Ah, E3 how I’ve missed you. Your long lines, expensive food, sore feet and mountains of hype are easy to forgive for the chance to play new games months/years before they appear in store shelves. This year you presented pre-registered media with the opportunity to explore your halls before the rest of the mostly washed masses of “Exhibits Only” patrons flooded the show floor.
While most of the media folk headed over to West Hall to investigate Sony’s and Nintendo’s new wares I took the path less traveled and ventured into South Hall. Upon entering South Hall I walked past the Activision booth and noticed that Activision has managed to acquire the license for the Transformers the Movie game or somebody there decided to erect a giant Optimus Prime statue in the middle of the show floor for kicks. I made a quick lap of the hall before heading over to West Hall. Upon arrival I immediately noticed that the “gaming media” allowed early entry to the show floor was broken into three major groups. Those who were willing to spend three plus hours waiting in line to see the Wii, those who were willing to sweat it out in line to play PS3 games in the Sony booth and those who felt that their time could be better spent else where. Falling into the last group I made a slow tour of the West Hall before heading back to South the check out a few items. I played a bit of Battlefield 2142 which is basically Battlefield 2 with mechs…and that’s exactly as cool as it sounds. I also checked out Capcom’s Dead Rising which was actually a lot of fun to play. I had initially thought this was going to be something of a one trick pony with all of the gore and mayhem but the game actually has some RPG elements and a decent story behind it and is certainly something I’ll be tracking as the game works its way through the development cycle. I also played a bit of the PS3 version of Madden 07. While there weren’t any major OMG type of new features it does look like there are a lot of little graphical tweaks to the models and playing field. Further inspection is needed here as I really only played a few downs before getting distracted with something shiny in another booth.
Now would be a good time to mention the booth babe situation. Given the various rumblings earlier this year I had kind of expected to see a major cut back on the number of female window dressings at the show this year but that does not seem to be the case. There certainly doesn’t seem to be a giant increase in the number of them but it looks like IGN and other gaming sites will have plenty of content to pump up their page counts over the next couple of days.
Here’s a quick wrap up of what I got to see today. I’ll be following up on these in the coming weeks but I’m a bit burned out and I’m already having troubles keeping my eyes open:
- The Witcher from CD Projekt has a ton of potential. Based on the works of Andrzej Sapkowski (who’s books should finally be showing up on this side of the Pacific). The game is that the plot combines modern problems like racism and terrorisms but set in a fantasy setting. Using a heavily modified version of Bioware’s Aurora engine the folks at Bioware have created one of the more unique RPG’s on the market The game’s innovative combat style allows you to control everything in the game without touching the keyboard and features an interesting combat system where you can script your combat moves ahead of time and then execute them in battle. While I wasn’t able to stay for the entire presentation this is a game you’re going to want to watch if you are a fan of well written RPG’s
- AGEIA - With the release of their hardware cards for the PC this week the AGEIA folks had a fairly standard presentation this year as well as a few games on the show floor that actually showed off their technology. I did learn that the AGEIA SDK is now bundled directly with the Unreal3 engine so all the developers who signed up to use that license last year will reap the benefits of the AGEIA physics technology. In talking to AGEIA about what they think will be the killer app for the technology he thought that Unreal Tournament 2007 would be a big driver for their sales although it could also be one of the existing 20 games that they have already announced support for.
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