Wednesday, May 10

The Future of Gaming

Thanks to the Power of the PS3, Raiden finally becomes cool.

I've been on the PC like crazy at home, revelling in the speed of DSL (finally it seems to have settled well) and downloading gobs of stuff as if there was no tomorrow. I've discovered the magic of Bittorrent downloading, and it's incredible... it's like going on a treasure hunt. Of course, this pretty much means I haven't turned off my PC in, like, two days, but it looks to be worth it.

Anyway, I've also gotten into the nitty-gritty of this year's E3 Entertainment Expo 2006, the yearly event in the US where the gaming giants show off their best and latest. Sony of course showed off their upcoming Playstation 3 and finally gave concrete details. The console will make its worldwide debut this November. Like the Xbox360 before it, the PS3 will come with a Hard Drive and will retail at about $499 for the regular set, while a more deluxe version will be priced at $599. WHOA. I bet the damn thing will be grossly overpriced when it finally appears here- the Xbox360 went as high as 100k here (a ridiculous price from some shipper). But something like the PS3 will eventually be mainstream and commonplace, as was it's earlier version the PS2.

This early, the reasons to get a PS3 are flying fast and furious. There's of course the next generation of Final Fantasy games, headlined by Final Fantasy XIII, which seems to feature a kick-ass female protagonist (think Yuna in FFX2 but more bad-ass and armed with a short sword and pistol combo). Another title is Final Fantasy VS XIII which I believe may be a fighting game or action-oriented title. The graphics shown are pretty slick and there seem to be even realtime gameplay elements shown.

Then there are the fighting games: Virtua Fighter 5, which is still slated to come out soon in arcades, will be a PS3 Exclusive. So far, the graphics of the PS3 port seem at par with the arcade counterpart. The game of course will feature all the combatants from the arcade, including two newcomers (Eileen the cute monkey-style fighter and Rey Mysterio-lookalike El Blaze). The game will feature extensive customization features and items to trick out your fighter.

Tekken 6 debuted as well with a VERY short teaser clip showing Jin Kazama fighting it out with Lili, the blonde-haired heiress who first appeared in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. The graphics were very detailed but not up to par with the ultra-realistic look first teased at months ago... looks like Namco has scaled down their target somewhat. Anyhoo, the clip ends right before Jin lays the smackdown on Lili when TKD thug Hwoarang suddenly bursts onto the scene on his motorcycle. Looks slick, and I can't wait to see next-gen versions of Nina Williams and Asuka Kazama- here's hoping Character Creation or at least deeper customization features makes their way into the game.

And of course, the BIG gun of the PS3 is none other than Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The latest game from Hideo Kojima features a now-aged and rapidly weakening Solid Snake, now known apparenlty as Old Snake. Details of the story are still kinda sketchy, but basically involves Snake's last mission before he croaks (from old age?). While Snake looks like an oldie, the same cannot be said for the rest of the cast- most of whom are returning faces from previous MGS games. It seems that Snake's condition may be an effect of the FOXDIE virus from the first game, or a result of his being a clone of Big Boss.
Returning characters include Roy Campbell, or 'The Colonel', who seems to be the one convincing Snake to go on one more mission. There's a haggard Naomi Hunter, a more formidable-looking Meryl Silverburgh (who is apparently part of a 'new' FOXHOUND unit) and a 70's style Liquid Ocelot (who seems to be old Revolver Ocelot now taken over by Liquid Snake's grafted arm). Oh, and there's pretty boy Raiden who's now decked out in the cyborg ninja outfit complete with slice-and-dice sword. Can you say... awesome?

The new E3 trailer is pretty dramatic, and has comments about how war becomes routine and antiseptic when every aspect of it- every element of a soldier's capabilities and factors throughout the battlefield- becomes controlled. Snake, an old soldier of countless wars, laments this development, and ends the feature video saying that he has 'one more punishment to endure'. At which point he loads a single bullet into his pistol and aims in into his own mouth.


The trailer as a whole has a sad, melancholy feel- kinda like the autumn flavor of Godfather III... will this truly be the end of Snake? We're gonna have to just dig into our foxholes... it's gonna be a while.

It's gonna be a loooooooooooooooong wait till November. Darn.

Gotta start saving those quarters, people.

Sigh. So many games, so little space in my little Sanctum. Oh well. I could always get rid of the bed. Heh.

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