E3 2005: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
 

E3 2005 marked my very first Electronic Entertainment Expo experience, and a very special E3 it was. Not special in the way that this was my first E3, but E3 2005 was the forum where the next-generation consoles, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, were on display for us to see. Details and footage on these machines had been previously released over the internet and television, but this experience was special because the consoles were right there. The footage that Sony and Microsoft were showing was a great showcase for the power of the new consoles. Sony displayed the power of the Cell Processor with an amazing performance of the physics engine, while Microsoft seemed to focus more on what the Xbox will handle outside of gaming, such as watching HDTV or connecting peripherals such as an mp3 player or digital camera. Next-Gen consoles weren't the only goodies E3 had to offer! Here are my thoughts on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of E3 2005.

If anything, and I mean anything at E3 left me with goose bumps, it would have been the trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4. I absolutely loved Metal Gear Solid 2, and MSG3 was equally amazing. The trailer for MSG4 unfortunately didn't show any in-game footage nor did it leak out the title. We were however given a nice comedic show which states that Solid Snake is the main character and he will have no where to hide, and that Hideo Kojima will in fact design, direct and produce MSG4 contrary to a statement he had previously released. Hideo has helmed each and every Metal Gear game ranging from the first Metal Gear in 1987 to the latest title, Metal Gear Solid 3, in 2005. Kojima previously stated that his only involvement in MSG4 would be the design, much to the dismay of Metal Gear fans everywhere. Luckily, Hideo Kojima is back.

Another company who had a great presentation for their titles was Square Enix, whom had a movie theater style screen set up which was blocked off from the floor showing footage every 30 minutes. Square Enix spent a bit of time showcasing their titles that weren't related to Final Fantasy, but FF eventually took the show. First off Square Enix showed a trailer for Final Fantasy XII, which was absolutely breath taking. To my disappointment there was no in-game footage shown for this title, but the graphics were on par with the Final Fantasy: Spirits Within movie. Next was footage of Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. Wow. The game revolves around Final Fantasy VII character Vincent Valentine in a 3rd person shooter adventure. Yes I know! There's actually a Final Fantasy game that's not an RPG or a Tactics game. Dirge of Cerberus looks incredibly smooth with a targeting system that shouldn't be too clunky or unintuitive. Finally we saw it, what most of the Square Enix fan boys at E3 were waiting for, the movie trailer for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. This will be a must see for those who watched the Spirits Within movie, whether you liked it or not. While Spirits Within had amazing graphics, a lot of people didn't like the story at all. With Advent Children, take the graphics and pump them up to level 11 (I know your amps only go to 10 but just crank 'em anyway!) and the story looks to be much better than Spirits Within, most likely due to the fact that Advent Children is based on a previous Final Fantasy story. Hopefully this film will reinstate the fan boy's faith in Square's movie making abilities, and we will want to see more films from this company.

Now things start to get icky, especially with Sony. While Sony had the great PlayStation 3 footage, their sports series were in the very early stages of development. This left a very unimpressive taste in my mouth. Kind of like Nestle Quik mixed into Lemon Lime Coke. Put the Quik in the Coke you nut. When playing Madden 2006, after the Dallas Cowboys triumphantly and very easily scored a 90 yard touchdown pass on the second play of the 1st quarter against the San Francisco 49ers, the camera pans to the fans in the crowd who are colored in fancy rainbow colors instead of the traditional blue and silver. I glance at my friend who gives me a quizzical look and bang, a bunch of coding appears on screen and the game crashes. I applaud and state how much I love games crashing in a very loud and rude manner. Of course the people around me began to chuckle. I understand that a company would want to showcase the staple of all their sports games, but playing a game that is only 20% complete is like test driving a car with no tires, doors or even an engine for that matter. However, Sony wasn't the only let down with their sports series. I was able to play both ESPN NHL 2K6 and Gretzky's NHL 2006, both of which sucked royally. It may have been due to the fact that ESPN 2K6 wouldn't allow me to change the controls (only because that part of development wasn't complete) or maybe it was the fact that everyone was skating like they had a 90 pound weight locked down in their shorts. I understand that not every player in the NHL can skate like Sergei Federov, but it's not a good sign when the goalie is skating to the bench 20% faster than the rest of the players on ice. It was just ridiculous. Gretzky 2006 featured an aiming system, so when you were taking a shot you can choose what part of the net you were shooting for. Hey now I can finally top shelf the puck when I want to instead of screaming at the top of my lungs into a television, at a player who has no idea I even exist. But wouldn't you know it, every time I went top shelf the puck went up and over the net. Playing incomplete games is a job for the testers and not an ideal situation to have us kids playing the same game at E3 so we can go home and tell our friends (or my lovely family at cheatcc.com) how lame the game was.

Now comes the part of the article where I attempt to smoothly transition from the Bad to the Ugly, so don't flame me here. But the booth babes were way under par. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful women as much as the next guy, but there's just something about a girl who ways less than 90 pounds, wearing approximately 16 inches of clothing all while caked in makeup that isn't very appealing. And all you booth babes out there that may just so happen to be reading this, if you're going to wear shorts that will go all up into instead of covering your butt, please make sure that you have no pimples on your butt. Ok enough of that, back to the games.

Lines, lines suck hard. If I thought that waiting 45 minutes inline for the Sony PlayStation 3 show was lame, imagine how I felt about waiting 3 ½ hours just for the Legend of Zelda booth. Needless to say I didn't wait for LOZ, so I didn't see the booth. From what I heard it was just like Disneyland, long nauseous lines just to watch a bunch of animatronics. Ha! Ok well, I like Disneyland so I'm sure I would have loved the booth. The whole Nintendo area was just super packed to begin with, and there wasn't even a Nintendo Revolution to be seen! The most heinous aspect of E3 though was other people. No, not ALL the people, just the stinky ones. The people you walked by that made you wonder when the last time they showered was, or if they even properly know how to wipe! Yea, it was that bad sometimes.

All in all though E3 was a great experience for me and I am actually a bit sad that it's over. It is good to be home however, and I have a whole other year to look forward to E3 2006. So until then, I leave you with my top 5 of the Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly.

The Good
1.) Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer
2.) Destroy All Humans - This game was by far the most fun game at E3, look for it June 2005.
3.) Square Enix
4.) Shadow of the Colossus - Wow, innovative action adventure games are really taking a stand nowadays!
5.) G4TV - They had the coolest shwag (as you could choose what shirt you wanted) and they had some very good coverage of the Expo. Plus it's also nice to meet the hosts and realize that they're not robots.
6.) Ok I know I said only 5, but I would feel bad leaving out Okami, a game from the makers of Viewtiful Joe which looks to have been one of the more interesting and innovative games at E3.

The Bad
1.) Madden 2006
2.) All of the hockey titles
3.) Booth Babes - STRIDEX!
4.) GameBoy Micro - Do we really need ANOTHER GameBoy?
5.) Anal Booth Managers - I respect privacy, but you don't have to ram my camera in my face to tell me I can't take screen shots.

The Ugly
1.) Legend of Zelda 3 ½ hour line
2.) SUN - Was this really an MMO? It looked a lot like GuildWars, but played like a really bad hack and slash. The worst 5 minutes of my life I've ever wasted.
3.) Performances - Same pimple butt booth babes dancing around to really bad music. Check please.
4.) Naked Guy - There was some guy running around in a pair of hot pants who would stick cards in his pants then look at people suggestively. I'm still having nightmares.
5.) Stinky People - Lava soap people. Lava soap.

By StewXX