gameplay of this game, but the big news is that Microsoft is publishing and it will only be coming to Xbox 360 and PC. Remedy is a relatively big name in the industry thanks to Max Payne and I hope this game turns out to be everything it can be.

Halo 3 (Bungie/Microsoft, 2007): Just that little 2+ minute demo blew me away. It could have been the musical score or the Covenant ships flying all around, but it got me excited. Post-E3 the news was that the demo was done in real-time and not a pre-rendered CGI. That would be pretty cool if true (as well as put a damper on the Metal Gear Solid 4 showing). This game is the knockout blow for Microsoft if they time it right...an early 2007 release could be devastating for Sony.

Sports Games (2K Games, EA, 2006): I'm putting these all in one. Indications are that each series that saw a shoddy port on Xbox 360 last year is going to see a much better game this time around. Arguably the only sports game to stand out was NBA 2k6 last year, but that was really a graphical upgrade more than anything. Now it seems teams are creating two tracks of games...one for next gen and one for current gen. I think Madden 07 and NCAA Football 07 are the most promising, even though they are missing some features from current gen release (although they are also adding other features) I think they could be big. This could be the year EA makes amends for what they did last year...we shall see.

Lost Planet (Capcom, 2007): Yes, I played the demo and was pretty impressed by the game. If it has a good story I think this game could be a nice little exclusive release for the 360.

Table Tennis (Rockstar, May 22nd): I have not played this game yet, so I don't know what to make of it. It seems the kind of game that will lose its luster after a while, but then again it could turn into a great and addicting game. I guess we'll see in a week. At least it is budget priced (for Xbox 360 that is).

Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar, October 16th, 2007): Big news that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will be releasing side-by-side and Sony won't have exclusivity on it. Not a big fan of San Andreas, but I loved the other 2 games since the move to PS2/Xbox. If Rockstar can recapture the magic and don't try to balance on the absurd this could be big for Microsoft if the Xbox 360 is ahead in system sales by the time it releases.

I only touch on mostly first-party titles here and I was a bit surprised that Microsoft didn't announce any secret games at E3. In fact, I'm surprised that no one really announced anything of a surprise like they have in past E3s.

Post-E3 Thoughts: Games (Nintendo)

Let's get down to it, starting with the:

Nintendo Wii

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Nintendo/Retro Studios, Launch): it's official, this is a launch title for the Wii and it's looking pretty good. From all indications the controls are pretty nice with the Wii controllers. I was never a big fan of Prime's reliance on scanning, but I am a big Metroid fan at heart and can't see myself not picking this up at launch.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo, Launch): Big Zelda fan and Nintendo can really do no wrong with this franchise. There will be two versions of this game, one for GameCube (and its controller) and one optimized for the Wii. I don't know if the graphics will be different, but from all indications (and facts put out) the Wii graphics will not be that much greater than the GameCube.

Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Within 6 mo. of launch): This will be the late release out of the big 3, but chances are that Miyamoto will create a great game. It looked pretty cool in video form and since the controls have always been a staple of the series I can only believe the Wii controller will be used correctly.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Nintendo, 2007): I'm not a big fan of the series and have never understood its appeal to be honest. The addition of Solid Snake is interesting, but I still doubt I'd touch this with a ten foot pole. I know there are a lot of people out there that swear by this series, I'm just not one of them.

WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Nintendo, Unknown): The twitch game that set the GBA and DS world on storm is back and this time using the Wii controller to do a number of things (lift barbells, slice watermelons, swat flies, etc.). This game will sell like wildfire if it is anything like the others.

Wii Sports (Nintendo, Launch): This will consist of the tennis game shown off at the pre-E3 conference, a golf game and a baseball game all packed into one. Obviously this title is there more for the multiplayer aspect and overall use of the Wii controller than anything else. The graphics aren't spectacular, but I bet the gameplay is on all the games. This is more of a family release and I think it will be very popular when it comes out.

Red Steel (Ubisoft, Launch): I was pretty big on this game before the show given the preview in a recent Game Informer. Many sites are saying the game is not all it is cracked up to be. Now, this would usually be a problem if this game was the top of the heap for launch, but the two games above easily trump this game in importance. This game could be good, but it sounds like it isn't as "free flowing" (from a controller perspective) as it could be. Take a wait and see approach on this one I think.

Madden 07 (EA, Launch): The only reason I put this here is because the whole control element sounds very interesting (and somewhat tiring). If EA Tiburon doesn't do a half-assed job like they did with Madden 06 on the Xbox 360 I think this could be a great pickup for someone that wants to experience football in a way they never have before...except on the field.

Nintendo DS

Many may have laughed at the DS when it was first announced, but it has built up a strong user base of people that want to play something different from the regular path (sound familiar?)

Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo, Q4 2006): The first Zelda game for the DS. Chances are this is going to be great. The graphics come right from Wind Waker (which some people did not like the look of, I personally did) and the dual screen use sounds intriguing.

StarFox DS (Nintendo, September 25): StarFox once had its day, but this may not be it. The game doesn't look great from the movies I've seen, but you can't judge a game just by its graphics. I'm sure the gameplay is there and the promise of online play is a big plus. Maybe it can create the magic of the first game again.

Yoshi's Island 2 (Nintendo, Q4 2006): The beloved Super Nintendo game finally gets a sequel. Given how awesome the original game was chances are this will be great as well.

