E3 07: Activision

by: John -
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Activision always gives a good showing at E3 and they don't disappoint with the four games I caught today. First up was Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. The next game in the Hawk series, the did some research on the types of skaters out there narrowing them down to three. You can play a campaign mode that will be a little different depending on the path you decide to go down. Nine different skill levels help define your skater. Something new is Nail the Grab whereby you use the thumbsticks to position your hands during a Nail the Trick sequence. Nail the Manual lets you use the same thumbsticks to adjust your landing. I was also shown the nice edit mode where you can place different objects to skate on the screen pretty easily. Another nice feature is the camera setup where you can adjust the camera settings so you can capture the best picture possible when you skate by. Finally, Proving Ground has a great video editing mode where you can combine different effects and share the final results. Fans of Tony Hawk will like all the new additions and you can go from playing a quick game to spending longer hours on the career mode.

Enemy Territory Quake Wars isn't just a PC game as today I caught a glimpse of the Xbox 360 version. One of the great things demoed were the way objectives are handled. If you're just popping in and don't know what's going on you can quickly receive some missions and immediately earn experience points. Missions are set by other players as they point to something and can use a context sensitive radial menu to call for help. You might not know why the missions are important but you'll earn a some extra experience points for completing them. The radial menu will grey out options that aren't currently available and make options selectable at the correct time. IF you aren't into fighting you can be an engineer or medic. Without firing a single shot you can be at the top of the leaderboards just by providing support, taking out obstacles, or completing non-violent missions. The game looks pretty polished with great details in the models from the characters to the vehicles. All in all, a title that looks like it'll provide many hours of online cooperative gameplay.

Guitar Hero III looked great also. For the game, the interface has changed a little bit. The Star Power is now represented by some vacuum tubes. When you go on a note streak, a little indicator will pop up to let you know how many you have. A few minor changes in the look of the displays adds some clean up and more information to the interface. All the characters have been updated with a more serious look while still exhibiting thepersonalities you've come to know and love. Many tracks available are originals so there's some variety to go along with the covers as well. All three systems will be getting wireless guitars and the picture I have shows off the Xbox 360 one. You won't need a dongle to connect the guitar to the system but the PS3 version is undecided right now. The move of the Xbox 360 button and D-Pad to the top of the guitar away from the strum bar and whammy bar is a nice welcomed change. Some of the new battles modes were on display and it looked pretty frantic as each player shot off different power-ups against one another. Once you get hit with lefty flip and double notes you're pretty much done. There's also a co-op career mode and yes you will be able to play this game online. A boss battle is a new feature in the game where you square off against another guitar player and try to make them miss as many notes as possible and get them in the red. When you beat a boss, you'll unlock a song to play. Guitar Hero III should be a must pickup once the game's shipped this fall.

Finally, my personal favorite is Call of Duty 4. I'm so happy to hear it's back on the PC and the demo they showed was basically the one trailer featuring night vision. The game looked absolutely kick ass and the great scripted sequences that made the single player such a fun game is in there. For example, the character was following a squad mate when an enemy jumped out from around the corner and started wrestling with him. You switch to a pistol and take out the enemy while the two are struggling. There was also a sequence where a few Marines shot out a door and kicked it down for you to go through. The demo ended with a look at a rocket launcher that's made to bust tanks. You lock onto an enemy target and launch a missile straight up in the air. The missile then comes straight down on top of the tank where there's little armor. The firing sequence was mighty impressive with cool smoke effects following the rocket. Vehicles return in the game as you'll be sitting in some gunner seats as well as riding along in rail shooter like sequences. The Call of Duty series just puts together every little aspect correctly to generate a fun single player experience and I can't wait to get my hands on this one..
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