Just a quick round up of what’s happening in the “middle” day of E3. The pace seems a bit more leisurely after yesterday’s frenetic schedule. That still hasn’t stopped mongy looking game nerds from pawing hot booth babes you should be cringing in embarrssment about now and hogging terminals in the media suite. Here’s what’s been cooking today:
MS haven’t been sitting on their arse, with displays devoted to seemingly perennial E3 “out soon” title, Freelancer. It still looks great, the emphasis on “still”. What would have been a revolutionary title has now slipped into being something that just looks “good”.
Age of Mythology is looking great, with the new 3D engine pushing the graphics that little but important jump from AOE2, and has been drawing a lot of attention to it’s expanded gameplay model, with godlike powers now available. The balance seems to have been retained, which will be a big relief to series fans. The good thing is that the game is as accessible as it was before, and while the rough interface remains the same, is still a joy to play.
There has been a lot of Xbox material here, however exclusive titles are few and far between at the moment. The Xbox Live display is causing some attention, maybe that’s because attendees aren’t being charged to play the games.
Unreal Championship is looking okay but isn’t likely to cause any PC owners to have a heart attack. The good news on this front is that Unreal 2 and UT2003 are on display, so that’s definitely on the agenda.
Acclaim have certainly spent enough on displays, however their lineup is pretty forgettable unfortunately. Lots of sports games, both “extreme” and “traditional”, which do a workmanlike job but are already looking dated in comparison to the all singing, all dancing offerings from EA and Activision in particular. More on these guys later - if I can find anything to justify both your reading time, and my writing time. It's proving hard from what I've seen.
UPDATE: Well, I stand corrected (by myself). Upon closer inspection of the 10foot high projection screen at Acclaim's booth they did indeed have a couple of worthy entries (in their own fashion). Burnout 2: Point of Impact was on show, looking damn sexy too. Criterion are promising more tracks based on real-life locales, juiced up visuals (the original ones were fantastic in 1p mode, but two player mode things got a little more ordinary - how they will rectify this is anybodies guess) and faster action. Vexx was a cutesy new platformy offering with a very Jak and Daxter feel with even niftier graphics (but still a case of "what advances have you made sine Mario", and something they really pushed was Turok: Evolution, which, try as I might, I couldn't really understand whatwas supposed to be so revolutionary about it - it's more console FPS hijinks with the attendant controller woes. Given that most AGN readers know how to use a mouse to control a FPS, it's a hard call recommending any console FPS, unless it's an utter ripper like Halo.
The guys behind the Dead or Alive series aren’t afraid to flog the franchise to death, with seppo-by-proxy trog no doubt creaming his pants over the news that Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is in development. Put on your bandana and get ready to show all the California boys and girls your meatiest spike. Or something.
This is a laughably non-competitive offering designed to cash in on the World Cup. For a company with a proud history in sports games like Tecmo this is definitely nothing to write home about.
The survival horror happy snap-em-up looks great, if SH floats your boat. If you think Res Evil and SIlent Hill 2 were stinking loads of boring ass poo you won't be made a convert, however.
Rygar: The Legendary Adventure
Another oldie given a jolt of electricity and sent packing off to possibly Christmas shop shelves is ye olde Rygar. Definitely an acquired taste, the new version is looking a lot more worthwhile than some of the regurgitated old offerings on display. As with most games mentioned so far, screenshots have been uploaded by the ton, it’s just a matter of whipping hankyhead’s ass into gear.