Final Fantasy III (Square-Enix, September): The only FF game to never grace these shores with an English version. Instead Square-Enix is going to give it a 3D facelift and bring it out here. This game was the introduction of the job system that was used again to a larger extent in FF V. This should be a big game for any FF fans out there since many have not played this game at all.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Konami, Q4 2006): Konami has had a great run with portable Castlevania games and I expect this one to continue the trend. No word as of yet how the stylus will be used, but they probably went back to the drawing board after the last DS game.

Next post is Xbox 360 offerings...

Post-E3 Thoughts: Systems

I've ripped Sony up and down in previous posts. Maybe many people think I am pro-Microsoft or Nintendo...really, I'm not. I'd say I own more PS2 games than Xbox or GameCube games and I usually believe in Sony. I think they have a fantastic first party game lineup (Ratchet and Clank, Jak, Sly Cooper and God of War among them) and they've done a good job through 2 generations of systems now. With that preface I'll get into my thoughts on the systems coming out of E3.

Playstation 3

Sony has put itself in a precarious position. They've come out with 2 SKUs, much like Microsoft did last year. However, the lower SKU isn't worth its weight at all and the only way you'll get a competent system is with the $600 option. In the end, given that the Nintendo Wii will probably sell at around $250 that means a person could pick up an Xbox 360 Premium ($400) and a Nintendo Wii ($250) and come out with two systems for $50 more than the PS3 and only come out with one.

Sony showed off a few PS3 games, but they neglected to say what would be out at launch at their pre-E3 press conference. If you watched Gamespot over the course of E3 you'll see that Resistance and Warhawk are expected to be out at launch. Those aren't exciting games, but arguably neither was the 360 lineup outside of Project Gotham Racing 3 for me.

I think Sony has painted itself in a corner. Yes, we could all be wrong and the PS3 will sell like gangbusters come this holiday, but I also think Sony is going to play the short supply/great demand card again like they did when the PS2 came out.

Xbox 360

Microsoft stayed the course for the most part. They showed off Live Anywhere and their commitment to the PC gaming platform now that all the gaming divisions have been brought under one umbrella. To me it sounded like PC games will be sharing space with videogames if Microsoft has anything to do about it. I'll talk more about the games in the next post.

Nintendo Wii

Nintendo easily had the most sought after system at the show with upwards of a 4 hour wait to play it. I don't know whether that excitement is going to translate to the general public or not. Nintendo is being innovative again, something that has helped the Nintendo DS be where it is today even though it is far less powerful than the PSP. The only problem with the Wii is whether the third party support is going to be there or not outside of the launch. Nintendo could very well come out at #2 this go around.

Next up are my thoughts on the games...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nintendo Wii Update: 2 of the Big 3 at Launch

I talked about the possibility that Nintendo will have it's big 3 (Mario, Zelda, Metroid) out within the first year of the Wii release. Well, Eurogamer has let it be known that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption will also be a launch title along with Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. So, that's 2 of 3 at launch. No word on if Super Mario Galaxy will be out at launch, but if it is that creates something that has never happened in the history of Nintendo.

DC's 52 #1

Going into another gear for a moment and touching on another topic I talk about a lot...comic books. Today, DC released its ambitious comic that will cover the time between Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later jumps that all the books took.

I was impressed by the book and I think they have an all-star team working on it (Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison write...Keith Giffen on art breakdowns, setting up the storyboard for the rest of the art team). I think it is important to read Newsarama's 5.2 link every week (this week's entry) after you read the book because it should explain some things. Now onto the contents of the books...MAJOR SPOILERS if you have not read it yet.

The book will have 6 main characters: Ralph Dibny (yay!), Renee Montoya (from the Gotham police force), Steel, The Question, Booster Gold (yay!) and...Black Adam?! Other people will evidently come in and out throughout the series in order to fill people in up to One Year Later.

The key things to pull from Week 1 is this:

1. Wally West, Linda and the twins are just fine. As Bart says, "they're taking time away". This puts to rest everyone's worries that they were all dead. Bart also says the twins have grown.

2. It's fantastic to see Booster Gold as a central character again. I loved his short-lived series and his time in the Justice League off-shoots. I'll attempt to make an observation of why Skeets' was wrong about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman showing up. I think it all revolves around Booster changing the Brother Eye future. Remember when he told Batman that he never found Brother Eye in Booster's future...well, they found Brother Eye and took it down, thereby changing whatever future Skeets had in his brain. He's still on the old future and not the new one, plus the fact Skeets may be gone for good (*sob*). This is just a guess on my part though, we shall see.

Those were the two main things. This was obviously a setup issue to show off the main characters. I think they've picked an interesting group of people to build the future of the DC Universe around. Can't wait for next week!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

E3 Conferences: So, Who Won?

It's easier to say who lost in this case. Sony easily put itself in the same position Microsoft did last year and had a horrible showing. Where did Sony go wrong? Well, I have a few ideas:

1. Sony didn't open with a splash of any kind
Microsoft opened showing off Gears of War, their top title for the holiday. Nintendo had Miyamoto come out and show off the controller and people behind him show off Ubisoft's Red Steel...and then they went into a little marketing video showing off people playing games with the controller. Then they showed off Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess about 19 minutes in, their biggest game of the holiday season. It took Sony 25 minutes before they got to any PS3 game, that being Gran Turismo HD, which was just a demo built on assets from Gran Turismo 4. Roughly 50+ minutes in before another PS3 game is shown.

