E3 2009

While most shooter fans liked what the Rainbow Six series did when it went to Vegas, some fans of tactical military shooters wished that series had stuck to its realistic roots. Well now Codemasters is bringing the Operation Flashpoint series to consoles with Dragon Rising, and while it won’t be a hardcore sim by any stretch of the imagination, a playtest of the game at E3 today revealed that it isn’t sending realism on a vacation, either.

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising E3 2009 Trailer


Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising E3 Trailer »

The game is set in May of 2011 on the island of Skira, which is off the coast of Russia and China. In fact, it had been a Russian territory until they struck oil, which prompted the Chinese to invade. So the Russian’s have asked the U.S. for some tactical support.

Which officially makes this the most outlandish game at E3 2009.

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Homefront Preview

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Posted June 5, 2009 - By Paul Semel

Homefront Preview

While some pundits, and the creators of South Park, view Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea to be a puppet-like bumbling fool, others view him as a clear and present danger to the United States and its allies.

Clearly, the guys at KAOS Studios are among the latter camp (or they just think it makes an interest premise) because they’re making Homefront, a first-person shooter for THQ in which Korea has taken over the United States.

Set in 2027, a few years after the Korean occupation began, the game casts you as a resistance fighter who has to travel from Colorado to San Francisco. Though, at least in the part of the game we saw, this isn’t as easy as just taking the train. Still recovering from some unknown injury — well, unknown to us; this level is early in the game, but it was all we saw — you have to jump into the fray when the Korean’s attack your settlement.

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When the original Just Cause came out in 2006, it was a true guilty pleasure, an open-world third-person shooter that tossed reality to the wind like so many ’80s action flicks. Now a sequel is being readied for release by Eidos next year on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and if our look at the game today at E3 showed us anything, Just Cause 2 looks like it’s going to be an even guiltier pleasure.

Cribbing from Apocalypse Now, the game has you — reprising your role as CIA black ops specialist Rico Rodriguez — heading to the fictional Southeast Asian Island of Panau, where you have to take out Tom Sheldon, who was your friend and handler in the original game. This is not going to be easy, though, since Panau is a lot bigger than the island of San Esperito, the original game’s setting.

Just Cause 2 E3 2009 Trailer

Just Cause 2 E3 Trailer »

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DiRT 2 Preview

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Posted June 5, 2009 - By Paul Semel

  • Videos
  • Screenshots
  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

  • Videos
  • Screenshots
  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

It may not be called DiRT 2: Electric Boogaloo, but for fans of realistic offroad racing games, there is something electrifying about this upcoming driving game from Codemasters. Slated to be released this September on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, DS, and PC, the game is promising to offer more of the great road-less racing driving fans got in the original.

Taking the wheel of the 360 version, we took a rally car for a drive around a muddy track the team made up on the streets of Shibuya, Japan, complete with a jump you won’t want to miss, especially if you’re not wearing your seatbelt. We also drove a course in Croatia that had us driving the streets of a mountainside village, as well as one they also built in and around London’s Battersea Power Station, which is best known in the U.S. for being where Pink Floyd shot the cover to their 1977 album Animals (hence our request that they include an achievement for winning an event there called “Pigs On The Wing 1”).

DiRT 2 E3 2009 Trailer

DiRT 2 E3 Trailer »

In each of these, we found the controls to be tight and responsive, though decidedly leaning more along the lines of a sim than an arcade racer. It’s not totally sim-ish, but the game is certainly not an arcade racer. This was especially evident when we drove a trophy truck around the Baja course, and we spun around more than an Olympic ice skater in the semi-finals. But if you play a lot of sim-style racing games, you probably won’t have as much trouble with it as we did. Though even we got better with it after a couple of tries. And a Snicker’s bar. 

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Sony Working On UMD Transfer Service For PSP GoIf you are someone up to your neck in PSP UMDs, then you might have been a bit bummed out when Sony finally (and unsurprisingly) revealed its new UMD-less PSP go at E3 2009 on Tuesday. Then again, you’d probably have to be a major tech fiend to want to own both a PSP and a PSP go, but Sony apparently anticipates this group of people to be large enough to warrant the creation of a UMD digital transfer service for the PSP go.

Sony’s director of hardware marketing, John Koller, told Gizmodo:

“We're in the midst of putting together a good-will program. We'll be unveiling that soon [because] we actually think there's a significant group that will be upgrading from the 1000...In the past, we've seen a 20-25% trade-up factor, and I assume that's going to be the case here. We've modeled that. So we're looking at a good-will program—a short term good-will program that would continue for years afterward."
Koller went on to say that the service would be similar to the current Portable Copy service, which lets PS3 users rip and then transfer Blu-ray movies to their PSPs, just minus the disc ripping. It’s believed that the service will use some form of PSN digital distribution model (along with, I’m assuming, some kind of authentication process). It’s still unknown if the service will be free like Portable Copy, or even what titles it will support. But given that Sony seems to have been taking this option very seriously, I'm sure we'll know plenty more as we get closer to the PSP go's October 1 release date.

