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Day Three E3 Report Three – Xbox 360 Games

With Microsoft unveiling the Xbox 360 just weeks before the show last year, it was no surprise that there were few playable games on the show floor in 2005. A year later, Microsoft’s booth, as well as the booths of companies like Ubisoft, 2K Games, Capcom, THQ, and Sega, were flooded with great looking games for the platform, many due out in what will be a very busy, but very good holiday season for those who have managed to get their hands on a console.

Of all the games, one of the best looking was Bioshock. Set in an alternate past in an underwater city created by big-wig oil barons and the like trying to escape the politics of the 1940s. The details are limited at this point, but ultimately it all goes wrong, turning what was once a pressurized monument to capitalism into a dark and leaky reminder of excess filled with monsters, robotic sentries, and other spooky stuff. It’s effectively a first-person shooter but with some strong puzzle elements, strongly stylized enemies, and amazing graphics. It should be nothing short of a phenomenon when it launches. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when that’ll be.

Another brilliant game, and one that likewise won’t be available until next year, is Lost Planet from Capcom. Set on an icy wilderness of a planet, you play the role of an ice pirate trying to keep himself, and his friends, alive. The environment, constantly full of blinding snowstorms, is violent and dangerous enough, but mix in some massive monsters and the like, and things go from bad to worse. The short playable version on the show floor showcased some very impressive graphics and some fun fast-paced gameplay.

Lost Planet
In Chromehounds you pilot giant machines and wreak havoc on the battlefield.

One that’s due out much sooner, in late June, is Chromehounds from Sega. It’s a slow-paced giant robot game in which you select a basic frame for your mechanical beast, outfit it with a custom compliment of weapons, then go stomping (or rolling, or hovering…) across miles of open terrain to complete tactical missions, solo or with a buddy. The slow-paced combat may not suit everyone, but the graphics impress, the strategy challenges, and fans of other similar mech games like Steel Battalion will feel very much at home here.

Chromehounds
In Chromehounds you pilot giant machines and wreak havoc on the battlefield.

Finally, there’s Gears of War, which looks absolutely stunning. It’s a fairly straightforward shooter, but one with a creepy environment and fast-paced gameplay. This one should be hitting store shelves before the end of the year. And then there’s Halo 3, which was only shown as a short trailer. We know nothing at all about it at this point, except that it’ll be great.

Gears of War
Gears of War is the most impressive looking Xbox 360 title due to launch in 2006.

The E3 show floor was literally a sea of great looking 360 titles, and we can’t cover them all, but these three were some of the most impressive, easily matching or surpassing the looks of what’s being shown on the PS3. Certainly it’s still early times for the PS3, but by all accounts, 360 gamers have nothing to be envious about regarding graphics at least or game selection.

Microsoft Booth
Microsoft’s 2006 E3 booth was full of great titles.

[Text and original images by Tim Stevens.]

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