2. Sony chose to push numbers first
Nintendo and Microsoft put them in the middle. Why did Sony push the numbers first? Well, it's the only thing they can stand on at this moment. I still believe Sony's thought process is that the Playstation brand is so ingrained into people that they will go out and purchase the PS3.

3. Sony should have released the price later
Yeah, this was dumb. Word going into E3 was that Sony was not going to release a price, which would have been the smart thing to do...unless they want people to start saving early.

4. The price is way too high
If people know about the differences, who in their right mind is going to go out and purchase the $500 version instead of the $600 one? Sony is beating its own self with this price. The 360 will probably outsell it here in the US/Europe and the Wii will probably outsell it in Japan at that price. Nevermind that the system is 11 lbs. and about the size of the original Xbox. I seem to remember Japanese people saying they didn't like the big box design of the Xbox...now Sony is bringing out a system that is just as big?

5. What games are coming out at launch?
Microsoft faced much the same problem last year, although they did end up bringing out Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo and Project Gotham Racing on launch day. Sony didn't show off anything first-party to me that will be out at launch. They showed off some first-party stuff, but didn't say whether they were launch titles or not. Once again, I go back to my God of War II thought...why is it on PS2 and coming in February with the PS3 so close? Possible answer: Sony is farther behind on PS3 games than they want to be.

In the end the winners are both Nintendo and Microsoft, but I'm not sure who to say is #1 coming out of the conferences. Sony now finds itself being outdone by both companies. The Wii has a better 3D controller than the gyroscopic PS3 controller. Microsoft is going to broaden Live to allow people to play cross-platform on PC and 360 along with tying it will cell phones as well. The only thing I saw Sony show off about the online system is their new music store that will probably fail when put up against the iTunes juggernaut.

As my friend Bill Harris said, Sony may be in total disarray at this point. From sources it sounds like the gyroscopic controller was a relatively new development and they didn't show it off very well with Warhawk honestly. The best game they showed off was Resistance, but once again...is it a launch title?

In the end I'd give the slight nod to Microsoft simply because their presentation seemed more tight and they had a lot of good looking games to show off. Nintendo showed off the innovation and have an instant system seller in Zelda, but they didn't reveal a price or date as of yet. In the end I think the last image of Halo 3 at the end of Microsoft's presentation was reason enough to believe Microsoft may have taken the place of Sony as the 800-pound gorilla...we shall see...

Microsoft: The 800-pound Gorilla

This year was a far better pre-E3 conference than last year for Microsoft. I think they didn't hype things enough last year and spent most of the time talking about the circle and the community of Xbox Live instead of showing off games. This time around it was obvious the games were forefront while Live was given quite a lift as well.

For me I'd say Microsoft showed off the best games. Of course it helps when your system is already out. Gears of War, although it may not appeal to everyone, was quite impressive with the demo that Cliffy B went through. I think he's proud of this game and that's a pretty ringing endorsement even though he working on the game himself.

Then came the sequels. Fable 2 and Forza Motorsport 2 were shown in pre-rendered glory. Forza will be out by the end of the year, but no word on Fable 2. Then they showed off Splinter Cell: Double Agent, which is coming out in September, meaning the 360 will have it before the PS3. All 3 games honestly make me pretty excited. I wasn't overall thrilled with Fable's length, but the game was still very good.

Then they showed off Viva Pinata. I know a lot of people are not interested in this game, but I still say this is Microsoft's major children's release coming up. I don't think we know everything about the game yet, it could be very Animal Crossing-like in the end...who knows.

After this Peter Moore decided to show off his new tattoo (remember back when he had the November 9 + Halo 2 inked into him...it was still there). We all thought it was going to be Halo 3, but it turned out to be that they were announcing that Grand Theft Auto IV will be released on 360 and PS3 simultaneously on October 16th, 2007. This will be the first time the Xbox people haven't had to wait for the new GTA. Moore also announced that Rockstar and Microsoft is in an exclusive agreement to release episodic updates to GTA4, which of course makes it more interesting than the PS3 version probably.

Then they moved into the PC games. They first showed off, via playable demo, Crysis from Crytek/EA on Windows Vista. Later on it was found out that the game will also run in Windows XP, which probably means the game will be out before Vista is released. The game looked excellent, but I expect nothing else from the company that gave us Far Cry. Then they showed off the new Conan and Flight Simulator X.

Then the big rumor that was never kept quiet, Microsoft and FASA are bringing Shadowrun to the 360 and the PC for a day and date release with Vista in January 2007. They then showed off their new acquistion in my aforementioned notably absent Alan Wake, now being published by Microsoft for PC and 360. Then Bill Gates came out...

To unveil Xbox Live Anywhere, a system that will connect the 360, your Vista computer and your mobile phone. They showed this off by one of the workers going to Major Mike on his computer and ask to play a game of Shadowrun. They were then playing Xbox 360 to PC on the game, which is probably showing the XNA architecture at its best. I can only guess there will be more games like this in the future with simultaneous releases now that Microsoft has re-organized all their game divisions into one entity. They also showed off being able to tune a car on a mobile phone, re-paint it on Vista and send that car to the Xbox 360 for use in Forza Motorsport 2. It all sounds very cool, although I wonder if this is going to cost PC users anything or not.

