Day Three – Don’t Slow Down

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Seventy-two hours have passed since I arrived here in LA, and for this year’s E3 I have done more than ever before. More games, more previews, more free junk to give out, more women, my first ever XBox party (don’t get excited, it was just ok), and all done on a cheap budget (I had almost NO money until yesterday). This year’s E3 definitely was an improvement over last year, but mainly because there was no hype about new systems debuting (almost at the same level of hype that Attack of the Clones had compared to Phantom Menace).

The new systems last year brought both suprise and disappointment, where XBox failed to impress but GameCube turned out to be a nice little surprise. Not this year, as all three systems have a respectable turnout for the end of this year.

Microsoft definitely made a comeback this year after last year’s lethargic showing; so many titles are available that I will be proud to be an XBox owner: Mace Griffin, Robotech, Dead To Rights, Steel Batallion (complete with the monstrous controller), the list just goes on and on.

Speaking of Mace Griffin, Crave definitely has a huge hit on their hands. Not only do we have impressive first person combat, it seamlessly transforms into a Wing Commander-like space shooter. Considering that Warthog (who did the excellent Starlancer) is the development team in charge, how could there be any doubt?

Nintendo also had am impressive showing, although probably not as grand as Microsoft. As usual, the first party titles really shined out, with perhaps Metroid Prime being my personal favorite. As I said last night, a first person Metroid might prove scary at first, but its very easy to get to, not to mention that the game is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see it this winter.

The PlayStation2, not to any surprise, had a lot of impressive titles as well. However, one of the system’s biggest surprises comes from EA with Lord of the Rings: Two Towers. The game might look at first like LOR meets Sword of the Berserk, but what is shocking is the amount of detail put into the game without any slowdown or breakup whatsoever. At first when I saw the game, I thought it was running on an XBox, but at closer investigation, I found it was running on PS2 hardware. Apparently EA must have found a way to test the PS2 hardware to learn its limits, or other developers are just too lazy to figure it out.

However, as tough as it is, I do have to determine my top 5 picks for this year, and here they are:

5. MACE GRIFFIN BOUNTY HUNTER (Crave-Multiplatform)

4. DEAD TO RIGHTS (Namco-XBox)

3. ROBOTECH: BATTLECRY (TDK Mediactive-XBox/PS2)

2. WARCRAFT 3: REIGN OF CHAOS (Blizzard-PC)

and of course…

1. METROID PRIME (Retro Studios-GameCube)

I should also give honorable mention to other great titles available this year, such as EA Sports’ 2003 football lineup (and EA Sports in general for a more pleasant than usual visit), Freelancer, MGS2 Substance, Steel Batallian, Mario Sunshine, and Legend of Zelda, to name a few. I also want to curse Sega Sports for deciding to add a much hated ESPN license to their games, and to Sega in general for presenting Shenmue 2 which looks EXACTLY like it did on the Dreamcast (except the dialogue is now in English…THIS is why you stabbed us in the back Peter?) But lastly to Namco, showing off DTR is appreciated and all, but why no Soul Calibur 2???? Everyone wants it, so bring it out!

All in all, E3 2K2 is a major improvement from last year, and I look forward to all the titles that will be released. We’ll just have to see how they turn out in the end.

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