||E3 2003 Game Previews Part II
May 19, 2003 Marcus Yam
Summary: Marcus takes time to share with you the following three more previews of upcoming games:
•Rainbow Six III
•Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
View the plethora of screenshots and our take on these future titles.
| Rainbow Six III||Page:: ( 1 / 6 )|
Ubi Doob Scooby Dooby Benubi
So Rainbow Six 3 is old news, right? After all, Raven Shield has been out for a couple months now and we already ran through it. After visiting Ubi Soft’s booth to check out Rainbow Six 3 on Xbox, we see that it’s not quite the straight port that some other PC to Xbox games are.
First of all, it’s just Rainbow Six 3, period. No mention of Raven Shield, perhaps to differentiate itself from its PC counterpart, or just for the sake of simplicity since it’s unlikely that the Xbox game will be receiving the exact same expansion pack content from the PC version.
One of the immediately noticeable differences between the PC father and Xbox son is that the console version features a slightly different graphics engine. While both are built on Unreal Engine technology, Rainbow Six 3 for the Xbox utilizes many of the tricks that the Ubi Soft Montreal used on Splinter Cell. The neato light effects found in Splinter Cell have made their way into Rainbow Six 3, as have the soft-bodies (remember playing in the curtains?) and the colorful thermal vision.
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At its core, Rainbow Six 3 is still Raven Shield, but in a prettier dress. Just like how Xbox Live gave Ghost Recon its real life on Microsoft’s console, Rainbow Six 3 promises to have excellent Live support. In addition to the online play, there will be downloadable content (just like how Splinter Cell Xbox got Kola Cell). We were told that there are currently four additional levels planned, with more after that. We asked if there would be any fee to download additional content, and Ubi Soft’s answer to that is that there will be both free and premium (i.e., gotta pay to play) downloadable content. Rainbow Six 3 is currently slated for release later in 2003.
SIDEBAR: Oobedoob Benubi: I am Oobedoob Benubi. I have the silliest name in the galaxy.
Loke Groundrunner: What's your middle-name?
Oobedoob Benubi: Scooby-Dooby.
Loke Groundrunner: Oobedoob Scooby-Dooby Benubi?
Oobedoob Benubi: One and the same.
| XIII Demo||Page:: ( 2 / 6 )|
We then moved over to the XIII demo (that’s “thirteen” and not “ex-ai-ai-ai”) to see the latest on the Unreal engined first person shooter. The demo at Ubi Soft’s booth marks the second E3 showing of XIII. Originally slated to be released early 2003, XIII faced a wise delay to ensure the quality of the game. What was shown to us for this year’s show was remarkably similar to last year’s demo. There was, however, definitely a greater level of polish – an indication that the game appears to be on track for release later this year.
For those not in the know, XIII is based off the European comic book of the same name. The story is that you’re a badass special forces operative that has lost his memory. Naturally, you’ve been framed for the murder of the President and you’re on the run. When you start off in the game, you’re relatively unskilled; but as the game progresses and you regain fragments of your memory, you slowly regain your abilities. For example, you magically regain your special forces hearing sense and can ‘see footsteps’ as your assailants approach. See footsteps? Yes, on-screen sound effects captions
(such as Tap Tap Tap) appear just as they would in a comic book, showing the location and direction of movement of characters beyond solid object.
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Other comic book influences are seen during action-activated events. Headshots in the game are emphasized with a few gruesome panels of close-up. Big block letters of BAOOOM accompany explosions just for good measure.
Of course, no mention of XIII can be made without commenting on the game’s unique cell-shaded visuals. Instead of featuring advanced lighting and shadow effects, Ubi Soft has opted to go with a very flat and clean look for both its models and environments. In many ways, we’re reminded of Sega’s Jet Set Radio. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words, so please be sure to check out all the screenshots included here.
XIII is a true multiplatform game with its released planned for GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. All versions of the game will feature multiplayer with 12 maps out of the box. Each console version will have its own exclusive multiplayer mode. The PS2 version will get Cover Me, Xbox will get Sabotage, and GameCube will get Capture the Chicken.
Playing time for XIII is expected to last about 15-17 hours, and you’ll have to wait until Fall of this year to play it.
SIDEBAR: Ubi Soft is publishing Ape Escape 2. It’s still a mystery to me as to why Sony isn’t publishing this game themselves, considering it’s Sony developed. That’s just bananas.
| XIII Gallery I||Page:: ( 3 / 6 )|
| XIII Gallery II||Page:: ( 4 / 6 )|
| Prince of Persia||Page:: ( 5 / 6 )|
Return of the Prince
The Prince of Persia will be making his way back to gaming on all three of the current consoles and the PC. The Prince’s last outing on Dreamcast and PC is better left forgotten, but this new game promises redemption.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time takes place before any of the previous games, but definitely incorporates the best of the franchise’s gameplay into this prequel. We were immediately struck with how all the tried-and-true gameplay made its way into the game, easily apparent even during the brief time we spent with it at E3. The animation is silky smooth, and the action is packed. Many of the old moves are back with new moves for the 3D world accompanying them. The Prince is now able to run on walls, which was shown to us extensively. Now, we’re not talking gravity defying super powers here, but rather something similar to what you may have seen in the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon movie. The wall run is used to reach areas that are further than a jump & grab away. The wall run also serves as a “wall jump,” where, in a tight enclosed area, can run and leap from wall to wall gaining altitude with every advancing leap. It won’t be a pure action game though, as we are told that the game will also have plenty of adventuring moments, though none were shown to us during the E3 demo.
Other integral parts of gameplay include Sand and Time. With every enemy you dispose of, you gain grains of sand. With this sand you are able to control time. Of course the obligatory time control would be slow-mo a la bullet time, but the coolest use of it is to go back in time. It’s not the type of time travel where the Prince could go back and prevent Arabian Nights from ever happening, but it will keep death away if you make a critical mistake. For example, if you miss a jump and fall into a bottomless pit, you could just “rewind” time for just a few seconds so you can make a second attempt. You can even utilize the rewind function for a limited time after you die, essentially giving you a second chance without having to go back to the last save point. As soon as we saw this feature, we made a comparison between this and Blinx for the Xbox. Apparently, the developers had this rewind function before Blinx was released but they just hadn’t gone public about the new PoP game yet. The impressive part is that PoP: SoT’s rewind feature does not require a hard drive, whereas that piece of hardware was essential for Blinx’ operation.
The PlayStation 2 is the lead development platform, but you wouldn’t easily believe it at first sight. Even though PoP: SoT still has quite a ways to go until release, it already looks fantastic with outstanding lighting and particle effects. The framerate was exceptionally smooth to facilitate all that silky animation. If it looks this good on PS2, we can’t wait to see it running on the newer consoles or the PC. Of course, impressive visuals should be no surprise as the game has been under development at Ubi Soft Montreal (Splinter Cell) for about two years now. Jordan Mechner, the creator of the original Prince of Persia, is being involved with the game’s development – so expect classic Persian Prince.
Expect Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time by the end of this year.
SIDEBAR: Ubi also had a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon game on display. It also had a Charlie’s Angels game. Hmm, must be some strange deal between Sony Pictures and Ubi Soft.
| Prince Gallery||Page:: ( 6 / 6 )|