Then we came to the end and Halo 3 was shown. Even though it was totally CGI built I have to say I was more excited about that even after seeing the demo for Metal Gear Solid 4 yesterday. I don't know, Halo just does something for me. Maybe it was hearing the awesome music again or seeing the huge Covenant ship flying by. The movie was awesome even though it showed no gameplay.

In the end I think Microsoft gave a really good presentation. I wish there had been more playable sections of the big games coming, but we do have the new demo for Lost Planet on Marketplace along with lots of videos from E3. I have yet to play the demo, but I have downloaded it...hopefully I will have some impressions up later.

Microsoft showed it may be the new 800-pound gorilla on the scene after this. We'll talk more about that next though...

Nintendo: We Do Things Differently

Nintendo's conference was very interesting. I have to say out of the 3 speakers for the big 3 I've always thought Reggie Fils-Aime at Nintendo does the best job of explaining things to everyday people.

Nintendo did what it wanted to. It showed off key games on the Wii, such as:

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (a GC and Wii version will be released)
Super Mario Galaxy
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Those three games within the first year of the release of the system is like hitting the trifecta in Nintendo land. I can't remember a time where the big 3 titles in Nintendos library would be coming out within a year. Now I am guessing that they will be released within the year of the Wii releasing, maybe we'll know more as E3 goes on. Nintendo also showed off a Warioware game for the Wii as well and that will be super hot as well considering how well the games did on the GBA.

They also didn't leave the Nintendo DS in the dust, showing off both the new DS Lite coming in June and snippets of some games, such as:

Yoshi's Island 2
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
StarFox DS

Obviously the biggest news was the showing of the Wii version of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I'm not sure what kind of differences there are going to be outside of control between the Wii and GameCube versions, but the graphics looked pretty good on the Wii version...could that be a slight upgrade as well? Reggie said it was the best Zelda yet, while the guy playing it on the Wii said it was "one of the best"...guess he didn't attend the marketing meeting.

It is cool that Nintendo will sell a Sports pack at launch with a tennis, baseball and golf game. That will show off the controller really well. So will Red Steel, but anyone who reads Game Informer already knows what the game is all about. The demo shown wasn't the greatest until they showed the sword fighting at the end.

If there's a lasting thought from the Nintendo conference it comes at the end where Miyamoto, Fils-Aime, Iwata and the Nintendo winner are playing tennis. The lasting image is that the Wii is fun, especially in groups/parties, and Nintendo will keep doing what it's done all along.

The one disappointing aspect is that Reggie had a bullet-point image at the beginning that talked about release date/cost. He said it would be released Q4 2006, but he never gave any indication of the price. I'm wondering if Nintendo is thinking about adding Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess to the system and that's why they didn't say a price. I'm going to guess it will be $200 for the system, but what do I know.

After I post about Microsoft's conference I'll do a catch all on my feelings about all 3 conferences and who came out on top in my mind.

Monday, May 08, 2006

PS3 20GB Has Less Options

Interesting, this is via Gamespot. I'll blockquote it for reference:
According to the latest specifications released by Sony, the PS3 now only comes with one Ethernet port and four USB ports. Also, the lack of a second HDMI port means that the dual-screen setup running 1080p function that was shown off last year is no longer a possibility.

The PlayStation 3 will come in two configurations, one will have a 20GB hard drive and the other will have a 60GB hard drive. However, losing 40GB isn't the only downgrade with the 20GB version. The 20GB version, priced at $499, will not have Memory Stick, SD, or Compact Flash inputs, Wi-Fi capabilities, or any HDMI output.
So, they're basically attempting to make the 60GB version more appealling for the $100 extra hit. That's all well and good until you look down and see yourself paying $200 more than the 360 and who knows how much more than the Wii. I'm not saying this to slap Sony in the face, but there is a price point people won't pass and I think they aren't going to bite at $600.

That the 20GB version is so neutered (no memory inputs, no HDMI port and no Wi-Fi is arguably more detrimental than the 360 Core) makes the 60GB one even more enticing than the Core vs. Premium decision with the 360.

The other interesting thing in the story is presented here and goes back to my previous post:

The new motion-sensitive controller, included standard in both the 20GB and 60GB models, will lack a feature that was present in the PlayStation 2's DualShock 2 controller--vibration. Citing the new "six-degree," a statement from Sony says "vibration itself interferes with information detected by the sensor."
No vibration means Sony doesn't want to pay Immersion to use it in case they ultimately lose the suit (as they have been for a while now), even though they pass it off as vibration interfering with the sensor. I'm not sure vibration is going to matter, but it does give a little more sense of "being there" than a controller without one. The one question I have about the gyroscopic controller is whether you can turn it off or not. I know I have the habit of moving the controller while in a driving game for instance. If the "six-way motion" was on I'd be screwed so to speak.

This isn't a knock on Sony, but I'm not sure how much they're going to use the gyroscopic characteristics of the controller. Yes, Warhawk looked pretty cool, but in the end do I want to fly like that or use the analog stick? If Sony's going to rip off Nintendo they also need innovative games with which to use it. We'll have to see if that takes off or not.

And, yes, Metal Gear Solid 4 looked sweet, but I also saw the "Coming 2007" on it as well. This means it isn't a launch title. Final Fantasy XIII looked sweet too, although that was mostly pre-rendered stuff. I do wonder if Square-Enix has anything planned for the Xbox 360 or if they're sticking with Sony again. I'm not sure Square-Enix has the hold it once did on gamers and their loyalties, but I could be wrong.

