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05 Sep, 2006

THQ Loaded 06

PALGN Feature | We check out THQ's upcoming lineup.
We recently had an opportunity to attend THQ's Loaded 06 event in Sydney. It was a chance to look at the upcoming lineup for THQ, Capcom and Sega. Some of the titles on display included S.T.A.L.K.E.R, WWE: Smackdown Vs Raw 2007, Virtua Tennis 3, Sonic the Hedgehog along with Australian developed titles Avatar and Destroy All Humans 2. We didn't get an opportunity to check out every title comprehensively enough to do a preview, so we thought we'd take a look at the whole lineup and give our quick impressions of all of the titles on show.

We had about ten minutes to acquiant ourselves with all of the titles on display until the keynote speeches began. Microsoft's David McLean took to the stage and welcomed the release of the Wii and the PlayStation 3, then Greg Arthurton from Nintendo took the opportunity to introduce some of the Wii launch titles that are being published by THQ. Unfortunately a representative from Sony wasn't able to make an appearance.

PlayStation 3:
Sega had been kind enough to bring over a PlayStation 3 dev kit for everyone to try. Virtua Tennis 3 was hooked up to a large LCD screen and the dev kit was covered up by a white sheet, we think it's possible they wanted us to think the actual Playstation 3 was under there but it didn't seem like anybody was fooled. We've already done a comprehensive preview of Virtua Tennis 3 but what really surprised us about the PlayStation 3 controller was how light it was. For the uninformed, the controller has a small PlayStation logo in the centre of the controller which acts like a guide button and the R2 and L2 buttons have been replaced by triggers. It's hard not to be surprised by the lightness of the PlayStation 3 controller when you first pick it up, but this is probably due to the lack of rumble in the controller and the batteries will probably add some extra weight to the controller as well.

Wii:
Unfortunately Nintendo only brought along a Wii shell with a blue light which emitted from the centre of the console. Whilst we couldn't actually play any games we did take the opportunity to ask about the release date and whether we'll be seeing the console in Australia this year. The Nintendo rep was very confident that we'll actually be seeing the Wii in Australia this year, which is good news for all our Nintendo fans on the forums. According to the rep, we'll also be hearing about a release date within the next fortnight as well. We got an opportunity to take a real close look at the Wii as well, the virtual console controller looks great and the actual Wii controller was a little smaller than I had envisaged. We tried to come back to the Wii about an hour later but the Nintendo Rep had made a run for it, or it could have been that one of the journalists had done a runner.

They told us this was only a Wii shell, but Jeremy still tried to slip the Wiimote into his pocket.

They told us this was only a Wii shell, but Jeremy still tried to slip the Wiimote into his pocket.
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Destroy All Humans 2:
It actually took us a little while to get the courage to wander over to the Destroy All Humans 2 setup because there were two crazy hippies blocking the game whilst smoke flowed out of a display, but once we were over there we were left to our own devices. The original Destroy All Humans was a huge success in PAL regions, so it's no surprise to see a sequel is underway. Local developer Pandemic is behind this game and whilst the game did look pretty similar to it's predecessor it's hard to deny the appeal of running around killing all those weak humans. As is the trend with sequels these days, the game includes more of everything as well as open world gameplay. The PlayStation 2 version looked a little better than the Xbox version but this could just be because there was smoke blowing into my eyes.

Dead Rising:
It took a little while for us to be able to actually get to the Dead Rising stand, not because we weren't interested but because there seemed to always be a crowd of people around the game. We started out in a basement and it took a decent five minutes to actually find any zombies but when we ventured into the mall it was hard not to be overwhelmed by just how many there were. Dead Rising looks like it is going to be an incredibly enjoyable game, at once stage we had a golf club and it was possible to use the club to hit golf balls into the zombies; that kind of feeling is so hard to describe and yet so satisfying.

