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An E3 for the proletariat: Impressions Part 1

posted on May 11th, 2006 by golden jew

Compiled by Golden Jew, Horatio, Noah and Ben, Videolamer’s field reporters.

Dynasty Warriors Vol 2 (PSP)
I liked this game quite a bit. I was a huge fan of the Dynasty Warriors series on the PS2 till I realized every game was exactly the same. After my 1,000,000 kill (Cao Cao: Truly, you are a brave warrior! And you have no life!) I burnt out. However, I was really impressed with the PSP version of this game. Gameplay was the norm in terms of hacking things to pieces (repetitive, yet strangely fun). What was very cool is that the battle system is a large grid shaped specially for each campaign and that each army (some computer controlled, and one led by you, naturally the most productive one) moves about.

You have various conditions for victory and defeat that center around a time limit (supplies) and then key objectives. If you haven’t yet been burned out from slaying your gajillionth enemy peon, or you’re looking for a good game to manage your video game fueled rage that is fueled even more by the lack of decent games on the PSP, this might be worth looking into.

Mmm, pie.

Virtua Fighter 5 (PS3/Arcade)
I wasn’t able to actually get my hands on it because there was a long line to get beaten by a person in another long line, but this game looks great. It looks like, well, Virtua Fighter! There are two new characters, the politically correct Mexican wrestler named “El Blaze,” who is clearly indicated as being Mexican by the prefix “El” in his name, and an appropriately polygonned female fighter named Elaine, from China.

Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
It breaks my heart, but we’re still not sold on this game. This is the THIRD E3 that this game is at, and it’s suspiciously not released yet. The plot looks cool. The cinematics look cool. The gameplay… is KOTOR-ish, but clunky. The Square-Enix theater (AKA let’s masturbate about our games for a half our but show no real gameplay) attempts to make it seem like you can chain combo attacks together. We were not able to do this in the playable demo. Further, and I PRAY this was because it was a demo, you have WAYYYY too many skills and options to choose from, and the combat system is active, so choosing between White, Black, Green, Summon, Purple, and Chartreuse magic spells while being pounded on by enemies gets a bit annoying. Still, it’s a FF game, so we’ll probably buy it anyway.

Gitaroo Man Lives (PSP)
Koei found out that copies of Gitaroo Man were eBaying for $100 per, and realizing that their product line is, umm, limited, decided to re-release Gitaroo Man for the PSP. It includes all of the original songs, two all new tracks, and a “duet” mode where you can play two people, at once, vs the computer.

Because the PSP has good graphics capability, the game looks just as good as it did on the PS2. Apparently it is being released in Europe, then North America (what the fuck? Didn’t we fight a war to prove we were better than that collection of “nations” across the Atlantic?). The North America release is slated for late this year/early next year.

Shadowrun sort of looks like Eternal Darkness.

Shadowrun (PC/360)
My hopes and dreams of a Shadowrun MMO were crushed, at least for now. The newest FASA run Shadowrun is a “team based multiplayer” game, a la Counter Strike. Fortunately, there were several aspects of the game that more than made up for this fact. First off, true to the series, you can pick your race, each one having various bonuses. The elf I played with, for example, is faster than normal, lower health, but higher essence (mana). Like Counterstrike, you customize your character by purchasing weapons (guns and melee), and then tech and magic. The more tech you have, the less magic you can use. Right now, tech and magic are primarily utility/healing, and all combat is done via guns/melee.

Apparently the gun/melee balance is decent, although the Microsoft employee I was talking to reacted in disgust when several of his “certain hit” slashes didn’t land on the target. Also, apparently there may be an expansion or future game where they introduce combat magic. There also “might” be plans for a single player campaign, but right now it’s all online combat. Both PC and Xbox Live players can play cross platform, but the whole game is tied to the release of Windows Vista. Overall, despite my initial disappointment, the game looked pretty good.

Diablo 3 (Nothing)
Not here. And they won’t say shit about it. Screw them. Maybe an announcement later today or Friday?

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