One last thing on this post. This whole price point is a good indicator of where Sony feels its place is in the market. They feel they are #1 and are riding on the fact they've been #1 for 2 generations now. They are smug enough to believe that people will unload this kind of money to play the next Playstation machine. We'll have to see whether that works out for them or not...I remember a lot of people in line with me who were complaining about having to scrape together $400 for the Xbox 360.

I can't wait to see more from Sony, but at $600 for the higher system it seems like a tough pill to take...

Playstation 3: Worst Fears Realized?

I missed the last part of the presentation, I'll catch up on it when Gamespot brings out the streams for it. Obviously I missed the Metal Gear Solid 4 showing (probably the biggest reason I was tuning in). Early word was that Sony was not going to announce a price at E3, but they proved the rumors wrong. Sony will have 2 SKUs, much like the Xbox 360 but this time both will have hard drives. Here they are:

20GB Hard Drive - $499
60GB Hard Drive - $599

At those prices I think they may not have as many people picking up the system as they hope. They will sell the extra $100 (for the low end) as the fact that you're getting Blu-Ray support with the system. Although that is well and good, I don't think it is enough to sell a system when millions of people already have tons of DVDs.

The controller also went to the old standby of looking the same as the other Dual Shocks. Smart move on Sony's part because that boomerang look was stupid. They also added in gyroscopic controls into it, trying to take a page out of the Nintendo Wii book (but not going far enough). I haven't seen the gyroscopic controls in action yet since I missed that part. I wonder if Sony borrowed the technology from anyone considering they are still in litigation over the vibration function.

Having not seen the last section of videos that showed off the "big" games I can't say how enamored I was with the overall presentation. What I did see (up to the Resistance showing, which was impressive...but more on that later) made it feel a lot like Microsoft last year. I didn't feel Sony used the time well enough to show off the power of the PS3. Instead they had the head guy from SCE come and he made things really boring from my perspective. The one thing I took out of it was that Sony is going to try to hone in on iTunes and in the end they will fail yet again.

As I said, Resistance was impressive, but dare I say that FPS games are starting to be too much alike. A world where World War II never happened and aliens are hopping around. It sounds cool and looks cool, but will it have a story to pull me in? Who knows.

As far as I know there were no games announced as launch games. It sounds like Gran Turismo HD will be out "soon after" launch (is it just me or were any of you also not impressed by the GT HD showoff?). The one thing that really stood out for me in the GT HD video was the last one at the Grand Canyon from GT4. The car was going through it, but there was no dust kickup nor were the tires making any sort of impression into the dirt. I realize this demo was built on the assets of GT4, but even Project Gotham Racing 3 has skid marks and they stay there through the whole race. The F1 game with the PSP connection looked pretty cool, although I still think the PSP is a big rip-off that they're trying to tie into anything that is successful.

I hope Sony announces some big launch games, because nothing currently stands out. Since I didn't see MGS4 I have no clue if that is a launch game, but I can only guess it isn't. In the end are we going to stand in line for a system that is $100 more expensive than the Xbox 360 with only the possibility of a minimal power gain? It's a question worth thinking about and I hope the rest of E3 gives us some answers.

I'll be back with my thoughts from Nintendo (who usually put on a good show) and Microsoft tomorrow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

E3 Game Preview: Part 2

This time we will cover the big 3 and Electronic Arts. Let's get on with the show:

Electronic Arts

Army of Two (PS3/Xbox 360): Recently announced. No pictures have been shown as of yet, but it sounds like it is a cooperative game ala Contra.

Battlefield 2142 (PC): DICE and EA are going to the future with the series. Mech combat and sci-fi weapons are the order of the day it seems. Supposedly this game will be out before the end of the year and I would expect a somewhat playable version on the floor at E3.

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Sun (PC): To me this series has never done wrong (outside of Renegade) and I hope this one lives up to the legacy that Generals gave this series.

Madden 2007 (All systems): Unlike its sister game down below (NCAA), we don’t know much about this game other than it will supposedly be built more around the running game. I’m hoping draft class import will be available in the 360 version and I also hope that the next generation versions will keep all or most of the goodies from the current gen versions (unlike NCAA)

Medal of Honor: Airborne (PC/PS2/Xbox/PS3/Xbox 360): Recently pushed back to Q1 2007, this game must have a bit of trouble at this point. I would expect them to show it, but EA’s winter is looking quite bare with this, Spore and Superman Returns all being pushed back.

NCAA Football 2007 (Xbox/PS2/Xbox 360/PS3/PC): I’m not enthused that all the goodies in the current generation version will not follow to the next generation versions. Granted I’m not all that excited to follow a player from entrance into graduation, but I am a bit leery about the supposed imbalances with playbooks (with the current generation having expanded ones) and only having Division I to work with. As long as the 360 version has the franchise mode and the ability to transfer draft classes into Madden I’ll be happy.

Project Gray Company (PS3/Xbox): This game is being named for the lead designer. Chances are this is an LOTR RPG game given the images that are shown on the Project Gray Company Site. This sounds like an expansive open world RPG game ala the recently released Oblivion. This game is currently named Gray because Steve Gray is the Executive Producer.

Spore (PC): Although it has yet to be announced, this game has supposedly also been pushed into 2007. This game blew away everyone at E3 last year (at least the people I talked to) and I think a lot of people are disappointed this game will probably not be out before the end of this year.

