E3 Day Three

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

Heading over to the Sega booth, I decided to do some quick looks at a few of their sports titles. ESPN NBA 2005 was my favorite NBA game of last season and Sega’s hard at work on the next iteration. It’s 60% done in the build I tried and they had the PS2 and Xbox version side by side. Graphics are a lot sharper on the Xbox version though. While running the floor, you can see the reflection of the rafters and the scoreboard above along with reflections of the players that fade naturally. The character models don’t seem as detailed as NBA Live 2005 but they aren’t bad. It was rather funny seeing Ben Wallace’s fro as he runs up the court on a fast break. The action seems more disciplined than NBA Live 2005 and it feels pretty good.

ESPN Football 2005 has an incredibly polished look to it with clear and concise menus. The ESPN style of presentation oozes from this title and the replays look exactly like an ESPN highlight. The action featured smooth animation and hard hitting tackles. The NFL commissioner definitely wouldn’t appreciate some of the celebrations as I saw one where after a player scored a touchdown, he ran to the side where a teammate was holding out his arms like a basketball hoop and the player that scored danced and dunked the football. He was helmetless also so I don’t know if he pulled a Dwayne Rudd and threw it while he was on the field. It’s 75% complete and should be out in the fall before football season.

Finally, a very early build of the college basketball game from ESPN was on the floor. Playing Saint Joes’ against Duke, the action was still too similar to ESPN NBA 2005 and had various bugs. For instance, trying a pump fake resulted in my player faking and going up and coming down with the ball. That aside, the game looked well and I was impressed by the texture map on the basketball making it a very realistic model. A double teamed player would flail about trying to get the ball away from the opponent’s hands. There was also a nice animation sequence of a player chasing after a ball going out of bounds that was different from the dive that’s featured in the previous version. You can also tell tired players as they are hunched over and they swing their arms back and forth. It was only 30% done and they do have a long ways to go but it should be out before college basketball season.

Heading to the Maxis area of the EA booth, fans of the Sims should be drooling over the Sims 2. A very nice rep demonstrated the game for me there. For starters, there is a movie capture option so you can share some moments with fans around the world. As you create your sim, you set his aspiration and that determines how you will play the game and what your wants and fears are. The same generic needs are still there like hunger and bodily functions but they are not emphasized as much now. The sims live, grow up, and die now so a complete life cycle is simulated. You can force some of the events if you want to or live the game and let it normally happen. Those who were annoyed at the process of the original of having to work constantly will be happy to know the job portion is now a lot less taxing and won’t figure that important into the process unless you aspire for fame or fortune. Maxis has let you focus on the more fun aspects of the game and doesn’t force you to do things that are mundane now. The move to the 3D engine has done wonders to the look of the game. Graphics are crisp and clean with hilarious animation sequences and a free floating camera system. Seeing the reactions of the sims to various situations are priceless. Making the sim look exactly like members of your family is a lot easier now with the 3D engine as you can morph portions of the face in many different ways. There are some preset face styles but you have total control also. Around 500 pieces of clothing will be there initially to outfit your sims with a release of a tool to create your own soon to follow. A hard date of September 17th is when this game is released.

My final appointment of the show was with Razer. For serious gamers out there, many tout the Boomslang as the best mice to use for games. I never did know how much Razer goes into making a mouse but I was impressed at their attention to detail and the little things they do.Recently, they have released the new Viper that is an optical mouse with a 1000 DPI that’s good for both left and right handed people. The drivers have no effect on how well the mouse works and it’s all hardware here that makes this mouse a smooth performer. Boomslang 2 is in the design stages but you can see some of the pictures below on the design that’s slightly different from the original one. The new pad Razer is producing has two sides and a very solid feel. The speed side is pretty smoth while the control side’s surface is more coarse. The large mouse surface will provide speed and control for your Razer any other kind of mouse. Razer is also branching off into the audio territory with two new headphones. The Piranha and Barracuda will be 5.1 headphones and some will have mics. Razer’s looking to keep the gaming community happy and their products are well respected. From what I saw, they won’t let you guys down.
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