E3 2009

Square Enix pulled a rabbit out of their hat at today's Sony Press Conference at E3 2009 with this preview trailer for Final Fantasy XIV Online, which will bring the fantasy saga into the new age in a very MMO sort of way. You can expect lots of sword battles, and, if the trailer is to be believed, giant sea monsters and floating totems. It might be weird, but it looks epic.

Please, do yourself a favor and watch the trailer.


Final Fantasy XIV Online E3 2009 Trailer »

There's nothing quite like the story of a boy and his...um...dragon-dog? From today's Sony Press Conference at E3 2009, here's a trailer for The Last Guardian, complete with most of the score from Miller's Crossing, which only serves to make the whole thing more wistful...and Irish.

Check it out here.


The Last Guardian Sony E3 Press Conference »

One of the best parts about this job and going to shows like E3 is that sometimes you get to play games the day they are announced. Today, I got to play some four-player co-op multiplayer in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. First, let's get a few things out of the way. Could this have been a DS game? Sure. It certainly looks like one. Will there be online multiplayer? No, local multiplayer only. Is this a port of the DS version? No, this is an entirely new game.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Demo from Nintendo's E3 2009 Press Conference


'New Super Mario Bros for Wii' Demo at Nintendo E3 2009 »


Whew! Okay, now we can talk about the game itself. You'll be playing as Mario, Luigi, and two Toadstools. Characters all have different heights and jumps as you'd expect from a Mario title. Yoshi makes a triumphant return and you'll hit sections where four Yoshis (Yoshii??) are available. The gameplay is incredibly fast-paced and the screen moves forward with the lead player. Fail to keep up and you'll die only to come back in a bubble Baby Mario style (no crying, though).

In fact, if you're playing with people that aren't working together, you'll frequently die or lead to the deaths of many a player by advancing too quickly. It's probably my only major gripe with the game. Just about to grab that mushroom? If another player went down a pipe, you might find yourself along for the ride before you can grab the power-up. It's fun, but you'll need organization to snag every power-up and coin.

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Kratos has finally made the leap into the next generation, and Stig Asmussen, Game Director, stopped by and gave Adam Sessler and Kevin Pereira a hands-on God of War III game preview at today's E3 09 Live. It's a high-definition bloodfest, and PS3 owners will be salivating for its release.

Check out the preview here.


Hands On Preview God of War 3 »

Though it certainly got a boost from coming free with every Wii, Wii Sports still holds up as one of that system's better, and more enduring games. Now Nintendo is readying a sequel, Wii Sports Resort, which we got to playtest, albeit ever so briefly, at Nintendo’s E3 booth. 

Wii Sports Resort Trailer


Wii Sports Resort and Wii Motion Plus Trailer »


The idea of the game is that your Miis have decided to take a vacation at an island resort, one that offers quite a few activities to enjoy (including, for some odd reason, skydiving as a means of getting to the island).

While Resort has quite a few more minigames that Wii Sports, not all of them are new. Or, to be more accurate, not all of them are entirely new. The game includes “Table Tennis,” “Golf,” and “Bowling,” and they play exactly like “Tennis,” “Golf,” and “Bowling” did in Wii Sports, respectfully (though “Golf” does include new courses). Except that because of the Wii MotionPlus add-on — which attaches to the bottom of your Wiimote, and comes with Resort — all are a bit more accurate and responsive than their predecessors.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic is an MMO in every sense of the word. There will be guilds, raids, crafting, harvesting, multiple classes, yadda, yadda, yadda. The real question — though it’s not much of one given that the game is being made by BioWare — is how does it play? 

Star Wars: The Old Republic Cinematic Trailer from E3 2009


'Star Wars: The Old Republic' E3 2009 Cinematic Trailer »

We found out when they let us touch the keyboard during our visit to LucasArt’s E3 booth. Playing as a Sith bounty hunter called Darthawesome (a name I sadly can’t take credit for), I went on a mission to kill the captain of a spaceship for disobeying a direct order to attack another ship. Using a similar circular-type conversation system as Mass Effect, I confronted the errant commander and, having decided to play as a real jerk, I showed him the error of his ways…with my lightsaber. And no, I’m not being euphemistic.


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A few weeks after showcasing the “Limbo” level at their pre-E3 event, Electronic Arts unveiled a second level of Dante’s Inferno at E3. And while it didn’t do much to dissuade us from thinking this game owes a lot to God of War, it also didn’t do much to dissuade us from thinking it was going to be a fun game as well.

