Bahn Unplugged: E3 Edition: Part Two Feature - The Next Level

Bahn Unplugged: E3 Edition: Part Two

Lights, games, glamour. It all goes down at E3. So where did that warm, fuzzy feeling go?

Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
May 14th 2006, 03:52PM

Monday was hands-down the dullest of the entire E3 week, but it marked the first day of disgust for the Ramada Hollywood Hotel's resources. Aaron and I came to the realization that our WiFi wasn't up to par. Strangely enough, we found James' room was not only a more pleasant setting, but they had a much better wireless connection. As you can imagine, it was a big deal to me in particular since the plan was to conduct most of our E3 updates in the room. We went to the front desk to convey our problems and make request a room change. This ended up being a minor episode that took a life of its own. The clerk was rude, even going as far to suggest that our computers were "defective". I did my best to keep my cool, but she was really starting to irritate me due to her lack of customer service skills. As a paying customer, I was entitled to all the services that the hotel was obligate to offer and here she was making it sound like our lack of Wifi support was insignificant. Go figure. Anyways, we did manage to get our request fulfilled, but would need to wait a few hours before making the move. With so much free time on our hands, we decided to take a walk down to the arcade that I frequented in previous years.

Upon arrival, we scatterred around in search of something to play. I found a young asian kid playing Yun Street Fighter III: Third Strike and jumped right in to compete against him. Yeah, I used Chun Li and much to my surprise, despite being rusty, I defeated him with little effort. I had hoped for him to go for a rematch, but it became clear that he wasn't looking for human competition. About roughly an hour or so had past when we finally decided as a whole to exit the arcade.

Fast-forward 2 hours later, the Sony E3 Press Conference was nearly underway and I had decided not to make the long trek out to Culver City and watch a streamed with the crew in our room. I loved it because it offered me an opportunity to discuss the high and lows of the program as it happened.

It's no secret that Sony's E3 conferences are often the subject of ridicule since a large degree of the presentation is just so darn boring. Hearing about a console's success should be reserved for press releases or corporate meetings. Kaz should really spend less time glossing over figures and spend more time talking about the upcoming lineup. That's what the media is looking forward to, are they not? After several Powerpoint-esque monologues, the program moved onto to showing snippets of various titles planned for release in the near future. Then, Polyphony Studios Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the critically acclaimed Gran Turismo series took center stage to show off Gran Turismo HD, created specifically as a glimpse of what to expect from the highly anticipated Gran Turismo 4. Overall, it was a good presenation, albeit obnoxiously long. I mean, I get it -- the game looks awesome in HD. The details are breathtaking and it's a new visual standard for the series. But please, don't subject me to over 10 minutes of a series of cars casually cruising around a course hearing the constant whine of their engines as they pass without giving that sequence some sense of purpose. Poor use of time if you ask me.

"By now, everyone on the planet should have seen the trailer and if not -- well, you really need to stop reading this, find a local gaming site of your choice and handle your business."

Next up was Genji 2 which I'll just say was by far a weak demonstration of the PS3's visual muscle. I'm serious. This is a game that could easily be achieved on the PS2 given the developer's aptitude and experience with the hardware. There wasn't anything special about the game's character models, the camer angles were stiff and it just screamed: disappointment is imminent. Pass.

Then it shifted to another game whose title I can't recall at the moment (edit: Heavenly Sword) that made everyone's mouths in the room drop. The action centered around this badass chick who was just putting out the hurt. We hear a lot about Reggie kickin' ass and taking names, but this femme fatale was holding it down in the digital realm. I have to admit, seeing senseless violence doesn't usually get me all excited, but it was just the presentation managed to demonstrate everything that Genji 2 fell short of. This might end up an instant purchase.

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