The Activision booth was rocking hard this year with nearly a dozen new titles on display, each and every one set to rock your world when they release. The much-anticipated Spidy sequel is set to launch in June the day before the new movie hits theaters, and last year's epic Call of Duty game is set to explore new battlefields and platforms as United Offensive expands the PC franchise and Finest Hour brings the fight to the PS2 and Xbox.
I slipped into a dark booth for a private hands-on demo of Doom 3 on the Xbox and regretted not bringing a spare pair of shorts. X-Men Legends is going to redefine the super-hero game genre with stunning squad-based gameplay and surreal graphics, and Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines was actually upstaging the Half-Life 2 demo being shown over at VUG booth.
Call of Duty United Offensive (PC)
Expanding on the award-winning, epic and cinematic first-person action of Call of Duty™, Call of Duty: United Offensive delivers more of WWII’s most legendary conflicts by offering over 10 new levels in an all-new single player campaign, as well as nine new multiplayer maps. Players engage in explosive action from the front lines with newly added special effects, player abilities and authentic WWII weapons. The enhanced multiplayer component features three new team and objective-based modes including Tank Combat, Capture the Flag and Domination – where players vie for control of the map by occupying multiple key locations scattered throughout the level.
My personal demo of this game featured battles both on the ground and in the air. Yes, you actually get to fight from multiple gun placements on the big bombers. You'll be bouncing from tail gunner to side gunner and putting out fires and manually releasing bombs over your target. Think "Memphis Belle" and you have a good idea of what to expect. This expansion is so amazing it should be released as a stand-alone sequel.
Spider-Man 2 (All Formats)
Based upon the biggest movie event of the summer from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, and including other world famous Marvel comic book characters, players experience what it’s like to be the world’s most celebrated Super Hero, Spider-Man. Players can swing, sling, dive, jump and scale the heights of Manhattan to protect the innocent, in a living city with Super Villains, common criminals, vehicles, trains and helicopters. Players re-capture the movie experience by following the main storyline or choosing to embark on missions that challenge them to perform good deeds, deter random crimes, and face classic Marvel comic book villains such as Mysterio, using innovative new combat moves in locations from the film and environments exclusive to the game.
I didn't get to play this game but I did get to see Spidy in action in a personal demo while Mat got a glimpse of Stan Lee signing autographics. This latest incarnation of Spidy takes the action down to the street level for some thrilling sequences that will have you reliving your favorite moments from both movies. Everything you loved about the first game is back plus everything you thought was missing has been added in the best super-hero adventure you can pay this Spring.
DreamWorks’ Shark Tale (All Formats)
Players experience the fun and adventure of the DreamWorks movie by assuming the role of Oscar, a fast-talking little fish working his way up the food chain, who becomes an unlikely hero as he searches for an easy path to fame and fortune. Players undertake more than 25 adventure-packed missions set in their favorite film locations and new environments exclusive to the game. With a blend of original and film-inspired gameplay, players immerse themselves in a hip, underwater urban culture featuring the gritty environments of Reef City and funky tunes inspired by the film.
This game looks simply delightful for both kids and adults. If you thought "Finding Nemo" was fun then prepare yourself for a wondrous adventure with creative levels and inspired game design including intense action sequences and some fun mini-games integrated right into the story.
Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines (PC)
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines takes the power of Valve’s Source Technology, the driving force fueling Half-Life 2, and delivers a new type of RPG that blends the deep storyline, character development and interaction, exploration, and multiple solutions to quests of a traditional RPG, with the graphical beauty, fast action and first-person immersion of an FPS. Gamers choose to play as one of seven different vampire clans, all with unique skills, strengths and disciplines, and develop their characters by completing story-driven quests using politics, alliances, persuasion and combat to rise to power and become the most dangerous creature of the night. Experience an authentic White Wolf Vampire: The Masquerade storyline set in the dark and gritty vampire underworld of modern-day L.A. where your character’s clan affiliation, “reputation” and gameplay choices will determine how the story unfolds.
We saw this game in 2003 but it looked nothing like the masterpiece Troika is about to unleash on gamers later this year. Easily the showcase title of the entire Activision booth, Bloodlines is the first game built on the Half-Life 2 engine and in many way excels beyond the game that spawned it. The powerful engine will not only dazzle you with graphics, but the game design reaches new depths of immersion that will blur the lines of RPG and FPS forever.
X-Men™ Legends (Xbox/PS2/GameCube)
The first 3D action-RPG based on the popular Marvel characters, the X-Men, X-Men Legends challenges players to master the attributes of their favorite X-Men by creating, customizing and controlling teams of four mutants in real time. Assuming the role of more than a dozen popular Super Heroes, each with individual mutant powers and fighting skills, including Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Gambit and Storm, players lead teams of mutants as they battle the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and other Marvel villains on a quest to stop the extinction of mankind and determine the fate of the world.
The unique cel-shaded graphics with traditional thick, black outlines give this game a definite comic book appeal, but the true power is in the game design that has been cleverly tweaked for game consoles, specificly the gamepad, to give you instant access to your entire team and their wonderful assortment of powers. The RPG element allows your characters to grow as the story progresses and your skills increase. This is the X-Men game we have all been waiting for.