I just got back from a three day Playstation event in San Diego, and boy is my liver tired. Not to mention my thumbs. Hell, even my jokes could use a nap. Why the tuckered state of me and mine? Because Sony Gamers Day 2007 was such a damned eye opener, I feel like I haven’t blinked in three days.
It got off to a mild, well-mannered start, with a couple party games and some drinks at the hotel bar. But things quickly became raucous and slightly wild as the free beverages began to fuel SingStar ballads, and hilarious rounds of an upcoming PS2 Party / Trivia game called Buzz! What’s rum mixed with jagermeister mixed with pineapple juice mixed with tequila mixed with beer? About .3% of an evening no one really remembers.
So when 7:30 am rolled around and we shambled to Sony’s studios amidst murmurs of "Brrrains" and "Daaaanishes", our nerves were already raw. And by our, I mean the entire video game journalism establishment. In this weakened state, they herded us into a hangar, then blasted our brains out with more impressive media than I could wave a bottle of Maylox at.
I don’t really even know how to transform the event into writing. So, I’m going to model it after Sony’s scandalous God of War II party (the one with topless women, a guy dressed like Kratos, and the infamous dead goat). Although no animals were harmed in the making of Sony Gamer’s Day 2007, several livers and brains were. As a side note, you might also be able to mimic the effect by combining a full body sunburn with an ice water shower, but I recommend reading the following. And so, without further ado…
Breast in Show
I didn’t see any nipples, but before I get to the nuts, bolts and bullets of Warhawk, let me tell you about the Sony Campus Tour.
Sony split us into groups and rotated us through a tour of their studios with periodic stops at the giant modified arcade with all its playable games, including Warhawk.
Once they rotated a group into the arcade, though, no one ever came out, despite the insistence coming over the loudspeaker: "Group C, please report outside for a tour of our Sound Studios…Group C? GROUP C! …Sounds are awesome, people. If it weren’t for them you’d be deaf, now stop playing Warhawk and go outside! GROUP C. That’s it, I’m logging in and pwning you all right now, you’ve left me no choice."
That isn’t verbatim, but you get the point.
Warhawk is an online battlefield shooter where you can run around on foot, roll about in tanks, and best of all, fly or strafe overhead, while raining down hell on your human foes.
By the way, the parts of the tour I saw before getting completely sucked into Warhawk‘s jet engines were very interesting, and I say that without any hint or trace of sarcasm.
Warhawk was simply more interesting than the tour, or the free lunch after the tour. And lucky for you, its open beta begins next week. You can and should sign up here and now.
For my next flimsy act of linking games to mammaries, the girl I sat next to during the LittleBigPlanet demonstration was the video games editor for Penthouse magazine.
But if you think that’s unusual and compelling, you haven’t played LittleBigPlanet, the quirkiest, perkiest little game since Katamari Damacy. Instead of simply providing a charming if brief single player experience, LittleBigPlanet will also be playable cooperatively by up to four players. On top of that, it will feature a level editor that should produce a never-ending web (2.0) of cute content for you and yours to tangle your time together.
|Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune|
There are some things in life you just can’t take your eyes off of. And then there’s George Lucas’s giant neck. It’s like a car accident happened right beneath his chin, and your eyes were the victims.
But let’s quickly change the subject to something you won’t want to take your eyes off of when it hits kiosks in Blockbusters, Wal-Marts and Gamestops this holiday season, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. This Action / Adventure title reminded me of Flashback, in that Drake ran, jumped and rolled through environmental puzzles in lush jungle environments. The jumping and rolling I had seen before. The graphics I had not. Regardless of how much you value visuals, Uncharted raises the bar to a new height, much as Gears of War did months ago.
You may not be able to afford a PS3 when this game lands, but after one glimpse of Uncharted, you’ll wish you could. I don’t know if the game can live up to its graphics, but I call ’em like I see ’em, and this game looks good.
Will the Real God of War Please Stand Up?
The man posing as Kratos at this party was actually Nariko, the heroine of Sony’s upcoming hack, slash and button mash extravaganza, Heavenly Sword.
Her Kratos impersonation was spot on. If the throngs of brainless enemies closed in too tight, she’d roll away, or grab a baddy, and fling him into his buddies.
Just like Kratos.
She also did a flawless version of the war god’s signature theatrics, flipping around on a collapsing bridge to various button prompts. She wasn’t wearing any red paint, but she did have dual chain whips with knives at each end.
There’s only one explanation: The two of them must be dating.
And if she’s wearing his whip knives, he’s probably wearing her underwear.
|God of War: Chains of Olympus|
I could have asked, because he was at the party, but the thought of a chain-knife-whip-wedgie stayed my query. Then again, Kratos is surprisingly short in person. In fact, he was only an inch tall in his new home on the Sony PSP. But he’s as impressive as ever.
From what I saw and played, developer Ready at Dawn has already nailed the gameplay of the Gods.
But if you aren’t familiar with the studio’s other PSP title, Daxter, know this: they won’t be happy merely imitating Kratos. Daxter, for instance, had no loading times, because they were able to stream everything.
These guys are wizards at work within the tower walls of PSP hardware; it’s entirely possible that their creation will storm console heaven, much as Kratos did, and strike a blow against the bigger Gods of War.
No, Folklore isn’t the goat, I am, because I sacrificed most of my would-be time with this game to a three hour Warhawk session. I’m not worthy.
But judging by all the buzz surrounding this unusual adventure, Folklore seems like a story worth telling.
Apparently, you capture the souls of enemies you’ve defeated in battle and then unleash them against other enemies.
We know, that sounds like lots of other games, which may be why we never tore ourselves away from the battlefield to check it out. But evidently you physically rip the souls out of things by yanking on the Sixaxis controller – possibly the best idea for a motion control ever, this soul ripping.
We’ll tell you more, as soon as more of this folktale unfolds.
I saw much more than I’ve mentioned in this feature, including Devil May Cry 4, Lair, Hellboy, Stranglehold, Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow, SOCOM, Pain and PlayStation Home, but the games covered in this feature were the stars of the show, as far as I could tell in my brain-blasted state. That doesn’t mean the rest weren’t awesome or couldn’t be the stars of another, less spectacular extravaganza, but it was hard to see anything past the brilliant, blinding light of Warhawk, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted, Folklore and God of War. Oh my.
So I’ll leave you with this: Since the PS3’s haphazard launch until a few days ago, Sony’s system seemed like a bad ass gun without any bad ass bullets. Well, now it’s loaded, cocked and aimed directly at the coming holiday season. Cover your ears but not your eyes, because the PS3’s lineup just got even more intimidating than its price tag.