TGS: Booth Round-Up - Sony Scores With PSP, PS2, PS3
Although there are a plethora of games that deserve comment, many of these titles (from Kingdom Hearts II to Metal Gear Ac!d 2) will also be mentioned in other booth reports, so this report will stick to the Sony-created titles for PS2/PSP, and the game preview movies for PS3 (which, by and large, don't appear elsewhere.)
Sony's PlayStation 2 titles were headed up by Rogue Galaxy, the new RPG from Dragon Quest VIII and Dark Cloud creator Level 5, and which shows a neat cel-shaded style alongside some seriously pretty visuals. Oddly enough, it wasn't getting the greatest attention on Sony's stand, but this is partly due to it being an in depth role-playing title, no doubt.
Also showing in prominent positions were Ico follow-up Shadow Of The Colossus, which drew some of the largest crowds, as well as a strict time limit enforcement on playing in case people get lost in its elaborate fantasy world, as well as truly chilling-looking horror follow-up Siren 2, and Ratchet And Clank 4th (aka Ratchet: Deadlocked in the West), which has added the customary eyebrows and bigger puppydog eyeballs to Ratchet to make him Japanese-friendly again. In addition, Polyphony's motorbike sim Tourist Trophy and abstract, intriguingly-looking puzzle title Rule Of Rose were also announced.
Moving on to the PSP, Sony had wi-fi stations throughout the booth, so interested TGS attendees could grab demos of games such as MGA 2 and Loco Roco, which people were in abundance. In fact, the range of PSP software available from first and third parties was impressive compared to the previous relative drought, with a number of intriguing new games.
In Sony's brochure for TGS, its lead PSP title was FukuFuku no Shima, an Animal Crossing-style adventure game with hints of Brain Training in it, made by the Jumping Flash team and clearly looking to capitalize on the success of Nintendo's line of similar DS products. Also present on the booth and causing significant interest was TalkMan, the language training software for PSP which comes with a plug-in microphone, and which attendees could try in a specially soundproofed booth area.
Yet it was two brand new PSP titles that hinted at the even more, dare we say, DS-like direction for some of Sony's first-party games. Loco Roco is a 2D, cartoony title where you have to roll a blob that has realistic physics, Gish-style, to the end of levels, and you can even combine blobs to make larger blobs. It looked like a lot of fun, as did the other odd but intriguing title, Job Hell 2000, which had a number of NES-style game pastiches stitched together in multiple mini-games, much like Wario Ware, even featuring a wood-chopping level with twisted take-offs of Mario and Luigi.
Finally, to the PlayStation 3 area, where versions of the PS3 console behind glass stood attendant while a large number of trailers for next-gen Sony games played on a big screen. The most eagerly awaited and salivated over was the longform clip for Konami's Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which showcases a more mature Solid Snake fighting in a desolate urban arena, and plenty of trademark flippant Hideo Kojima humor. Otherwise, a previously Gamasutra-referenced trailer reveals Project Assassins, and apparently medieval title from the creators of Prince Of Persia at Ubisoft Montreal, a short promo clip of the dragons from Factor 5's Lair also impressed, if gave little idea as to the final game, and other relative surprises included footage from a follow-up to PS2 title Genji, alongside already-seen CG trailers for Evolution Studio's Motor Storm, Sony London's The Getaway, and a sweat-drenched Tekken 6.
Overall, Sony's booth was impressive, especially taking into account all of the third-party titles not mentioned in this round-up. It certainly seems like PSP software support is picking up, albeit in a first-party way that's potentially aping some of the Nintendo DS successes. In addition, it's clear that the PlayStation 2 still has some spectacular titles to come, even as the PlayStation 3 slowly ramps up, but the lack of playable titles or even in-game movies for PS3 underlined how relatively early the console still is. Still, with a total of 102 games from 71 publishers already lined up for PS3, Sony has little to worry about for now on the software support front.