E3 09: Top 10 things you need to know about today - Tuesday edition

We sort through the slog of announcements and details to deliver the only info you MUST have

6. Prediction: Rockstar’s ‘Agent’ will sell a quintillion copies due to awesome logo
Sony’s Jack Trenton announced a new PlayStation 3 exclusive from Rockstar North, the developers of Grand Theft Auto IV. It will be set in the 1970s and it’s called Agent. Other than that, all we’ve seen of the game is a logo. But what a mighty fine logo it is.

Above: Look at this logo. Wow. Just. Wow!

Let’s just take a moment to admire the delicate curves on the font, which are softly rounded, yet masculine. The kerning does its job and does it well, preventing individual letters in the title from ramming haphazardly against each other. The decision to go with the black-and-white color scheme is classic, yet daring. And do you see how they worked that pistol into the letter ‘G’? Clever stuff.

7. ModNation Racers will be EXTREMELY fun for everyone before it gets boring
Like Spore and LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers for PS3 is pushing the make-your-own-game angle hard. You’ll be able to design your own custom racers, cars, and tracks. During the demo, we saw a player create his own tracks by simply driving through an open field, twisting and turning when it felt right. Later, areas of the track were changed to dirt roads and the sidelines were quickly peppered with an assortment of trees, houses, and sheep. In just a few minutes, we saw how a fresh racer, vehicle, and track could be created on the fly.

The actual racing looks like typical Mario Kart-esque fun with crisp cartoony graphics, colorful weapons, and power sliding. ModNation Racers looks like it will be extremely fun. But we’re worried that after the novelty of creating your own tracks and cars wears off - and you realize that it takes a lot of time to actually make something cool - it will be quickly forgotten. After all, we loved both LittleBigPlanet and Spore, but when’s the last time you sunk some time into whatever grand project you were working on for either of those two games?

8. The “true sequel to the Metal Gear franchise” is not coming to Xbox 360
Hideo Kojima said Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker would be a “true sequel” during Sony’s press conference. It makes you wonder what he thinks about Metal Gear Solid: Rising, which was announced yesterday during the Microsoft conference. He then rubbed salt in the wound by showing a trailer proving that Peace Walker is, in fact, a bona fide MGS game by giving a few hints at the plot: It’s set ten years after MGS 3, was written and produced by Kojima and chronicles the rise of Outer Heaven in Costa Rica. Other than that, four Solid Snakes were on the screen at once - we don’t know why.

9. Leonardo da Vinci will help you kill prominent Italians in Assassin’s Creed II
New gameplay footage of Assassin’s CreedII was shown today, and it highlighted the new setting based on the Italian Renaissance and the new assassin’s larger combat repertoire, which includes smoke bombs and the ability to steal weapons from opponents. Leonardo’s flying machine also made an appearance, and we learned that the famous scientist will be in the game, creating inventions you’ll use in your various quests to kill notable people.

Above: Just when we got used to pronouncing Altair, Assassin’s CreedII introduces Ezio Auditore di Firenze

10. Sony opens and closes press conference spectacularly with Uncharted 2 and God of War III
Well, kinda. In fact, Sony opened like usual – with boring stats and mind-numbing info on how well the PS2 is succeeding in the marketplace despite current-gen systems. That aside, Sony America CEO and President Jack Tretton quickly segued into the system people watching the conference actually cared about – the PS3 – and developer Naughty Dog’s latest action-adventure, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Footage started with series hero Nathan Drake atop a bombed-out posh poolside rooftop. Soon, he’s scaling the roof wall, ascending higher while we take in a vast cityscape enclosed by a gorgeous mountain range. Uncharted 2 is huge and it’s beautiful. He and his female cohort slide down a rope to an adjacent crumbling building and start shimming and…WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? AN APACHE HELICOPTER?

Drake dodges bullets from a gunship, leaps across breaking platforms, leaps 20 feet to another building, kills some bad guys (while still dodging heli bullets), narrowly misses an explosion that takes out an entire section of the wall, takes cover behind tables, kills more bad guys and rides a crumbling building down and leaps through the windows of a building that’s still standing. In game, real-time. He gets up, dusts himself off. “Hahaha. We were… we were almost in that!” End of demo. Excellent. And that’s the first gameplay Sony showed the world at E3 2009. Yes, we already know Uncharted 2 hits shelves this holiday, but holy hell was that gameplay exciting. Did we mention the multiplayer beta begins tonight at midnight?

Above: Drake fights illiteracy in what appears to be a library in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

And after two hours worth of innovations, trailers and more stat-talk, Sony closes the show with another big franchise title, God of War III. Shown were the opening gameplay moments. Kratos dives into the action, slamming enemies into each other, shooting arrows, and running past a slew of monsters attacking NPCs. He runs into a mine where he needs to ascend higher up. Luckily, a handy winged creature is nearby. But Kratos doesn’t ride this beast. Oh, no. He swings his blades into the creature and to make it go higher, he continually stabs it, before ripping it to pieces as he jumps off.

Above: It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a monster. Kratos will make you his bitch

Kratos makes it outside to see a titan being attacked by Helios, who’s flying around on a chariot of fire. Typical God of War chained attacks, whichare interrupted by a skirmish with a Centaur, which Kratos punches with his new Lion-fist weapons. After some gloriously nasty quicktime events, Kratos finishes the beast by slitting its belly, letting all of the demon’s guts spill out. The next miniboss is a Chimera-like creature with ram horns and a snake tail. The ending to that battle is disgusting, satisfying and awesome. And you have to wait next year to play it. Sony, when did you decide to be cool again?

Jun 2, 2009

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