E3 2011: Worst in Show

Not everything can be a winner.

Erik, Joey, Mike & Alexby Erik, Joey, Mike & Alex


We’ve picked our best, now it’s time for our worst. Every E3 it’s the same — we leave the show blown away by some things, while massively disappointed by others. This year is no different. Much like we did with our “Best in Show,” we’ve selected two categories for “Worst in Show” and are going to let each of our gaming staffers weigh in. Those two categories are “Worst Conference” and “Biggest Letdown.” So without further ado, we present CraveOnline’s “E3 2011: Worst in Show.”

Worst Conference

erikErik Norris: My vote for worst conference goes to Microsoft without a shadow of a doubt. The emphasis on Kinect put me to sleep, and that’s saying a lot considering I was beyond jazzed for the first day of conferences to kick off. But then Microsoft focused nearly their entire show on Kinect compatible games and it was like I was instantly transported to Hell and was having my eyes poked at with a hot iron stick. To put it bluntly, it was absolute torture.

The Kinect still fails to capture my attention, and the offerings shown off at this year’s E3 did not change that stance in the slightest. Star Wars Kinect looked like garbage; the cinematic feel of the Kinect Sports: Season 2 demonstration was suspect; and to drive it all home, Disneyland Adventures nearly brought a tear to my eye because I was laughing so hard at its absurdity. Even the announcement of Halo 4 and the Halo Anniversary HD remastering couldn’t save this dud of a show.

alexAlex Keen: This might sound like a cop out, but Ubisoft was the worst conference for me.  While I thought Sony’s conference went on for way too long, started late, and had a horrible demo with Kobe Bryant, it made up for these failures with a nice look at the PS Vita and some cool new footage for the PS3.  Microsoft seemed to take the conservative route, not trying to hard to fail or to succeed.  And Nintendo had some good reveals but I am still skeptical about the Wii U.  

Ubisoft let me down by having zero true blockbuster reveals.  Despite the surprise of Far Cry 3, I didn’t actually feel much for the new episode in this series.  While it appears to have new bells and whistles, the setting and the gameplay looks very close to the original game, as if they were trying to avoid any sense of risk.  Assassin’s Creed: Revelations did nothing for me and Rayman was the only decent new game revealed.

joeyJoey Davidson: Microsoft. What a dud. The show opened up just fine. I dug the Modern Warfare 3 bits, even though that franchise has lost some of its appeal for me. Moving into Gears 3 felt solid, too. I really didn’t even mind the “random celebrity appearance.”

What got me, and this is likely what got most people, was the parade of useless Kinect software. Games we didn’t even think we needed were shown off at the press conference. Microsoft’s show felt like Nintendo’s from several years ago. You know, the one where they premiered Wii Music?

The only cool things coming from the Kinect demonstrations were the Mass Effect 3 tactical commands and Ghost Recon’s Gunsmith. Otherwise? Yeesh. I was bored out of my mind, and I wasn’t even in the room. Erik probably felt like dying.

mikeMike White: I’m going with the majority on this one. Microsoft just didn’t do it for me this year. I don’t even own a PlayStation and thought Sony’s conference was more enjoyable. What I want from these events is fairly straightforward. First, show me the games I know are coming out in a new way to keep the excitement rolling. Then show me something I wasn’t expecting and make me want it.

With Microsoft’s media conference I saw the games I know I’ll play but the added excitement was supposed to come from new features involving the Kinect. I’m still not buying one, so this does nothing for me. Aside from Tomb Raider, there was no other moment where I saw something unexpected and went “Oh, that could be cool.”

Biggest Letdown

erikErik Norris: My vote is probably going to piss off a lot of people — Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I’m sorry, the game looks absolutely gorgeous, but it also looks very boring when you’re not going toe-to-toe with a massive dragon. I think a lot of the problem can be traced back to our PR rep not doing a great job of making the game seem thrilling as he lead us through the demo. Combat seemed clunky and the world just didn’t come off as lively. Skyrim seemed like another Elder Scrolls game, and that just doesn’t excite me. I was really hoping (and expecting) Skyrim to blow my socks off after all the buzz it’s received. Unfortunately, that did not happen. And in case you’re wondering, I’ve already fortified my homestead for the impending mob attack over my insolence. Bring it!

alexAlex Keen: The Wii U is currently my biggest letdown.  I was really hoping that Nintendo would abandon their focus on creating new fads and would have revealed a new console that was very straightforward.  Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be saddled with yet another peripheral for our entertainment centers.  My basement is getting pretty clunky and I’m not looking forward to yet another new video game console.

joeyJoey Davidson: Mine’s a little abstract, I suppose. I felt like this year’s E3 simply wasn’t too surprising. I remember a time when E3 would roll around and completely blow our minds. Things would be announced that we wouldn’t have seen coming in a million years. This year, thanks to leaks and pre-E3 announcements (a trend that I hate), the show felt like a week long visit with old news. I want to get psyched, be completely rocked and find myself emblazoned with passion for a new console or franchise because the surprise and awesomeness of the announcement comes so hard.

That didn’t happen. The Wii U and PS Vita price points were likely my two biggest surprises… and both of them were previously announced/planned for announcement. Weird.

mikeMike White: I had some trouble with this one so I’ll try to explain my feelings with an analogy. If you recall the movie “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen there is a sequence where his ex-wife and her boyfriend discuss the moment they stopped believing in Santa Claus. The ex-wife recalls a particular Christmas where she wrote letters to Santa asking only for a Mystery Date game. It’s all she wanted and it’s all she thought about the entire year. When Christmas finally came she received plenty of gifts. Sure, they were all great but none of them were Mystery Date. That’s when she stopped believing in Santa.

All I wanted for E3 this year was a Star Wars: The Old Republic release date. Sure, the new trailer was great and the other games at E3 looked cool. Now I don’t believe in Santa anymore. It will be a long two months until Blizzcon, but at least I won’t be asking them for an Oscar Mayer wiener whistle.