Lost Planet:
We were a little disappointed that the Lost Planet demo was the same one that was available for all to download at E3. However, having not picked up the game since then, we were reinvigorated by the sheer scale and total action focus that got us excited about the game in the first place. Oh, and did we mention that it looks and runs magnificently. Capcom have just recently confirmed that the game will be released worldwide in January, which is something to look forward to after christmas is over. After Capcom's success with Dead Rising we're really looking forward to seeing what they can do with Lost Planet.

Lighting sets the mood.

Lighting sets the mood.
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S.T.A.L.K.E.R:
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is the long awaited FPS developed by the Ukrainian studio, GSC Game World. First announced in 2001 the game has been through a series of delays. We had a chance to take a look at a build they had running on the show floor. While graphically solid, it was clear that the engine is having a hard time catching up to current generation technology. What’s most appealing is the game’s unique open-ended gameplay. The scenario involves battling against mutant animals and other survivors of a second nuclear blast at Chernobyl. Will S.T.A.L.K.E.R. actually see release? We were told that a demo would be released by the end of October and the full game by March 2007. Don’t hold your breath.

WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2007:
WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 was on display on two Xbox 360 screens as well as two PlayStation 2 units, it had a large amount of floor space devoted to it and the Xbox 360 version was just about always in use. We had a go of the PlayStation 2 version, it doesn't seem like the gameplay has changed all that much but the game will include a tonne of new features including an expanded general manager mode, updated rosters and online play. Wrestling fans are sure to enjoy this game come the end of the year.

Sonic The Hedgehog Titles:
The dev kit for Sonic Rivals was huddled in a corner, so once we found our way to the game it was hard not to be impressed by the speed of the game. The game had a old school feel about it and despite the fact it still has a few months of development to go the game looked visually impressive. The same could be said for Sonic the Hedgehog on the Xbox 360 which looked fantastic, despite the odd frame rate issue and the overly sensitive controls. It's always hard to be optimistic about the Sonic titles but it seems Sega is looking to honor Sonic's 15th anniversary in a big way.

Sonic, back in a big way?

Sonic, back in a big way?
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Avatar:
Avatar is a title that I actually hadn't heard of before having the opportunity to play it on the PlayStation 2. Avatar is being developed by THQ's local Australian Studio. The game is based on the Nickelodeon TV series and will also be making it's way to the Xbox, Gamecube and the Wii. We only had a quick playtime with the game but it seems like a fairly simple hack and slash cel shaded title. In the final game you'll get to play as one of four players and utilise different powers to defeat your enemies. We're very supportive of Australian developers so we're hoping Avatar turns out to be a thoroughly enjoyable game.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab:
PALGN's resident Spongebob fan Jeremy had a go at this game which is coming to the PlayStation 2 and the Wii at launch. When you play a Spongebob title you pretty much know what to expect so people who have liked the previous titles will enjoy this game. This one happens to look like a take on the recent Crash Bandicoot racer, that involved some treking. We actually got stuck at one part of the level and none of us could work out how to navigate past one of the areas, we're pretty sore losers so we'll blame this on the incomplete code. Creature from the Krusty Krab is also confirmed to be a Wii launch title, so it seems THQ will be rather busy when it comes to the launch of the Wii, whenever that date is.

There were a few other PC titles on show that we didn't get a proper look at including Warhammer: 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, this could be because by the time we had finished saying the title the show had finished. Company of Heroes was also on display and it looked very slick indeed (because of this the computer was just about always occupied) as did Medieval II: Total War. Supreme Commander was playing on the large projector, so RTS fans will have a lot of titles to choose from in the next six months.

We'd like to extend our thanks to THQ for the invitation, We'll have more coverage of the LOADED event in the next few days, including a preview of Destroy All Humans 2. In the meantime we suggest you checkout the media panel for some up close images of the Wii and if you strain your eyes at one of the photos we took of the event you could possibly imagine you were there... possibly.

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2 Comments
7 years ago
Ah Wii, its been 4 months since I last lay agaze upon your wonderous beauty.

Not long now icon_biggrin.gif
7 years ago
Yes. The wii is looking as good as ever, even if its only a shell. Looks like some awesome stuff is coming out soon, awesome news.

Coming up on 100 posts. YAY
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