Though we hadn't been able to set up an appointment with Atari, we didn't want to leave E3 without checking out what they had at the show floor. The reps were very friendly and showed us games like GTR's next outing RACE Pro, Deer Hunter, Smash Court Tennis 3, What's Cooking? with Jaime Oliver, Backyard Football 09, and the portable star of the show: N+ for PSP and DS.
We loved N+ for its simplicity and super addictive gameplay style. Your character is a ninja who makes its way through dozens of mazes by jumping and bouncing off of walls, pushing switches, and getting through the gate when it shows up. The game also has a multiplayer mode that's really fun. Many of you may have already played it on PC (it's based on an older Flash game) or the Xbox 360 (a port is available for download on the Xbox Live Arcade). However, Atari has redesigned it for the two portable systems to bring vibrant yet simplistic visuals and very accurate controls. We won't be surprised to see this title become one of the picks of the year, considering it already won the best PSP game of E3 2008 award.
What's cooking? with Jaime Oliver is a very practical and interesting DS game. Based on the Cooking Mama premise, the game is taken to the next level by allowing users to select the ingredients from numerous available food products and cook recipes from start to finish. The buttons located on the top of the screen take you to different parts of the kitchen, where you can easily crack an egg, mix up ingredients, stir the soup, or whatever is necessary. You'll follow the recipes step by step, which means after a few cooking lessons with the game, you may be able to cook in real life! The recipes included with the game are Jaime Oliver's originals, and the WiFi capabilities let players share recipes as well. You can also make your shopping list and take it to the grocery store. Since the game takes a more realistic approach, it may not exactly appeal to Cooking Mama fans. However, the game has what Cooking Mama was missing, so overall it offers much more.
I also played Deer Hunter (available for PC and 360). I'm not really into hunting, but I had some fun exploring the life-like settings and searching for deer. The game is in early stages of development, so we know it'll be much more polished when it comes out, but so far it seems quite appealing for hunting aficionados. Moreover, it's very realistic and will have players exploring the environments and stealthily approaching the animals before shooting.
RACE Pro is the next installment of the GTR franchise you may have seen on PC before. Atari's going for realism here as well, and the racer will take players to numerous real-life circuits from around the world. Licensed vehicles and very precise driving best describe this game. Race Pro will come out for Xbox 360 and PS3 later this year.
Later, we played Smash Court Tennis 3. This game was fun! It features professional players like Nadal, Federer, Kurnikova, and many others. Controls are very easy to pick-up-and-play, so that everyone, young and old, can learn to play the game in no time. It also features online gameplay for up to four players (doubles). If you're into tennis games, you'll definitely have to check this one out, because it looks great and it plays great!
Finally, there was Backyard Football 09, a very simple football game kids and families can enjoy together. We played it on Nintendo Wii, so the game had us controlling the character with the Nunchuk and throwing the ball with a Wii-mote motion when the time was right.
It looks like we only missed a couple of Atari titles like King's Bounty: The Legend (Sep. 2008), The Witcher: Enhanced Edition (Sep. 2008), and Neverwinter Nights 2 (Fall 2008), so keep your eyes open for upcoming previews!
CCC Site Director