[Thanks to – Anthony Guzzardo for this coverage straight from NYC!]
Sony recently showcased some of their finest upcoming titles at a party thrown at Pranna Lounge in New York City. At a simple glance upon entering the Pranna, it was hard not to notice Move players flailing their limbs about, industry people gathered up at the bar having a few laughs, and a Gran Turismo 5 demo booth set up like an old arcade racing game (seat, pedals, and all!). Hit the break for the full coverage recap including impressions on LBP2, Killzone 3 for the Move, GT5 in 3D HD, Infamous 2, The Fight: Lights Out on Move, and more.
I visited the downstairs room first which was set up with kiosks and booths which were demoing LittleBigPlanet 2, Infamous 2, and Killzone 3 among the more popular choices down there. LittleBigPlanet 2 looked and felt like the original hit game so fans of that will surely like its sequel. The claw mechanic certainly adds a fun gameplay element and certain parts are compatible with Move, though I unfortunately didn’t get to play through one of them.
Infamous 2 is massive on every level. It is bigger and more cinematic than the first game. As you’re fighting off enemies, who armor up better by the way, the camera swoops and dives into angles that make you feel like you’re directing an action film. It really puts you into the action – which is also much bigger in this game. The lightning tornadoes that Cole throws are not only powerful, but fun to watch as pedestrians, cars, and debris all get sucked into the cyclones and are strewn about causing massive environmental damage and a good workout of the game’s physics engine.
The last game I played downstairs was Killzone 3. This was an interesting experience as it was the first time that I’d held Move controllers for a game that didn’t scream “TECH DEMO”. Do any early Wii adopters remember how early theorization led people to believe it’d be the ultimate FPS experience for console gamers? Now do any of you early adopters remember how it felt to pop in say, Call of Duty 3 for the first time? Total disappointment, you say? Not with Killzone 3! It’s an extremely intense experience with controls that do take a bit to get used to, but once you do, you will revel in the amount of murderous insanity ahead. Stabbing an enemy to death through his eye never felt as satisfying as it does while playing with the Move controllers. Potentially the most surprising thing was the inclusion of a competent partner during the single player campaign. That’s right! No more running away and no more head-scratching moments of stupidity. Your partner will shoot down enemies as good as you can, will revive you when your down and will even do your laundry for you when asked – well maybe not that last one, but it’s great to finally see your AI partner frustrate you less than usual.
Heading upstairs where the majority of the kiosks were, I couldn’t help but notice an overwhelming (but obvious) abundance of Move games available to play. I had a lot of fun with Killzone 3 so the rest have to be just as great, right? Don’t be so quick to say yes. The Shoot is a first person shooter that is essentially a fresher version of the old light gun game, Police Trainer. You play through different movie-themed levels (including an old west one reminiscent of “Mad Dog McCree”) where you shoot at enemies, destroy environments, and try not to hit bystanders that pop up from nowhere. Seriously, ladies and gentlemen, would YOU ever get in between deadly robots and heroic humans shooting at each other? I digress. You can play the scene with a friend, but that won’t make the game any more of a challenge. The most intriguing part about it was the Move gun peripheral. It looked like some sort of futuristic ray gun which was cool, but it seems like it may not take much use for its performance to suffer. One gun I played with was perfect. It had great response time. The other gun suffered from poorer performance and had loudly squeaked every time the trigger was pressed. Is it a problem? I couldn’t say. Was it annoying? Absolutely.
Another Move game demoed upstairs was The Fight: Lights Out. At its core, the game is a more mature version of the boxing games showcased on the Wii and Kinect. However, unlike those games, The Fight is a much deeper game underneath its rough edged surface. You play as and play against a number of tough, thuggish characters in a series of street fights where you win money and status. The entire scenario, from the fighters to the environments, reminded me of a darker version of the old Pit Fighter games. The controls were 1:1, smooth and responsive – something I can’t say for the Wii and Kinect games of this ilk. The use of dirty tactics was also a welcome change of pace. It’s an anything-goes street fight so why stick to fisticuffs? Headlocks and headbuts are welcomed here. Of note was a post-match calorie counter, an unexpected but nice small addition to the game. Considering how much the average user will flail about playing these types of games, I’m surprised to have only really seen it utilized in a brawling game. Among the online game types The Fight offers is one where users can watch other players’ fights and bet on them for power-ups and better clothing among other things. The game was a fun surprise. Give it a chance and it might surprise you too.
The final game I checked out was Gran Turismo 5. As previously mentioned, this long awaited title was being demoed in an old school arcade racing booth. While cool to view and goof around with while playing, for serious preview purposes I felt it was a hindrance since I like to experience something as I and an overwhelming majority of players of this game would – controller in hand and no pants on – okay maybe that’s just me. Long time fans will be happy to know that it plays just as a Gran Turismo game should and is by far the most beautiful looking iteration of the series. I also took some time to drive a go kart. Forget your sleek Italian roadsters, I’ll take a go kart any day! One interesting part of the demo is that it was presented in 3D HD. Yes that means I had to wear the goofy goggles while playing. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to make much of a difference to the overall experience. Things looked sharper, as they should, but there were no eye popping moments of complete immersion.
There were plenty of other games on display, such as Motorstorm Apocalypse (and God of War: Ghost of Sparta which was practically shoved into a dark corner en route to the downstairs showroom) but lights were coming on and the night was quickly coming to an end. Sony brought their best and did not disappoint. The AAA titles were brilliant as expected and small surprises like The Fight: Lights Out really made up for the lack of depth in some of the early titles for the highly touted Move. The only thing that would have made the experience even better would have been an appearance from the VP of Free Food himself, Kevin Butler, but seeing as he’s still holed up in some family’s house, I can at least hold out hope for the next Sony event.
– Anthony Guzzardo