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Spartan: In Spartan you play the role a hero in ancient Rome. I must admit I was rather surprised by this game. It’s a button mashing fighter taking place in the midst of massive battles. It has a great arcade feel to it and yet I felt there was a real depth to the game. This is a console game to keep an eye out for.


Full Auto: Full Auto was one of the handful of Xbox 360 titles that developers had playable on the floor. Full Auto is a mix of racing and massive destruction. You drive a heavily armored car through city scenes trying to race for the finish line while destroying everyone and everything in your way. The power of the new console was showcased in the shear number of vehicles and the massive explosions.


Shadow the Hedgehog: Shadow takes the classic Sonic gameplay we’ve enjoyed since the Dreamcast and adds in weapons. Shadow is a doppelganger of Sonic. He has Sonics speed, but now he can carry enemy weapons. I’m not quite sure what to think of this addition. It was rather fun to pick up swords, but the controls really aren’t suited for guns, which seemed to be the majority of weapons you could pick up in the levels I played through.


Condemned Criminal Origins: Condemned was Sega’s second Xbox 360 title. Condemned looks like first person shooter mixed with a murder mystery investigation set in a dark world where the 360’s power showed off some incredible lighting effects and the ability to damage much of the surroundings. One of the things I noticed was how just about anything sitting around could be used as a weapon; at one point I even picked up a locker door and went to town on a group of thugs.



Top Spin: Besides racing games Top Spin was the only Xbox 360 sports game on the floor. The game had the same classic tennis game play that has become a cornerstone in these games. What really drew my attention was the incredible lighting effects. In the stadium we played, a small arena suitable for early rounds of a tournament with a handful of full polygon fans milling around, the shadow of a tree covered part of the stadium, you could see the tree’s shadow swaying back and forth in the wind.


Prey: Is an incredibly imaginative FPS. Aliens have come to invade the earth and it is up to a Native American with a spirit guide to save the world. The graphics where incredible, but what really held my attention were some of the crazy additions this game has made to the classic FPS. Your character, and apparently some of the enemies has the ability to open up a portal into other areas (this isn’t the kind of portal where you have to walk through to interact with the other environment). Enemies see you through the portal and move to attack, some even streaming out of the portal. Another addition to the game was a something I would describe as your spirit which could leave your body for limited periods of time and travel through walls to solve puzzles your main character could not perform. The spirit also comes into play when you die. You go to what I guess is some kind of afterlife waiting area where your spirit must kill enough demons to send your body back to the real world.


Series Sam II: This is the official sequel to the surprise hit Series Sam. Series Sam shocked the world several years ago when a small group of developers put together such a powerful game engine and managed to sell it on the cheap. The developers have upped the graphics in this sequel. Although the graphics were impressive, and very colorful, they still don’t touch the doom or unreal engines.



Age of Empires III: Age of Empires has finally moved out of the mid ages (after a side tack to mythical times). Age now takes place during a fictional colonial period, set in America where nine cultures do battle. Age will not be following history as countries like Russia will also be playable. One of the biggest improvements over previous iterations is on the visual side, when building are being attacked they actually are destroyed. We were shown one demonstration where cannon balls actually had phyics so the ball would knock down walls that it hit. Besides the updated graphics though and the addition of more ranged weapons (guns) the only other improvement we saw was increased group commands.



From Russia with Love: EA made news recently when it announced that it had contracted Sean Connery to provide his voice in this video game version of one of the best James Bond movies of all time. One of the biggest surprises in this game was the abonding of the classic Golden Eye play mechanics. The game has become a third-person shooter were you “lock” onto targets and then pull the trigger. I have to say I was disappointed with this change. Based on my conversation with a developer I get the impression that EA really wanted to make this game accessible to everyone.



Quake IV: Raven (the creators of Jedi Knight II) has really out done itself with this sequel to Quake II, the lone marine succeed and now squadrons of troopers are invading. Quake IV will be available on the PC and the Xbox 360, using an updated Doom III engine. This game is much less of the horror action that defined Doom III, although we did see a very grissly scene that takes place later on in the game, instead the game seems to focus more on squad combat. The addition of many playable vehicles makes this game look very promising.


Call of Duty 2: Activision really had a great showing for FPS this year. CoD2 show cased an incredible new graphics engine. We where shown a D-day level that simply blew us away. This is the first game I’ve ever seen where explosions, smoke, and dust are so accurately modeled. The explosions actually looked like they were part of the environment, not something superimposed onto it and the smoke actually looked like it was particles and not some kind of boxy area where you could see edges. I can’t wait to play this game.



Star Gate SG-1: The best thing to talk about this game was its display area. Namco actually set up a Star Gate, complete with Star Gate’s lead character. The game itself was terrible from the graphics to the control.


Soul Caliber III: If you loved the previous two Soul Calibers you’ll love the sequel as very little has changed in the game.


Ubi Soft:

Prince of Persia 3: The updated prince looks to take all of the great elements of the first two titles in this series while adding in a few new twists. First up is the addition of Prince’s doppelganger who cares a chain, which adds some incredible new fighting styles. The game has also added in some action packed chariot racing sequences through the narrow streets of Babylon. Look for this game fall 2005.



Unreal Tournament 2007: The updated unreal engine really showed itself in the demo we saw. The level of detail of the surrounding world was like nothing we’ve ever seen in a video game. I could not believe our refined the game looked. I see why developers are rushing to license this engine.

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The Xbox 360 controler was definately a major improvement in the comfort zone. The controls themselves are essentially the same as the Xbox. I guess the biggest difference is that "halo of light". Which I must admit has one useful feature, it tells you which controller you are using. Otherwise there really isn't much to talk about.

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