E3 Access 2005 is a four disk DVD set that covers just about everything that went down at E3 2005. It includes previews of over 200 games for all systems as well as the press conferences from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. This isnt the only E3 DVD set on the market, though, and E3 Access has a few issues to push it firmly back into second place in this two-horse race.
E3 Access 2005 has quite a few things going for it. It was produced in cooperation with the people running the E3 Expo so you get an all access, no waiting in lines, first in the doors, and last to leave E3 experience which is very nice. The coverage of the games is also more than just trailers and prepared footage. E3 Access is filled with interviews with developers and gameplay demonstrations where the developers talk about their creations as they are shown. There is also a booth babe featurette with footage of all of the hottest booth babes at E3 2005. This is also the only place you will find the Floored web shows that were posted on E3insider.com during the show as well as the SpikeTV FanCam where one lucky fan was sent to E3 with a video camera strapped to their head. Rounding out the over 14 hours of footage are a making of featurette and a roundtable discussion of E3 with editors from IGN and GameSpy. The coverage is separated into discs for Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and PC and there is a ton of content to dive into here.
I have a few issues with E3 Access, however. For one thing, the menus are hard to navigate. The menus are actually 3D versions of the LA Convention Center where E3 is held each year, but the font they used and the size and the angle you are looking at it make things a little bit hard to read. Another issue I have is that I kind of like just having trailers and gameplay footage and nothing else. NGV (the makers of E3 Access) are very proud of the fact that they went above and beyond to give you better coverage, but I like to just watch the video and listen to the game sounds and music and it is hard to hear stuff when you have an overenthusiastic PR person talking about their game. That is something else that bothers me. Perhaps it is because I get fed a steady stream of PR spin each and every day I come to work, but I dont really want to hear PR people talking up their own games. If they would interview media people as they are playing the games it would be a lot more interesting. Not every game I wanted to see was covered in E3 Access, which was also pretty disappointing.
If It's Your Only Choice ...
There is a lot to like in E3 Access 2005, though. The press conferences are presented in their entirety and arent edited, which is very nice. There are also a huge number of games on the four discs and the games they managed to cover will probably keep about 95% of watchers out there very happy. If you have an interest in games beyond the mainstream, though, there are a few key games that arent shown which is a major bummer. All in all, though, what you will find on E3 Access 2005 is a ton of game coverage and a huge amount of extra features that make this a pretty solid set.
If you cant go to E3, then a DVD set like this is a perfect way to see the games and get a feel for the experience. If this was the only E3 DVD on the market it would be very easy to recommend. Unfortunately for NGV, IGN/GameSpy, and GameStop, this isnt the only set in town and it really suffers in comparison to what GameSpot has put out this year. GameSpots 6 disc set covers more stuff, presents it better, and presents it with much more likeable people than you will find in E3 Access. This set isnt bad by any means, it just isnt nearly as good as the best that is out there. I will say that E3 Access and GameSpots sets give you different footage for quite a few of the games so you can get both of them and really get the ultimate E3 experience. If you can only buy one, though, E3 Access 2005 shouldnt be it.
You can buy E3 Access 2005 at GameStop.