I just wanted to comment quickly on some of the other titles I saw at the show that really impressed me.
You might remember that back when Tiger Woods came out I said that it was great but that what I really wanted was a Links game on the Xbox that used Live. Well this is it. It even uses Microsoft’s new XSN Sports system. You will be able to go online and sign up for tournaments and that sort of thing which sounds fucking awesome to me. Links 2004 is also the best looking golf game I’ve ever seen. I got to sit and play a few holes and I was honestly surprised I was playing a Links game. No more 2D trees every inch of these courses has been lovingly rendered in 3D. Gorgeous water and lighting effects and killer details like birds and other wildlife.
If you want to know what the coolest thing about Jedi Academy is go back and read my post from when Jedi Knight II came out. Essentially I said it was cool but the multiplayer blew. I said what the game needed was mission based objectives that pitted rebels against imperials. Well that is exactly what they delivered. The gentleman delivering the demo told us that each mission will require players to select certain roles such as demolitions expert, Scout Walker pilot or even Jedi in order to complete the objective. He described how a Jedi might have to provide cover for a trooper as he planted a bomb that would destroy an imperial facility. Or how Imperial soldiers would need to blow open a wall protecting a rebel base allowing another player to pilot a Scout Walker in and start tearing shit up Endor style. It’s got a single player mode as well that looked neat but I’ll be buying this game for the multiplayer.
This game was actually really fun. In Sonic Heroes you control Sonic, Tails and Knuckles all at the same time…kind of. The way it works is that one character is always in the “lead”. The character in this position determines the properties of the group. For example if you have Sonic up front the other two characters drop back to the sides and you are in speed mode. This mode is best for rocketing through levels and hitting speed pads to blow through loops. Switch Knuckles into the lead and you’re in combat mode. Knuckles can actually pick up Sonic or Tails and throw them at enemies like when I was in junior high and I got hit in the face with a volley ball. Only that was thrown by Derek Ames who was certainly a dick but he was no Enchidna. Anyway, slip tails into the lead and now you can grab the rest of the team and fly up to otherwise inaccessible locations. The game was super fast paced and looked really good on the Cube and Xbox.
Kiko and I were talking about this while we were staring in awe at WOW. Blizzard is a company of artists. Every game company has artists on staff but at Blizzard it seems like artists are the engine that drives the company. You can see that when you look at WOW. It is the most beautiful MMORPG to date. Each and every character actually has… well character. The environments seem alive in a way that no other game of this type has been able to come close to. I wasn’t actually able to sit and play it but what I saw is enough to make me not only excited to play WOW but just fucking glad that there is a company like Blizzard out there. Oh, I also saw a guy riding around on a mother fucking griffon.