A collective haze fell over the Los Angeles Convention Center on the last day of E3. No one can handle any more neon lights, throbbing subwoofers, booth babes and shoot-em-ups, yet we continued because there was always one more game to try.
I’m nursing a binge video gaming hangover that has nothing to do with alcohol, but here’s what I remember:
Brink: In a “hands-off” presentation, we saw an ambitious first-person shooter that lets you change player classes and objectives mid-level. The ability to hurdle over obstacles by holding a button is promising, but there’s much work to be done before next year’s projected release.
Brutal Legend: The 30-minute demo included hacking away at cultists, driving in a hot rod and lots of humor. I’m on board if warring publishers can settle their differences.
CrimeCraft: Part of the MMO shooter wave, this game combines twitchy action with leveling up and character customization, with players organizing into gangs. Still, I’m not convinced that the “persistant worlds” of CrimeCraft and other games are a vast improvement over simple menus.
God of War III: I do not understand the fuss over this game. Production values don’t get any better, but isn’t this just your average blood-and-guts beat-em-up?
Huxley: This game made a splash years ago by promising persistent-world massive multiplayer shooting, but only the shooting part was playable at E3. The action itself is standard; it’s what we didn’t see that I’m curious about.
MAG: Organizing strategy in a 256-player game doesn’t happen in a 10-minute demo. I liked the sprawling battlefield, even if I only saw a portion of it.
Saboteur: Art direction shined in this hands-off demo. Muted grays of Nazi-occupied France give way to brilliant color in areas where resistance is growing. I’m reserving judgment on the mix of stealth and action.
Saw: The movie franchise was all about escaping sinister death traps, so this idea is long overdue. Puzzles — such as escaping a razor-laden head clamp and digging through drug addicts’ needles to find a hidden object — show promise, but the hand-to-hand combat looks weak.