I recently attended an event where I got some hands on time (two hours) with the PS3. It was very nice that this event was crowd controlled – you had to sign-up in advance and they limited the number of sign-ups to a very reasonable number. I showed up a few minutes ahead of my time, got checked in, and they let is in right at the scheduled time.
The setup was probably 20 or so PS3s playing various (mostly) launch titles. I got hands on time with most of the games that interested me. As I said, the size of the crowd was just about right, you could walk up to any game and either sit down and play or watch somebody play for a few minutes and then sit down and play. The only game where there was ever really a wait was (predictably) Resistance: Fall of Man. My impressions:
Resistance: Fall of Man: This is, I think, the major PS3 title. I suspect it will be compared head-to-head with Gears of War on the Xbox 360. The game looked really, really nice, but, I though the control on the right analog stick was set WAY too sensitive. I was watching somebody before I played and they were having a heck of a time aiming and I figured they just hadn’t played console FPS games. Sadly, I also found it was VERY difficult to be accurate. I tried to find a sensitivity setting but the only option was to Invert the Y axis. Overall this does look to be a solid game.
Call of Duty 3: I didn’t sit down and play this but I watched it for a while. I didn’t play more than the demo of Call of Duty 2, but, I have a good idea what it looked like. I didn’t personally see much difference graphically from Call of Duty 2. I suspect it will look identical to the 360 version. At one point it used the motion detection on the controller to shake a guy off of you, kinda hokey looking.
Full Auto 2: Battlelines: I watched this being played for a while. Not really my kind of game but it looked nice. But, it wasn’t the best looking racing game at the event.
Need For Speed Carbon: I played this for a few minutes. Control was pretty good, graphics were very shiny, but shinier than PGR3? Hard for me to say, but, I would guess they aren’t “better” graphics. It did look nice. But, again, it wasn’t the best looking racing game at the event.
Motor Storm: This was, in my opinion, the stand out game at the event. I almost didn’t look at it because I am not a huge racing game fan (short of the SSX games). The game looks phenomenal and plays great. The vehicles each handle differently and appropriately and you can really feel the weight of the vehicle and the variations in the track as you play. This was just a really fun game to both play and watch.
MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE: I watched this game for a few minutes, but, didn’t get around to playing it. It is coming out for every platform under the sun, so, I decided to check it out later. I didn’t see anything in the game that would make it “more special” on the PS3. This isn’t a launch title, but, wow it did look great. It crashed once and had a few minor frame rate issues, but, wow.
Sonic the Hedgehog: I have played the demo of this on the 360. I was underwhelmed with it on the 360 and I was underwhelmed with it on the PS3. The graphics are good but not spectacular. Control was not that great. Oh well, maybe the next Sonic game will get it right. This was the game I saw people having the most trouble controlling.
Tony Hawkâ€™s Project 8: This game looks good, but, I have this same demo on the 360 and it looked and played just like the 360 version. The Nail the Trick stuff in Project 8 is kind of neat, but, I am just not sure how much farther they can take the Tony Hawk franchise… Anyway, I played for a little bit and came back later and watched some others play. What I didn’t know when I was playing was that you can use the motion sensitive controller to serve the function of the left stick, or just for balance, or (lots of options). I watched people playing the game this way and seemed to do pretty well. I am interested in seeing if it gets used or is just a gimmick. I am even more interested in seeing out the Tony Hawk game on the Wii turns out.
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom: Played this for 10 or 15 minutes. It was fun, looked nice, but, didn’t feel especially “next gen”. The graphics were good, but, I wouldn’t call them “great”. Gameplay was fun, control worked well.
Genji: Days of the Blade: This game looked nice, but, to me it looked a lot like Ninety-Nine Nights on the 360. Seemed a little like Dark Kingdom but more slashy. I probably should have played it but it didn’t really grab me.
All in all it was a lot of fun. I am still not buying a PS3 anytime soon. Happily, I only saw one crash. Sadly, I only saw two games use the motion sensitive controller (and only one REALLY using it). What I am most sad about is the lack of rumble in the controller. So many games use rumble effectively now that when it isn’t there it feels like something is missing.