E3 Day 2 Report

Posted on Thursday 11 May 2006

Back a the hotel after day 2, which if anything was more exhausting than day 1. We tried to arrive early to get into the Wii area at the Nintendo booth, but by the time we got there the line was already around the booth and all the way to the back of the exhibition hall – I’d guess at least a 4 hour wait. More cunning was required, and later in the day we got to see and experience the Wii in the privacy of Sega’s backstage demo room. I was more taken by the use of the controller for Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz than for their other Wii title – Sonic Wildfire – but both were solid games. I think the Monkey Ball minigames (already famously popular) will attract even more fans with the new level of interaction. One concern I mentioned in an earlier post is the cost of the controllers. My GameCUbe is my party console, and as such I have 4 Wavebird wireless controllers, which were around $40 each. I’d be amazed if you could get the new Wiimote and nunchuck for that much, so kitting out a party system could get expensive.

Back at the Microsoft booth we saw the camera in use for the first time, with two games. First up was Texas Holdem Poker which let you take a photo of your face and map it to your in-game avatar, which was a little spooky. You could also see your opponents in live video while playing. Then on to Totem Balls – the first gesture based game for the system. The setup is a little weird, you’re basically guiding this totem pole around a world collecting things, but you steer by waving your arms up and down to control waterfalls. Told you it was weird. Worked pretty well though, and quite fun for a minute or two. Saw the line to watch the Gears of War trailer, decided to download it!

Over at Warner Interactive we saw preview footage for both the new PSP game 300 : March To Glory and the movie it’s based on, 300. That’s the new Frank Miller (Sin City) flick if you haven’t heard of it. Both look interesting, in a gladiatorial kind of way. Over at Tecmo I saw a preview trailer (nothing playable!) of a bunch of new titles, including Dead or Alive Extreme 2. They’ve dropped the volleyball (I guess that just got in the way) and now it’s an amazing exercise in fluid dynamics modelling for the 360. Also took a good look at the new Full Auto sequel for the PS3, which is actually quite interesting. The graphics do look a little more polished than the first game on the 360 (which isn’t saying much to be fair) and they’ve aldo changed the play dynamic. All of the gameplay I saw in the demo has given up on the racing and is now plain automotive combat Twisted Metal style. Should make for a much more entertaining experience. Speaking of surprises, the Nokia N-Gage booth surprised me in two ways. Firstly that it was there at all – didn’t we all think N-Gage was dead? And secondly that it was so cool. Nice big space, no crowds, comfy chairs and fun little cellphone games to play while the DJ spun the tunes. A great place to chill for a few minutes between booths!

Oh and thanks to Cesar and the Blogger Bus crew for the pizza!

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