E3 2004: Best of Show

By Scott Parrino 25 Jun 2004 0

Introduction

Since our very first visit to the hallowed halls of E3 in 1998, The Wargamer has picked a group of games which rise above the rest - these are The Wargamer's E3 Best of Show Winners. These handful of games and hardware products (all told, we saw a hundreds at this year's show) represent the games which didn't necessarily impress us with their technical ability or state of completion, but rather what we hope is true potential to be great gaming products when they finally do arrive in retail stores. There are a variety of games on this list, some of which we hope are new to our readers, and the fact that they were presented on this list stands not only as testament to their E3 showing, but also to their ability to withstand our intense debate. These are most certainly not judgment calls on what are rarely finished products, but rather a list of games we think the readers of this publication would find intriguing. When the time comes, we'll follow-up on these products in greater detail via interviews, new stories, previews and our final review.

So without further qualifications, we proudly present The Wargamer's E3 2004 Best of Show winners.

The Wargamer's E3 2004 Best of Show Winners!

The Wargamer's E3 2004 Best of Show Winners

Splinter Cell 3
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
ETA: 4th Quarter 2004

A natural evolution of a great stealth-action FPS. This latest version will add a co-operative multi-player approach that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. While the hope is that all the terrorists won't speak in perfect American accents, from all looks Splinter Cell 3 will extend the franchise's excellent record. The graphics are better, the lighting is better, the environment is better, and Sam Fisher kicks more ass than ever before. A definite show favorite.

Full Spectrum Warrior
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Publisher: THQ
ETA: Fall 2004

Halleluja! An intelligent squad-based wargame has finally arrived in which the core mission is to keep your team members alive, rather than just kills faceless bad guys. Realistic tactics are rewarded with realistic success, and surprisingly, there's no direct control over pulling a trigger. A rare game and a welcome first of this type on the console market. Nicely done, THQ. We hope this is the first of many games of this type.

Brothers in Arms
Developer: Gearbox
Publisher: Ubisoft
ETA: 4th Quarter 2004

Despite enjoying the thirty-year experience of retired U.S. Army Airborne Ranger Colonel John Antal as military advisor, this game would seem initially as yet another me-too World War II squad based first person shooter. Not so. The tactical overview screen alone deserves recognition, allowing squad leaders realistic situational awareness and the ability to think-lead-and-then-shoot, rather than blindly splattering lead as quickly as possible, like so many other, lesser shooters require. The squad members act realistically and intelligently, making this perhaps one of the most immersive World War II shooters ever featured at E3.

Halo 2
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft
ETA: November 2004

The original Halo defined Xbox as a must-have household console. Last year's Halo 2 preview teased us with even more immersion, eye and ear candy, and a plot line worthy of any great science fiction novel. By adding and refining multi-player to the Xbox version, this title now appears more than ready for prime time. I predict it will once again serve as justification for owning a Xbox.

Half Life 2
Developer: Valve Software
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
ETA: Summer 2004

Half Life 2 appears a highly polished successor to the original, with improved graphics, sounds, more interactive characters, and environments that simply scare the crap out of you. Bundled with new weapons and hyper-realistic physics modeling, this should make anyone that played the original truly drool. Additionally the new engine is being ported to the most popular Counter-Strike mod, adding a double-bang to this long-anticipated package.

Battlefield 2
Developer: Digital Illusions CE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
ETA: Spring 2005

While this title still has some time to completion, and not all features we would like to see improved from the two previous Battlefield titles have been implemented, indications are good that this will be the best of the series yet. Modern vehicles and weapons, including fire and forget weaponry, sophisticated modern helicopters, anti-air weapons, and modern battle tanks all make this Gulf War era veteran drool. Improved matchmaking, clan-based ladder support and tournaments, and many other tweaks and enhancements, in addition to new regional settings and nationalities -- the Americans, Middle Eastern Coalition, and China -- make this a nice complement to and significant evolution in the Battlefield series.

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