Pads & Panels correspondent Chris Park was busy on the show floor all day yesterday. He stopped by the booths of Sega, Activision and Tecmo, as well as a few others. Here is what he had to report…
I arrived early to the Sega press appointment and was quickly shuffled into the Aliens vs Predator demo session. In the session, they were showing a demo of the Marines campaign, while they had Predator multiplayer on the floor. The game takes place 30 years post Alien 3. The story is a colony on a remote planet disappears from contact. It turns out there is a Predator pyramid on the same planet, complete with Alien eggs, much like the first Aliens vs. Predator movie. They send in the Space Marines.
The demo was still a work in progress using a proprietary engine dubbed Rebellion. I found out that the same team working on this Aliens vs. Predator is the same team who worked on the Jaguar game back in the day and the PC Aliens vs. Predator. The heads-up display has the motion tracker from Aliens as radar, showing the pulses just like the movie. Tim Jones, Head of Art and Design, mentioned that 20th Century Fox opened the vaults and gave the team the sound effects from the movies. And the game looked amazing, even in the work-in-progress version. Dynamic lighting was present, as throwing flares under a stairwell showed the streams of orange light showing through the steps.
Combat is first-person, and the Aliens move with a janky swiftness, so keeping them targeted was difficult, but combat was solid. When an Alien dies, the acid from the body caused acid burns and small environmental damage.
The game is to be released in early 2010, with three single-player campaigns opened from the start. Key events cross between all three races and the overlap is during those big events.
The title is to be release for PC, PS3 and Xbox360.
The second title I saw was Alpha Protocol. A spy role-playing game, most of the character customization takes place on a PDA, which controls all aspects of character modification. The character model can be changed at anytime during the game, creating disguises when necessary. All aspects of the weapons can be modified and small achievements in-game create little perks for the character.
There is a dynamic dialogue system, which affects other character interactions, and the mission structure is open, so completing missions in different orders create different dialogue events. The alpha build I saw was good, though combat was a little bland. The game was still in alpha, so there is a lot of time to polish this part of the game.
I went to the Activision booth with the plan of seeing as much as possible. The first game I saw was Singularity, a sci-fi first-person shooter. The user-interface of the game was very similar to Bioshock, to the point where the time mechanic bordered on copying the hand animations from Bioshock. The story is an island during Stalin’s reign was a place of experimentation. A catastrophic event occurred on the island, and the island was written off. The main character of the game, who looked like the stereotypical military grunt, complete with hoarse, scratchy voice. The main feature is the use of time-shifting objects from the 1950 setting to the future setting.
The combat was interesting, with enemies either being characters that use the time-jumping aspect or the standard military combatant. I wasn’t too impressed yet, but it looks like there is some potential.
The next game was Blur, a car combat racing title, somewhat like a more mature Mario Kart. There are many different weapons that can be used against other cars, but your own car has a shield that can be activated and recharges after each use. I played a 16-car match (cars are licensed, and show damage) and came in 10th the first time, and 2nd in the second match. Blur is solid, to the point where it reminds me of Burnout Revenge in the racing and Mario Kart in the weapons. I’m looking forward to playing it when it releases.
Tony Hawk Ride. I’m really on the fence on this game. Considering I used to skateboard, I thought it would be a small learning curve, but also I was playing on a thick carpet, which basically defeated the curve on the bottom of the board that would have made manipulating the board easier. The sensors on the game worked pretty well, though the simple ollie became a chore. I think if I was playing on a flatter surface, it would have been a better experience. I don’t know what to think honestly.
DJ Z-Trip was playing when I came out from the demo, but I couldn’t stay to watch the DJ Hero demo.
I did see Wolfenstein – simply beautiful. Gameplay was solid, animations were solid. I want to play this game now. During the short demo, I saw a lot of different weapons. The Tesla cannon is basically an electric gun which will chain through enemies if they’re standing close. I couldn’t stay to ask questions, but it already looks near complete.
I went to Tecmo to play Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, but then I saw Quantum. Producer Yasuo Egawa was there showing the game, and through the use of a translator explained the game to me. Egawa actually had a playable demo, but wouldn’t let me give it a try – though he was extremely apologetic about it. Quantum is being compared to Gears of War, and on the surface, from pictures, I would agree. But seeing the title in motion, there are a lot of differences in the art style, including the main characters.
The title is 40 percent complete at this point, PS3 exclusive, and actually tells the story of two characters. They both want to get to the top of a tower, where the game takes place, but the reasons behind the two stories are different, and Egawa hinted that when the pair get to the top, there could be a huge conflict between the two.
Undead Knights is a PSP title that is the story of two brothers, and the fiancé of one of the brothers, who are killed. They make a deal with a demon to come back to get revenge. In effect, they are given the powers of the demon, who can create zombies from defeated warriors. Once gamers lower the health of enemies, they can convert them to zombies that can be controlled to fight, use as shields, throw at other enemies or just kill again. Seeing the game live, I saw zombies’ heads cut off and they still wandered at enemies. I asked about the new PSP Go digital distribution and was told that they found out about it, but weren’t sure whose lap that would fall on, Tecmo or Sony.
Finally, I got to play a demo of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 as Ayane. I remember playing Ninja Gaiden on Xbox and thinking it was fast. NGS2 seemingly played 100 times faster than that. Running at 60 frames per second, it takes a couple minutes to get used to the combat system, though for gamers who played NGS, it shouldn’t be a problem.
After that, I met with The Retronyms, an iPhone developer who released Seek ‘n Spell, which uses the GPS function of the 3G. Playing outdoors in a field, letters appear and, using the GPS, players can run around and collect letters to create words for points. The game logs into a server so other players appear on your screen too.
The last meeting I had was Rock Band: The Beatles. I’m not a huge fan of Rock Band, mainly because of the drum set peripheral, though the demo they showed was amazing. All 45 tracks will be available for quick play, but the story is chronological. So players will go through the career of the band. Abbey Road will be released as DLC soon after the game ships and the rumblings I heard is that all Beatles albums will eventually be DLC content.
Wednesday was Chris’ last day at E3, but he did see some more titles. Please leave comments if there is anything we should have more information about. Either Chris will provide info on what he saw on the show floor, or we’ll get in touch with people and find what we can.