E3Expo 2006 Friday’s Report Page 2

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Land Combat

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter

Speaking of “Assymetric Warfare”, the latest iteration of GR is just that. We only had limited time to play with this anticipated new title, but our basic impressions were that it seems to hold true to the basic features and format of the series. In GRAW, you’re part of a small, very well-equipped spec ops force that must accomplish missions against a more numerous but less well-equipped force. Now, keep in mind that I was only able to play GRAW at the Ageia display, so there was no developer to help explain the game or its features. That said, I am far from unfamiliar with GR: I played through the campaigns of the original Ghost Recon and its two expansion packs; and spent a fair amount of online play with my friends using a few mods. Here’s what impressions I got in the short 15 minutes of gameplay:

1) Yep, as mentioned in the forums, Mexico city is very “yellow”: Yellow sky, yellow buildings, yellow dirt. But the effect is pretty immersive, as I’ve heard that since Mexico City is surrounded by mountains, it has fairly poor air quality. Overall, the look of the game is pretty good.

2) A lot of objects are moveable, sorta like in Half Life 2. But like the previous GR games, you can’t jump or otherwise maneuver freely over small obstacles that you would think you should be able to negotiate vice having to go around.

3) The missions I played or saw at E3 started with insertion via HALO jump or armed helo. However, unlike in other titles the insertion is more cut-scene than interactive experience. As you do a HALO jump you can pivot your view, but the ‘chute opens automatically, and you can’t alter your trajectory. But the insertion sequences are fun to watch and tell you a bit about your mission.

4) The command interface is pretty neat, as shown by Magnum in some of his movie clips of the demo in our forums. It felt like the kind of “on-the-fly” team command system that I liked in GR.

5) This is asymmetric warfare, and that made the firefights I got into fairly, well, boring. The AI difficulty was set to Normal, and I found that even moving alone, with no AI team support, that I was easily able to attrite enemy soldiers with no problem. On my last attempt at the mission, I intentionally tried to “die” in-mission. To do so, I had to stop shooting and stand in the open for several seconds before the enemy AI finally got a good hit on me. If I used cover, peeked around corners, and used single shot mode on my SCAR rifle, I easily bested the AI in every encounter. To be sure, I liked how the enemy AI used leap-frog tactics and suppressive fire against me, but it didn’t make them any harder to kill. It just looked cool. But keep in mind that’s the idea behind GRAW — a few well-equipped soldiers with cool toys can handle a larger enemy force with poor training and gear. Don’t lose sight of that design point.

Overall I liked what I saw in my brief single player experience to want to buy this title when it hits the streets. I sure hope the MP code works good. Oh, and by the way, the Ghost Recon Girls say ‘hi’, Magnum…

– Chunx

America’s Army Special Forces Overmatch

America’s Army still has the coolest stuff outside at the front entrance to E3. The Bell Kiowa Scout helicopter was accompanied by an up-armored Humvee with the CROWS system installed. These vehicles are becoming a common site each year at E3 and I’m looking forward to next years display. This title should be no stranger to AA fans. This addition builds on the strengths of the Unreal engine and gives solid game play and online stability.

The game features cooperative game play against AI In which players experience the overmatch capabilities that the US Army’s elite troops bring to the battlefield, in terms of their ability to engage and defeat larger hostile forces. The new additions also include a “Real Heroes” theme throughout the game. This portrays actual soldiers from real life and using photo real faces, correct rank and uniforms, and the ability to interface with them inside the game. Learning about their stories and service is a nice touch and a real tribute to these fine men and women in uniform.

  • Weapons include
  • XM25air burst weapon
  • XM307 advanced crew served weapon
  • SWORDS robot
  • Future Soldier Training System
  • Basic Javelin skills trainer

4 or 5 new maps are included and the one that really looks good includes a few high rise city blocks of burned out and bombed concrete structures. Lots of vertical development in a fairly confined space with a central structure full of holes. Online death match in this one will be a blast! Also two larger maps to take advantage of the new vehicle and weapon capabilities will also ship with the software. Online play gets some nice server GUI improvements and more control over the online games. The ability to allow new players into their own locked servers should help more folks to access online play without the frustration new players sometimes feel joining games with more experienced members. A medal system will be included and numerous stats can now be tracked inside the game menu.

Release is planned for sometime in late July. This titled should not disappoint the loyal fans of America’s Army.

– Hornit

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