The bulk of my June 13 week was spent at E3, the game industry’s annual trade show in Los Angeles. Curiously, even though I was at a trade show playing video games much of the week, I arrived home feeling like I’d taken a break from my favorite leisure-time activity. The experience of playing a game, often standing up, for a few minutes at a booth while a PR rep or developer peers over your shoulder and guides you along is so fundamentally different from kicking back on the couch with “ModNation Racers” that it’s easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking of them as two separate activities. So with that in mind, I’ll go through the few titles I played at home, then a big list of what I tried at E3. (The list won’t include all the titles I saw while I was at E3. That’s a much longer accounting.) Previews of all the titles I played, plus many more, will trickle out over the next few weeks.
“Halo 3: ODST” (rated M, $40 on Xbox 360): I spent the last day before E3 packing my bags and unwinding with a little Firefight mode with three friends. Luckily, “ODST,” which has burned us with horrendous lag in the past, was on its best behavior and we knocked out a 10-point achievement for notching 200,000 points on Lost Platoon.
“ModNation Racers” (rated E, $60 on PlayStation 3): This little kart-racer will probably be the next game I review. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, although it’s “Mario Kart”-style rubber-banding AI and the propensity of the computer foes to unleash a barrage of attacks right before you cross the finish line can be infuriating at times. I’m looking forward to completing the single-player game before taking my skills online.
“Borderlands” (rated M, $40 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, $30 on PC): I missed my weekly Thursday night session with my “Borderlands” crew. But I did log an hour or so on Sunday. My main character is a Siren, so I’ve started new characters to knock out the class-related achievements. So far, the Siren remains my favorite class. Sneaking in, setting everyone on fire and blasting them with corrosive weapons as I beat a retreat suits my play style best, and I’m pretty good at not biting off more than I can chew.
“Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords” (rated T, $10 Xbox Live Arcade download): After spending 15 minutes or so with “Puzzle Quest 2” at E3, I made a return trip to the original to unwind after work on Saturday night. I also squeezed in a little “Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers.”
All the stuff I played at E3: OK, here’s the rundown, based on my notes. Apologies to anything I forgot! In no particular order: “Bomberman Live: Battlefest,” “Deca Sports Freedom,” “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword,” “Pilotwings Resort,” “Nintendogs + Cats,” “Mafia II,” “Dead Rising: Case Zero,” “Okamiden,” “Marvel vs. Capcom 3,” “Resident Evil 5” with PlayStation Move support, “GoldenEye: 007,” “Blacklight: Tango Down,” “Puzzle Quest 2,” “Ultimate Ben 10 Alien: Cosmic Destruction,” “Despicable Me,” “KidzBop Dance Party,” “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” Power Gig: Rise of the SixString,” “Hunted: The Demon’s Forge,” “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit,” “Medal of Honor” and “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11” with PlayStation Move. I’ll have previews of most of this stuff, as well as an even greater number of titles I saw in person but didn’t play. Oh, and I technically “played” a few 3DS tech demos, in that I held the 3DS in my hand and watched the demos, but I’m not counting that, as only the “Metal Gear Solid” was even something you could interact with.
Stuff I didn’t play: I brought my new PlayStation Portable along with me, plus my copies of “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker” and “ModNation Racers.” I even downloaded the first “Suikoden” and “Eye of Judgment: Legends.” Pretty much all my free time was spent writing, sleeping or talking to my wife on the phone, though. So no PSP was played on the trip.