Special: Matt made his way around the EA's E3 booth to preview the newest games in the franchises of Medal of Honor, Madden, James Bond, Burnout, Batman, and Fight Night.
Medal of Honor: European Assault (PS2, Xbox, GameCube)
Electronic Arts' E3 booth had a challenging European Assault demo on display that made its Medal of Honor predecessors seem like mere pushovers in comparison. This is primarily because the game has expanded the battlefield and brought in enemies from all angles. You'll no longer simply meet Nazi forces right in front of you, but have to use tactics and take cover when walking through the bombed-out streets of Europe. From the level that I was allowed to play, it seemed like a lot of focus on the tactics of duck and cover to eliminate these enemies, which result is faster and much more furious gameplay. The final version of the game just went gold and should be out in stores in a matter of days.
From Russia With Love (PS2, Xbox, GameCube)
James Bond is back. Sean Connery is back as James Bond. James Bond's back is what you'll be seeing because the game returns to a third-person perspective. This sums up the two biggest changes featured in From Russia With Love, the latest 007 title from Electronic Arts. As always, you can expect even more big surprises from the sleeve of the Mi6 agent in addition to the adaptation of the 60s Bond films and the behind the shoulder vantage point. The coolest new element I came across in the E3 demo is that players can fire up a jetpack to hover around London and shoot at enemies in the process. This is on top of the gameplay everyone's accustomed to, like filling enemies with bullets while packing major heat and being given the keys to some hot cars, now in classic form. You'll be able to give From Russia With Love all your lovin' when it releases in early November.
Burnout: Revenge (PS2, Xbox)
It seems like Criterion Studious is feeling absolutely no burnout even though it's up to the fourth installment of its immensely popular Burnout franchise. The latest title keeps the gameplay fresh by focusing on revenge, as the name suggests, and actually rewards players for taking vengeance on their rivals. Besides boasting the grudge match theme, the game sports a fresh take on the now-classic crash mode as well as an all-new traffic attack mode. The basic premise of traffic attack is to run into as much traffic as possible while your opponents attempt to do the same. Although this is the opposite of what you're used to from other games, doing this will add to the time on the counter and the money in your overall score. The crashing action starts up again in September, so buckle up.
Batman Begins (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PSP, GBA)
Not venturing far from Burnout, believe it or not, is Batman Begins, the video game adaptation of the upcoming blockbuster film. Although the game isn't driving focused by any means, players will be given a chance to drive the brand-new Batmobile through the streets of Gotham City and use Burnout-style gameplay in the process. Besides the pretty slick Batmobile levels, the game will give players a great deal of on-foot action as the Dark Knight, with fear and stealth-based mechanics. You'll be able to sneak up on enemies that'll crouch in fear or find a reason to turn against other enemies without lifting a finger or forming a fist. The fun begins as the Caped Crusader the same day Batman Begins debuts in theatres, June 15.
Madden NFL 06 (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Xbox 360, PSP, GBA)
A lot of people aren't pleased with Electronic Arts' football follies this year and while I feel displeased as well, it's not for locking up the NFL license. Instead, I'm more concerned about its choice to use Donovan McNabb as the Madden cover athlete. Although the now-famous (or infamous) cover-athlete curse is said to be broken, I still have an uneasy feeling about it. Besides McNabb, quarterback vision control, precision placement, and truck stick control for big hits are just a handful of the new elements Madden NFL 06 will have to offer. Let's just hope none of those big hits happen to McNabb so the Eagles can finally win a championship for Philadelphia. It's been way too long.
Fight Night Round 3 (PS3)
Even though Fight Night Round 3 wasn't on the E3 showfloor, it remains a fond memory from the Sony Press Conference that stunned the entire audience. The back and forth punching and blocking gameplay from the two boxers in the ring made it seem as if it were happening live, with fast and fluid action throughout. That is, until the demo was slowed down on purpose. Doing this proved just how realistic the effects of a jab could be on the PlayStation 3, especially during the knockout sequence. Here, the depth of detail was amazing when the first boxer's punch met second boxer's face, causing his cheek to ripple exactly as it would in real life. Can't wait to see what the final blows looks on this one.