Set further in the game, the demo took us to the fifth circle of hell, “Anger,” which had more of the fire and brimstone commonly associated with underworld real estate. When the level begins, you’re riding a boat on the river Styx, and being attacked by these giant bee-like creatures who shoot fireballs. Luckily, you’re adept enough at this point to block their attacks while also jumping up to smack them down. 

Dante's Inferno E3 2009 Trailer


Dante's Inferno E3 2009 Trailer »

Then, after something happens that will make Terry Gilliam fans happy, you face off against a rather humungous boss, who not only likes punching the ground where you may or may not be standing, but he also has quite a few smaller friends who will attack you without provocation as well. Though with every enemy getting their own kill moves — both a move they can kill you with as well as a special attack you can do to kill them — the game doesn’t look like it will get redundant anytime soon.


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World War II games. It's the genre everybody loves to hate to love. We gripe about mowing down swarms of Nazis even as we gobble up the next WWII-based shooter. It's become practically a running joke in the industry. Maybe that's why Pandemic created The Saboteur, a game set in World War II that's unlike any other game in the genre.

You take on the role of Sean Devlin, a race car driver turned resistance leader who's based on the real-life William Grover-Williams. When "someone close to Devlin" is killed (the designers are being cagey regarding who), he sets out to get his vengeance on the killer: The driver for a rival team, who also happens to be a Nazi. 

The Saboteur E3 2009 Trailer


The Saboteur E3 Trailer »


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Funny thing about weapons. They have a nasty habit of falling into the wrong hands. This is a lesson Third Echelon is about to learn. They spent years turning Sam Fisher into a very advanced, very potent, very lethal weapon. But in Splinter Cell: Conviction, all those finely honed stealth and spy skills that turned Sam into such a powerful, silent killer have fallen into the wrong hands: his own.

Yes, Sam's gone rogue, spurred by the death of his daughter to strike out on his own and track down the people responsible for her death. In leaving Third Echelon he leaves behind an arsenal of fancy gadgets and futuristic weapons. But he still has all the skills that were the real secret to his success. 

Splinter Cell: Conviction Demo from Ubisoft E3 2009 Press Conference

'Splinter Cell: Conviction' Demo From Ubisoft's E3 Press Con »

It's the Splinter Cell designers' chance to "tell a more personal story," says Lead Designer Steve Masters. But it's not just the story itself that's new -- it's also the way it's being told. Conviction is delivering its story in a ballsy new way, using uniquely stylistic methods to convey the kind of information usually reserved for cut-scenes and heads-up displays. We see cinematics splashed across walls as Sam moves through the environment, as if from a film projector. Mission objectives are plastered in 20-foot-tall type on the sides of buildings. Changes of scene are hidden with deceptive zooms and other cinematic tricks, so that the player never experiences a loading screen. "We want to tell the story," says Masters, "without ever breaking the scene."

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The Battlefield franchise has always been about big, big multiplayer. So it should come as no surprise that for one of the first hands-on sessions ever given to the press, EA sat a group of eight journalists down in a darkened back room in the opening moments of E3 for a multiplayer session with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on 360. 

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Multiplayer Trailer

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Multiplayer Trailer »

We're thrown in with almost no preamble. After a quick rundown of the different loadouts -- recon, assault, engineer -- we're dropped into a frenzied multiplayer match in a huge snowy environment. Literally dropped: We parachute in to start the match. (Well, those of us who figure out that we need to tap "A" to deploy our chutes parachute in. The rest of us just splat.) The action starts off on foot, but players quickly pick up vehicles. A two-person ATV provides nimble and speedy transport, while tanks and armored personnel carriers provide slower but more reliable support.

Our goals are marked clearly in orange on the HUD: two crates stashed in buildings, which we need to destroy by planting charges. We push forward in a scraggly line, attempting to focus on the goal. As players test out the game's weapons -- especially the grenade launcher the assault class spawns with -- snow-covered trees fall and buildings crumble. That's because a significant part of the environment is destructible. Got an enemy guarding a door? Chances are you can blow a hole through the back wall and get in that way. OK, sure, that might draw some attention. You'll have to figure out if it's worth it.

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Mass Effect 2 Preview

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Posted June 2, 2009 - By pklepek

Mass Effect 2

I did not expect Mass Effect 2 would impress me as much as it did. Moments after leaving the 20-minute hands-off demonstration by Mass Effect 2 project director Casey Hudson, hours before I'd be able to compose my thoughts here, I sent a message to my Twitter page announcing that Mass Effect 2 slammed my jaw to the floor. If Mass Effect was BioWare bringing their A-game, Mass Effect 2's looking like what happens when they bring their AAA-game -- if that makes any sense. When the demo finished, I wanted to head home and start Mass Effect again.

