|E3 OVERLOAD by ...Maurice Fitzgerald|
The final first person shooter I want to talk about is the one that is my top pick, Rainbow Six. From Redstorm Entertainment, founded by the master of military fiction Tom Clancy, this game will be released to coincide with the novel of the same name. Fans of Clancy's work will be pleased to see some familiar faces (and not the faces from the movie Clear and Present Danger) as John Clark will be the leader of this multinational counter-terrorist group and even Ding Chavez will be along for the shootin' and lootin'. You can play this game from either a first person or third person perspective and will have complete control over your units composition, gear, weaponry and total tactical planning.
The tactical planning approach to this game is really nice as you are given "blueprints" of your take-down objective and use this to set waypoints and movement methods for each of your teams. In this game there are no magic health packs, just your wits, tactics and strategy to keep you alive to accomplish your mission. If you are shot, you die no second chances. It's about as real as it can get which really turned me on to this one.
The graphics are excellent 3DFX, motion captured characters and objects. The characters move ultra realistic and the immersion factor looks to be close to perfect. I'll be able to judge better in a few weeks when I get a beta in my hands but from the demo I was left speechless. Best part is this (as are all the others as well) game is multiplayer in either co-op or head to head mode. There is even real-time voice communication!
In the multiplayer arena we have a couple of real promising titles to look forward to in a couple of months as well. Tribes from Sierra is another title in their ever expanding Starsiege (Earthsiege) universe of multiplayer squad level troop combat. Primarily for Internet/LAN multiplayer use this game looks like alot of fun.
The other multiplayer game I found pretty addictive and extremely easy (learning curve is like 5 minutes) to learn was Multitude's Fireteam. This game is for teams of 4 to go head to head in several different fashions. The standard deathmatch and capture the flag as well as a CTF variant "base tag" are in there as would be expected but there is another flavor in this title that is both entertaining and amusing. "Gunball" is the variant where both teams attempt to carry the football across into their enemy's end-zone without "fumbling" (getting fragged). All the games are on a 10 minute time limit so teamwork is essential.
To aid in this
Multitude is including an Andrea Electronic GameWare headset in each box
from which you can speak real-time voice. I played this at the Multitude
booth on a dial-up line at 28.8 with NO lag at all. Being the skeptic I
am, I wanted to try from home as well and once I fired up my beta copy
and connected I couldn't believe NO LAG! With voice and all there was no
lag, the reason I truly appreciated this is I have had a horrible time
getting consisten connect speeds above 26.4k, which can kill gameplay.
But when I played this game there was still no lag at 26.4!
To round out the multiplayer arena I'd like to mention another promising title from Psygnosis, Global Domination. This games strengths are really going to lie in its multiplayer aspect even though it is also a single player game. This one brings me back to the days of the old card game Nuclear War and also to the PC title of the same name based on the card game. In this game you will be in control of your territories of the world through a computer uplink from which you can decide how you wish to attack your enemies.
Using either strategy or just plain old brute force you will have land based, undersea, surface naval sea and air based nuclear assets. You'll also have star wars tehcnology from which to protect yourself and allies. (Nothing more satisfying than seeing that mushroom cloud rise over your enemy, and toasting his defenses! As always it's fun to portray this type of event but none of us wishes to ever see it in our lifetimes or ever again for that matter. But for the PC it serves its purpose).
Now for my best of E3 picks:
Best Flight Sim - Falcon 4 - MPS
I must note that in the strat game their was a close tie between Mech
Commander and Cyberstorm 2 for second place. In the Sci-Fi combat sim MW
3 just edged out Starsiege.
My biggest E3 gripe? I didn't get my picture taken with
the beautiful Lara Croft. Oh well, there's always next year when they'll
probably be showing Tomb Raider 4. :) Stay tuned for further coverage of
those sims mentioned as well as others in the coming weeks and months,
it's gonna be a great year!