I'm not in a very good mood so I've decided to express my specific gripes with everything I've seen at E3 so far.
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii):
Could the title be any more literal? Not Donkey Kong Returns, but Donkey Kong Country Returns. I had wondered where this franchise had gone to. I imagined it coming back with real-time graphics that looked as good as the pre-rendered graphics of the Super Nintendo original. Sadly, the Wii isn't quite up to the task. You'd think Nintendo would be there almost 20 years later. The graphics look ok, but blockier than the prerendered sprites from 1994.
As for the gameplay, the original Donkey Kong Country was a solid, completely unoriginal platformer (except for its unique 2-player mode). It couldn't hold a candle to Super Mario World or Yoshi's Island in terms of gameplay. This new rendition doesn't seem to be pushing any boundaries either. I would have preferred for it to be in 3d. Outside of Mario Galaxy there really aren't any quality 3d platformers to speak of, while a new 2d platformer seems to come out every week. Never thought I'd say that.
Xbox Kinect (Xbox 360):
Exactly as I thought it would be.
I have no interest in playing games that don't use an input device. Explain to me, Microsoft, how I control my character's view, his position, and his actions with only my two hands and no joysticks? I'm sure doing so as POSSIBLE but it would be about as intuitive as using a Sega Activator (or the Nintendo Powerglove). Maybe you expect me to physically turn around in order to make my character do so? I guess I'll just tape my plasma screen to my head then.
Oh I see, you don't care what I think, and you don't want to hear about my 3 axis gameplay nonsense. You're gonna focus on casual titles for the Kinect. Well good luck getting the casual consumer to shell out $150 on top of the price of an Xbox 360. He could just buy a Wii for half that price. Sure, you and I both know that Kinect + Xbox 360 is WAYYY more powerful than a Wii, but do you know who doesn't know that? The casual consumer. He also doesn't care.
And I don't want to wave my hands around in order to scroll through a DVD menu. DVD menus are designed as 2d grids and a 2d input device is the best way to navigate them. Likewise I don't want to have to speak into a microphone in order to and resume a movie. That's a binary input. That's what buttons are for. If I wanted a something like this, I would have bought a Clapper 20 years ago.
Star Wars Lightsaber Title (Xbox 360 + Kinect):
Well that was a nice prerendered video, but how exactly is the game supposed to work? I'm not thrilled by the idea of balling my fist and pretending that I'm holding a lightsaber. I suppose I could hold a stick in my hand and probably not confuse the Kinect too much. But we still run into the interface question. Again, how am I supposed to control my character's position or his view without any joystick or buttons?
From the looks of the video, the game might be on rails so changing the view and character position won't be necessary. Kindof limits the gameplay a bit don't you think? I paid $50 for Star Wars: Rebel Assault 15 years ago, but I'd rather not do it again next year.
Goldeneye 007 (Wii):
Wow! Melee only mode! Paintball mode!! I'm totally asking my parents for this for christmas!! Wait a minute. It's not 1997.
Sorry, but Goldeneye had it's day. It was awesome for its time, but that time has passed. You can't recapture that magic 10 years later by (slightly) upgrading the graphics. It may not seem like it, but there have been a lot of gameplay and technical innovations in the first person shooter genre since Goldeneye came out on the N64. Activision can pretend like Halo, and Call of Duty, and Halflife, and Team Fortress, and the Battlefield series never happened, but most gamers won't be able to.
I remember a time when the original Perfect Dark was the most amazing first person shooter experience you could have. Recently I played the remake on Xbox Live and realized that part of the reason it and Goldeneye were so amazing was because they were cutting edge. Replaying Perfect Dark's multiplayer mode now makes me feel like someone in 1990 must have felt when they fired up the old Pong console.
Twisted Metal (PS3):
To me this looks like a game that was made because someone from corporate said it ought to be made. Where's the creative spark? It's like they took Twisted Metal Black and just added all the required upgrades to make it a current-gen title (objetive based multiplayer, player classes, etc). Why couldn't Sony make a balls-to-the-wall post-apocalyptic shooter that happens to focus on car combat? Why can't getting in a car be a strategic choice rather than being the only way the player's allowed to play the game?
It looks solid enough, and I'm sure it will be fun. Twisted Metal was always fun.
Sorcery (PS3 + Move):
I have high hopes for Move. From a technological standpoint, it seems like it can actually do what we all dreamed the Wii would be able to do. But Sorcery doesn't look like it takes advantage of the gameplay possibilities the technology offers. Why should I wave my arm around over my head to make a tornado? Couldn't a button do that? How does making a complicated gesture in order to trigger a simple output enhance the gameplay at all?
To me, the Move should be about doing things that you can't do with a normal controller. Things like swinging a sword or a whip. What about a game where you play as Godzilla and have to pick pedestrians and vehicles up off the ground and throw them? Wouldn't that be cool?
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3ds):
This game looks very nice for a handheld title, and I've heard the 3d is spectacular, but damn Japan, can you please stop ruining classic videogame themes? Is electric guitar really the most appropriate instrument for a game set in ancient Greece?
It makes me wonder if Japan would have been such a dominant force in videogames in the 80s and 90s if NES cartridges had the memory to support prerecorded music and voices. When I look at recent Sonic games, I feel like the answer is no.
Zelda Skyward (Wii):
Well at least they're trying to do 1:1 swordplay, but from Miyamoto's E3 demo it seems that either the game isn't ready or the Motionplus just isn't up to the task. Then again, people have told me that the controls feel great. So who knows? I had assumed the new Zelda would be super-casual, with more gesture-based gameplay, but thankfully that doesn't seem to be the case. The new graphic style looks like it gets the job done. A for effort.
Epic Mickey (Wii):
Wasn't this supposed to be dark or something? It just looks like any old Disney platformer, but with more thought put into it. I guess I should be happy about that, but maybe all this effort should be put into something with wider adult appeal. At least then marketing wouldn't inevitably force the developers to dumb it down for a more casual/child audience.
Dead Space 2 (Xbox 360):
Ok so it's an action game rather than a survival horror game. Does that mean we're allowed to judge it by the standards of other action games or does it get a pass like Resident Evil 4? Are we allowed to compare it to Call of Duty, Uncharted, and Gears of War? If so, I'd say it has a ways to go. A lack of multiplayer aint helping. *Correction: Apparently it will have online multiplayer.
Ok this looks like a sweet piece of hardware, but really Nintendo? The joystick and the d-pad on the same side of the machine? After so many reviews of PSP 3rd and first person shooters clamouring for dual stick controls, couldn't you have put the joystick on the right side and made a lot of people happy?
Oh that's right, Japanese gamers aren't so hot on shooters. And we all know from Nintendo's online strategy that if something's not popular in Japan, it's not popular ANYWHERE.
Metroid Other M (Wii):
This game doesn't know what it wants to be. Everything from the Super Metroid music, to the gameplay, to the 3d minimap scream hardcore game. So why is Nintendo making me play with this dumbed-down casual-friendly control scheme? Why do I have to do 3d platforming with a d-pad when the console that has an analog stick? Why do I have to stop in my tracks in order to aim my gun, when the last Metroid on the Wii allowed me to move and shoot at the same time? Why Nintendo? Why!??
But at least they didn't screw up the music.