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E3 2004: A Gamer's Blog
by Jolex Del Pilar
Wednesday, May 12 2004
Three days through the halls of the L.A Convention Center.
The next three days are expected to be a mixture of ecstacy, surprise, and general fatigue (Ryan: So you're writing about sex?). This blog will be updated at various times during the next 3 days and will chronicle the events on the floor during the week. (Pictures forthcoming...)
Day 1- 8:00am, Wednesday, May 12th, 2004: Today I expect to see something about Halo 2, so the Microsoft booth will be one of my first stops. I once again, for the third year in a row, missed the keynote. It's not my fault, being tardy is part of the culture.
The first place I stopped by was the Sony Online Entertainment Booth. I was given a preview of SOE's upcoming mega MMORPG EverQuest II. It was of course impressive, and we were shown some of the larger enemies in the game. Some of the dragon chracters were powerful enough to wipe out dozens of player chracters with one super spell. The beta begins in June, and the site will be given a few hundred beta accounts to give away (which has made me very popular). Next they showed us the sequel to Champions of Norrath, Return to Arms. Two new races were added, and tons of new weapons, armor, and items. Suffice to say it's looking to be impressive.
Day 1- 10:40am, Wednesday, May 12th, 2004: Walking around after SOE, we ran into Wee-Man of Jack Ass fame. Joe Soria, a contributor to the site, was able to get a nice little snap with the "wee" skater/prankster.
JoWood's lineup was fairly entertaining. Soldner was fun to play and we were given a one on one preview with lead producer Udett Schaffrath. The game looks a lot like Bohemia Interactive's Operation Flashpoint. It's aimed at being MMO, as admittedly the single player A.I bots are lacking.
Day 1- 1:00pm, Wednesday, May 12th, 2004: Visited the Atlus booth to check out Phantom Brave, another Disgaea type game. I realized that I had a Fable figure I wanted autographed by Peter Molyneux tonight and I had no marker. So I negotiated for from Bill Alexander, a PR rep from Atlus. My preview of Phantom Brave will be forthcoming...
Day 1- 3:00pm, Wednesday, May 12th, 2004: Me and Ryan have finally gotten past all the lines to play Battlefield: Modern Combat for the Xbox. It's the PC MMO-action game on the Xbox with modern vehicles and weapons. I did pretty good actually, logging 9 kills for 1 death. My tactic was usually to take a helicopter, land on top of one of the many skyscrapers and just came out with my sniper rifle until someone passed by on the street. The frame rate is kind of jumpy but I'm sure EA will get this right by the time it hits retail.
Day 1- 7:00pm, Wednesday, May 12th, 2004: Later in the day we had the pleasure of attending Microsoft's special "press only" event were we were able to play test a special Jade Empire demo, and Fable build. Peter Molyneux gave a brief presentation, and was followed by the team of Jade Empire. Guest were able to obtain an autographed poster of Jade Empire with all signatures of the development team. Staff member Phillip Duff also won an original art print of "Death's Hand", the main nemesis in Jade Empire. Peter Molyneux also signed a special Fable figure for me personally, and I have the pictures to prove it.
Day 2- 10:00am, Thursday, May 13th, 2004: We got to the show late due to the traffic and dire parking situation on the show floor.
I visited Bethesda's booth first and checked out some of their games including IHRA Motorsports Professional Drag Racing, Call of Cthulhu, and Rise of the Vampire. IHRA was beautifully rendered but seemed to be lacking in gameplay given the 8 second nature of drag races. Call of Cthulhu wasn't hands on disappointingly, and we were only able to see a guided demo. Still, it looks like this will be the main title that Bethesda is looking to push for 2004.
In a few hours I'll be going to Konami's booth.
Day 2- 1:50pm, Thursday, May 13th, 2004: Me, Phillip Duff, and Arthur Arcinas wandered around Kentia hall. Kentia was bumping this year, at least more so than previous years. Music reverberated throughout the hall, and there were more weird gadgets being displayed, including a dancing robot, that knew martial arts.
