Specials: Day 1 provided a sampling of many games on the show floor, from all three of the hardware makers.
The media credentials provided much access to all things Wii, PS3 and 360, and it was totally cherry being able to get a "password" from a Nintendo rep that I told to the doorman... upon hearing the phrase "starfox," the gaunt Nintendo biscuit quietly nodded allowed Wiggy entrance... most excellent.
Got to play Madden
on the Wii in one of their "living room" setups -- I was totally impressed with this 40% complete game. I was given a series of drills -- passing, kicking -- to get acquainted with the game, and then I was put into a 2-minute drill, of sorts. The game responded well to all thrusts and movements I gave it, and I was even able to control the receiver's vert by raising my hands or the running backs juking and jiving by thrusting my hands around. The thumbstick on the "nunchuck" was pretty cheap plastic, but it had a loose feel that seemed intentional. Wiggy rocked a huge TD in the game and the PR guy was most impressed.
Also checked out Tennis
and Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam
, both of which utilized the Wii controller in a more conventional manner, but still managed to be interesting. The tennis game basically auto-controlled your movements, but I was told this was temporary. The swiinging was pretty responsive, but I did find that in all games I had to fight the urge to press buttons. Downhill Jam was alright, but I crashed many times, much to the dismay of the PR guy.
Overall, I felt pretty good about what the Wii showed, and there's much more to see (Red Steel, for instance)... more tomorrow. My only concern is that the input device will become too much of a novelty and really lose steam after a while... much of Nintendo's message of "fun" becomes lost when the graphics look so-so... no HD is a bummer, too. In some ways, Wii pulls the industry back a bit, even with its claims of "progress"... we shall see.
Sorry, Sony, but you can officially start to panic, as that technological terror is certainly not justifying its lofy price tag. The HD'd out Gran Turismo is a good-looking game, but still on par with PGR3.
played quite well, but didn't use the motion control or really look like it was anything the 360 couldn't handle. Most everything else was just tech demos, but Heavenly Sword did look like God of War mixed with Ninety Nine Nights -- and it looked good.
I don't know what they think is going to make their launch so great, but I certainly hope, for Sony fans, that there is more to the system than what has been shown so far. The fact that only 6 games are playable shows they are in total rush mode, and that "cheap" version of their system that can't be upgraded is totally insane. More tomorrow.
Some good, some bad, but generally pretty good stuff.
The good: well, certainly the demo of Gears of War
led by "CliffyB" at the MS theatre. Not only does this game blow your ears off with its sound (we all had wireless headphones), but the guns sound outright EVIL (it sounds like they're spitting nails). He took us through the "tutorial" elements of level one that weren't shown in the presser, and it was good to get a handle on how everthing worked. The game certainly looks damn intense, and the multiplayer impressions coming from the bigger sites seem to suggest good things.
More good came from Splinter Cell: Double Agent
and its interactive skydive, plus its very interesting "moments" during certain missions -- execute some hostage with my gat, don't mind if I do!
Mortal Kombat 3
for the Live Arcade looks to support multiplayer team battles on Live, btw. Or so it seemed in the demo.
Ninety Nine Nights
... ugh, didn't really impress. The AI was pretty lacking and the graphics -- other than some of the sword flashes and scope -- were not what I though they might be. Action was alright, but I hope they work on it more... hmm, we'll see.
seemed to be performing well, but more hands-on time is needed to understand the exact nature of the various items and environments that the player will have access to -- the graphics have come a long way, though.
Look for more blogging action from the show for Thursday.