Here is my listing of the best things shown at the E3 2005 show. These are listed in no particular order.
So, everyone is excited about the launch of the newest system from the powerhouse that is Sony. What everyone did not know is that it would be so thoroughly and beautifully announced at this year's E3. Now, I am of the school of thought that the Spring 2006 release date that Sony announced is going to be solely for Japan and we will have another E3 to see what Sony intends to do with this monster that they have created. Nonetheless, this system and the power that Sony claims to have infused it with, completely knocked me on my butt. The future of gaming is not here yet, but it will be- say around second quarter 2006.
Blitz: The League, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
After a much needed make-over, Midway brings its football title back to the gaming systems that we love with its signature outlandish game play and creative methods of coaching. This time, however, it is sans the NFL. Midway and the NFL parted ways and it seems that this title is going to be the proof that Midway got the better end of the deal
(the NFL later signed an exclusive licensing agreement with EA.) Without the bulk of the rules of the NFL to abide by, Midway was able to take on some freedoms that, shall we say, are not allowed to be discussed for fear of ruining the NFL's image-- as if Ricky Williams didn't do enough to damage it already. These additions are going to include the decision that a coach does have to make in the course of a game- get a player off the field to heal from an injury or give him a little shot of ì¨¡ppy juiceî ¡nd get him back on the field, risking his season or even his career. This one has me on the edge of my seat waiting to get my hands on it.
Ultimate Spider-Man, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Peter Parker returns to his teenage days in Activision's newest incarnation of Spidey. In this game, Peter is still in high school and must face the same decisions we all faced in high school. Well, I never did have to decide to ditch choir to save New York from Venom, but I did have to decide whether or not to study for my trig test. Same level, right? The great part of Ultimate Spider-Man is the way the designers present the cut-scenes. They are absolutely beautiful. Each cut-scene is made of a series of comic book cells that move, but only slightly. For example, when getting ready to speak to Peter, Mary Jane might move her head slightly. So, they are not fully animated, but do suck the player in and are an effective and engrossing story advancement tool. This is definitely an adventure game that I am ready to get my hands on. Oh, yeah, and one other thingÖ you get to play as Venom. Rock on.
X-Men Legends 2, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
The first title was great. So, just think of that title and then think of it on steroids. This is the Barry Bonds of super hero games. Activision really listened to gamers on this one, and for that, we will be greatful. This game, which was only shown behind closed-doors, is one of the coolest looking games I have ever seen. It has elements of an RPG but with real-time fighting and major co-op play. The co-op will be playable online. Frankly, all of this is great, but the bottom line is that this title looks really, really fun. Virtually every character that has appeared in the X-Men comic books is in the game. Customizable costumes and huge levels make this title one of the most exciting ones that we had time to see while at E3.
Game Boy Micro
I hesitate to put two systems on my best of E3 list (especially with the second not being the XBOX 360) but this one is just two cool not to include. Only about an inch and a half longer than a business card, the GBM will play all GBA and GBA:SP titles. It weighs less than a hamster and is very possibly more fun. The screen is a little smaller than previous versions, but it handles the same resolution, so SP games look more crisp and clear. The only down-side that I could see is the interchangeable face-plates, which I think that we are just seeing way too much of these days. I am extremely excited about this smaller than pocket-sized bundle of fun. Leave it to Nintendo to get me excited about paying for the same product for the third timeÖ?
Sprint Mobile Gaming Event
This is the third year that Sprint has presented some of the major players in mobile phone gaming in a great event just outside the confines of E3. Just a block away from the show, Sprint introduces gamers to a world that is even more accessible (and a lot cheaper) than the world inside the Convention Center. With phones on the table, companies such as IPlay, Jamdat Mobile and Namco give the latest offerings that are available on cell phones. In a very relaxed atmosphere, Sprint enables gamers to open up to a little bit different form of gaming. But, not that much different. At this event, for example, it was announced that real-time fighting is going to be introduced in mobile gaming, enhancing the opportunities for online play of FPS games. This event is definitely one of my favorites and will continue to be as long as Sprint sees fit to invite us.
The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess, GameCube
Ah, Link, how we love thee. We even stood by as they cell shaded you. I struggle internally over the decision to make you an honorable mention versus a top five choice. Alas, the reasons that you have sunk below the top five list are several and all, I am sure, are no fault of your own. First, my expectations were much too high. When I finally got to play you, I was herding animals on a horse. I love slashing grass looking for rupies, but this I am not sure I can condone. Secondly, you turn into a werewolf. No, it's true! I saw it with my own eyes on the trailer. I don't know if you do this on your own or if you are forced, but either way, I think that it is a little much. On the bright side, you do remain one of my top ten choices because you are beautiful- and not just your new, grown up body either. The environments, the gameplay, the little of the story that I saw. You truly are a hero, Link. And we love you.
We Love Katamari, PlayStation 2
I am not sure that this game really needs to be explained. I am not sure that it can be explained. I can just say that it looks like so much fun. Who would have expected that a giant ball of crap could be so entertaining? Katamari is getting included in my list this year, if for no other reason than it allows me to say giant ball of crap-- and it is truly applicable. Anyway, we truly do ì¨¥artî atamari.
E3 2005 Best of Show Navigation: