Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: March 10th
Home is Where the Planet is
Game Developers Conference came and went, as did Phil Harrison's keynote...and what a keynote it was. The unveiling of Home cements a feature for Sony that nobody else has. It was important for Sony's online network to not just be a copy of Xbox Live, but none of us thought that this would be the direction Sony would take. When we reported on the info leaked about Home, it certainly piqued our interests -- but at the same time, we hadn't realized that the scope of the network would be that large.
Sony will offer the network free of charge, but mini-games, furniture for your apartment and a host of other items will have a price-tag on them. The ability to download shows and movies straight from Home will also come quite handy to many of us, and it'll be interesting to see just how broadcast companies utilize Home. I'm certainly anxious to get my hands on the network.
But what I'm even more anxious about is LittleBigPlanet, the co-op four player platform title where you can create your own levels and share them online with your friends. The game makes use of a real-time physics engine that renders everything on screen uniquely, meaning two collisions with an object will likely result in a different impact or recoil. Moreover, did anyone notice how stupidly detailed the textures were? Holy Lord. LittleBigPlanet easily has the most detail in its textures of any next-gen game I can think of.
This Residency Hasn't Changed
Remember last week I talked about how I didn't like Resident Evil 4? I said that the game's awful camera spin not only made me nauseas, but the game itself just felt broken. I said I'd give the game another chance, and I did. And nothing's changed. I got a wicked case of motion sickness again, and I still can't believe just how well received the game was. The camera is horrible. The controls are poor and clunky. And the action is so...boring. I mean, I understand RE4 can't be like Devil May Cry, but I think it's time the series' stale approach at action comes to an end. All I hope is that I'm not the only person in this world who played RE4 and finds it to be rubbish.
Kind of Like a Bimbo...
Yeah, so MotorStorm was another 'come and go' event. I was pretty disappointed at how barebones the game ended up being. Don't get me wrong, the game is a blast, it's just that it's single-player is over way too quick leaving you with nothing else to do besides online. It's still a little hard to believe that the most basic modes found in a racing game were nowhere to be found here. It's a ton of fun online, and it's definitely worth the price of admission there, but otherwise it's a week long rental, at best. One thing's for sure is that Evolution sure did make one impressive physics engine, never mind how pretty the game is, it's physics are astounding.
Some of Us Have Work To Do
So, E3 is looming in just a few short months. The E3 of yore is no more, and the event has become privatized now. It's going to be pretty interesting to see how it all pans out with a new location and atmosphere. One thing's for sure, we won't have to worry about over-zealous retail employees hogging up the controllers, meanwhile their fellow retail cronies form lines to take a picture with that of the opposite gender - *gasp* a hot girl, everyone flock! Oh, yeah...it gets pretty hairy like that. Thankfully booth babes were removed from last year's E3, but unfortunately the EB/GameStop/Wal-Mart-type remained on the loose. July looks promising; hopefully everything works out and we'll be flying over to California to cover E3 this July. At least it's not in Los Angeles anymore...ugh.
The Horizons Look Promising
Last week's hardware and software sales were pretty impressive for Sony, all it takes is a game like Gundam Musou to create a spark and people eat it up. How could you possibly go wrong with a hybrid of Dynasty Warriors and Gundam? Japanese gamers ate it up, as not only did the game sell 180k copies, but it also helped sell 44k PlayStation 3s. These sales are impressive because they're a sampling of the potential behind the PS3's sales and what happens when an average game with a large license is released on it. Yes, Gundam Musou isn't anything better than average.
Lastly, with the European launch two weeks away I wonder how frenzied the demand for the PS3 will be. It's no secret that the PAL regions make up for the largest chunk of the PlayStation install base; but with the whole backwards compatibility ordeal a few weeks back, how many swayed their purchases? I guess we'll be finding out soon enough.
3/10/2007 Arnold Katayev