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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

E3 2005: Smoke, Mirrors, and Hype


Posted by Nathaniel at 11:32 PM
GamingSo, yet another E3 has come and gone. This year's event was generated from pure, filtered anticipation. Only one E3 every five years features next-gen hardware and software, and this was the big three console-makers' chance to put away the hype-machine and slip into some much-needed reality. Gamers were eager to see movies and demonstrations showing off the next generation of gaming. We were all ready to see what the gaming experience of 2006 was going to be like. The visuals, the sounds, the gameplay, the stories. We were prepared for the Future. What we got was re-wrapped Yesterday.

We were suckered in to Microsoft showing off an unfinished and unplayable Xbox 360 with only stills of upcoming next-gen titles to satiate the fanboys, and heavy-hitter publishers pledging their support of the system. We also got hooked and reeled in by Sony showing off their own unfinished and unplayable Playstation 3, along with some pre-rendered "gameplay video" of one of their potential titles. Only Nintendo played fair, coming out and announcing in no uncertain terms that they are not ready to show off 'Revolution' just yet, and that next year's E3 will be the year that all will be revealed and available for demonstration. What Nintendo lacks in marketing hype and energy, they make up for in unabashed honesty.

Now, I don't pretend to be anything other than a Nintendo fanboy. Sure, I play the occasional Halo 2 at a friend's house. But truly, you can keep your Xbox Live. And I care nothing for the extensive library on the PS2. I'm really just gaming for the experience Nintendo offers me. So obviously this year I really only cared about what Nintendo had to show. And for GameCube fans, this was a pretty spectacular year.

Here are the highlights of E3 for all the fellow Nintendo fanboys out there:

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
IGN Cube info : Official Site
Last year's Zelda video came out of nowhere to wow everyone into a stunned silence of awe and wonder. This year's video blew last year's video away by an inescapably large margin. It was fantastic. This game has been the number one highly-anticipated game on every gamesite on the internet ever since E3, and the reason for that is simple: Nintendo will deliver. They have made a promise to fans, and we trust them to give us one of the most absolutely gorgeous and deep gaming experiences we have ever encountered. We have seen that it is possible, and we can't wait to be able to play it. Supposedly, it is expected sometime around my birthday, October 30, 2005. See, just further proof that Nintendo can read my mind.

Battalion Wars
IGN Cube info
Formerly "Advance Wars: Under Fire", Battalion is the GameCube version of the GBA hit Advance Wars titles, only with a slight twist. Where the original GBA versions were overhead strategy games, Battalion will be an intense 3rd-person shooter/RTS where you manage large groups of soldiers, tank squads, air combat units, and other military equipment in a huge battle setting. You get to command all aspects of the fight in real-time, with the ability to take control of any unit or group of units at any time in order to more closely manage particular parts of the battle. Sounds intriguing, and I'm eager to see more of this title. Should be available before the end of the summer.

Ultimate Spider-Man
IGN Cube info : Official Site
When a game set in a comic universe is purported to be using a brand new software technology called "3D Comic Inking" in order to bring about an enhanced experience that more appropriately defines the feeling of playing within a living comic book, you take notice. This one is thankfully a multi-system title, and one of the few I'm watching.

StarCraft: Ghost
IGN Cube info : Official Site
The StarCraft: Ghost that was shown at this year's E3 was different than what was demonstrated last year. Not vastly different, like 80% changed. More like a nice, median 45% different. But judging from the videos and screenshots, it was a measureable difference. Everyone has been holding their breath to see what Swingin' Ape Studios would do with the Nihilistic creation, and so far, it appears to be in good hands. In fact, Swingin' Ape seems to have impressed Blizzard so much with their talent, Blizzard simply decided to buy them outright just prior to E3. Seems like a logical move and one that adds more development weight to Blizzard's already hefty, highly-skilled force.

Super Mario Strikers
IGN Cube info
I'm a sucker for a Nintendo sports title. I generally loathe and despise any sports of any kind, but for some reason, Nintendo's skill at managing the intricacies of a sport's rules in an entertaining and inviting way always seems to capture my attention. A soccer game loaded with Nintendo's quirky franchises just seems to somehow make sense to me in a very real and exciting way. I just think this game simply looks like fun. And isn't that what's really supposed to matter?

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
IGN Cube info
I am a huge fan of the GBA Fire Emblem, and this game looks like a natural and gorgeous continuation of that fine strategy tradition. The graphics look amazing, especially the cinema scenes, which any fan of the series will tell you is very important to this title. The gameplay truly looks like exactly what I wanted it to: an updated, GameCube quality of the same game I played on my GBA. If that's the experience I get, I will walk away happy.

There's probably a hundred titles I'm overlooking, but honestly, what fun would it be for me to talk about them all myself? Feel free to post some comments below, or go over to our forums and rant and rave all you want!

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