E3 is back once again for its tenth annual show in Los Angeles and, like always, brings with it an extremely impressive line-up of games and hardware for all to see. Xbox 360, The Movies, F.E.A.R., The Legend of Zelda – the list goes on and on. Sadly, not everything being shown at E3 can be hugely desirable. Every year there are titles on show that will either take a turn for the worse during development or just represent bad design ideas from the start. The following list contains some of the good and some of the not so good from E3 2K5:
10. 50 Cent: Bulletproof
Ha ha ha! Bulletproof. Bulletproof! I get it. 50 Cent is bulletproof because he was shot nine times and survived! Wow! That’s hilarious … and witty too I might add. Actually, I’m lying; it’s neither funny nor witty. Frankly, it’s redundant. Yes, “Fitty”. We freaking get it. You were shot and you didn’t die. Naming your game “Bulletproof” is just plain sad and an attempt to bring back that whole “I was shot nine times” in order to try and boost your popularity. Besides, I’ve heard of people that were attacked by sharks that haven’t talked about their ordeal as much as you have. Even John “Three Purple Hearts” Kerry is getting sick of hearing it over and over again. I’m basing my hatred for this game solely on the sheer stupidity of the name. Now, I’d say go back to doing what you’re good at but I’ve heard some of your songs so I really couldn’t tell you what to do.
9. Half-Life 3
In an amazing turn of events, Valve has announced that Half-Life 3 will be released next summer. Valve, following the recent trend that has been sweeping both the gaming and movie industry, has decided to make Half-Life 3 a prequel, going back to when Gordon Freeman was a mere student — a high school student, that is. The game will show how Gordon evolved into the man as we know him today through a variety of challenging mini-games: train to become proficient in the use of lethal arms by hunting squirrels with your trusty pellet gun, stay up late studying for that big science exam while your friends go out partying and buy think-rimmed glasses so they won’t be broken as easily next time you are hit in the face by a ball. Most importantly, the origin of Gordon’s muteness is revealed – don’t stick your tongue on metal in winter.
8. Fear & Respect
Both Snoop Dogg’s Fear & Respect and 50 Cent’s Bulletproof are prime examples that while money may not be able to buy everything, it can buy almost anything. The story for Midway’s Fear & Respect sounds surprisingly similar to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In F&R, you play a (currently) un-named character that is forced back into the “gangsta” lifestyle after being released from prison. Drug use will be in the game, giving me the feeling that this game may seem a lot like another one of Midway’s titles, “Narc”. I know very little of the game as very few details have been released, but to me it feels like it will be just another crappy game that will be over-hyped due to its celebrity backing and involvement.
7. Splinter Cell 4: Social Security
Fans of the Splinter Cell series will be overjoyed by the news that Ubisoft is currently developing the fourth title in the series, Splinter Cell 4: Social Security. The game takes place fifteen years after Chaos Theory and Sam Fisher has long since retired. Everything is going well for him until one day something terrible happens: his social security check gets lost. Now, it’s up to him to find out what has happened and who is responsible. Sam has an entirely new arsenal and a few new maneuvers to take down the enemy: high-powered hearing-aids allow Sam to hear far-off conversations and an oxygen mask can be used to either give Sam that little boost he needs or to get unsuspecting enemies a bit of a head rush. When things need to get violent, Sam has the ability to beat the enemy into submission with his cane (or umbrella, depending on the gear you selected), and if you can’t get close enough, you always have that old colt 1911 that you bought at a garage sale. More info as it becomes available.
6. Perfect Dark: Zero
Very little is known about Perfect Dark: Zero. What we do know from our private screening is PD: Z has taken a rather sad turn for the worst and fans of the original won’t be very happy with the results. Apparently, Joanna Dark, the series’ protagonist, has taken a page from the book of Paris Hilton and become a fame hungry sex symbol who has altered both her attitude and her look. She will also be sporting various catch-phrases throughout the game. For example, causing an enemy to catch on fire will be met by the Hilton-esque one-liner, “That’s hot…” Elvis, the alien from the first Perfect Dark, has also made a return but has undergone some drastic changes as well. He will no longer be an alien but rather an ugly chi-wa-wa that is carried around in Joanna’s weapon case. On the plus side for you old-school gamers, points will now be awarded for acts of a dubious nature. “Yes! I got 10,000 points for showing her boobs while she was drunk! Double skank bonus!”
