Ok, so I said I would have a report on Friday, but I didn't.
- Things I wish I could have seen more of
- Half-Life 2 - Damn! This game looks incredible from the footage that I was able to see (search the web, it's not that hard to find). The ragdoll physics on the bodies are the best I've seen, creatures are wonderful, the graphics are absolutely GORGEOUS! Counterstrike 2 should be awesome, though I wish I could say the same for the OTHER Source Engine games (ie. the new Vampire: The Masquerade game... the only thing it had going for it was the goth chick holding a sign that said "Vampires and Boobies" with an arrow pointing people to the game demo area and the other scantily clad goth chicks)
- Doom 3 - Why did I list this AFTER HL2? Is it on purpose? Yeah, it is. I'm much more interested in seeing HL2 than D3 now that I've had time to compare the two side by side. Gameplay will tell the final tale for these two. If id can bring the survival horror elements that have been hinted at in D3, then I'll probably swing the other way. I've been interested in a good FPS that DIDN'T stress the "kill everything in sight" element over the survival element... ammo everywhere, better weapons show up in time for stronger enemies, etc. But looks alone... VERY nice.
- Halo 2 - I'll be honest. I'm not that big a fan of the first one. I'll need to see more than the demo video to make a good decision. This is another where gameplay will make or break the game.
Surprise hit: Prince of Persia looks amazing as well. Gameplay is solid, and despite the "Matrix-esqe" feel of the moves you can pull off and the inclusion of a "bullet time" feature, it's a fun game in it's own right. I had a great deal of fun playing this game. Good visuals that are remeniscent of a Dreamworks animated film (think the upcoming "Sinbad").
I spent WAY too much time playing Soul Calibur 2. I've loved the previous two incarnations of this series, and SC2 continues the trend. I did play all three versions of the game, and Link has to be the best of the three console-specific characters, though Spawn is great on the X-Box. The PS2 got screwed. On the other "new" character, Necrid is a Nightmare clone, with lots of Asteroth thrown in. The game is beautiful on all three platforms, with the X-Box maybe edging out the other two. No really new character types in this one... Cassandra is obviously just another Sophitia, and there's a male Xianghua clone (Raphael).
Sudeki looks very interesting... it's an action RPG, nice cartoony character designs, good action and combat controls, even if it's developed by Climax (whom I don't like for no particular reason). The game is squad based, with up to 4 characters in the squad at a time. You can switch active characters a will during the game, and set the overall AI for the non-active squad mates at will as well. That might sound tedious, but it works fairly well.
Gran Turismo 4 - GT3 with lots more cars. Ever own a '81 Ford Escort station wagon? It's probably in there. Massive amounts of environment mapping... not sure if there WERE any car textures under all that reflection.
There were lots of interesting games on display. There's a sequel to Maximo, a couple of Resident Evils (Dead Aim, the new game in the Survivor series and Outbreak, the RE online game). Crimson Skies for the X-Box looked and played VERY well. Starcraft: Ghost looks more interesting, PN03 looks less interesting. One surprise was the Hulk game... really fun, and nicely cell-shaded for the comic feel. New Tony Hawk (Tony Hawk Underground, or THUG for short). You can now walk around the city and even climb ladders! (Yay, less skateboarding in a skateboarding game.)
Though I might be considered biased, Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild and MX Unleashed from THQ both looked very good. That's all I'll say about that.
Also from THQ, Sphinx looks to be a really fun platformer. You play as one of two characters (Sphinx or the Mummy). The Sphinx parts are more action, less puzzle, with the Mummy parts the opposite. Very cartoony, but nice action, and decent puzzles in the demo I played.
Atari-ne-Infogrammes was a closed booth this year, as well as LucasArts. No Sam and Max: Freelance Police or Full Throttle: Hell on Wheels demos, though I did get to see Jedi Academy in the X-Box area. *sigh*
All in all, a good E3. Lots more unfinished games to look at, which is always fun. Less flash and fanfare than previous years, even less booth babes, but lots more stuff to play with.