Specials: Molly Ringwald not included
Sony made a lot of noise at this year's E3, but it centered around the PlayStation 3 and the controversy over the expensive price and some accusations about 'copying' the competition. Sadly what was lost in the mix was a surprisingly strong showing on the software end of things, as Sony and their 3rd parties had plenty of games on display; and not just for PS3, but PSP and the PS2 as well. If Sony plans to keep PS2 alive for a while longer, there's hope, if Sony hopes to keep the PSP vital, this year finally showed its potential, and if Sony has any chance of making people swallow their pride and spend $500-600 on a game console, these hyped games absolutely have to deliver and make people need
a PS3. I've taken the time to pick out 5 games for each platform that show what's coming, and indicate that yes, all three systems do have futures regardless of what anyone says about them.
Lost in the madness that was the shocking price announcement were a decent selection of games that hold the potential to be very good and give future PS3 owners something to look forward to and make the $500-600 price somewhat tolerable. Some of these games were playable on the floor, some were behind closed doors, and a couple were in trailer form only. But they're games and every one of these could be the sorts of killer apps which push PlayStation 3 systems regardless of price. Remember: neither Halo or GTA3 were setting the world on fire before they, well, set the world on fire. The one good thing for price-conscious gamers ? the two highest profile titles on my top 5 won't be out for a while, meaning the system should be $400 by then, if the history of optical media tells the story. In other words: Blu-Ray should be pretty inexpensive by fall of 2007.
#5: Resistance: Fall of Man
A long time ago, Insomniac Games created a first-person shooter for PlayStation called Disruptor. Because of its 1996 release date ? before the PS1 came into its own ? most people don't remember this classic corridor shooter which demonstrated that Insominac were a talented developer with potential for greatness, as we saw with the PS1 Spyro games and of course Ratchet & Clank. Resistance is a throwback to Insomniac's Disruptor origins, as it's a first-person shooter. On the surface it looks like any old WWII FPS, another in a genre already watered down with crap. But as E3 2005's trailer showed, it's not what you'd expect. Instead of Nazi's, you shoot up an alien race who have invaded an alternate mid-20th century Europe and destroying it one by one. Yeah, it's different. The game resembles the insanity of Call of Duty, with fellow soldiers doing battle in the middle of destroyed European cities, but the twist of aliens and unique weaponry makes this a familiar departure if there ever was one. Knowing Insomniac's pedigree, this potentially could be the initial top-selling PS3 game if it indeed makes launch.
#4: Final Fantasy XIII
Even with Final Fantasy XII still in the future, Square Enix didn't waste time unveiling FFXIII and its sequel(?!?), Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Even in trailer form, this 13th installment of the FF franchise looks to be a serious departure and yet another leap into the next generation, in the same fashion FFVII redefined the series on PlayStation and FFX again reinvented it on PS2. A much more science fiction oriented universe seems to be the theme, with a badass female lead using her own version of a gunblade or something like that. We really don't know much of anything about the plot, the characters, or the world; this was a real teaser showing what kind of performance Square is getting out of PS3. And we know these guys know how to pull miracles on PS2 judging by their high-quality library. Final Fantasy XIII is simply intriguing and I'm really looking forward to learning more about it when Square decides to talk about it in more detail.
#3: Heavenly Sword
When this game was shown off at E3 2005, it became one of my more anticipated PS3 games. Sure, the game looked more like Goddess of War and not much else, Ninja Theory has spent a lot of time getting the game to look great and play very well if E3 is any indication. The action looks intense with plenty of action and adventure, though little is known of the plot aside of knowing we get to kick lots of ass with another killer female character. It doesn't sound like Heavenly Sword will make PS3's launch window but it very well could be the sort of Spring game to spearhead sales once we get past that key Christmas season. Sony's only concern is putting it up against God of War II, as that could be unfair to both games. Competition between games from the same publisher is baaaaaaad. So let's hope that's not the case.
#2: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
It's a bummer Sony only had the short version of the MGS4 trailer during their press conference, as the one shown at the Konami show was nothing short of spectacular. Hideo Kojima seems adamant that this will be the end of the Snake story, as almost every major MGS character is here, and the plot shown seems to lean towards one final battle for the rapidly aging Snake, who is old, broken, and more cynical than ever. It doesn't hurt that one of the final shots shows Snake looking to kill himself to prevent his genes from being passed along. MGS4 takes place in a bleak, dead world that knows nothing but war, with dozens of mini-Metal Gears floating around fighting just for the sake of fighting...until Raiden showed up. And kicked serious amounts of ass. The guy really has manned up since MGS2. Hopefully by 2007 the PS3 drops in price enough so more people can experience what very well could be the finale of Metal Gear.
#1: Assassin's Creed
Seriously now. You play an assassin. During the Crusades. The game is designed by Ubisoft Montreal who made the amazing Splinter Cell series and Prince of Persia. Assassin's Creed has everything going for it, and for right now it's apparently only on PlayStation 3, though this is Ubisoft we're talking about ? they make Capcom look like the champions of exclusivity. Taking place in an open world where you're able to do whatever you wish, Assassin's Creed might be the sort of game that proves original franchises can still work today. The pedigree is amazing; surely you can expect the Splinter Cell experience to rub off, and the PoP side of things is already evident with the nimble movements (you can climb almost anywhere) and strong looking combat. It's too bad the game won't make launch because far as I'm concerned this is a definite system seller. And it came out of nowhere.