Specials: There's still some life left in the old girl...
While the PlayStation 3 is certainly an enticing piece of hardware, it's outrageous price and small handful of confirmed launch titles will have a lot of people sitting on the next-gen fence come this November. Meanwhile, during this fall and into early next year, the PlayStation 2 will offer loads of gameplay options that just won't be available on the PS3. While new titles like Warhawk and MotorStorm are exciting, there's something to be said about returning to a world you already love. And with the PS2 nearing the end of it's life, developers have finally figured out how to extract the maximum amount of horsepower from the "Emotion Engine."
At their E3 Press Conference Sony promised that at least 216 titles would be released for the PS2 in 2006. In fact, there are more planned titles for the PS2 in 2006 than there are for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii combined. So what am I most excited about? Well...
Rule of Rose
Rule of Rose has been out in Japan for a while and it has earned high marks for it's engrossing story. The Sony Japan published title is an action/adventure hybrid not unlike Indigo Prophecy and another uberJapanese game, Killer 7. This is not exactly surprising when you realize that the developers of Rule of Rose broke off from the same company that the development team behind Killer 7 did. But while Killer 7 found a home (and wildly divergent reviews) in America, Sony thought Rule of Rose was too Japanese to sail across the Pacific (even though all of the game's voice acting is in English). Enter Atlus, who has decided to bring the frightfest to America this fall.
Rule of Rose tells a twisting, turning non-sequential tale about an orphan in 1930's England. Strange things start happening and soon a legion of demons and ghosts are after her. The game's plot is so twisted that it's said you'll constantly be going over the clues in your head, even after your PS2 is powered down. I can't really explain it, I just know that I want it.
Destroy All Humans! 2
The ending of Destroy All Humans! featured the perfect setup for a sequel. Little Crypto had assassinated the President, subdued Majestic and outgunned Silhouette. And as Crypto looks on, every American brain is being harvested for their sweet, sweet DNA. But what of the rest of the world? America only stretched so far in the 1950s. There were dozens of other countries in the world. Actually, I can hear Pox now: ?Crypto, you idiot, I said Destroy ALL Humans! You've only destroyed some of them, get back down there and do it right!?
Developer Pandemic is taking all the complaints they heard about the original Destroy All Humans! and making DAH2 the most efficient human-killing machine on the planet. Players will no longer have to return to the mothership after each mission attempt. They'll also have more options when it comes to free roaming around each worldwide city. But best of all? More ways to destroy the humans!
Crypto will have a whole host of new weapons and powers including the Meteor Strike, the Disclocator, the Transmogrify brain power, Mind Flash (I don't know what this does, but I hope in some way it's inspired by Scanners) and two-player PK Tennis. Oh yeah, throw that cow!
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Word is that is plays almost identically to Mortal Kombat: Deception. So why would someone care about Armageddon? Because it will include every fighter to ever grace the Mortal Kombat tournament that's why. All 55 Kombatants will return to battle Shao Kahn (and presumably The One Being) for a final time before Ed Boon and company bring the series into the next-generation.
As if that weren't enough characters, Armageddon will be the first time a Create-A-Fighter mode rears its head in a Mortal Kombat game. Options will be on hand to change nearly every part of your fighter including the ultimate choice: Create-A-Fatality. I'm not sure how it will work, but the animations from many former fatality favorites can be strung together to create a super Fatality of blood, guts and dismemberment. Some of Midway's sample created characters look a little generic and lame, but I'm sure there's a lot of creative Kombat fans out there who will come up with something ImMortal.
If that weren't enough, Midway has said that Armageddon's Konquest mode will no longer be a series of one-on-one training fights, but a full-fledged Shaolin Monks-inspired experience. Sign me up.
God of War II
While many Sony fanboys howled when it was announced that God of War II would be released on the PS2 in early 2007 (at least three months after the PS3 launch), it's close to a certainty that Kratos' adventures will continue on the PS3 because, in an interview with X-Play, David Jaffe and friends confirmed they are already discussing ideas and gameplay concepts for God of War III. And god-willing, they will be allowed to create what will no doubt be the must-have PS3 title of 2008/2009.
But God of War II has also already impressed with its early E3 look. It brings the same wild action and crazy combat back to Ancient Greece as Kratos must now take up the mantle as the God of War and dispense his own brand of godly, two-fisted justice against the Sisters of Fate. And he'll get to fly.
Expect more gods, more powers, more attacks, more levels, more everything. If God of War II and the rest of these games are to herald the end of the PS2, then it will be a fitting end to what was quite possibly the greatest console library ever.