X360, PS3 Thursday, August 31, 2006 | 9:24 PM

GC06: Our impressions

GC06: Our impressions

The Game Convention is now over for good, and it’s time for us to give you guys our impressions, about the event itself, and of course about the games. Needless to say these our personal feelings, about preview code most of the time so everything can still change until the game is released.

Sync: Personally I’ve spent most of my time in the Press Room during the GC, mostly battling against the terrible internet connection, so I’ve not seen as much private presentations as I wanted to. I’ve still been able to see Alone in the Dark 5 at Atari's booth, unfortunately it was the same presentation than E3, and even then it was using rather old code and videos so I doubt what I saw was a real indication of the qualities of the game. I sure hope so at least. The ideas are there, so hopefully the rest will follow.
I’ve also been invited to see the two big upcoming 2K Games releases, The Darkness and Bioshock, and I’ve been terribly impressed by both games. These two games sure will be some very important releases for both PS3 and 360, assuming Bioshock will one day finally announced for Sony’s console of course. The Darkness first. Forget everything you thought about the screenshots, this is a game you have to see in motion to understand what this is all about. The first part of the presentation was what was shown during E3, mostly a very fine way to show the various darkness powers. There are quite a few of them, all of them seem very useful in different situations and they certainly look cool when used. I especially enjoyed the summoning power, allowing the player to get a few monster sidekicks that are actually able to use tools and weapons. Seeing such a monster attack a cop with a sledgehammer raised quite a few laughs during the demonstration. The next part was brand new, and will actually be the very beginning of the game, even before the logos if the developers are allowed to do so. It’s on rail car chase sequence, complete with explosions and awesome vocap (motion capture but for the mouth). The interactions are obviously quite limited to mostly watching what’s going on, and a few gunshots in the end, but it’s a totally incredible sequence that will certainly stay in everybody’s mind for a long time. Bioshock also impressed me a lot, as expected from all the positive buzz the game generated last E3. With a very specific graphical style, and very deep gameplay Bioshock will without a doubt be one of the most important games released in 2007.
My next presentation was Viva Pinata, but I guess you already saw my video so I don’t think I need to comment any more. No comment on the Activision presentation either, for other reasons.

The convention itself was even bigger than last year, with all 5 enormous halls of the beautiful Leipziger Messe occupied. The first day was for the press and professionals only so it was very nice to be able to walk quickly from one booth to another without having to walk on a few toes. The next days were of course much more busy, but thankfully we spent most of our time in the press room and business center. The booth were still all very big and even with the crowd there was still a bit of breathing space. The Microsoft booth was especially nice, a nice evolution from last year’s.

There were a lot of people in all there manufacturers booth, even if neither the Wii nor the PS3 were playable. The portables consoles were the stars at both Sony’s and Nintendo’s booth, and of course the 360 was the center of Microsoft’s. We’ll have to wait until TGS to finally get our hands on a PS3 controller with final hardware, and hopefully there will be some Wii hardware for 3rd party developers.
The 360 was everywhere, as expected for the first next-gen hardware to be released. The good surprise for me was that it seems that the developers finally start to know how to use the 360 GPU, as the majority of the games were already quite smooth looking, a nice change from quite a lot of launch title. The Unreal Engine 3 titles especially seemed to have gotten a very nice FPS boost. A few games really surprised me: Crackdown is shaping up to be a very fun sandbox action game, F.E.A.R. looked excellent, very much like the PC version, NBA2k7 had an incredible animation for the players, and of course Lost Planet is as expected a great title, with both single player and multiplayer being beautiful, fun and interesting. Only a few games looked disappointing, especially Tony Hawk 8 running on a very obviously early build, full of bugs and slowdowns. It will most certainly be fixed for the release.

Let’s finish with the announcements. Or their lack should I say. Sony simply “forgot” to announce anything and even went as far as to show some old E3 2005 footage for some of their PS3 games, Nintendo had a few stuff to show, but nothing really important, and in the end Microsoft “won” by only announcing one, but very important thing: They will have a European exclusivity for both PES6 and FIFA07 on next-gen consoles for 12 months. This is a huge announcement for the European market, and it will certainly help sell quite a lot of consoles this winter.

TGS will be were Sony finally enters the next-gen battle. And a great battle it will be, with on one side Sony that has only a few weeks to reverse the rather negative impressions the PS3 left at E3, and Microsoft really needing some great great games to get the slightest chance to shine a bit. We’ll of course be there to get you guys as much videos as possible!