Speaking of martial arts, there was a kung-fu demonstration at the Hong Kong pavillion inside Kentia. Arthur Arcinas, a friend of mine, was actually able to do a little fight scene (choreographed of course) with Ching Ching Yeung, a Kung-Fu master who has been studying for over 20 years. As a practioner of martial art myself (Judo, and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu), it was nice to see some martial arts on the floor.
Day 2- 2:40pm, Thursday, May 13th, 2004: Went to Konami's booth to meet with Tracey Thompson and check out some of the games on Konami's lineup. First we saw Rumble Roses, a new all-female wrestling game for the PS2. It featured lots of scantily clad ladies doing slams, and kicks to the gut, all for the entertainment of the mostly all-male crowds. We quickly moved on and looked at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. The game is looks and plays essentially the same, except now the game is 4-player capable on both the Gamecube and PS2. Of course the 800 pound gorilla was Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater. At least year's E3 the game was just a trailer video. This year it was actually playable. The game features Big Boss, the original DNA template of which Liquid and Solid snake were based upon. The game takes place in the 1960s, years before Solid Snake even hit the scene. The most noticable thing this time around is the level design. It seems a lot more open than previous MGS games, probably a response to the wide-open levels that Splinter Cell: Pandora Tommorow sometimes featured.
Day 2- 3:13pm, Thursday, May 13th, 2004: Visited Novalogic's booth and myself and a few of the staff partook in a networked game of Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising. The game was simply amazing. Nearly 100 people playing in an adversarial game seamlessly over a LAN network. Granted we probably got the least lag because we were at Novalogic's actual booth, but the beta testers have been playing this game for months and it shows. They "pwned" me and my staff pretty good in the beginning but by the end, my sniper skills were beginning to help turn the tide. I have to say this game is just fun to play once you learn the basic controls. Perhaps we'll be back here tommorow.
Day 3- 9:22am, Friday, May 14th, 2004: It's the last day of the E3 show and I have no planned appointments, so that means I'll be wandering around looking for free loot to bring home. I'm in the media center right now and someone in the room smells like wet feet. Making my way towards Kentia right now, a Bay Watch babe is supposed to be appearing there today, and the booth will have free Vitamin Water!
Day 3- 2:10pm, Friday, May 14th, 2004: I spent the majority of the past few hours picking up press kits and passing out business cards. Got to talk to my SquareSoft PR contact finally in person. She's actually a very charming woman in person (long story). She gave me a few demo CDs of upcoming PS2 games including Front Mission 4. Went to the NCSoft booth and picked up a press kit. It came inside a "pink purse" thingy along with a Korean can of Coke with "Lineage II" advertising on the outside. The coke can is a collectible, the pink purse is starting to get me weird looks.
Day 3- 2:10pm, Friday, May 14th, 2004: I'm back at the Novalogic booth were just about everyone on staff is. Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising is again occupying our time. I got to talk to a few of the Novalogic staff about the game and they seem really positive about the beta phase (as they should, the game rocks). A british woman from the team seemed to like my pink purse that I had be given at the NCsoft booth. I offered it to her, and one of the PR reps seemed to be happy about that. He went away for a few minutes and then came back with a Novalogic laptop carrybag in exchange for the pink purse. "Score!", I wasn't going to carry that effeminate thing around for another second, and a camouflage laptop bag seemed ten times cooler.
Day 3- 5:50pm, Friday, May 14th, 2004: The show floor is beginning to close up and we're still here in the Novalogic booth kicking butt (or vice-versa). This year's E3 has been incredible in terms of the game previewed, and the new announcements made (PSP, Nintendo DS). Like I said last time, I can't wait until next year. Tonight, me and the staff are going to see Troy as it premiers today. Let's see how badly Hollywood can chop up Homer's Iliad.
--- Jolex Del Pilar