Superman Returns: The Videogame (All systems): This game was also delayed, but to the end of this year. It was supposed to come out with the game, but EA gives the reason of needing to work on such an open world that the game takes place in. The game will be released with the DVD this holiday season. This is kind of sad because the game looked cool, however. The only thing I am worried about is that EA Tiburon may be stretching itself thin with this, Madden, NCAA Football and possibly another NFL Street all on its plate.

Microsoft (all Xbox 360)

Fable 2: I can only guess this will be one of the surprise titles that Microsoft hasn’t announced yet. Now that they own Lionhead/Big Blue Box, the studios obviously have to be working on something, right?

Forza Motorsports 2: Oh yeah! It was tough to top Project Gotham Racing, but the original game did just that. Sure, it was a different game, but Forza blew the doors off of everything and even challenged Gran Turismo 4 as the best simulation out there. I can only believe that part 2 is going to be awesome.

Gears of War: Microsoft’s big game of the year, bar none (unless there is a game they have yet to unveil). This game is being set up for holiday release and will have a massive marketing campaign behind it. This game is guaranteed to be on the show floor in some form and will probably have a lot of people looking its way.

Halo 3: The rumored 2-minute video looms large over E3. Will the game be Halo 3 or will it be named Forerunner as Bungie is currently calling at least one of its games (if not only game). I hate to say it, but Penny Arcade was right on about the rut Bungie has found itself in for better or worse. I don’t know if they can have multiple games being made at one time when people are clamoring for another entry in the Halo series.

Mass Effect: BioWare’s Sci-Fi RPG entry into the next generation world. Given their superb work in the past, chances are this game will be great as well…too bad we won’t see it until 2007.

Too Human: Along with Gears of War, this game will also power Microsoft through the holiday season. This is the first game in a trilogy and it is made by Silicon Knights, one of my favorite developers thanks to Eternal Darkness. The game is based around Norse mythology and will have an interesting control system (right stick will be your melee attack movement while the triggers will fire the left and right guns). This game sounds like a cross between God of War and Devil May Cry.

Viva Pinata: You can laugh at this game, but Microsoft is obviously going all-out with this game that seems geared more toward children. A TV show is in the works along with this game. This could be the type of game that will bring families to the Xbox 360, so don’t dismiss it right off.

Unannounced Xbox 360 Games: There will probably be a few surprises by Microsoft and possibly some games that are unannounced that are coming this year.


The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Cube/Wii): The game I’ve been waiting for. It is now delayed to later this year, probably before Thanksgiving. Chances are it may release the same day as the Wii and Miyamoto has said there will be Wii-enabled sections of the game. At this point in the GameCube’s life I think it would be smart to make this a fully Wii game and you have your automatic system seller from the start. I think this game will still loom large at E3 this year, but it may not have the hype it had last year.

The Legend of Zelda (DS): There is a DS game in the works and I personally can’t wait for it. The Zelda games on the handheld systems have been top notch and I would expect this game to follow suit.

First-party Wii games: Obviously there will be other Wii games from Nintendo. I’m not sure what is going to be their key launch game, but I have to believe there is a Mario or Metroid game in there. We’ll see come Tuesday afternoon.


God of War II (PS2): Quite possibly one of the top 5 games being shown at E3 this year. I obviously loved the original, so it should be no surprise that I am hot for the sequel. The negative aspect of this game is it is coming February of 2007 and that it isn’t on the PS3. In the back of my mind it makes me wonder what types of games Sony will have ready for the PS3 come November and into next year if this game doesn’t top the list of launch games for the PS3.

Killzone: Liberation (PSP): I liked Killzone, but I didn’t feel it was the best thing since sliced bread. Chances are this PSP title will be a really good seller for the system, although I question how good it will be without a right analog stick on the PSP.

Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters (PSP): Much like the recently released Daxter game chances are this one will also be a fantastic release. So far the series hasn’t laid an egg and hopefully that won’t change with this release considering how badly the PSP needs good games.

Unannounced PS3 games: You’ve got me on what Sony is going to show at their conference on Monday outside of ports. They have to have at least some first-party titles, but I doubt things like Killzone or Ratchet and Clank will be ready for November. Sony has been very quiet about everything surrounding the PS3. If they have a big title it will help them a lot in reversing the recent negative PR.

E3 Game Preview: Part 1

I used to do this for CG/GT before E3 and I figured I'd have it live on here. I don't cover every game, but I have the list that is interesting to me and what I want to see via the news sites. This is Part 1 which covers all the companies and the key notable absence except for the big ones (EA, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony). Off we go:

2K Games

Bioshock (PC/Xbox 360): This is going to be an interesting game to see in motion. Billed as the spiritual successor to the System Shock games, it has a lot to live up to. The game looked interesting from the Game Informer preview earlier this year. This game is due out in 2007 unless Irrational/2K says differently

Civilization IV: Warlords (PC): The expansion pack to probably the best Strategy game of last year and possibly the best PC game of last year. Firaxis seemed to hit on all cylinders again with the original game and adding 6 scenarios plus the new “Warlord” unit this sounds like a worthy pickup later this year.

