|A Note From John:|
I'm sticking with the old "2004" style impressions where I make lists and talk about them instead of just making one long write-up of general impressions. I spend most of my time on the show floor talking to PR folks and listening to presentations instead of playing games. Still, though, I get to play some stuff, and below is what I got to check out!
|Top 5 RPGs:|
1) Hellgate: London (PC)
Hellgate: London can be described as Diablo II on crack. While that might turn off a few of you, Hellgate: London is the first game I'm actually happy to see use a full randomization engine. The game's randomized dungeons and quests feel more real than most games' story-oriented static quests. Hellgate: London is going to rock your socks... whenever it hits store shelves.
2) Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (PS2)
I never had a chance to play the original Valkyrie Profile for the PSOne, though I will when the PSP release hits. Regardless, Valkyrie Profile 2 blew me away with its gorgeous graphics, awesome real-time/turn-based hybrid battle system, and dungeons that actually involve puzzles without getting Key A for Slot B. The story looks like it's going to rock something awesome; I just can't wait to play it. Silmeria's slated for release in September.
3) World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC, Mac)
Maybe I'm a little bit biased here, seeing as I love World of Warcraft, but the Burning Crusade is one of the best expansions for any MMO I've ever seen. Instead of taking SOE's model of "expansions every six months", Blizzard has released a ton of free content and their expansion is expanding the world for an additional 25%. Plus, since I'm an Alliance player, I get to play with some wicked-ass demons! This shows so much more promise than it ever did at BlizzCon.
4) Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP)
Based on what I'd heard about the original game, I thought it was some kind of game that called upon the combination of Batman and Wolverine in spirit. They were right. Finally, finally, finally the PSP will have a good RPG in America!
5) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All (DS)
Okay.. it wasn't playable, but that doesn't mean I can't be a total fanboy, now. Assuming this is even half as good as the first game, it's going to be one of the best games on the DS. Now let's just hope this one does a little better than the first title in sales.
|Top 5 Non-RPGs:|
1) Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Multi)
The sequel to one of the best action games of last year? Sign me up!
2) Crysis (PC)
I just started playing the original FarCry about a month ago, and I thought it was awesome. This game, along with Hellgate: London, made me decide that I need to spring for a new motherboard and Xfire cards from ATI.
3) Virtua Fighter 5 (ARC)
I don't know how many years it's been since I've played a game that wasn't DDR or Soul Calibur 2 in the arcade. Virtua Fighter 5 is going to change all of that.
4) Guitar Hero II (PS2)
While I don't think Guitar Hero revolutionized the music game genre like many, I still think it's one of the best games I've ever played. The second adds co-op with one player playing bass. What else could I ask for?
5) Civilization IV: Warlords (PC)
This wasn't playable, unfortunately, but there was a trailer about 15 minutes long for it. The fact that I stayed for the entire thing, listening intently while I was pressed for time, shows just how much I'm anticipating this game. I sure as hell won't be disappointed.
|Awesome People At The Show:|
1) Bill Roper. The man was friendly, open, and funny. I wish him the best of luck with Flagship Studios.
2) Square Enix's Entire PR Staff. These guys are fantastic, and make us feel like we work for EGM or Game Informer.
3) All the folks at Kohnke Communications. While Kohnke is a huge PR firm, they do PR for a lot of companies - Namco Bandai, Mythic, Hudson, etc, and they're fantastic!
4) Me. I'm egocentric and awesome - but you'll notice that everyone else on staff mentions somewhere how cool I am, so I figure I can follow suit.
5) The RPGamer staff - I've been trying to reconcile differences between us and them since becoming the general editor here, and I think I've been doing a fair job. Without such.. volatile staff.. on our side, we're able to have actual conversations with these guys!