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Level Up! [Day+1]
05.11.2006

Theo Litowski
STAFF COLUMNIST


Early to bed, early to rise, goes the old adage.
Neglecting both of the above criteria leads to an excess of sleep. Neglecting one and not the other leads to a deficiency. Last night was a good example. After staying up wholly too late writing I was pretty beat by the time our alarm went off this morning. By the time everyone in my room woke up, showered, brushed their teeth, and left for the car, I was wide awake. It turned out that our hotel alarm clock was an hour ahead of schedule (which we discovered as we were making our way to the elevator down to the lobby), so we went back to the room and got ahead on our work for the evening.
C'est la vie.

I never made it to the Wii hardware booth today. The doors opened at 9:00, and within half an hour the wait was more than three hours long. I had an early meeting with Codemasters, so I was not able to line up. I didn't regret it, though, as Codemasters offered up some pretty cool stuff for us to look at.

They announced last week a new action-RPG called Overlord. It's a rather comical RPG with an exaggeratedly evil-looking main character. He finds himself in posession of a large volume of gremlin-like slaves and dispatches them to his own personal benefit. A particularly entertaining part of the product demo involved a bunch of gremlins and a large volume of alchohol. About eight of them drank a tankard of ale and began staggering and shouting. Eventually, they took a huge piss and calmed back down.

They also added some details to a MMORPG called Archlord. Check out our E3 coverage for more details, but I will say that some of the concepts seemed pretty unique.

After that meeting, I decided to hit the show floor. First up on my list of places to visit: Atlus.

Atlus' booth was huge. They had so many different RPGs: Shin Megami Tensei, Persona 3, Summoner Nights, Blade Dancer, Steambot Chronicles, Yggdra Union, oi. It was a delightful bunch of RPGs, and I need to go back to play more tomorrow.

Square-Enix's space was huge. I managed to play Rocket Slime and Children of Mana. Not to editorialize, but I thought that Rocket Slime was amazing. It was colorful, quick, and full of snappy one-liners. I think I need to buy a DS. DS Lite? Perhaps.

Later that afternoon Anna Marie, Jerry, Mikel, and myself (Paws, Xero, and Firemyst to those who know them as such) spent about two hours at Sony Online Entertainment's booth. Among the things we saw was Untold Legends: Kingdom of Darkness, being developed for the PlayStation 3. Of course, we were just playing off the dev kits, since the PS3 doesn't actually exist yet, but we got to see the graphics and use the controller. (By the way, did you know that the PS3 controller doesn't vibrate? One lawsuit later, and I guess Sony decided it wasn't worth it.) Mikel was playing the game while the rest of us chatted with the representatives. Since (a) these games are still in early development, and (b) they weren't even being played on a proper system, there were a few errors here and there. A rather entertaining series of events played out on two seperate systems that I think should be communicated here:

Mikel was playing as a hero with a big hammer. He came to a locked wooden door in an outdoor fortess. Fortunately, the door was surrounded by several large barrels of explosives. Also, fortunately, there was a large boulder nearby. He wacked the boulder, which rammed into the barrels (By the way, the new Untold Legends uses the Havok engine, so the asymmetrical boulder rolled almost perfectly across the uneven terrain). The barrels were evidently very thick, as the enormous rock simply ricocheted off. Whoops. Mikel decided to smash the barrels with the warhammer instead, which opened the door and set his character back about 50% of his HP.
Some minutes later, on the "console" next to us, the same game was running, and the player had arrived at the same location. Instead of hitting the boulder, the player walked up to one of the barrels and ignited it. This would have been a very smart move, except he hefted the barrel above his head and walked away from the door. The barrel exploded, he took it in the face, and the door was unphased. He then walked up to a second barrel, lit it, and proceeded to do the exact same thing. This time, when the barrel exploded, the warrior got blown through the door--no resistance at all. The player, inexplicably, walked back to the door, swung his hammer through it (from the side opposite the explosives) and detonated the remaining barrels. The doors swung open and the player (who was already on the side he was supposed to be on) took even more damage.

This is where my day ended. The conference center didn't close for two hours, but I was finished. I had played so many games and been on my feet for so long, it was time to call it. Back on the shuttle to the hotel, where I started working on the evening news and impressions.

Swag? Fo' shizzle.

Keep it real, uh, dawgs.
Theo Litowski







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