E3 Day Three

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posted 5/15/2004 by The GN Staff
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John's Last Day...

For once this year, I took a very light day and decided to wander the show floor and gather some information. With only one appointment on Friday, I had a nice time going around and seeing what was shown without having to be on a set schedule. So let’s get started with some Autoduel like action.

Auto Assault located at the NCSoft booth is a MMORPG that has an Autoduel feel. Three races: human, mutants, and biomechs are wandering the Earth courtesy of some weird alien object crashing to the Earth. Humans have been underground and are now emerging to the surface to face the mutants who are the product of the alien attack. Biomechs just cut off any mutating body part and replace it with a mechanical replacement. There are multiple ways to drive your cars and outfitting them is easy with the drag and drop system. The developers are big Diablo fans and wanted some of the features in that game in Auto Assault. Some weapons have sockets that can be used to upgrade them. If you play an engineer class, you can even deconstruct some weapons and rebuild them yourself, even be a weaponsmith as your career in the game. While there are no playable air vehicles, there are some AI that are able to fly. While not determined, the rep said around 45 vehicles split between the races in four classes will be available. Again, that’s just an estimation and the final number can be different. Multiple paint jobs will help differentiate your vehicle from the rest. If you decide to play as a biomech race, you can even transform your vehicle to fight. Almost everything is destructible from buildings to nature. Using the Havok physics engine, buildings crumble in random ways and not duplicated on replay. Rag doll physics play a part when you run over mutants in your way. There are various themed tilesets ranging from desert wastelands to ghost towns that should make different locations unique. Night and day effects along with weather are also prominent in the game. The center portion of the server where the alien object resides is mostly the player vs. player area. Town life features your avatar wandering to different shops and buildings. Arena duels are also featured so you can compete against others in contests in the city. Your garage can hold up to eight vehicles and while the final verdict on if they will be transferred to the different towns you are not parked in, there is some early talk of paying a transport fee to get your vehicle parked in one town to the one you are currently in. Speaking of your avatar, the character has stats too and help determine some of the combat and driving in the game. Unfortunately, you can’t carjack a vehicle out on the open road though. The game is great for a quick play with your friends or spending a ton of time on the server like traditional MMORPGs. Auto Assault looked like a ton of fun and a definite change from the other MMORPGs out there.

Stopping by the EA booth, I took a look at NCAA Football 2005. The big news, of course, is the inclusion of Xbox Live support and it was evident in Microsoft area with playable versions linked up. Crowd noise is now important as if it’s too loud, some of your players will have trouble hearing your signals and will give you a confused gesture. There are even the toughest 25 stadiums to play at listed in the game. A deeper dynasty mode gives you some new problems to deal with. One specifically is the feature that some of your players may violate rules and you’ll have to discipline them. Depending on the severity of your punishment will determine how many points it will cost. A total pool of points per season prevents you from handing out these punishments left and right. On the field, you’ll see more realistic running and better tackling. A matchup view can give you a quick read on what players are composed, rattled, or outmatched. Use this to exploit your opponents’ defense or offense. Fan celebrations that I saw include band members clapping and students doing the tomahawk chop. You can even create signs that the fans hold now to give your stadium some new looks. I’m just excited that Xbox Live support is in there and I did play the game at the Microsoft booth online with some good results. Look for it in the fall right before college football season.
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