E3 Trailer Blowout - Part Deux

This took longer to get around to than I thought thanks to STP and work, but here it is. Again, this is just my short one-paragraph impressions for each of the games that trailers were released for at E3 last week. I watched each trailer a few times just to make sure I didn't miss anything (I probably still did). My interest level on a scale of 1 to 5 stars is in parentheses.

Bee Movie - I don't play kids games, but I am looking at this one with moderate interest. It seems like it actually just might be a fun game and, well, the movie has Seinfeld and if any of the comedy from the movie spills over into the videogame, then this may be worth playing. I expect it to be an easy, entertaining, pile of fluff. But after playing through Pirates of the Caribbean 3, I'm not sure that's a bad thing. (***)

Orange Box - This was Valve's own compilation video in which it showed footage of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress, and Portal. We all know about these games and have seen trailers for them for a while now, but it does indeed look like they are all coming along nicely, especially the latter two. Sorry, but my interest in the HL2 series has waned. Well, actually, my interest in PC gaming has become nonexistant so hopefully all three of these games make it to the X360. (***)

Fatal Inertia - I played this futuristic racing game at E3 last year for a few seconds, noted that it had zero sense of speed, and walked away. It's back again this year and it seems to me that the speed is still not all there. The game looks almost exactly like a jazzed-up version of Quantum Redshift, which isn't a bad thing, but a game like this has to have speed. Although being able to customize your craft's wings and body may make up for it. Also, the weapons look very cool. I'm hesitant, but I will probably get this. (****)

Mercenaries II - Kristin saw the opening of the trailer and started laughing. I don't blame her. Games like this (or at least trailers like this) are the reason why I'm still embarrassed to be a gamer sometimes. This whole thing stinks of 80's action-hero movie cliches. The fact that I watched this trailer three times in the process of preparing this post ought to win me a freaking pulitzer. Or at least some hazard pay. (*)

Spider-Man: Friend or Foe - This looks like a really neat way to maintain the franchise once the movies dry up. Players will take on the role of Spider-Man, naturally, but through the course of the game you'll actually be able to befriend all of his major rivals and actually use them in fighting crime. Some of the other characters -- Green Goblin for example -- show some pretty nifty attacks, but it's unclear what you'll be fighting for. (**)

Stranglehold - This is generating a lot of buzz and I can sort of see why. It's your chance to play the lead role in a John Woo film starring Chow Yun-Fat. It's got all the crazy maneuvers and over-the-top scenarios present which should definitely generate a few "that was so cool" proclamations. The graphics seem like they need some polish and the games looks heaviy scripted, but it could be a fun popcorn game. Do those exist? (**)

The Last Remnant - Square-Enix is releasing a non-Final Fantasy rpg in North America and Japan simultaneously (they don't ever do that) and the game looks like it might be interesting. Again, if you like the whole teenager-saves-the-world-from-unbefore-seen-evil premise. In this though, the battles look as if they take place on a huge battlefield and while the graphics could always be counted on to be top-notch from this company, they look really, really nice in this clip. I'm not big on RPGs, but this one is on my radar at least. (***)

Too Human - Ahhh, here we are. Few games created more controversy over the past year than this one. Or should I say, few game creators caused more controversy than this game's Dennis Dyack did. Last year, at E3, this much-anticipated game was put on the show floor before it was ready and the press tore it to pieces. Dyack fired back in a podcast interview and the interweb exploded. Flash forward to this year. The trailer is obviously not a playable demo, but I still struggle to find anything good to say about it because IT SHOWS NO GAMEPLAY. What is with these people and their game trailers? Every company does this all the time. We tell them we don't care about story, yet they show us a trailer like this -- several minutes of a couple guys in a bar, followed by a pre-rendered, scripted, cinematic showing one very bad-looking man (in a good way) walk in and perform a bunch of crazy gangsta maneuvers with his guns. Yes, the [pre-rendered] graphics look fantastic, but so what? This trailer tells us nothing about the game or about the gameplay. I cannot buy into the hype until I see something that warrants it. (**)

Fracture - The giant Lucasarts logo was the first indicator that this probably wouldn't be very good. The game is a first-person shooter with the gimmick of being able to terra-form the landscape stapled on. Lots of games have allowed terraforming before (raising and lowering the landscape) but not any first-person shooters that I can think of, so we must credit them for that. The problem I see is that this will likely become an over-relied upon trick that loses its wow factor quickly and will also lose its strategic relevance in the game after the first few levels. Developers always tire out as the game goes on and constantly pack all of their ingenius ideas into the first few levels. Why should this be any different. (*)

Skate - EA is entering the skateboarding genre and, from the looks of this trailer, seems to have a pretty good grasp on the basic animations and style of the sport. That said, this trailer simply shows a couple of concrete park settings and close-ups of skater's feet as they perform various flip tricks and grinds. I'm definitely interested, but I need to see actual gameplay footage and get an idea of what the game structure will be like before I decide to buy it or not. (***)

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground - For those who don't know, I've written the official guidebooks for every game in this series going back to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. The book I write for this game later this summer will be my 7th in the series, as this is the ninth game. Therefore, it would simply be inappropriate of me to say anything critical. I will say this though, if you watch the Skate trailer and then the trailer for Tony Hawk's Proving Ground back-to-back, I think you'll find it very difficult to not be more excited about THPG at this point. Neversoft and Activision did a really, really job with this trailer. It was one of my favorites. ($)

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