Another E3 has wrapped up, and with it Todd and Ken (not to mention the rest of us) say farewell, but not before giving their impressions of the show. And since the local news was relatively tame tonight, our intrepid heroes (one of whom is self-flagellating – and no, I’m not going to say which one) may actually focus on events of the show. One can only hope.
E3 DAY 3: XBOX DISAPPOINTS WHILE GAMECUBE SOARS
By: Todd Hargosh, GiN Director of Product Testing
Is it me, or does it seem like these three days came by too darn quickly? And even when I haven't been busy with meeting with contacts and testing out new products, I've been spending my off-peak hours watching either KCOP's award-winning news, or the entertainment coming from the 5th floor of the building across the street from us. Either way, this whole LA thing has been a total blast, and I truly regret that it's coming to an end.
The highlight of my day was me finally getting restitution against Sega and their third party plans in particular, as well as not letting their booth open to the public. Turns out that my plans were changed slightly, as there weren't many cross platform titles on display. In fact, there weren't any PS2-based titles on display at all. There were a good supply of Dreamcast titles on display, with Crazy Taxi 2 at the main attention getter. I have to admit the game looks like it will be better than I thought it was going to be, but if it's going to be in New Yawk, when will I be able to actually demolish Rat-ison Square Garden?
While I was at the Sega booth, I was treated pretty well, as I was personally served. It might not have been the royal treatment that I received last year, but it was still quite nice. I even looked at the poor saps standing outside, being held back by the Sitting Bull bouncer, and yelling out a Livia Soprano-esque "Ohhhhhh, poor you!"
The Sega Sports line was also on display, for better and somehow, for worse. NFL 2K2 and NBA 2K2 were looking good as usual, but I was hoping to see more of Tennis 2K2 (formerly Virtua Tennis 2), and NHL 2K2, but they were only shown on video format. As a matter of fact, NHL (as well as NCAA 2K2) was actually showing what looked like footage from ESPN!
On the other hand, I had some hands-on experience with World Series 2K2. I just have to say that Visual Concepts knows what they are doing, as this version is a definite improvement. We have controllable fielding (though I sucked at it), the overall control is much smoother, and the already impressive graphic engine has no slowdown at all. I know there is still some work that needs to be done (base umpire calls on check swings, dropped third strikes, actual batting stances, etc.), but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
My other main session today was with Crave Entertainment, but I was very disappointed to see that the footage for UFC Tapout for the Xbox was only a short video clip, not to mention that there was no sign of the PS2 UFC Throwdown. And after all that I said about last year's UFC, this is a major downfall.
Speaking of the Xbox, I have been meaning to say this for the last three days now, but I wanted to hold off until now. The Xbox is a major disappointment! There weren't many titles at all that impressed me. Halo runs slow, especially in multiplayer mode, almost like the 4-player mode of Perfect Dark. And NFL Fever (which I am shown playing in one of our pictures) looks sloppy and broken up compared to both the 2K series and the Madden series. The only games on the Xbox that looked interesting to me was a boat combat game and the preview footage of Jet Grind Radio: Future. Now I know the Xbox is still very early, but the way things are going, it looks to me that it is going to be the next 3DO, and that in itself makes it by far the biggest disappointment at E3.
GameCube, on the other hand, impressed the hell out of me. There might not have been a lot of titles available, but the quality of the titles were darn impressive. I loved Rogue Leader and can't wait to see what the final release will be like. Wave Race is amazing, as well as Smash Brothers Melee and Luigi's Mansion (aka Ghostbusters 3). Once again I am sure the GameCube is still early in development, as both systems are planned to be released on November 5th, but this system is ready to go.
In the end, one thing is for sure, Nintendo will walk away will this year's E3 (which comes as a major surprise to even me), while Microsoft has a lot to do on their Xbox to impress me. One can only wonder what E3 2002 will bring.
All Your E-3 Are Belong To Us.
By: Ken Urben, GiN Industry Reporter
Well another E-3 is in the books loyal readers and Ken must say that while his Day 3 was better than the previous two, his overall experience was, how do you say unrewarding. Well, unrewarding, but that's besides the point.
Today, Ken got to see Sega, Square and strippers, so like he said his Day 3 was better than the previous two, but it still wasn't good enough to make this E-3 better than last year's.
And why"well to that in a second.
First — the good.
The Gamecube looked awfully good.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II was incredible. Super Smash Bros. Melee was absolutely crazy. Luigi's Mansion was pretty damn cool. Eternal Darkness looked great. Of course, Ken doesn't know what the hell Myamoto was smoking when he created that Pikmin game, but who is Ken to doubt him?
The PS2 looked much, much better than last year.
Devil May Cry was incredible. Twisted Metal Black was absolutely crazy. Silent Hill 2 was pretty damn cool. Final Fantasy X looked great. Of course, Ken doesn't know what Rockstar was smoking when they created that State of Emergency game, but who is Ken to doubt them?
Now Ken knows what you're thinking – "C'mon Ken what sucked ass! What about Xbox? What about Sega?" Well, okay it time for that now.
Sega earned a notorious reputation at the show this year because they cordoned off everything to the public and made it by appointment only. Now that really pissed Ken off as he flashed his magic media badge expecting to get in and the off-duty 6'4 bouncer from the Galaxy Club told him to scurry along like a good little ruffian.
Of course, Ken had an appointment on Saturday, so he finally got to enter and see what all the cool kids were doing.
Was Ken all that impressed with the games – no, not really (although Jet Set Radio Future was hella cool), but they did serve Ken ice-cold beverages and cake. And let's just say ice-cold beverages and cake goes a long way to keep Ken from writing bad things about you. So, good going Sega – you are spared Ken's wrath thanks to your hospitality.
Now about Xbox. Xbox reminded Ken of what the PS2 showed last year – which was monkey-crap. Now Ken realizes that Xbox is still 7 months off, but so is Gamecube and as previous written: Gamecube = coolness.
Halo was not incredible. Oddworld was not absolutely crazy. Bloodwake was not pretty damn cool. Amped looked great — not. Of course, Ken doesn't know what Microsoft was smoking when they created this Xbox thing, but who is Ken to doubt them? A pretty pissed game columnist, that's who.
Ken is warning Microsoft right now – if you guys want to survive in this war you better start doing more than figuring your deep pockets are simply going to buy enough advertising to convince kids to buy your machine, cause that won't get it done. Go back to the drawing board and get some better games, then call Ken.
So to sum up: Gamecube, good; Xbox, bad; Sega, knows how to bribe.