October 8, 2008 // 3:52 am
- Sony converted a downtown Toronto art gallery into PlayStation 3 heaven Tuesday afternoon by outfitting the space with demo stations for dozens of games slated to be released over the holiday months.
Centre stage went to Sony exclusives like Resistance 2, the sequel to the PlayStation 3's top launch title. The second game in this popular sci-fi shooter series continues the story of WWII-era American trooper Nathan Hale as the fight against alien invaders moves from Europe to the United States.
There were half a dozen demo pods running the game, but a pack of excited reporters barred me from taking a turn at the stick. However, the detailed burnt out buildings and horrifically creepy aliens I managed to catch glimpses of over players' shoulders left me with the impression that Resistance 2 could be one of the most visually sophisticated console games of the season.
A first-party game that I did get some controller time on was MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. Disappointing A.I. spoiled the otherwise lovely first game in the series, so I was keen to see if the computer controlled drivers in the sequel exhibited more lifelike behavior than their predecessors. It seems as though they do, but I didn't race enough to know for sure.
And, truth be told, I was more fixated on the game's graphics than my opponents. This is one pretty racer. Its wonderfully mucky tracks and wildly authentic physics (wipeouts are a thing of bone-breaking beauty) have left me itching for more. Its October 28th release date seems too far away.
However, the Sony exclusive I'm most excited about this fall is, of course, LittleBigPlanet. I won't say too much about it here, but instead direct you to the post I wrote about it last week
. Strangely, though, it wasn't attracting all that much attention at Sony's event. I hope it's just because most journalists had already spent plenty of time with the beta version and not because they refuse to give this peculiar but innovative game a chance.
I skipped past many of the third-party games on display, including Fallout 3, Guitar Hero: World Tour, and Prince of Persia, all of which I had already seen at Microsoft's fall showcase in August. However, there were a couple of titles developed by studios not under Sony's umbrella that I hadn't laid eyes on before.
The first was Mirror's Edge (pictured below). It's an original looking first-person...um...running game? A better way to describe it might be video game parkour. The action I saw involved jogging on walls, leaping over gaps between buildings, and sliding under obstacles. I was told this was merely a race mode.
Apparently there's also a story, which focuses on a protagonist named Faith who is trying to clear her sister of a murder she didn't commit. Awards are conferred for working through portions of the story MacGyver-style (for younger readers, that means without shooting anyone).
Electronic Arts' Aaron Krause told me that he hopes Mirror's Edge will attract not just hardcore gamers, but also the kind of people who enjoyed Valve's 3D puzzle game Portal. In other words, it might be a good bet for players who enjoy the first-person perspective but not all of the gunfighting that typically goes with it. To that end, Mirror's Edge offers not only the race mode, but also a series of parkour puzzles that require players to figure out how best to get from point A to point B.
The other third-party game that captured my attention was Valkyria Chronicles, a turn-based strategy game that drops in a dash of real-time action by allowing players to personally control the movement of their characters between turns. It has a wonderfully Japanese aesthetic and a slick presentation that lets players swoop in from a battlefield map to a ground level view of the fight in under a second. Think Fire Emblem, but with more action and fewer grids. It will be available only on the PlayStation 3 when it releases this November.
And that exclusivity is key. The thought bobbing around in my head as I left the event was that Sony really is trying to deliver the goods this fall. They've managed to procure plenty of fun looking PS3-only content while maintaining a strong stable of multi-platform games. What's more, PlayStation 3 hardware now costs more than $200 less than it did when the system first launched.
Assuming the global economic crisis hasn't put a pinch on your pocketbook, there's never been a better time to jump on the PlayStation 3 bandwagon.