Anyone out there not planning on buying a PSP go unless it offers UMD transferring support?



Yes, yes, we know Soapbox is late this week. But it's E3, everyone is so busy it's a marvel that we were able to get one at all. So count your blessings.

This week's Soapbox is all about love. Adam is happy to see E3 back to its original glory; the publishers and console makers are showing off amazing products, the games are all at a level that we've never seen before, and the level of quality that was being shown on the show floor was beyond impressive. But don't take my word for it, The Sess will explain it for you.

Sessler's Soapbox: E3 2009 is the Best Show in Recent Memory »

Subscribe to G4's Sessler's Soapbox Podcast by clicking your preferred service:


The hoopla, hype and excitement of E3 2009 is winding down and that means it's time for some statistics! Are you ready for some red-hot numerical action? Here's the lowdown, straight from the Entertainment Software Association, the company that puts on E3:

  • 68% of American households play computer or video games. (The other 32% are lame).
  • 42% of American homes have a video game console. (But that probably includes dusty 2600s in the basement).
  • Adult gamers have been playing for 12 years on average, a decrease from 2008, an indication that more Americans are picking up video game controllers for the first time.
  • The average game player is 35 years old. Although you wouldn't know from logging onto Xbox Live.
  • 77% of parents believe that the parental controls available in all recent video game consoles are useful. 100% of kids who want to play Grand Theft Auto IV disagree.
  • Almost half of all games sold (45%) are rated 'E' for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
  • 43% of online game players are female. (I do not believe this).

What do you think of these exciting numbers? Does this fit with your view of the video game world, or have your foundations been shaken to the core?

Developer Rare Helping Develop Project NatalDespite Major Nelson's somewhat under-the-radar announcement that Rare’s sci-fi FPS Perfect Dark for N64 will be released on XBLA this winter, developer Rare had virtually no presence at E3 2009 whatsoever. And yet, the company was virtually present the entire time. Wha-wha-whaaaat?!

Microsoft’s vice-president Shane Kim told Kotaku that Rare was in fact instrumental in the development of the company’s full-body motion-sensing technology, codenamed Project Natal, which Microsoft debuted during its press conference on Monday. Kim went on to say that while Rare has moved away from game development (for now), the company’s work on Project Natal will have a much “broader impact on the entire Xbox world than just doing the games they traditionally have in the past."

This news is hardly surprising, given that Rare developed the 360 Avatar system, but I sincerely hope (and it certainly looks promising) that Project Natal ends up offering something truly revolutionary and useful, as opposed to being 360 Avatars: Part 2. Natal has tremendous potential, and here’s hoping all that potential isn’t bottlenecked by the ridiculous notion that the only area worth innovating for is casual games.

Project Natal knows this of course, but let me know where you stand on Microsoft’s next technological darling.


Iron Maiden Sues Comic Book Over Name.

What's up, rockers? The heavy metal legends will be gracing Rock Band and Rock Band 2 owners with 12 tracks full of metal on June 9th.  

The Maiden release will feature all tracks from new concert documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666 coming to DVD and Blu-Ray. Here's the list of music, folks, all master-tracks:

  • "Aces High" (live) Flight 666 (2009)
  • 2 Minutes to Midnight” Powerslave (1984)
  • “The Trooper” Piece of Mind (1983)
  • “Wasted Years” Somewhere in Time (1986)
  • "The Number of the Beast” The Number of the Beast (1982)
  • “Run to the Hills” The Number of the Beast (1982)
  • “Can I Play With Madness” Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
  • “The Clairvoyant” Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
  • “Powerslave” Powerslave (1984)
  • “Hallowed Be Thy Name (live)” Flight 666 (2009)
  • "Fear of the Dark (live)” Flight 666 (2009) 
  • “Iron Maiden (live)” Flight 666 (2009)

Release Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 (Xbox Live Marketplace for Xbox 360 and in-game Rock Band 2 Music Store for Wii), Thursday, June 11, 2009 (PlayStation Store).

Price: $1.99 (160 Microsoft Points) for Xbox 360 per track, $19.99 (1600 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) for “Iron Maiden Pack”, $2.00 (200 Wii Points) per track.

Personally, I'd pay money to not have to play "Run to the Hills" on drums ever again, but the rest of those tracks are the hipness!

