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E3 2008: Atari

by: Sean Cahill -
More On: E3 2008
I had a chance to spend an hour with Atari and their E3 lineup. I had to limit myself to a few games as I didn’t have enough time to go through their entire lineup. Never fear, though, as I managed to gather up plenty of information.

The Witcher – Enhanced Edition
The Witcher has actually been out for several months now. However, Atari has listened to its fans and have addressed several issues that have plagued the game.

One primary issue is that conversations seemed to be a little too scripted and not nearly enough like a normal conversation. Over 200 hand gestures have been added to help this issue, along with characters actually pausing, almost as if they were taking in the information and then deciding what to say.

Load times have been improved dramatically. Load times were looking along the lines of a minute or longer. Now, you’ll only have to put up with ten to twenty seconds.
While these are great improvements, I think the best one is the subtle changes in-game that you’ll notice immediately, whether it be the automatic stacking of inventory items or the different rendering of color of enemies that you’ll come across.

The Enhanced version of The Witcher will be available in September. 

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir
I had about ten minutes of demo time for this expansion, so I didn’t get too much information on this. What I did learn was that some new job classes have been added, although I only saw the class “Swashbuckler”, which is a pirate class job that is designed primarily for melee.

There are plenty of new creatures to take on, all of which are rendered quite nicely. Beyond that, some subtle additions have been made, such as different conversation pieces for characters in the same party.

Expect NN2:SoZ to be available within the next few months.

Race Pro
One of the more anticipated racing titles, Race Pro is Atari’s answer to all of the established racing games on the market already.

Realism rules here, as the vehicles you can choose from are almost flawless. The models are exactly what you would expect when you select a certain vehicle.

Control wise, the game is very well done. It was a little tight at first when turning, but eventually I figured out the physics and got a good feel for what the game had to offer. Going off road is just as bad of an idea as it sounds, as you will lose control fairly easily, especially if you get into the dirt patches.

Graphically, it looks beautiful. Shadows are well rendered and move quite well as you move along each race. Paint jobs are sleek as well as little things, such as the sunlight shining off of the vehicles themselves.

Race Pro probably won’t match up with the Gran Turismos of the world, but it should be a solid title for those looking for a fix on racing games.