Here's the biggest reason BioWare left me with my mouth open: they're taking consequences seriously. In the original Mass Effect, characters could die, decisions could be made, but if you were like me, the moment a choice became regrettable, it was as simple as loading up a previous save and making a different decision. BioWare appears to be taking steps to avoid these issues in Mass Effect 2.


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Wii Sports Resort

It's well known that Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto isn't someone who rushes. Miyamoto's famous for cancelling, rebooting and delaying projects until they've become something he's proud of. The follow-up to Wii Sports, the game that launched Wii's unexpected popularity, was not decided overnight, Miyamoto revealed during a post-E3 chat with game journalists.

Miyamoto and his team at Nintendo performed a number of design experiments related to different sports that could possibly work on the Wii. He mentioned two ideas Nintendo eventually decided against: Wii Motor Sports and Wii Leisure Sports. Miyamoto did not elaborate on what became of those prototypes, however.

And while Wii Sports Resort comes with a number of improvements over the original -- Miyamoto was disappointed Wii Sports didn't include a way to really improve your skills within the game -- he doesn't consider it a sequel. Neither is Wii Fit Plus. Miyamoto didn't slap a "2" on them for a reason, he said.

It's not like Miyamoto doesn't believe in direct sequels, though; Nintendo announced development of Super Mario Galaxy 2 during their press conference.

Super Mario Bros. Wii

During Nintendo's press conference, the company said Shigeru Miyamoto had been struggling to move Mario into the fourth dimension. The fourth dimension had nothing to do with sci-fi technology, though -- the fourth dimension was multiplayer, which debuted in New Super Mario Bros. for Wii.

Multiplayer is a component Miyamoto has been attempting to integrate into new Mario games for a long, long time, the creator admitted during a private press conference with journalists following the close of the first day of E3.

"With pretty much every Mario project I've worked on," he said, "we usually start out with some Mario experiment with multiplayer."

In every other instance, however, multiplayer was been to the side, with the focus returning to what both players and developers were used to: single-player. New Super Mario Bros. marks the introduction of competitive and cooperative multiplayer to the Mario universe, not counting Super Mario Galaxy's ability to allow a second Wiimote to collect star bits while another player controls Mario.

One reason multiplayer hasn't been part of Mario before was simply due to hardware limitations. Wii's hardware, however, allowed Miyamoto to make sure the game world had enough items and enemies on screen at once, in addition to incorporating a camera that could dynamically move around the environment, in order to ensure all players know what they're doing at all times.

I haven't had a chance to check out New Super Mario Bros. on the E3 show floor yet, but the idea of a brand-new, side-scrolling Mario is already enough for me. And while I'm sure multiplayer will be fun, I wonder how single-player will hold up.

Next Legend of Zelda Wii Likely To Support MotionPlus, Possibly Coming Next Year

Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to announce a new Wii Zelda game this year, he revealed at a post-E3 session with journalists. But instead of rushing just to have something "new" for gamers, Miyamoto made a conscious decision to let his team in Japan work on coming up with something new for the next Zelda adventure.

"Basically," he said, "what we're doing now is repeated experiments with different styles of gameplay, different level designs, different dungeon designs."

A new Zelda adventure for Wii is "quite far into development," however. Miyamoto hoped to release the new Zelda in 2010, but joked that "it may take a little longer."

Miyamoto also premiered the first piece of artwork for the next Zelda. I wasn't allowed to snap a photo of the art, however, but it featured a tall, strident-looking Link in front of a blazing, fire-encrusted background. A mysterious, spirit-looking character was placed in front of Link and the logo was completely silver.

"We've been sitting down as a team and [talking about] what's the best way to continue this franchise, what can we do with the gamplay to move Zelda forward?" he said.

Part of moving Zelda forward may include supporting MotionPlus. In fact, Miyamoto said it's entirely possible the next Zelda would require the use of MotionPlus. There's a catch in this plan, however.

"The potential for it [Zelda] becoming Wii MotionPlus-only is depending on how well Wii Sports Resort sells," he laughed.

Sgt. Mactavish is back on the frozen tundra and he's taking out the enemy, either by stealth or by snowmobile, in Modern Warfare 2. Robert Bowling, Community Manager from Infinity Ward, dropped by to give us a Modern Warfare 2 game preview onstage at E3 09 Live.

You should watch. It's frosty.


Modern Warfare 2 Preview Hands-On »


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