Prey (PC/Xbox 360): This game saw a miraculous resurrection last year at E3 and it just recently got a release date of July 10th. The sad part about this game is that it will fill the coffers at 3D Realms and the vaporware that is Duke Nukem Forever or whatever their next game is. 3D Realms has lived off of their licenses since DN3D came out. This game looks interesting and another test for the 360 versus a PC.

Sid Meier’s Railroads! (PC): We all remember Railroad Tycoon, right? Well, this is the next game in the series without the name. I’m hoping this will get as much love as Civilization IV got. I don’t know how many RT fans there are out there, but I’m pretty excited about this game.


World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC): The expansion pack to the biggest MMORPG out there. I still haven’t played this game and I have 2 versions of it. One of these years I’ll install and play it. Just have a problem with that monthly charge.

Diablo 3 (PC): Rumors have pointed to this being in development and what better place to unveil it than at E3?

Starcraft 2 (PC): With StarCraft: Ghost finally giving up the ghost (heh), there may be a chance that this game is in development as well. If this and the game above are in the oven be prepared for Blizzard to take over the world!


Dead Rising (Xbox 360): This game has seen some delays, which usually isn’t a very good thing. Chances are Capcom will have this on the floor in a playable state, but who knows now that the release date is August for this game.

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360): An intriguing game that looks like a 3rd person shooter and a mech combat game rolled into one, this could be very hot! The cool thing about this game is that there will be a demo released on Marketplace on May 9th, the day of Microsoft’s pre-E3 meeting.

Devil May Cry 4 (PS3): This was shown last year and I would expect them to have more about this game at this E3.

Resident Evil 5 (PS3/Xbox 360): Announced and E3 2006 may be the first time we see the game in motion.


Hitman: Blood Money (PC/PS2/Xbox/Xbox 360): Another delayed game from Eidos although given how good the other games in this series has been chances are this one will follow suit.


Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3): This game will most likely create the most hype for the PS3 of any game out there. Chances are this game will not be out until 2007, but Konami hasn’t given a release date as of yet. If this game comes out a launch expect there to be a bigger problem than the Xbox 360 ever experienced at launch. I know many people left this series after the 2nd part, but 3 was awesome and I can only imagine 4 will be as well.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS): Given how well Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow was received this game should be a slam dunk. This time around the game is based during World War 2 and you are able to switch between 2 characters at any time during the game. You can play as vampire hunter Johnathan Morris or the magically adept Charlotte Orlean. No word as of yet on how the touch screen will be used.

Unnamed Kojima Wii Project (Wii): Konami sent invitations to several media members that a game will be shown off on May 9th. I have no clue what it is, but could it be a Metal Gear game re-done in first person with the Wii controller? *shrug*


Untitled Indiana Jones Project (PS3/Xbox 360): This was rumored last year, but they may finally show the game off. Chances are this is coming out in 2007, but LucasArts certainly needs a hit to continue being even a blip in the gaming scene outside of the Star Wars games.


Mortal Kombat Armageddon (Xbox/PS2): The final game in the series. Supposedly you will be able to play as almost all the prior characters in the game including boss characters. It will also have another RPG-type game option that should be more tight than it was in Deception.

Unreal Tournament 2007 (PC/PS3): I can only guess this will be shown off on the floor. Whether it comes out at the end of this year or not is up for debate. Also up for debate is whether it will actually make the PS3 launch or not.


Tabula Rasa (PC): The next game from Richard Garriott and it’s an MMORPG. The overall feel of the game changed from E2 2004 to E3 2005 and the game is now a sci-fi based game. I’m pretty interested in this game and I think it could be one of those sleeper hits as long as Garriott can live up to his older games.


New GTA Game: This will be interesting. I’m not sure Rockstar is working on another GTA game after the backlash sustained by San Andreas. I could be very wrong, but whatever they do I think they’re going to not push the envelope as much as they used to.

Table Tennis (Xbox 360): This game should be in pretty much full playable form on the show floor. This is the type of game that could become very addicting very fast.


Phantasy Star Universe (PC/PS2/Xbox 360): This game offers both a large single-player and multiplayer experience, so both camps are covered. This could be a huge game come E3 if Sonic Team has done a good job. I think it will be a big game on PC if done right and the monthly charges aren’t that much. This series used to be at the top of the RPG world and it’s my hope it will be again.

Sega Rally Revo (PC/PS3/Xbox 360): Chances are it can’t compete with the simulation racing games out there, but I think this game could have its own niche in the market. The original arcade game was pretty hot back in its day, but Rally may be a relic of the past.

Sonic the Hedgehog (PS3/Xbox 360): This is a huge game for Sega and Sonic Team. The last good Sonic games were on the Dreamcast and even those didn’t live up to the greatness of the ones on the Genesis. If they can fix the issues from the Dreamcast games and create a game that will pull in both old and new fans alike I think this game could be big.

Virtua Tennis 3 (PS3/Xbox 360): The king of tennis games is back, but not until 2007. Top Spin was certainly great, but nothing beats the innovator. I don’t know what kind of licenses this game will have (it doesn’t look like they’ll have the Opens given one of the screenshots here being named the French Open), but the early graphics look pretty darn good.

Yakuza (PS2): This game looks pretty cool and from what I understand was pretty hot in Japan. It looks a lot like Rise of Honor in the overall feel of the game. I just hope the controls aren’t the same. I think this concept sounds cool being a member of the Japanese Yakuza. Sega is working on the localization right now and it should be out on PS2 by September.

