E3 Day 2 Impressions


posted 5/21/2005 by The GN Staff
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Well, day 2 started out with power so that was a big plus over the previous morning. Without air conditioning and power to the media center, it sure made a long first day. Good thing we didn’t experience any of that today as power wise, everything went silky smooth. I was supposed to start off with Sapphire Tech, a make-up appointment for Wednesday’s appointment because Sapphire wasn’t able to make it to the show on time. Again, I was left there with an empty booth today but I decided against going back to check up on them as I saw they had a pretty booked day. I’ll try again one more time tomorrow.

So let’s get to LucasArts. I’ll let Charles detail Empire at War so I’ll touch up on Battlefront II. The follow-up to the Battlefield like game, Battlefront II was being shown on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC at the LucasArts booth. Our demonstration was on the PlayStation 2 and the guys at Pandemic Studios gave us the rundown. Major additions are playable Jedi, space combat, Episode 3 content, and a new story driven campaign. Sizes of the maps are now four times bigger than the original. The AI has also been updated to be more humanlike. They will definitely be more aware of their surroundings, group up, and hide behind objects.

For space combat, the demo showed a Stormtrooper hopping into a Tie fighter and flying out into the battle. There were some hard points on some of the ships that you can target. A really great part of the demo features the character flying into a Rebel ship, taking out the forces, jumping into a turret, and unloading on the ship’s other turrets and hull. They also showed the ability to jack an enemy vehicle, such as the X-Wing in this part of the demo. The transition from flying in space, into the hanger, and going into ground combat was seamless.

To demonstrate playable heroes, they showed a clip of the beginning of Episode 4 video and then transitioning to the Stormtrooper after the door was blasted open to start the game. After the objects for that level was achieved, the most valuable player became Darth Vader. If you don’t continue to contribute to the mission you will lose the right to be Vader. This will make sure that the person does continue to be a good contributor in the campaign and not slack off. You’ll be able to use various force powers when playing as a Jedi but you won’t be invincible. It will be a lot easier to use another Jedi to combat the enemies’ Jedi but you can have regular units eliminate the hero but it will be a lot more difficult. Now you don’t have to play as a Jedi but who wouldn’t want to do that when they earn the right?

Episode 3 content wasn’t shown too much except for General Grievous and some of the units that are modeled after the Clone Troopers. One of the classes, the Clone Commander, inspires the team by giving bonuses to those that are near him. This should help people stick together and work as a team. When I asked if Grievous was playable, the Pandemic guy said they are still deciding if that would be a feature. Let’s hope they give the go ahead to put that in.

Multiplayer improvements include an improved network code that should cut down on the lag. Player counts have been increased with the PS2 allowing 24 players, Xbox will let 32 players play, while the PC will have a whopping 64 player limit. With the Xbox, you can have split screen Xbox Live action where both of you can be online playing on one screen. Split screen Co-Op will be a feature of the consoles but there will be no Co-Op features of any type for the PC which is a little disappointing. But the PC version’s frame rate is no longer locked so you’ll be able to play at top speeds if you have a high end video card. The PC version looked very slick and polished with the PS2 version being the worst looking of the three platforms.
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