Gamescom: Sony Booth Round-up

By Richard Pilot

Continuing our Gamescom Booth Roundup, we finally come to the third of the big three companies at the show, Sony. As with Microsoft, a big push for Sony was their latest controller, the PlayStation Move, a blend of their original EyeToy tech as well as some Nintendo-inspired accelerometers. You can read our Move Impressions in Editor Matt Bailey's impressions articles (Part 1 and Part 2). Whilst it was clear that Move was a big focus for Sony, there were still a number of non-Move games around the booth, but it seemed a little more dispersed when compared to Microsoft's clearly segmented booth sections. A number of games caught our eye and we've highlight just a few of them below:

Killzone 3

This is one of Sony's flagship titles for their push into the world of 3D games. At first glance Killzone 3 is an impressive looking title. The demo itself was set in Helgast's frozen North, and you're tasked with assaulting some Helgan compounds. The demo that we saw consisted of three different levels that highlighted several distinct types of gameplay from the title. One of the first few levels saw us fighting an uphill battle, Helgan vehicles descended down the hill raining heavy machine fire at you. Luckily you're armed with some explosive weaponry yourself, capable of taking out the oncoming buggies with a single hit. The combat was pretty standard compared to Killzone 2; the weapons feeling great to handle with some fantasticly animated melee actions. The second and third levels showed off the jetpack sequences; attacking an ocean platform amongst the ice, you had to manoeuvre across the icebergs to reach the base. Again this was a great level located amongst some interesting set pieces; the jetpack platforming itself didn't last long, it was just enough to leave us satified without feeling like a tacked on gimmic. Towards the end of the segment, we came across a Helgan squad equipped with their own jetpacks, leading to a great combat sequence with enemies flying around to press their advantage.

Throughout the entire experience, the graphics were incredible, something we've come to expect from the franchise. The addition of 3D, however, seemed more like a gimmick than anything else. Whilst the effects were impressive, there was a range of noticeable problems, although we were not sure whether that was caused by the engine or the tech itself. Ghosting was a common occurrence throughout the demo and close objects such as your hands or the gun during the reloading animations seemed very blurred. The demo was "pre-alpha" code so hopefully some of these issue will be resolved closer to the game's release.

inFamous 2

Taking up a surprising amount of room in the Sony stand was this sequel to last year's open world action game. The demo takes you through a few sections of gameplay. The combat sequence on offer was very short, forcing you to dispatch of a few mutants with an electric sword. The attack animations were smooth and the game slowed down when we were about to make a critical hit. Next up, we had to chase down a limo, the occupant was someone we needed to talk to, although the demo was a little light on the plot. The chase sequence was the most exicting part of the demo, requiring us to shirt along cables using Cole's powers to propel him along. The end of each cable forced us to jump to the next and there were a few points that allowed him to be shot up into the air. At times this felt a little scripted as the limo slowed down to allow us to catch up, but either way it was an enjoyable chase. The last part of the demo pitted us one-on-one against an armed helicopter but luckily we had one last trick up our sleave; the Ionic Vortex. It's a huge twister column of wind and electicity that we sent down the street at the 'copter. Graphically, the game was stunning, in particular the objects flying around everywhere. Again, some of the cutscenes were pre-rendered despite using the in-game engine as objects in our world were missing from the scene but this wasn't really an issue. The demo itself was extremely brief, meaning we only got to try a small sample of what the game had to offer, but the tantalising piece of the pie was more than enough for us to believe it will be a 'must purchase' on launch. We look forward to seeing it next year.

Motorstorm: Apocalypse

Another short demo for this racing sequel. In the demo level we were treated to a race through a city that was being torn apart. It felt very reminisce of the recent post-apocalyptic racer Fuel mixed with the action-oriented racing of Split/Second. The race left us with odd feelings, though. Whilst the race itself was enjoyable we're not sure if it will have the longevity that we would like from a racer, and with other games in the genre such as Gran Turismo 5 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit vying for our attention, this is one game we may have to miss.

Highlight of the booth:

Despite all the motion control focus from Sony, what caught our eye was the sequel to somewhat of a fan favourite on the PlayStation 3, LittleBigPlanet 2. We had so much fun checking out the new gameplay features that was bundled in the game. Interestingly, none of the Move-based features were shown at the show, yet even so we had a blast playing this game. Just a pity it has been delayed until early next year.

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