Notably Absent

Alan Wake (PC/Xbox 360): After hearing about the awesome preview of this game behind closed doors at E3 2005 I am surprised that Remedy is not showing it off this year. A lot of questions could be asked, such as whether there is trouble with the game and if the game is going to make a 2006 release or not. It’s sad it won’t be there because the game looked really good.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Observations: Infinite Crisis #7 and Civil War #1

Well, I've finished reading both DC's Infinite Crisis #7 and Marvel's Civil War #1. I read them in that order and I have a feeling my opinions on these two titles may have been different had I flipped the reading order, but who knows. So, let's get to it (WARNING: Major Spoilers below, so if you haven't read either book do so and come back):

Infinite Crisis #7: I'll talk more about my overall feeling on the series as a whole later in this post, but for now we'll concentrate on this chapter. Right from the beginning I see a problem with this issue that has come up once before in this series. For those that hadn't read the Villians United special that came out last week you will be lost immediately at the first page. In the special the Secret Society broke every person out of all the prisons around the world, creating the hero vs. villain battle royal that opens up this chapter on Page 2. DC did this once before (that I remember, there may be more) during this series when Superboy Prime took on Superboy the first time and the story spilled off into Teen Titans. DC made it a point to portray that IC would be standalone and for the most part it is, but there have been parts here and there that flood into IC.

Early on it is obvious that both Alex and Superboy Prime are still alive post Tower blow up from last issue. Alex makes the observation that some things have changed in the new unifed Earth, such as the fact that Wonder Woman was a JLA founder again, that Batman still fought the Gotham criminals even though his parent's killer was caught and that there are recorded rumors that there were Superman events before he was in Metropolis (meaning he may have been Superboy, something he never was after the original Crisis). DC has said that the reframing of characters will be answered during the backup stories in the 52 series that starts up next week.

Lots of bit characters die early on in the massive hero vs. villain fight in Metropolis. We finally find out who was in the Flash suit at the end of Infinite Crisis #5...and the rumors were true, it was Bart. He took Barry's clothes and evidentally had just enough speed left to take on Superboy Prime one last time in this issue. At the end of the book he hands the costume off to Jay Garrick and says he isn't going to be the new Flash and also says he was gone for 2 years in the future and that Wally, Linda and the twins disappeared.

In the end there were a few surprises and a few foregone conclusions. Earth-2 Superman ended up dying taking on Superboy Prime with Superman, but Prime ends up not being killed (the surprise) and is now trapped by the Green Lanterns and makes the statement that he's gotten out of situations far worse than that before. Superman and Earth-2 Superman end up pushing Superboy through the Sun near Oa (Prime was going to destroy Oa and create a new Big Bang) and that burns off his suit he was getting his powers from. Superman loses his powers, which explains the current run One Year Later. Bruce goes with Nightwing (who got hit by a blast from Alex, but evidently survived) and Robin. Wonder Woman goes off to find herself and that begins the year without the big 3. Alex escaped capture and is seen in Gotham City, but he ends up being killed by Luthor and Joker because, as Luthor says, "You didn't include Joker in your plans". In the end it leaves Prime alive and it should be interesting to see if he escapes or not.

Civil War #1: It may be a consequence of reading this book last out of the 2, but I just wasn't overly excited about this issue after reading it. Millar has done political intrigue before in the pages of what is (so far) the vastly superior Ultimates series. I have a feeling this book may have been pumped up too much by hype and it didn't seem to grab me as much as it could. Unlike IC I think Civil War is not going to be contained just within the core book, but will spill out to the crossovers..the biggest of all being the Amazing Spider-Man 7-parter.

The coolest thing about this issue is that Captain America goes rogue on the US Government and that Iron Man, Reed Richards (?!) and Hank Pym (I'm guessing he's in the Yellowjacket outfit) is helping the government. The art is easily better in this book than in IC, but I think Marvel may have set itself into a sitaution that is too big to handle. Obviously the big story will be which side Spider-Man takes as news points to him being the central character with a decision to make. It is interesting he says in this book that he won't give up his identity because he could come home and MJ is impaled on an Octopus arm and Aunt May is begging for her life. Daredevil also makes an appearance here and I am guessing that is the one currently loose in New York while Matt Murdoch is in prison. Word is the identity of the new Daredevil will be spilled in the next issue of Civil War (note the overall crossoverness of it all).

Overall this issue didn't impress me, but much like Infinite Crisis #1 it is only the build up.

Overall Infinite Crisis Thoughts: This is a tough one. Overall I enjoyed the series, but I do think they could have pushed it to a 12-part series like the original in order to pack more story into it. It seems nowadays that special events are framed around a 7-part series (Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis and Civil War prove this theory) and that just condenses the overall story from my perspective. I think Identity Crisis would have been better had it been longer and there was less to work with from a character perspective with that series. In the end I don't think IC is going to stand up very well when compared to the original Crisis. I will say that I was only 9 years old when Crisis was going on and I remember how awesome that was. Now I'm 29 and am reading this Crisis and am obviously looking at it from a different perspective. The major deaths were not as big this time around (Superboy and Earth-2 Superman/Lois versus Barry Allen and Supergirl in Crisis) and there just was never the shock value that could have been there honestly. I certainly enjoyed reading the whole series and look forward to 52 starting next week, but in the end I feel it just wasn't as defining a moment as the original Crisis on Infinite Earths was. Feel free to e-mail me and tell me your feelings.