Snoopers: I really had a good time in Lepzig. In the end the experience was much better than E3. More games, less people, more time. The games themselves impressed me by their quality and polish, even for the earliest looking of the lot. The developers finally start to know their way around the 360 and it shows. But let’s talk about the games! Ubisoft is now the master of the blockbuster games, and had the most impressive portfolio of the convention. Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six Vegas, Assassin’s Creed and Brother in Arms 3, a dream lineup with only potential bestsellers titles, and all looking great graphically! Yves Guillemot can be really proud of his teams. I’ve really enjoyed Rainbow Six Vegas, reminding me of the best moments of GRAW but with a FPS view and more closed environments. It’s a very big change from the first episodes, but it still looks like a lot of fun.
There were also a lot of good things at Eidos. I won’t say more about Just Cause, since you now all know what this game will be like, but let’s talk more about Kane & Lynch, from the Danish developers of IO Interactive. From what I’ve seen, this game looks like a Michael Mann’s Freedom Fighters, with way more action than Hitman, an interesting scenario and an excellent directing. Graphically it already looks excellent, with the very recognizable IO art style and an excellent lighting and post processing. Definitely the game I liked the most in Leipzig.
Let finish with Turok from Buena Vista Games. I really did not expect anything good from this game so I’ve been really surprised by the graphical quality and the environments. So at first glance it’s a futuristic corridor FPS, but the ultra violence of a few scenes et the quite nice feeling of the weapons makes me hope for something much better than expected.
I could also have spoken more about the incredible NBA 2k7, Fuzion Frenzy 2, Elveon, F.E.A.R ., PES6, Tony Hawk and all the the other games available on the showfloor, but I’ve not played them enough to be able to write anything worth reading. All I can say is that I can’t wait for these games to be released so I finally get to play them more!

All comments

Commented on 2006-08-31 22:06:10
That's great, hope to see more of this stuff at Xboxyde.

I'd like more info on Fuzion Frenzy 2, just last week I was playing the first one with 3 other players and it was great fun.

EDIT: How is your Japanese for TGS?
Commented on 2006-08-31 22:14:28
Sounds like good news thanks for the impressions you guys :)
Commented on 2006-08-31 22:15:19
Thanks for giving us your time guys!

Now get packing and get you arses over to Japan :D
Commented on 2006-08-31 22:26:53
Seems like activision has failed yet again, in my eyes. Looks like 2k is hitting some the right notes. Now if they only find a way to make it real profitable and they could be the next big publisher. I say time to buy stock.
Commented on 2006-08-31 22:40:25
Interesting report, thanks for the write up. You were quite the busy bees in Leipzig, I think mid-September with both TGS and X06 will be even busier. I'm already looking forward to the videos and reports :-)
Commented on 2006-08-31 22:46:25
Good impressions guys, glad you were able to attend and give us some really great commentary and video.

I have one question though, have you see this video:

It's GameTrailers talking to "german game fans" and the large majority of the gamers have little/no interest in the XBOX brand and the 360 in general. Is the general feeling you got from the show? Is this the feeling from the majority of the European gamers?

I realize you run an XBOX fansite so your opinion may be slightly biased but I wonder if you agree with the comments from the gametrailers video.

Hope you have to respond.
Commented on 2006-08-31 23:02:59
Cheers guys, much appreciated! :)
Commented on 2006-08-31 23:16:40
Snooper, why didnt you take some RB6 shots if it looks so good?
Commented on 2006-08-31 23:28:37 In reply to lukasblue
Posted by lukasblue
Snooper, why didnt you take some RB6 shots if it looks so good?
What would be the point really, it's the same footage shown in about 379 trailers already...
Commented on 2006-08-31 23:44:23 In reply to Jato
Posted by Jato
What would be the point really, it's the same footage shown in about 379 trailers already...
Yea, but i think it`s different, that is my point, almost as ubi is witholding new info on this game.
Commented on 2006-08-31 23:47:52
Yeah that's exactly my point aswell, if Snoopers has seen new footage, he won't be allowed to show it anyway, and if it's the same footage again, there's no point .. ;)
Commented on 2006-09-01 00:13:28 In reply to Jato
Posted by Jato
if Snoopers has seen new footage, he won't be allowed to show it anyway
Commented on 2006-09-01 00:19:27 In reply to lukasblue
Posted by lukasblue
Because they like to torture us, lol, I don't know, but they often like to keep things behind closed doors, so they release the same trailers over and over again just to remind us of the existence of the game or for whatever that is...
Commented on 2006-09-01 08:31:59 In reply to lukasblue
Posted by lukasblue
Snooper, why didnt you take some RB6 shots if it looks so good?
Because it was a private presentation where you are not allowed to take pictures and even less to record anything. How difficult is that to understand?
And yes, he saw new levels.
Commented on 2006-09-01 12:29:49 In reply to roxwell
A very nice read, thanx to everyone on this great site for the awesome coverage, i can't stress enough of what an amazing job you all did, Thank you everyone.
Posted by roxwell
Now get packing and get you arses over to Japan :D
Commented on 2006-09-01 15:33:08
Off topic....i read somewhere on here that snoopers said EA has invite u and some others to see fifa07..have u been already or happening soon.... just wondering what it looks like in motion and ya impressions...And the GC06 was good thanks for the pro evo vid`s
Commented on 2006-09-07 22:43:55
@pr0cs: Well, not many people in germany are very interested in the X-Box 360. They all love Sony with their PS3, but now the release in europe is displaced and everybody hates Sony for their lies.
The GC was very nice, was two days there (only 250km distance) and met a lot of nice people like Larry Hryb :-)
See ya next year ;)

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