My first E3 ever, and what do I get? What many consider the WORST E3 in recent memory. But I didn't care, no no! I had a blast and saw some really sweet titles.
Before I got anywhere, I had the interview with JoyCity/World Net Games Kevin Hannah about RedMoon, JoyCity, and Priest. I've played RedMoon and it's not bad for an MMORPG, though JoyCity is the most ambitious project I've ever heard of. It's going to mix e-commerce with an online world in some really freaky ways that sound implausible, but apparently the JoyCity corporation has the means to do it. Keep an eye out on this Korean developer.
South Hall was our next stop. For starters, Konami's booth was really decked out, with the giant Silent Hill 2 display and the giant screen monitor precariously hanging from the ceiling, showing previews of it, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Frogger Adventure, and ::yawn:: Ephemeral Phantasia. Yes, I'll have to admit that it was not a good year for console RPGs, but that didn't stop me from watching some freak playing 2-player DDR USA by himself, and playing some sweet, sweet Sons of Liberty.
Capcom was also another big show, with their Capcom vs. SNK 2 machines all over the place. Of course, I was more interested in Capcom's GBA titles, since aside from Resident Evil CODE: Veronica X, (Wesker Report, baby!) that was the only place I could actually try out the merchandise. Plus, the only RPGs from Capcom are for GBA, with Mega Man Battle Network looking VERY good, and Breath of Fire looking... well, exactly like the SNES version. I should note that Capcom's PR person was... less than helpful, but fortunately I found an old friend from high school who was working there at the time, and he explained everything. Thanks Phil!
Doing my utmost to pull myself away from the awesome peripheral pavilions (Logitech, MadCatz, and Interact were unbelievably decked out), I checked out XBox land, and came away wanting. You would think with every developer and their grandmother promising to make games for MS, that they'd at LEAST have more than a handful of titles on display. Really nothing worth mentioning here, unfortunately.
Fortunately, the PC front was brimming with great titles, especially at Blizzard, where Diablo II: Lord of Destruction captured editor Tortolia's complete attention, even though he didn't interview the producer. Blizzard's other big title on display, Warcraft III was NOT looking as good as I thought it would, seemingly eschewing totally the RPG angle. Well, at least Blizzard knows how to make an RTS, so it shouldn't be bad.
Ubi Soft needed to figure out how to use space properly, as their pavilion was a mass of squirming bodies trying to fit through narrow aisles. It took all my yoga prowess to even get close to the Jade Cocoon 2 and Grandia II machines. I couldn't even see the Legend of Alon Dar monitor, and I really did want to see it. It's a good thing I was with Tortolia at Ubi Soft, however, since he immediately spotted the company's best upcoming game, IMO, Pool of Radiance. Yes, it's ACTUALLY coming out finally almost probably. It looks great, at least, and it has a very smooth interface.
Namco was great: Tales of Destiny 2 was on display and I played it. I took damage like a mofo, but the graphics are sweet, and the controls are better than ToD. Oh, and they have new Pac-Man games... yeah...
Oh, and don't you dare forget about Natsume! With the 3-pronged attack of Harvest Moon 3 GBC, Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland, and of course, Lufia: The Legend Returns (sweet, sweet graphics) coming this year, Natsume is hopefully going to get the notice it deserves. Harvest Moon t-shirts rock!
What about Square, you say? Three words: Final Fantasy Chronicles. The games are just stellar, much better than Final Fantasy Anthology which, IMO, sucked booty. And of course there was also that whole Final Fantasy X thing and the movie dealie, The Spirits Within, but I mean, who cares? They're bringing Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger PSX to the US! Cecil could kick Tidus' gay raver butt from here to the Tower of Bab-il, no problem. (Okay, I'm just bitter because I didn't get to see the movie trailer, lay off.)
