A Quick E3 2004 Breakdown

May 30, 2004

--Posted by Riposte101 @ 22:27 PST.

A Quick E3 2004 Breakdown

I'm not going to really post too many links here. This is just a quick overview of my impressions of this year's E3. If you care enough I'm sure you can find E3 videos available over at Gamespot or Gametrailers.

First off, those who know me know me as a crazed fan of MechAssault for the Xbox. Needless to say I’ve been frothing at the mouth with anticipation since I heard the sequel MechAssault 2 would be released for the Xbox later this year (now moved to Q1 of ‘05). Well I spent plenty of hands on time with the game and it pains me greatly to inform you that the game is the most disappointing game I saw at E3. The game while unbalanced before now has no semblance of balance whatsoever. The game designers must have decided to go in the opposite direction of balancing their game for the reason that players don’t like balance apparently. Every complaint I had about the first MechAssault remains, but now it is worse than ever before with the introduction of human, battlearmor, tanks and VTOLs. These new elements are even less powered than the lowly Elemental from MA 1. The new VTOLs take one volley of level 1 PPCs and Javelins to dispatch (same as the old elementals). Humans and the new battlearmor are even worse. Game balance is thrown right out the door. I was racking up 42-0 kill scores simply by walking into the enemy’s spawn point with my mech and killing them off as they spawned IN HUMAN FORM. Out of my 42 kills only 3 of them were mech opponents while the vast majority of them were spawned humans. Let me put this in terms that a player of MechAssault 1 would understand, just imagine a MA a game with a bunch of Elementals with a third the armor and no jump jets that spawn on one spot who must run through a gauntlet of fire to reach a vehicle.

Day1 is unlikely to change much in this game and it needs a drastic overhaul. On the bright side, by the time MA2 comes out I’ll be playing Halo 2 and won’t care about this title anymore.

Killzone: It's funny how you can just call yourself something ridiculously untrue over and over and soon the public will just believe it. Like how Michael Jackson started calling himself the "king of pop" or how Howard Stern started to call himself the "king of all media." Killzone took Michael and Howard's example and started to call itself the "Halo-killer." Soon enough people started believing in it. Even I was caught up in the furor. That is until my hands on time with the game dispelled the illusion.

In the single player game the first thing that I noticed was that I was enclosed in a small trench completely enclosed by barbed wire. I was forced to peer over the trench and kill the I don't know 50 identical looking enemies that came racing headlong into my bullets. It was just about the worst FPS A.I. I have ever been a privy to. Not only that but the draw distance on the game is like 8 meters. Enemies would appear fully formed right in front of me out of the mist at 8 meters. If you backed up a little they vanished. I had fun making enemies disappear and reappear for about 30 seconds then I decided to just kill everything that moved. As soon as I finished killing the scores of identical looking and acting automatons I noticed that a section of the barb ware had magically gone missing, thus allowing me to progress to the next trench where I had to repeat the whole process all over, but this time with 2 A.I. controlled soldiers. Well I guess they really weren't soldiers, I mean they looked like soldiers but acted like turrets that shot without moving once every so often. After this was completed the barb wired fence once again inexplicably went away and allowed me to move on. Pretty much it didn't get any better from there. So I'll just save myself some time because the Penny-Arcade boys already said it best with this comic.

Let's move on to Metal Gear Solid 3. It looks like a poor man's version of Splinter Cell. The graphics are decent, but the lighting doesn't even remotely compare. Also I'm not sold on the changing outfits on the fly game mechanic. In one stretch we saw Snake walk up to a brick wall and as the guard approached Snake changed outfits out in the open into…get this…a brick wall outfit. That's the silliest shit I've ever seen.

I don't really get the PSP. 2.5 hour battery life and weight and dimensions of a brick don't scream portable to me. I guess that's just me.

Nobody could get enough of Fable. The buzz was in full-effect. I was unaffected by it though. I saw the demo and the first thing that struck me was how dated the game's graphics looked. All the objects had dismally low polly counts. It's not surprising though, after all, Project Ego as it used to be called, was supposed to be an Xbox launch title. This is what happens when you get a game that has been delayed for two and a half years.

Not everything was terrible at this E3.

I was suitably impressed by the Nintendo DS. It boasts touch screen, GBA backward compatibility, wireless wifi communication across the globe and most importantly 10 hour battery life. All very impressive.

The new Zelda revealed at the close of the Nintendo conference blew me away. Shigeru Miyamoto swinging his sword around like an idiot brought me back to earth quickly though.

Half-Life 2 kicked ass. Just straight kicked ass. When they showed off what the new Half-Life 2 engine can do to the beloved Counter-Strike Aztec map, I had a tear in my eye.

Darkwatch was another very impressive title. It was being demoed on the PS2 hardware and it does stuff that I did not believe possible on the PS2. Havoc physics engine, amazing lighting, destructible objects, location specific damage all wrapped into one flowing beautiful game. You can check out the demo for yourself here.

Jade Empire has battle mechanics that are innovative and more importantly fun. It'll be a big hit.

I was recently introduced to the 2D fighting game Guilty Gear: XX2 Reload. It was a shock seeing how far the 2D fighting game has come. The game has a very deep fighting system and built in safeguards against cheapness. It is the most advanced 2D fighter anywhere. The good news is that Guilty Gear: XX2 Reload is being published by Majesco on the Xbox with Live support and for only $20. I'm sold.

Needless to say Halo 2 is the king of the heap. The multiplayer demo at the Microsoft conference had everybody's jaw on the ground. November 9th is the officially announced street date for the game. You might as well declare that date a national holiday and get it over with because no male age 13 to 36 will be at school or the office that day. Before it is all done Halo 2 will likely outsell the Gamecube.

In other news, EA is finally onboard with Xbox Live. I guess we can say goodbye every other sports game on the Xbox. They tried valiantly but they could not stop the juggernaut that is the EA sports game.