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E3 09: GamesRadar's E3 2009 awards

We’ve been riding Nintendo’s case for a while now, complaining about Wii Play, Personal Trainer nonsense and the glut of weak third party trash. Hell, you have too. We all have. And Nintendo’s undoubtedly tired of hearing us whine “give us more!” regardless of how much they attempt to appease our inner fanboy. To finally end this dialog, literally smash it into the ground and render it moot for years, Nintendo announced a Team Ninja-developed Metroid game.

God damn Team Ninja. The same team that brought Ninja Gaiden back from the brink and turned it into the de-facto “insanely hard” action series. And now they’re making a new Metroid featuring Samus Aran kicking the living shit out of aliens, monsters and everything in between. No one saw it coming, and everyone in the shoulder-to-shoulder conference erupted into applause. It’s like Nintendo said, “Oh yeah, how about THIS you bitchy crybabies!” and flipped us the bird. And man, were we ever happy.

Sure, Microsoft’s Natal and PS3’s motion controls (ALLAXIS?) are an impressive technical feat, but so was the Wii Remote way back when. Seriously, does anybody believe 1:1 responisveness will suddenly rain quality games down from the heavens? The Wii’s problem has never been with the hardware. The reality is that game developers have all but abandoned utilizing motion controls in anymeaningful way. Even Nintendo has seen Fit (har har) to move on to other peripherals … and that’s when they’re not adding GameCube controller support for optimal play.

Think about both demos at this year’s show. What does everybody do to show off the next generation of motion controls? Block a soccer ball, paint a picture, swing a tennis racket. Not only are these activities a pathetic recreation of the real thing, who would pay hundreds of dollars to digitally participate in mundane shit you could do in real life for f***ing pennies?!

Silent Hill has hit a patch of rough road, so fans of psychological survival horror will be glad to know that the “wait, it isn’t cancelled?” Alan Wake is stepping up. While the enemies in the bits we’ve played steer away from Silent Hill’s carnival of grotesquery, Alan Wake is clearly channeling the earlier franchise’s creepy vibe. The tense exploration and a sense of brooding supernatural menace hit the notes Silent Hill fans love. Any person, animal or object can become possessed and attack, so there’s a delicious anxiety permeating every dark corner of the game.

Wake has also taken cues from hit TV show Lost, apparent in the music and episodic structure of the demo, as well as a scene in which giant trees in the distant forest come crashing down, implying a massive but hidden monster. Drawing on additional sources like the film Poltergeist and the novels of Stephen King, Alan Wake looks like it will do what Silent Hill hasn’t for some time: actually scare us.

After Halo 3: ODST was re-introduced at the Microsoft press conference, we were subjected to some of the most uninspiring FPS gameplay we’ve seen recently. After a lifeless demonstration, we were further being sold on the Halo franchise with a trailer for yet another Halo game, entitled Halo Reach. And what did we see in this new trailer?

Well, nothing really. Some voiceovers, a burning planet and a release date of Fall 2010. Okay, so for a teaser trailer we suppose that’s fine. But we can’t help but be underwhelmed considering ODST hasn’t even been released. All the teaser did hype was the continuing Halo storyline, which to be honest, isn’t terribly engaging. Or interesting. And which became downright confusing by the time Halo 3 wrapped. We have been informed that Reach refers to events that occur in the novels when numerous Spartans… wait…novels? Since when did novels become necessary for a gameplay experience, let alone the Halo franchise? Is anyone really that invested in the storyline?

Anyway, the press conference continued in a disconcerting snake oil salesman way, where it was said that everyone who purchases ODST will receive a free multiplayer beta pass to Reach… the game they just announced, but refused to give any more details on. “And if you act NOW, we’ll throw in a…”

Right before Halo 3 was released years ago, folks were predicting that Halo would become the new Star Wars. It certainly feels like Bungie’s following the same route – but we don’t mean that in the good way.

With three new Mario games announced at E3 (and more on the way), Nintendo’s mascot is being called into action far more than usual. Only one other mascot knows this pain, and dear old Sonic made it a point to offer a shoulder for Mario to cry on. If only he knew that Sonic’s outfit was made out of tear-resistance foam…