Previous screenshots of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. showed the game takes place in the area surrounding Chernobyl after the terrible nuclear reactor accident that happened there, but now it seems the designers have seen fit to totally revamp the game. The game takes place in modern-day Hollywood where you play as a deranged man obsessed with celebrities. To avoid being sued, no actual celebrities are being used in the game, but that does not lessen the creepiness that is the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Take pictures and develop them in your dirty apartment bathroom while listening to “It’s raining men”. Sneak into a restaurant where your current obsession has just finished eating in order to steal his (or her) scraps from the table where you will then have to make it back home to place the remnants on a makeshift shrine. Gameplay will also allow you to send love poems written in your own blood to your “lady dearest” stating how you’ll always be together and will eventually “become one with her”. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. implements styles from both the stealth and action-adventure genres.
4. The Sims 3
Personally, I am in love with this title mainly due to my actual involvement with the project. EA contacted me about two months ago and asked if they could use my purposefully run-down character, Mr. Arthur Kimbo Duceldorph (known to friends as Akimbo), in their upcoming title. Naturally, I said yes and development was underway. In this title, after losing his job, peeing his pants, passing out in the puddle AND burning down the house after trying to cook with only one attribute in the cooking skill, Akimbo is forced onto the streets where he develops a drug problem. Much like the previous two games in the series, you are in charge of your sim’s life but ultimately everything comes down to scoring more crack. Job listings are quite primitive compared to their previous incarnations in the prior titles, and there is only one job that involves performing sexual favors for crack. Want to start a family? All you have to do is get your crack head girlfriend pregnant. Take good care of your child and it will be taken away by children’s services to be put in an orphanage; neglecting the child for crack will result in you having to toss it in a dumpster, so it won’t interfere with your ferocious crack habit.
3. The Matrix: Path of Neo
The Matrix: Path of Neo is said to follow the “path of Neo” showing what wasn’t shown in the movies. You’d think this would result in more action, fighting and intrigue but you would be wrong. The movies were so action packed that they had to leave out a ton of the dialogue. The Matrix: Path of Neo makes up for this by including more than 20,000 pages of dialogue in CG sequences. The scene with the Oracle just before the massive fight with the Agent Smiths was only roughly five minutes long in the movies. That scene has been extended to well over three hours, thanks to the inclusion of the additional dialogue that was supposed to be in the film. There have been changes in how the voice actors read the scripts as well. To add even more impact, Agent Smith talks at an even slower pace than his movie counterpart and stretches out every single word just to drive his point home. Just saying “Hello, Mr. Anderson,” takes roughly 15 minutes with the new direction and script changes.
2. Playstation 3
While the Playstation 3 contains some of the best hardware in any of the next-gen consoles, I feel that it is possibly the worst of the three. Some of its features were revealed today and I have to say that I am appalled by what it can and (probably) will do. Sony announced that the Playstation 3 will contain anti-competitor programming which causes it to automatically destroy any and all competing systems within site of its optical sensors. It will destroy them mentally, not physically, by teasing the opposing system’s mother, breaking its belongings and calling it fatty while poking it. On top of the eventual psychiatrist bills you’ll have to pay to get your other systems’ self-esteems back, all these features come at a price. The PS3 will have a $10,000 price tag as well as a monthly fee which it will take by stealing money from your wallet. Despite all these obvious faults, it will be the only platform to have Metal Gear Solid 4, so I think I’ll buy it anyway.
1. Call of Duty 2
Product placement is something that is becoming more popular in video games as time goes by, but I think that utilizing it in a WWII game is not only inappropriate but tacky as well. Throughout Call of Duty 2 you will see and hear several dozen advertisements for various products, including potato chips, dishwashing liquid and the 2005 Ford Focus. I could have gone a thousand years without hearing Hitler say, “These Oscar Meyer bratwurst go great with Sprite. Hey look! I won a free pop!” There is even a blatantly obvious advertisement on the ordinance: “Death from above. Yes! Terminix dusts crops!” Though the advertisements are in poor taste, the game does look authentic, featuring accurate looking weapons, uniforms and terrain. Call of Duty 2 is even educational; did you know that the Coca-Cola Company was the official sponsor of World War II?