By Wook Kim
Updated May 12, 2006 at 07:12 PM EDT

Day 2 of E3 began with an appointment with SonyComputer Entertainment prez Kaz Hirai, who rather graciously saidnothing about our arriving 10 minutes late to the meeting. It ended 13hours (and three strawberry smoothies and two chalky power bars) lateras we made a sad trip back to our hotel from Dodger Stadium, where wewere denied entry into the Sony press party. Was it the doing of anirate Mr. Hirai? Nah, it turns out we just forgot to pick up our ticketsat the Sony booth.

Anyway, back to the games. Since the PopWatch staffrather unbelievably chooses not to work weekends (slackers!),we’ll be wrapping up our tireless coverage today. And though wevisited countless (okay, 14) game publishers, limited space (and thelate hour) compels us to offer this abbreviated summary of E3 2006:

ELECTRONIC ARTS

What we liked: Army of Two, an action-packedshooter starring a strangely contentious pair of mercenaries (think: The Odd Couple-meets-Commando) and Madden ’07 for the Wii, in which youcan score a TD with a dazzling 60-yard bomb — and still look like anidiot while using the Wii’s motion-tracking controller.

What we likedbest: Create a space-faring civilization from a single critterof your design with Spore, an utterly fascinating PC title from designer-deityWill Wright.

ACTIVISION

What we liked: Quake Wars: Enemy Territory, afirst-person shooter that can only be played online with other human-controlled soldiers (no lone wolves allowed — teamwork is king).

What weliked best: Marvel Ultimate Alliance, an action/role-playing gamefeaturing 140 famous Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, DocStrange, Thor, and Captain America. Pure catnip for comic geeks.

UBISOFT

What we liked: Just about everything. Ubi isn’t asinstantly reconizable as Electronic Arts or Acitivision, but overallthey featured the strongest lineup of games at the show. Assassin’sCreed, a beautiful Crusades-era adventure, was the best demo we sawrunning on the new PlayStation 3. Creed’s not due til 2007, butanother can’t-miss game, Splinter Cell: Double Agent, will be wowingXbox 360 owners this fall.

What we liked best: The latest Rainbow Six title, Tom Clancy’s RainboxSix Vegas, takes place in Sin City, and so far,this tactical squad-based shooter is coming up aces.

And a few words to our loyal readers:

GatorBait, if you want to be playing on a PS3 thisyear, make sure you place a pre-order somewhere, anywhere. Sony plansto ship no more than 2 million units this November, split betweenJapan, Europe, and North America — and most of those allotted to the U.S.will go to pre-orders made by smart gamers like you. And if you everplan on buying a hi-def TV, spend the extra hundo on the more expensivemodel. Trust us on this one.

Auriana, we saw a cool clip of the Indiana Jones game(in which he battles some baddies atop a runaway cable car in SanFrancisco) and just a few demo scenes from Star Wars: Force Masters(chock full of extra-crunchy Jedi goodness). The good news: Both willlook amazing running on the next-gen consoles. The bad news: Theywon’t be on shelves until sometime in 2007.

Anon. & Auriana (this sounds like a ’70s-era folkduo), we also love the DS and were much impressed by Final Fantasy III(yes, the old-school classic will soon be on the DS), Tony Hawk:Downhill Jam, and Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (the continuing adventuresof Windwaker Link). And don’t forget: New Super Mario Bros. is instores this Monday!

Jackson, sorry, we didn’t hear any news about KOTOR III. We… too… can… dream… ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Well, that’s all folks. See ya next year!

(Additional reporting by Gary Eng Walk)

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