Broken Destiny E3 2009 Hands-On Impressions

Before we get started, yes, God of War’s blood-thirsty protagonist Kratos is appearing in Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny for PSP. No, I didn’t get a chance to play as Kratos during my hands-on time with the game at E3 2009. Sad, I know, but that’s how things go sometimes. Fortunately, the game (at least the portion that I saw) is everything you’d expect from a Soulcalibur game, and even more than you would expect from a handheld fighting game. Believe me when I say this game looks fantastic and plays even better.

Broken Destiny’s story is still a question mark (other than it takes place in the same general time period and universe as Soulcalibur IV), but I can report that the all-new story mode plays out a bit like an expanded training mode. Every character you beat will drop hints (once you’ve defeated them of course) about what to expect from future opponents in terms of tactics as well as weaknesses. This structure ensures the game’s complex fight controls are more accessible to all level of players. For series regulars, you'll still be able to jump into Versus, Arcade and Survival modes for some good old-fashioned straightforward weapon-based brawling.

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Boy and his Blob Wii

I’m going to tell you about the best game feature I saw at this year’s E3. It wasn’t a new weapon in one of the countless brown-tinted shooters and realistic war simulators at the show, and it wasn’t a spell-casting wheel in an epic, sweeping RPG fantasy. Those games were nice, and innovative and complex and graphically impressive and all those other game-writing clichés, but the feature that impressed me most at the entire show was in an unassuming Wii title from Majesco.

A Boy and His Blob is a re-tooling of the classic NES game of the same title, and the feature I’m talking about is a designated hug button. You hit the arrow key on the Wiimote and Boy hugs Blob. That’s it. But that simple gesture  between two characters was the most emotionally affecting thing I’ve seen in a game in a long, long time.

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Konami could be producing my favorite Silent Hill since the original -- ironic, given Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a remake (they're calling it a "reimagining") of the first journey to the foggy ocean town. Konami enlisted Climax, the same European studio who produced Silent Hill: Origins (a game I didn't actually play) on PSP, to see what they could do with Silent Hill with the Wii in mind.

I watched someone demo Silent Hill: Shattered Memories this afternoon, and while it's clear this latest Silent Hill is still pretty rough around the edges, I'm already a firm believer in their design principles and hopeful the execution lives up to the easily identifiable promise.

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I'm going to write this post very quietly as right now, I'm typing past a witch. Turn off your flashlight! Jeez, what are you doing? Are you trying to get us all killed? 

Ok, so now that I'm whisper-typing, which is a term that I just made up, I'm going to give you the lowdown on these seven separate Left 4 Dead 2 gameplay trailers we acquired during E3 09. By watching each one, you can get a preview of Left 4 Dead 2 including some of the game's new environments, new zombies and weapons...

Bill? What are you doing, Bill? Don't throw that molotov...you're going to...WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTCCCCCHHHHHHHH! And now she's pissed and on fire. Thanks a lot, Bill.

Well, while I respawn, why don't you watch these videos.


Left 4 Dead 2 E3 2009 Fire Ammo Gameplay Trailer »


The other SIX videos after the jump!

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Die-hard fans of real-time strategy games may disagree with me, but I've felt like the genre has been due for something of a new approach for some time. So I'm definitely intrigued by Order of War, the World War II-themed RTS due on PC from Square Enix this Fall.

Order of War Trailer

Order of War Teaser »

Though it might appear to be a fairly standard RTS at first glance, the designers are aiming to create something that's much more accessible than games in the genre tend to be. Gone are micromanaging of bases and units. Gone is the need to harvest any sort of resource. In their place is a streamlined game of large-scale tactics.

As a high-level commanding officer in World War II, you take control of either American or German forces through nine key battles in the European theater. You have a wide variety of different units at your disposal, from basic grunts all the way up to seriously powerful tanks and aircraft. But where many games give you the option of directing units individually, Order of War puts you in command of much larger groups of units, and relies on AI to give the individuals their immediate objectives.

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Trauma Team First-Look Preview

The Trauma Center series has delivered blood and guts to Nintendo platforms since the launch of Under the Knife for the DS in 2005, and really came to prominence when Second Opinion was released as a launch game for the Wii. Using a series of minigame-style scenes, players would operate on patients with a variety of ailments, accompanied by a melodramatic storyline full of over-the-top characters. It's also delivered a heck of a lot of weirdness, with themes of bizarre science fiction and the supernatural.

For the latest game, the designers are looking to bring the series a bit closer to the plausible. Trauma Team, due in Spring of 2010 for the Wii, still takes place in the future, but it's a little less "out-there," in the words of an Atlus representative.

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