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E3 Euphoria
June 4, 2005

Hello, everyone. This is Mike Wilson (Previews Editor) here, and Iím hosting this weekís mailbag.

Well, E3 is finally over, and the hype is dying down. Everyone that went said it was fantastic, but for some reason, it wasnít as good as last year for me. Granted, Iíve never been to E3, but Iíve always been one of the millions of fans glued to their computer screens every time E3 rolls around. There were a lot of interesting games to come out, but only a handful of them jumped out at me, unlike last year, where dozens of games just reached out and slapped me in the face.

I really am looking forward to Okami, though. Just seeing it in action fills me with glee. I canít wait to try out Dragon Quest VIII, too. I donít know about the rest of you, but that Slime Controller is mine! Iím considering buying a Gamecube just for Zelda: Twilight Princess. But considering how broke I am at the moment, my financial condition better change quick or Iím screwed. :P

Letís get to the letters.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
What a Wonderful Life!

Hey Daniel,
I was just wondering if Harvest Moon Wonderful Life Special Edition is actually being released in America, and if so, when? I've been a big fan of Harvest Moon since the beginning, and I think it would be so excellent if Natsume released the PS2 version of AWL.(Since I don't want to fork out lots of cash just to play the GameCube version.)

Well, forget about forking up all that cash to play the Gamecube version; it's being released here! There's no official release date set, but it's listed for a Third Quarter release, so that means we'll see it at the end of the summer if all goes well.

I've been hearing so much about Harvest Moon games lately that I should have bought into the hype already. This entry looks like a great time to start, though, since this it is a special edition. I really like the idea of a farming sim: growing your own crops and raising your family. It makes me want to hijack the nearest John Deere and harvest the day away! :)

 
Zombies, RPGs, and Aliens! Oh yes!

Well, I'm not really sure what I'm looking forward to. I mean, I am excited to maybe catch a better shot of "City of the Dead."

I do want to see some stuff from FFXII though, in my opinion this will be the make or break game. It seems to me that the series has finally ran out of ideas. Final Fantasy VI had very addictive gameplay with the Espers and the story line was top notch. Final Fantasy VII (god I hate to say this) was my first FF game, and it does come in second in my favorites of the series. Then we hit VIII, which I thought had a strong story, but playing through pained me like no other game up to that point. Then IX, though most people I hear hated it, was great. The whole package was good again. X comes out, and the story line was weak, I hated the sphere grid, and the game was just too easy. X-2, don't make me laugh, that one was down there with 8. XI, what the hell were they thinking making it online only. So! , if XII continues the downfall, then I say the rest of them are damned.

Oh, I did want to see more of "Destroy All Humans." That game seems to be a very clever take on the whole alien thing. Plus, I'm a big 50s era B-movie dork.

Hmm...Lastly I wanted to see the new Star Wars strategy game for PC. I'm not sure of the title yet, but I have recently started to play strategy games, and this one looks like it may be a good one.

I am very excited for the year to come in video games. The developers have a chance to really wow everyone, and another plus, I didn't see as many sequels in the list I was given, but I'm sure they were there. It's always a plus to have new ideas hit the market.

Jon

Be careful what you wish for. Innovation is good, but as Daniel put it, "not for the sake of innovation." Unfortunately, mindless innovation is what's driving the market these days, so I really don't know which is worse: a crappy sequel or a stupid innovation. The highlights of my life are when innovative games like Okami, Spores, Antigrav, and Pikmin hit the market, but I swear, half-assed, abstract games that could've had potential are the bane of my existence. Two words: Herdy Gerdy.

For the record, I think people are going to argue forever whether or not the FF series is losing steam. There are just as many people on both sides of the argument. For every fanboy, there's always an anti-fanboy. Even after FFXII comes out, the argument is still going to continue, regardless of how good it is. Personally, I think it all boils down to what you really want in an RPG: action or story. I prefer a good balance of both, but I love a good story, which is probably why I enjoyed FFVIII and FFX so much. Since FFXII is an action-RPG, it looks like it could have a favorable balance of both, but I think we're all still in the dark when it comes to knowing anything definite about the game (especially the release date). :P

After looking at City of the Dead, I'm not sure what to expect. Of course, it IS George Romero, an acclaimed master of horror flicks. I do like the "arcadey" emphasis, and I hear the rag doll physics in the game are supposed to be the hottest thing since sliced bread. But let's not forget about the plethora of movie-based games that have been hyped up just like this one, only to be flushed down the toilet in the end. I shouldn't have to name any; we've all bought a sucky movie game at least once in our short lifetime, though we hate to admit it. I guess the only thing we can do now is wait, since the game isn't due until 2006.

As for Star Wars: Empire at War, it could have serious potential if they pull the right strings. If there's one thing they absolutely need to get right, it's the playable differences between the Empire and the Rebels. It looks like they're doing a pretty good job so far, but it would completely ruin the game if there isn't a good balance of difficulty between each side. The game shouldn't be ridiculously easy if you're playing as the Empire, or ridiculously hard if you're playing as the Rebels. Or vice versa. It's gotta be just right.

And yeah, Destroy All Humans looks weird...to say the least. To be honest, I don't see the game getting very far off the ground if killing humans is the sole premise. However, the idea of controlling superior beings and wiping out an entire city sounds tempting, though.... :P

I wouldnít surround myself with rabid fanboys if you PAID me. Wait...thereís hot chicks at E3? Count me in!

This year's E3 has me particularly excited, since there are four very big RPGs I want that will get their first "real" showing there. As a console gamer, I'm looking forward to FFXII, especially since the combat has been revamped (finally) and seems to be more strategic and from what I've seen, very KOTOR-esque. Though as a PC Gamer, I'm MOST excited to hear about Fallout 3 and ES:Oblivion. Yeah, sure, I'm going to buy them no matter what they look like, but to be able to see more then just a few screenshots of ES:O and hear more then silly and/or unsubstantiated rumors about FO3 just fills me with boyish glee. Or something more macho which resembles boyish glee. I'm also hoping that Hellgate:London gets some attention at E3, since I'm as big of an FPS fan as I am an RPG'er. Combining the two and then giving it that Diablo/Rogue-ish like gameplay should make it one of the most original titles out there for the PC.

I've never really cared this much about E3, but with those four big games more then likely being shown there, I think my newly purchased broadband internet will finally get a REAL workout DL'ing all those wonderful videos.

However, I don't envy those who have to go. The crowds, the drooling fanboys, the noise...It's sort of like a football game. I love to watch them on my couch, but I'd never actually want to be at one.

-Carl

The incessant fanboy drooling is enough to keep anybody away from E3. =)

I, too, am pretty eager to try FFXII, simply for the sake that I'd like to see where the series is going. Hopefully we won't be disappointed.

I can probably speak for RPG fans everywhere, but ES:O is gorgeous. Bethesda has never been one to disappoint, so I expect that the game is going to take away huge chunks of our lives...again.

Ahh, Fallout 3. We still donít know that much about the game even after E3, but as far as everyone in my community is concerned, it's going to be the second coming of Christ. :P

Hellgate: London is one of the few games that really excited me. I really like the concept of incorporating RPG elements into a FPS. I think itís innovative and slightly genius, particularly in the way theyíre doing it. For some reason, I can see Hellgate: London living up to the hype, just like God of War. But, feel free to point and laugh at me if Iím horribly wrong.

 
Closing Thoughts

Well, itís about that time. Hopefully all the E3 titles that weíre anticipating will be great, but thatís probably asking for too much. You canít stop a man from hoping, right? Ladies and gentlemen, the waiting game has begun.

~ Mike Wilson (letters@rpgfan.com)



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