SAN DIEGO—Sony Computer Entertainment America unveiled its first-party and third-party line-up at a two-day press event at its San Diego Studios. For those gamers that have been waiting for a reason to pluck over $600 on a PlayStation 3, Sony finally has some killer apps lined up to entice a wide swath of consumers. There will be a total of 90 third-party games shipping this year for PS3, including 15 exclusive first-party titles. Some of the must-have titles that are likely to lure hardcore and mainstream gamers over to PS3 include “Heavenly Sword,” the fighting game recently featured on “Heroes;” “Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction,” which was part of a recent “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” show; “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” “SOCOM Confrontation” and “Warhawk.” While it wasn’t shown at this event, Sony will showcase another killer app, “Killzone,” at E3 in July. There was certainly plenty of offerings from Sony to go around in San Diego.
The first day of the event was focused on some of the 15 first-party PS3 exclusives that Sony and external developers are working on around the globe. Some of these games are coming out exclusively for the PlayStation Network. On the heels of “Calling All Cars,” which is now available for digital purchase at the PlayStation Store, Sony has some cool original games coming out. For those who haven’t checked out David Jaffe’s high definition “Calling All Cars” game, it’s a must-have multiplayer game that sends animated cars through cartoonish worlds collecting bad guys and dumping them in the jail. It’s simple but addictive and a brilliant original gaming experience.
One of the upcoming new PlayStation Store games that’s sure to generate some attention is “Pain,” a game that catapults a guy into interactive environments and scores points for the most pain injuries. Think of it as the human variation of the Crash mode in EA’s “Burnout” franchise. For something completely different, there’s “High Velocity Bowling.” Anyone who’s played “Wii Sports” on Nintendo knows how addictive Wii Bowling is. Sony’s also incorporated its motion sensor Sixaxis controllers to allow you to roll the ball and even put a curve on it. Another simple, but addictive multiplayer game, this one looked and played great.
When it comes to the big games—those that cost $60 to buy—Insomniac Games has an advantage over the competition. Having released the first 1 million unit seller last year with “Resistance: Fall of Man,” they’re bringing “Ratchet & Clank” to PS3 in a big way. The two levels shown at the event were among the best-looking and most innovative of anything seen over the two days. Anyone who’s played this franchise knows how humor has been blended with weapons for a gaming experience that truly appeals to everyone from the hardcore to the casual. The new disco bomb in “Future” features about 15 licensed songs from the ‘70s. The demo featured “Staying Alive” and every time it exploded, all of the enemies break out into John Travolta-inspired moves. They dance until they drop (and that happens when you kill them). It’s just one example of the creativity in this game, which is breathtaking visually. As always, gamers will be able to choose which weapons they like the best as they explore the lush planet environments and take on a wide variety of enemies.
“Heavenly Sword” is a pick-up-and-play action game that’s come a long way since its E3 debut last year. The environments are stunning and interactive, but the thing I liked most about this demo is how easy it is to pull off complex-looking combos and attacks. The screen quickly fills with enemies but armed with your sword it’s a snap to cut them all to shreds. It’s also fun to go about killing these guys in various ways. The game has a very cinematic feel to it, from the cut scenes to the camera angles. But the thing that will win people over is the gameplay itself. Like God of War, this game blends an intriguing story with Hollywood action and intense combat. It’s definitely the type of game that will make people want to at least check out a PS3 in action.
Naughty Dog’s new game, “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” is a cross between “Tomb Raider” and “Indiana Jones.” It’s a more action-oriented adventure that sends players in search of a lost treasure. Inspired by pulp novels, movies and comic books, this third-person action game features gunplay, hand-to-hand combat and incredible stunts. The game was designed to take advantage of the PS3 and it certainly looked great with its thick jungles and lost Spanish colony backdrops. The game also has an arcade-style gameplay that should appeal to all audiences. The developer was able to attract a huge audience with “Jak & Daxter,” so it’s knows a thing or two about creating fun interactive entertainment that just about everyone can enjoy.