E3 with all its beauties and horrors is in actuality a fairly quick affair. From start to finish the entire show runs less than three hours and while those hours do drag some times (especially when you are waiting in line to play a game or check out a trailer) but this year the last day was a bit of a panic as I tried to scratch as many games of my “Games to Check Out” list as possible. While I got most of the games on my list there were a few games that I just didn’t get to see on the show floor. The biggest disappointment there was not getting in to see the Spore demonstration. I didn’t have time to wait in line so I actually did the douchebag media thing of trying to use my media badge to cut into the line but they were full up. For the second year in a row I didn’t get in to see Unreal Tournament 2007 and I didn’t have time to check out Webzen’s Huxley or 2K Game’s Prey.
That said the first appointment of the day was with Microsoft to check out their new Games for Windows initiative. While it was mostly a rehash of what Microsoft talked about at their press conference we did learn a little more about the upcoming Direct X games Crysis and Age of Conan. We also had to deal with another media member who qualified as the 80/20 guy of the group as he insisted on asking a series of questions about Microsoft’s support of the Open GL standard. Given that it’s not Microsoft’s standard to control and his insistence of about getting inane questions answered he would have qualified as the douchebag media member of the day had it not been for a writer for a major blog who had cut in line in front of everyone at the start of the day. That said Chris Donahue; the head of Microsoft’s Games for Window division handled the gentleman with more aplomb and decency that the interrogator warranted. After the meeting I was up for a little bit of violence and luckily it was time for me to get my grubby little mitts on Gears of War.
For those of you who have been living under a rock or in some kind of Nintendo fanboy alternate dimension (come to think of it they might be the same thing) Gears of War is the new second person shooter from Epic Games. They are calling it a second person shooter even though the game is technically a third person shooter except that you look down the barrel of the game. That would sound like a lot of marketing and game design hooey except that that game kicks a lot of multiplayer ass despite my complete inability to play the game. The teams were divided into two groups of four and told to have at it. It turns out the tactical elements of “playing together” and “watching each others backs” are quite critical to success and since my team elected to forgo these and go with a strategy of “divide and be conquered” so our results were less than successful. That said I did manage two kills in the six or seven games we played which sadly led my pitiful team of humans.
From a weapons perspective Gears of War features the usual array of shotguns, assault rifles, pistol, with the ability for you to pick up a grenade launcher and sniper rifle on the map. The assault rifle features a chainsaw bayonet which allows you to get the quick instant kill if you can get in close enough to your opponent. I wish I could say I had the satisfaction of being able to deliver one of these kills but I can vouch that when it is done to you it is quite humiliating in a kind of fun way. If you wound your opponent to near death they will crouch on all fours. At this point they can be revived by a teammate or “curb stomped” which sounds exactly like it sounds and much like a Christmas present it’s a lot more fun to give than receive.
While I didn’t have a lot of luck with the game I will admit that the game got it’s hooks into me and I look forward to playing the final version of the game when it ships at some point in the near future. The game will definitely appeal to the Halo crowd and this game may finally be the one that knocks Halo 2 from the top spot on Xbox Live.
Page 1 of 9