Game on

Each year, gamers from around the world flock to the Los Angeles Convention Centre for E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), the biggest display of its type and the Mecca for lovers of all things Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox. Steve Polak reports.

This year was a major year in terms of E3’s ten-year history. Not only were there plenty of amazing games on display for the current crop of consoles, but Nintendo and Sony were going head to head showing off their new machines, which will be released in most parts of the world by the end of the year.

Battle stations

e among them.

The list of launch titles includes the superb scimitar-swinging of Heavenly Sword, a game which delivers amazing improvisational melee action. There is also the 3D shooter Resistance: The Fall of Man. This was interesting as it presented an alternate view of history. Imagine what would happen if the Cold War was overshadowed by a real conflict -an alien i

The PlayStation 3 is coming along nicely and there will be some great games at launch. Sony also used E3 to announce the US release date November 17 (though the bad news for Australia is that the PS3 once also due in the shops in November will now be delayed until March 2007). The PS3 should be launched with the support of 15-20 games but, interestingly, one of Playstation?s flaghip titles, Gran Turimso, will probably not bnvasion which begins in 1953. Resistance combines intriguing alien life forms with retro 1950s styling.

The best-looking PS3 game was without doubt Assassin’s Creed, a stealth-oriented 3D adventure set during the medieval Crusades when European Christian forces battled Saladin in the Middle East. In the game you won’t be allied with a particular faction, but will instead be an assassin for hire, jumping from rooftops, throwing daggers and blending into the crowd after your deadly task is complete. Assassin’s Creed (which will also be released on Xbox 360) looked incredible, with sun-parched settlements, massive crowds and great-looking chain mail-wearing soldiers.

Sony also presented the next evolution in the ‘Sing Star’ series, music games that feature full-motion video clips as well as downloadable song lists. Imagine buying the latest Madonna album, complete with music videos and then singing along with the tracks using the Sing Star technology. This sort of thing could be huge.

There were some stunning-looking PS2 games at E3 too. The brawler God of War II was a solid example and Grand Theft Auto fans who have a hankering for more gritty street action will be spoiled by Scarface, a great-looking game based on the seminal Al Pacino flick.

E3 also saw the Sony PSP flower, with the release of more original software. Programs such as the Talkman translation application proved Sony is looking beyond PlayStation re-releases for the handheld gaming device.

Overall there were some concerns about the PS3 line-up, though. Some commentators were saying that there could have been more PS3 games previewed, and many of the titles on show looked like they still needed work.

At its press conference Sony saved its big news for the finale, introducing  the PS3’s motion-sensitive controller. It certainly set tongues wagging, but Sony’s glory was short lived as, the very next day, Nintendo announced at its press conference the far more sophisticated Nintendo Wii motion-sensitive controller.