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E3 2010: What we learned from the show

For gamers watching E3 2010 through their monitors, the gruesome sight of mutilated bodies at the start of the Call of Duty demo during the Microsoft conference was one of the first things they saw. Then it was Metal Gear Rising's Raiden cutting men clean in half. In slow motion. With blood spurting everywhere. Next came a Locust in Gears of War 3 ripping off a man's arm and clubbing him over the head with it before being bayoneted to death by an angry Marcus Fenix. And that was just the press conference...

Above: Better put a plaster on that. Don't want it to get infected, eh?

On the show floor, games like Mortal Kombat, Bulletstorm and Splatterhouse kept things knee-deep in gore, gratuitous violence and graphic dismemberment. It's a wonder that Nintendo didn't just shit its pants and leave. If this year's E3 is anything to go by, video games are going to continue pushing the boundaries of brutal, bloody excess.

3D is actually good

Well who’d have thunk it. Turns out all this third dimension malarkey actually works. Not only that, the voodoo technical witchcraft’s that’s being concocted under the 3DS’ dinky hood flat out astonished anyone fortunate to wrestle it away from a Nintendo-branded woman.

Above: Get used to it or have your eyes go funny. This is the future

Over at Sony’s press conference, Killzone 3 looked hella purdy in 3D. We’re just not so hot on paying two grand for the kit to run it. That said, it’s becoming increasingly clear this is no fad. And we’re fairly certain 3D will soon be as integral to future games as HD to them now.

PSP2 isn't coming just yet

“You thought we’d forgot about the whole PSP thang, didn’t you? Well don’t worry puny Sony disciples, because here’s the announcement you’ve all been waiting for, a new PSP… ad.” Oh. If a pin had dropped during the exact moment the admittedly decent-looking Meet Marcus PSP ads were revealed, it would have been the loudest noise within miles of the convention centre. Simply put, PSP2 isn’t ready yet.

Above: Marcus ain’t quite PSP2

Despite rumours that Sony might unveil its next handheld at TGS in September, there’s nothing concrete out there surrounding the PSP’s successor. But considering how overwhelmingly positive the reaction to the 3DS has been, and Sony’s megaton push towards all things 3D, we’d be surprised if the PSP2 doesn’t try to embrace that wacky dimension between the second and Blinx the Cat.

DLC deals are the new exclusives

Forget game exclusives being signed up by Sony and Microsoft because if E3 2010 has taught us anything it’s that two thirds of the BIG THREE™ are more interested in DLC deals. Microsoft has map packs for the next three Call of Duty’s (timed) exclusively to 360 and Sony responded with (probably timed) exclusive DLC for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

There were more too, but honestly, we couldn’t give two shits because who’s to say that these DLC packs are going to be good anyway? Answer: No one.

Above: Call of Duty: Black Ops. Bet you want the DLC right now, don't you?

Microsoft and Sony invented motion control (and it is powered by magic)

Clearlythe above statement is far from true (if it weren’t for all our staunch Nintendo support this year, we’re sure Shiggy and Satoru would be brandishing knives with our names on them for even suggesting it), but if you saw either of those two companies’ press conferences you could be forgiven for believing it.

Above: It's magic! We've gone back to 2006 in the blink of an eye!

‘One-to-one movement! Magic! Magical one-to-one movement! One-to-one magical movement that’s only possible with Kinect/PlayStation Move!’ Over the course of the show we must have had several hours of MS, Sony, and their affiliated publishers telling us how they’ve both come up with a revolution in gaming control, but the fact is that all they had were repackaged HD versions of crappy old games none of us liked during the real revolution four years ago.

Old games are the future

Okay, ‘reboots/reimaginings of classic franchises’ then. We’re not just talking sequels here. E3 is always packed with those by default. We’re referring to games that either strip down or rework flagging or forgotten game series in an attempt to revitalise them for a new or jaded audience.

Mortal Kombat is going back to its roots and professing a new, much deeper fighting engine (finally!). Kirby has a new look, new abilities, and some beautifully inventive game mechanics thanks to his patchwork makeover. Donkey Kong Country is back, and in genuine 2.5D for the first time. Kid Icarus is finally reborn on the 3DS. X-Com returns with a ‘50s setting, FPS gameplay and an inexplicable new lack of punctuation. Rayman has a new, gorgeous-looking 2D platformer coming for XBLA, PSN and WiiWare.

Above: Just don't fly too close to the sun, kid. What do youmean, 'why'?

Truly, 2010 was the year E3 brought our gaming childhoods back. And against all odds, the old timers are all looking pretty young again.

So that's what we learned from E3 2010. But what was it like for you? What did you learn from this year's show? Let us know in the comments.

22 Jun, 2010