Opening Day

My first account into this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo leads me all the way to Mann's Chinese Theater, where I am currently freezing my sorry butt off waiting to be picked up. Why am I at Mann's, you may ask? Well it's not to see the premiere of The Matrix: Reloaded (I can only wish), but rather to wait to be picked up after attending a party hosted by nVidia which showcased their new GeForce FX 5900 card. The night was very enjoyable, but having to wait over an hour to be picked up almost ruined the whole experience.

I should also mention that I arrived much later than usual for E3. With a 2pm arrival time, I was unable to see as much as I wanted to. I did arrive on the scene with a surprise, finding out that the price of the Xbox has been reduced to $179! From there it was time for me to start on my journey.

First thing was to check out Nintendo's booth, primarily MGS: The Twin Snakes. I don't know, but for some reason it was disappointing. The visuals might be comparable to that of MGS2, but for there was some pretty nasty slowdown at times, even worse in fact than MGS 2 Substance on the Xbox. The voice acting is also a concern. I know it was supposed to take advantage of the GameCube's Pro Logic II sound system, but the new dialogue sounds a bit flat. And what is with Mei Ling? She does not sound the same at all! I know this title is still early but I hope that the slowdown will be seriously rectified soon.

Sega Sports' lineup was also high on my list for today. From what I saw so far, NFL 2K4 is looking more like a true ESPN broadcast (even 2K3 was close to begin with). Sad to say I did not have any hands-on at the moment. The only 2K4 title I was able to test was NHL 2K4, which appears to be vastly improved but I hate the new commentary (Bill Clement????? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!). I was even able to test it out against someone who I later found out to be a producer for Luxoflux, who as everyone knows, will be releasing True Crime: Streets of LA (a title I will be taking a close look at in the next few days).

Another title that really impressed me was VU Imperative's sequel to Buffy. My first impression was since Eurocom was taking over for the Collective, I feared the worst. My fears were eased when I tested it out, and lo and behold, it felt like the Xbox classic, except now 6 different characters are playable (Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Spike in the demo) with tons more characters (good and bad) available in the new multiplayer mode. Everything looks so much better now".60 fps on all systems and Willow now looks the way she is supposed to, not to mention all the voice actors (except for Sarah Michelle Gellar) will be returning.

Finishing up my first day, I was able to catch video clips for DOOM 3 and the biggest shocker, MGS 3: Snake Eater. All the previous clips for DOOM 3 can be forgotten because the new clip gives new meaning to the word terror. Actual gameplay footage was shown as well, and it scared the daylights out of me. I might not have a powerful PC at the moment but with the announcement of an impending Xbox release, I will be keeping a close eye on this one.

After the initial disappointment of Twin Snakes, I was pleased to see the trailer for MGS3. I've wanted to see Snake kicking some serious ass in the jungle since MGS1 and now it is coming true. It seems that the crazy story of MGS2 (Raiden, the Patriots, Otacon banging his mother, etc.) will be left behind for this new title, but anything can happen (remember all the surprises with 2). The trailer features Snake playing guerilla, taking out foes without remorse, even adding a humorous attack on GTA: Vice City. 2004 is the only mentioned release date, so we'll be looking for it then.

Anyway, Day 1 was quite short considering my late arrival and the nighttime excursion on Hollywood Blvd. I will be getting tons more information in the following two days, centering on the latest Xbox titles and the EA Sports lineup (with Konami and Rockstar high on my priority list.

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