Moving on over to the less-densely packed West Hall, Enix had Dragon Warrior III, Dragon Warrior Monsters II, and of course, Dragon Warror VII on display and playable. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I got the chance to play DW VII during RPGFan's interview with John Laurence (at least I think they did an interview, I was too busy playing). Oh, and I got a metal slime plushie, and named him Metal Slime Solid since he really isn't Squishy... he smiles at me... thank you Enix.
Y'know, I wish Koei had made a better showing, though I did get to play some of Saiyuki and it looks really good. Some Romance games in there too, but I was never a big fan, I'm afraid.
Oh, and before I forget ::snicker:: we went to Working Designs' booth, where they had Borgan again (I touched his Rubenesque hands!) and a crane game where they were giving away Punching Puppet Ghaleon dolls to anyone who played. Wow, and after they were in such demand, too! WD, you really do put the fans first. Oh yeah, they had demos of Arc the Lad Collection at the booth as well, but it looks dated, though Silpheed, I have to admit, looks golden... even though it's been out... for a while now... yeah.
Okay, passing by Tecmo's boob, er I mean booth (the Dead or Alive 2 babes were... damn!), we get to the big show, Nintendo's little country. GameCube was pretty spiffy, Luigi's Mansion had awesome graphics, Star Wars: Rogue Leader floored me with its graphics, and I couldn't get used to the Super Smash Bros. Melee controls, so I ran away. But Advance Wars is gonna be great, and I'm really glad I ordered my GBA already.
Now, of course I'm not gonna leave out the companies that weren't in halls, such as Atlus, whose Gail Salamanca was very hospitable, giving us cool Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth t-shirts after the interview. The game looks awesome, and any fan of the Tactics series needs to get it. Also looking good was Bethesda's Morrowind which I even wrote a preview of. Do yourself a favor: buy the PC version.
Then there was Interplay, which I'm sure you're all aware of now, seeing as how we've got media and previews up the wazoo for Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Neverwinter Nights, and TORN. I'm not a big fan of the Baldur's Gate series, but TORN looks just awesome, as does Neverwinter. If you have a PC, you're gonna want these games.
I'm not gonna leave without saying a word or two about Kentia Hall, however. Everything from the bright yellow carpet to the pirated DDR screamed outcast, but that's where the mistake is. I saw probably the best looking traditional RPG of the show from Taiwanese software developer SoftWork, entitled The Seventh Seal: Lost Reminiscence. This PC title looks to be on par with the Final Fantasy series, in terms of CG and battle system, and if it gets a good translation (which may not be easy) it might surprise a lot of us. There was also eSofnet, the Korean company with the absolute best press kit ever! The thing was bound with rope and had a special paper and was lookin' all ancient. Very cool. I think they even had game previews, but I'm not sure ;P Don't worry, I'm joking, you'll see info for the games soon enough.
So that was my first E3, and I have to say that, though it was reviled by the veterans, I liked it just fine. Now, if only I could have seen Civilization III...
- Final Fantasy Chronicles (PSX)
- Dragon Warrior VII: Warriors of Eden (PSX)
- Lufia: The Legend Returns (GBC)
- TORN (PC)
- Tales of Destiny 2 (PSX)
- Resident Evil CODE: Veronica X (PS2)
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)
- Mega Man X6 (PSX)
- Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
- Silent Hill 2 (PS2)
Best of Show:
- Metal Slime Solid, need I say more?
- Logitech's fly DJs and cute MCs.
- eSofnet's Press Kit lookin' all ancient.
- Dead or Alive 2 Booth Babes over at Tecmo.
- My Picture with Borgan (I really did touch his Rubenesque hands!)
Worst of Show:
- Having to see Infogrames' Survivor demo and not getting to see Infogrames' Civilization III demo.
- People who pretend to be people they're not (you can't claim you dubbed something in 1986 that already was dubbed years earlier.
- Ubi-Soft's yoga master training facility (their pavilion)
- Britney Spears having a game... or even just existing. That sucked.
- Not getting to see Gabe or Tycho from Penny Arcade.