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Sony shines at Holiday Event

October 12, 2007

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Sony PlayStation Holiday! Santa better save some room on that sleigh come December. Based on the multitude of games on display at the PlayStation Holiday Preview Event in Toronto, Sony has a lot of holiday gaming goodness waiting in the wings.

If there was one common element that really stood out no matter which booth you went to was the PlayStation 3 graphics. Sharp, detailed and colourful, most of the PS3 titles were really darn perty to look at. So much so that the PS2 games really looked really out of place next to their flashy and polished next-gen brethren.

Wandering through the cacophony of sights and sounds, we took some of the titles out for a spin and here are our first impressions.


Sony: Army of TwoArmy of Two
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Montreal
Release Date: November 13th

More and more it is looking like the PlayStation will have its 'Gears of War' come November. Having played both titles, the comparisons are undeniable. 'Army' has the same exact hide and seek gameplay as 'Gears' but there seems to be some clever multiplayer mechanics that are at the core of the game. For example: You must help each other scale over walls and complete other tasks in order to proceed. Known for their clever AI work, EA doesn't disappoint. AI enemies will often try to outflank you or race you to secure key combat positions. Although the solo AI wasn't on hand to compare, 'Army' looks like a truly comprehensive co-op experience that may indeed raise the bar like the first 'Lego Star Wars' did in 2005.


Sony: Ratchet and ClankRatchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: October 30

Man, talk about crazy, insane fun. I am not the biggest fan of platform games but what little I played of 'Tools of Destruction' had me definitely wanting more. In a span of a few minutes, I was running along a collapsed bridge while battling robots, skydiving through the air while using the motion sensitive Sixaxis controller to guide my fall and sliding along railway tracks avoiding laser blasts and death-dealing trains. If the
entire game maintains such a pace, 'Tools of Destruction' will surely be one heck of a thrill ride and as campy as the other entries in the series.


Sony: Dark SectorDark Sector
Publisher: D3
Developer: Digital Extremes
Release Date: January 22, 2008

From the slime on the subterranean tunnels walls to the shadows generated by firelight, Dark Sector looks astounding. Unlike other titles that are all flash and little substance, Dark Sector has the gritty gameplay to
match. As a black-ops agent who looks very similar to Gabe Logan from Syphon Filter, you get to toss around the "glaive", a razor-sharp boomerang-like weapon that can also be used to hack and slash in
hand-to-hand combat with brutal results. You can also 'equip' the glaive with fire and electricity by throwing it through flames or wires. Again, much like 'Gears', a lot of the game requires you to duck for cover while strategically attacking your foes. Did I mention the game looks great?


Sony: WWE Smackdown! vs. RAW 2008WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008.
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Yuke's
Genre: Wrestling
Release Date: November 13th

The best wrestling game ever made returns with a face-lift of sorts, not that it really needed much of one. 2007 was as perfect as you can get. You can start up the EC DUB!! chants as the hardcore federation finally joins the Raw and Smackdown! superstars this year. Yep. You no longer have to create your own from scratch as the Extreme Superstars are all in the game. There is also a new special Extreme Rules Match that contains all sorts of zany weapons like the Sandman's favourite...a nasty Singapore Cane.

To improve things, Yuke's has combined the GM and Season modes into something they are calling "24/7" where your goal isn't to just make it to 'WrestleMania' but to become a pro wrestling legend. There is a new defensive grappling/submission system and Yuke's has introduced a multitude of different fighting styles (Hardcore, Dirty, Technical) that will have an impact on how each wrestler handles and performs. As an added bonus, on the PS3 you will be able to use the Sixaxis controller to enter 'first person' mode and experience the game from a different perspective.


Sony: Rock BandRock Band
Publisher: MTV Games
Developer: Harmonix Music
Release Date: Nov 23, 2007

Hearing about it and playing it are two different things. At the Sony show, the whole ensemble was there to try out: a microphone for the vocalist, the Fender Stratocaster guitars and the drum set. Based on the chemistry of the volunteers who were clambering to try out the game, it is probably safe to say that come November there will be many openings for lead singers in Rock Band multiplayer groups. People tended to shy away from that peripheral even though it can be hit to produce tambourine sounds. Nice.

The screen set-up has the vocal track at the top using the same game mechanics as 'Sing Star', the guitars down below and the drum track in the middle. Some of the songs to select from were Bowie's "Suffragette City" Nirvana's "In Bloom" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". Each player can choose their own individual game level before each song and the players are rewarded for playing in "unison". A total blast no matter which instrument you use.

The ultimate party game? Does Gene Simmons breath fire?

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