Every time a new console or two looms over the video gaming horizon the majority of the attention is pointed to a mystical controller or an emotion engine. E3 2006 is bound to have plenty of people playing with the Playstation 3 and testing out Nintendo’s Wii. There’s a chance to play Twilight Princess again, see how Spore is shaping up and the possibility of Halo 3. With so many heavy hitting titles it is easy to look over the little guys, sleeper titles that might be the next hit. Here is a list of some of the games that we’re looking forward to playing that don’t have the following of Final Fantasy XII or New Super Mario Brothers.
Hudson’s “Flight game”
Hudson Kentia Hall #6237 / Wii
A flying game for Nintendo’s Wii, could this be Pilotwings? Quite possibly since Nintendo and Hudson have a friendly relationship, just look at the Mario Party series. In either case a flying game using Nintendo’s handheld controller is intriguing to all the gamers out there. Just how is Hudson going to make this work? In their short release Hudson mentioned that the game will be controlled with Wii’s “gesture system”. The control scheme gives absolute control and lets payers perform acrobatic rolls and bomb drops.
Atlus West Hall# 2408 / Nintendo DS
Sure it looks like Earthbound, but Contact is a whole new project from Grasshopper Manufacture. Atlus quickly picked it up before its Japanese release possibly because they saw great potential in this RPG. Surviving a crash on an alien planet is the start of Terry’s adventure. He needs to recover cells for the Professor ship so it can take off and leave this strange world. But why leave when there is food to be found, fish to be caught and animals to train. Contact blends elements from the Harvest Moon series into a unique RPG for the Nintendo DS.
Every Extend Extra
Buena Vista Games #1024 South Hall / PSP
Based on the addictive PC game, Every Extend, Q? Entertainment adds something Extra for a PSP version of the game. Most shoot ‘em ups (shmups) want players to dodge shots and fire back. Every Extend goes for a different approach. Your only way to decimate surrounding polygonal foes is by detonating your ship and praying that the surrounding explosion wipes out ships in range. Part of the strategy of the game is to time when to blow up and chain as many hits as possible. It’s simple to start up, but hard to put down once you try it out. Hopefully at E3 Buena Vista Games will reveal what is “extra” about the title besides more colorful graphics.
NCSoft #1046 South Hall / PC
NCSoft’s next big project after City of Heroes and Guild Wars Factions is Tabula Rasa. The game blends RPG like character development with the action of a first person shooter. Set in a sci-fi setting Tabula Rasa drops players in a war against the Bane for control of the planet. While Tabula Rasa was shown off at E3 ’05, this year we can look forward to changes in the basic training section. If done successfully Tabula Rasa might be a big leap in online games.
Sega #946 South Hall / Playstation 2
Plans have been put on hold for the next Shenmue game, people searching for a mature action adventure title should look forward to Sega’s Yakuza. Step in to the shoes of Kiryu Kazuma who was just released from prison. Explore Tokyo’s nightlife, but be on your guard for other gang members. Yakuza introduces a free form fighting system where players can create their own combos so Kiryu is ready to defend himself. Gamers who like “sandbox” games should stop by Sega’s booth and spend some time with Yakuza.
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
Square-Enix #746 South Hall / Nintendo DS
It’s a tough world for Blubly, the little blue slime who starts in a Dragon Quest spinoff game. After all the slimes in Boingburg are kidnapped by the Plob only one slime with a giant tank can save the day. Rocket Slime has action-adventure elements similar to the Legend of Zelda series and tank battles where players micromanage throwing items into cannons. This gem is in the same booth with heavyweights from the Final Fantasy series like Final Fantasy XII, Dirge of Cerberus and Final Fantasy III DS. So while you’re waiting in line for hands on time with Vaan’s quest stop and check out Rocket Slime’s lighthearted fun.
SCEA #2416 / Playstation 2
Developed by Level 5 (DQ VIII and the Dark Cloud series), Rogue Galaxy is sort of like the Star Wars of J-RPGs. Players follow a cel-shaded hero called Jester along an intergalactic quest across the galaxy as with a brand new planet just for North America. The battle system should be familiar to action RPG vets, but it has a Chrono Trigger twist. Rogue Galaxy brings back double and triple team attacks. To prevent players from button mashing Rogue Galaxy introduces a stamina system where each move takes energy. Swing your sword or use Jester’s custom gun too much and you’re out of the action for a few seconds. All you Level 5 fans will be happy to know that there is a lot of crafting in the game, based upon Dark Cloud 2’s system with 100 extra items exclusive to SCEAs release.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja
Namco Bandai Games #824 / Playstation 2
It is easy to overlook Naruto: Ultimate Ninja as another anime game or another fighting game, but CyberConnect2 pulled all the punches with the Naruto license. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja takes the cast of the hit anime series on Cartoon Network and pushes them into a two dimensional cel-shaded fighter. The game successfully blends elements of hardcore fighting games like fast counters (replacement jutsu) and multiple backgrounds with a combat system that is fairly easy to learn. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja is easy on the eyes. The number one hyperactive knuckle head ninja from Konhoa village shows off his talents with stunning jutsu moves that switch the action into a movie animation. Even if you don’t know what the “kage no bushin justu” is make sure to spend some time with Naruto: Ultimate Ninja.
Game Infinity #646 South Hall / PC
Think of R2Beat Online as the next game to replace tween games like Maple Story and Gunbound. In R2Beat Online gamers skate to the tempo of the music. By hitting keys on beat you can guide your rollerblading avatar to the finish line. It’s a hybrid game, but nevertheless an interesting concept compared to other racing games on the market. R2Beat Online has another advantage, capitalizing on the growing casual games market. It has low PC requirements and can be played with a standard modem.
Coin Stack 2006
Game Infinity #646 South Hall / Mobile
Skipping Stone is arguably one of the best cell phone games to date and it hit the world by surprise. Its simple gameplay and addictive combo system made it a hit. If there is a game that is going to dethrone Skipping Stone it’s got to be Coin Stack 2006. Already a blockbuster in Korea with a million copies sold Coin Stack 2006 relies on one button gameplay. Just stack up coins by mastering button timing. Simple and addictive.
Gears of War (Microsoft / Xbox 360)
Okami (Capcom / Playstation 2)
LocoRoco (SCEA / PSP)
Phantasy Star Universe (Sega / Xbox 360, PC and Playstation 2)
Disgaea 2 (NIS America / Playstation 2)
* These games didn’t make the list because most people attending the event probably have them on their to see list.