Today started off with a very slow start, and after the frenzied pace of yesterday, it was a welcome change. It wasn't just us though, E3 seemed to build this in considering Barker opened at 1 and most companies with it. So after a leisurely breakfast, we hopped on the shuttle to Fairmont Hotel for our meeting with Bethesda. At the time, I was unaware that this meeting was only for Fallout 3, but after seeing the 45-minute demonstration, I didn't mind at all. Simply put, Fallout 3 is one of the best things I've ever seen. Everything about this game just shines. I would say more about it, but we're posting an impression that will do it much more justice than I can here.
From there, I walked next door to Square Enix to see what they had. I was invited to sit down and watch all their trailers, and that was pretty neat considering I hadn't seen them yet. Of what I saw, I think I was most impressed with Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions the most. There are some very impressive cutscenes. After that, I took Front Mission 1st and Dragon Quest Joker for a spin. Front Mission could be neat, but I've never really enjoyed that series. And that's surprising since I usually love TRPGs. DQJ seemed to have potential, but I only got to play it for about five minutes, so I didn't really get a chance to go in depth. After that, Mikel, Bryan, and I went upstairs to have another roundtable discussion. This one was about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. The talk was mainly about the DS game, but there was a bit about the upcoming Wii version as well. Again, I'd say more about it, but our coverage says it all. One of my favorite parts of this interview came at the end. Kamiyama-san wanted to have a group picture, and they are using my picture for their blog.
Next, I'd planned on going to Barker hanger to try out some of the stuff I didn't get to play yesterday, but the shuttle got stuck in traffic. We arrived at the hotel with Nintendo, and I decided to try my luck at their booth. Amazingly, I was allowed to go back and try everything that wasn't on the Barker Hanger floor. Not surprisingly, we started off with Wii Fit. Since I already had some expience with that game, they started me off on a ski jump minigame. You are supposed to lean forward and then pop up at the end of the ramp. I didn't quite get it right the first time, and I was treated to a clip of me rolling down the mountain in a giant snowball. I got it right on the third try, and by the fifth try, I was actually setting record distances. At this point, someone that wasn't really a gamer stopped by to join me. He played the soccer game that Reggie showed us yesterday, and he was really, really good. It was like his head was a magnet for digital soccer balls. It was kind of neat to watch him in action. When I tried it, I just embarrassed myself.
After my second abysmal soccer attempt, we loaded up Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles. A lot of people have been complaining about the Wii Zapper, but I think it's mainly because the one on the show floor was not calibrated properly. The one at Nintendo's booth was spot on, and I found the game to be more enjoyable than I was expecting. Once he explained all the controls, I was changing weapons and shooting zombies like a pro. I especially liked how you reload by jerking the zapper up. There's just something very fun about that. It's almost like using using a pump-action shotgun. Fans of shooters and Resident Evil should look into this. It's a lot of fun.
We followed that up with some Mario Galaxy. I got a chance to play it last year, so I passed the controller to the other guy, but he got bored pretty quickly. After about one minute, I was given the controls, and I found it to be more or less the same game I played last year, but Nintendo has definitely put a little more polish on it.
At this point, an editor from PC World showed up and asked to film us playing. I was pretty stoked about this, and I had no problems going back to Wii Fit to show off my skills for the world to see. I haven't seen the video yet, but he promised to send me a link.
Sadly, we were out of time after the filming, but Nintendo graciously offered me a new appointment tomorrow to check out Metroid Prime 3. I'm eagerly looking forward to playing it tomorrow, and I'll have my full impressions there.
From there, I walked to the next hotel to visit Namco Bandai, and there was a lot to take in there. For the first time since Square Enix, there were a LOT of RPGs to play. I started things off with Culdcept Saga. I'd explain it better, but it's not an easy game to put into words. Essentially, it's one part Monopoly, one part Magic: The Gathering, and one part traditional RPG. There is a board, and you roll dice to move around it. When you get to a space, you can summon a creature to occupy that land assuming you have enough gold to do so. Subsequently, any opponents that land on that space must either fight your creature and win or pay a fee. This fee goes up if you have more creatures, so really, it's a LOT like Monopoly. Different creatures have different abilities, and you can boost your creature with an item if you have one in your hand. Considering the randomness of your deck and the dice, any level can go to any player. It's not quite like a Mario Party game where technical skill is needed. This game is more about strategy. Do you play this card, or should you use it next turn? It'll be very interesting to see how it all works out when Culdcept Saga hits retail.
After that, I moved on to Eternal Sonata. Right off the bat, this is an unusual game. I don't normally think of combining RPGs with Chopin, but it's actually a really fun game. Most RPGs are either action based or turn based, but this one is a bit of both. You get a turn of a set length to do whatever you want. After that, play moves to other characters or enemies. I didn't get to see much of the story, but the battle system is intriguing, and it is certainly very pretty.
From there, my eyes wandered to the next station which had Beautiful Katamari. Unlike the demo in Barker, this one appears to be more or less the full game. The Prince could go to various levels, and I got to see what the game had in store for us. As in the last game, there was a level where you had to make a flaming katamari, but unlike the last time, there were hot and cold items. Hot items raised the temperature, and rolling through water or touching cold things lowered it. It's an interesting twist, and I think it'll make things fun. I ended up playing a level where I was supposed to get anything round and ring shaped. Of course, there is no rhyme nor reason to what the King of All Cosmos wants, but if he says get rings, you get rings. I ended up getting over 2000 of them in seven minutes. By the end, I was happily rolling up cars and any stragglers I saw on the street. The game doesn't NEED to be in HD, but I have to admit, it has never looked better. I will be picking that up without a doubt.
Next, I took a short look at Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology for the PSP. I only got a short demo of it, but I enjoyed the player customization. I made a spikey blond haired, blue eyed mage that looked a lot like a super saiyan. And then I got to take my newly created character and use him in battle. Battles are very free form. You can run around and never get hit, but that means you won't be able to attack, either. There must be some skill to being able to take out monsters without taking damage, and I'm sure more time with the game would have been fun. Sadly, time was running out, so the real take home lesson is that it is by far the prettiest PSP game I have ever seen. If you like Tales and have a PSP, it's a no brainer.
The last thing I got to play was Soul Calibur Legends . I'll be honest, I saw the trailer online, and I wasn't expecting much, but the trailer isn't really an accurate judge for the game. For the most part, it was pretty intuitive, and it looks better in person than I thought it would. The game fits between Soul Edge and Soul Calibur one, and it's basically the story of how Siegfried becomes Nightmare. The cast will not be as big as most games in the series, but there will be multiple characters, and each will have their own control scheme. Personally, I'm hoping Voldo makes the cut since I'm the one person that seems to really like him, and I think he'd be fun to control in this manner.
So in a nutshell, that was day two of E3 for me. All in all, it was a really fun day. I'm glad I got the break this morning, since I really needed it. Tomorrow is a busy day again with Barker opening early and promises to follow up with Nintendo and Namco Bandai. Be sure to check back tomorrow for more coverage from the show, and don't forget to check out yesterday's E3 blog.