Most racing games are all about timing. Study the course and you’ll find the best spots to turn, brake, and accelerate. It’s almost like clockwork – barring a bump from a competitor.
In “Grid 2,” you can’t memorize the racecourse because it changes while the event is still going on. It is alive.
During a hands-on multi-player demonstration, developers from Codemaster showed off the sequel to their 2008 title, “Race Driver: GRID.” Eight competitors jammed in a room to take a turn at the wheel, but the final version allows up to 12 racers to connect online.
There are three different races to experience: checkpoint, endurance, and circuit. Each has its own quirks and strategies so being successful at them all will definitely test your skills.
Checkpoint racing is all about surviving as long as you can and go farther than your opponents. While the competition is head-to-head, it is all about hitting the next checkpoint to add more time. The more time you have, the farther you go.
Seems easy enough until you get tangled up with someone in a corner and are scrambling to hit the next mark. Staying out in front seems to be the best strategy, but everyone is vying for that position. Or do you run a slower, but smarter race just to stay alive longer?
Circuit racing is three laps around real world courses and different settings. This is what racing typically is about and selection of cars’ specifications is important. Choose a car that’s right for your style and you’ll have success.
Endurance is a five-minute race to see who can travel the farthest. It is different from checkpoint racing in a couple of aspects.
It is a staggered, rolling start and cars are strung out at the beginning. No bumping or blocking at the start line.
More importantly, the track changes as the race goes on. In a feature developers called “live routes,” parts of the race course will change with new turns and straightaways cropping up in new places.
Lead level designer Graham Bromley said the course would organically move around the barrier structures in the race to keep drivers on their toes.
“Previously, drivers were conditioned about what was on the course,” he said. “This will make them more reactive to the changes and really open up the races in new and exciting ways.”
Connecting with drivers online not only offers head-to-head racing, but also senior game designer Lee Roberts said rivalries and global challenges will be a part of “Grid 2.”
“We’ll have nine events weekly that reset every week so there is always something fresh for the player,” Roberts said. “Rivals will be matched up to your play style and region. You won’t get someone who is half way around the world. It will be someone who you can race against regularly.”
Bromley said they’ve added features to cut out griefing and cheating in the game. He said they really want players to enjoy coming to the global games and know they are going to have fun.
If multi-player isn’t your bag, there is a single player campaign putting you in the fire suit of Patrick Callahan, an up and coming racer who is ready to put his name at the top of the leader boards.
“You live his life, but you’ll be writing your own story as you go along,” Roberts said. Fourteen locations, 93 routes and four different tiers challenge the player as you progress.
Both Roberts and Bromley spoke about changes in the appearance and gameplay for the new title. There are also plans to let players take the game with them as they go.
“We didn’t want to lose the feel of the original GRID,” Roberts said. “But we didn’t want to bring out something that wasn’t a step forward.”
“It is also about extending the game experience and staying connected,” Bromley said. He said players could stay in touch through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter with a mobile app in the near future.
“It all about the synergy of track and car,” he said. “That’s where we’ve put out efforts with this talented studio. An emphasis on skill.”
Roberts also said players who can work the courses well would get visual treats. He specifically mentioned the race in Paris.
“If you master the draft just right around this one corner, you get a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower out your windshield,” Roberts said. “That’s my ‘wow’ moment in the game. It is so beautiful.”
“Grid 2” is set for release worldwide on May 28 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
The 17th title in the “Need for Speed” series, this is the second one developed by Slightly Mad Studios and a direct sequel to the 2009 “Shift” title. “Shift 2: Unleashed” (Electronic Arts, Slightly Mad Studios) does its best to put the player in the driver’s seat and have them experience as much realistic racing as possible.
The game features 125 cars and more than 100 different tracks. Executive producer Marcus Neilson said they wanted to use the momentum from previous titles and improve on the handling, artificial intelligence, and graphics.
“We wanted to give the players the cars they wanted to drive,” Neilson said. “It was all about driving innovation forward.”
The most obvious improvement is the helmet cam view. Most driving games have a cockpit view, but “Shift 2” puts the player in the seat and straps the helmet on your head.
The view is affected by G forces as you accelerate and brake. As you approach corners, the view changes slightly to let you peek around to see what’s coming up just as a real driver would.
Professional racer Tommy Milner demonstrated the game at an event in Washington, DC, and helped developers understand what drivers experience in real racing cars. Milner was on the winning team of the 2011 Dubai 24 24-Hour Race so he knows what it is like to spend a lot of time in the driver’s seat.
“The helmet cam was a little distracting at first, but it got really clear a couple of laps in,” Milner explained. “It is first-person intense and naturally instinctive when you are driving.”
Milner said the focus on the road remains crisp, but as the course becomes more demanding, items in the periphery become blurred. The dashboard gets out of focus and the side and rear view mirrors blur because the intensity of the course demands your attention.
“I use some of the same techniques I use in real life. My brake points on tracks I’ve done in real life are identical to the ones I need in the game,” Milner said. “All of these little details in the game make it more realistic.”
“We want to deliver the most authentic driving experience ever, and we listened to the drivers a lot,” Neilson added.
Handling and tuning on the cars has also been expanded. Race winnings translate into better upgrades for your vehicles, allowing you to transform a Ford Focus into a super powered Works racing machine.
Drivers can also experience night driving for the first time with just their headlines to light the way. If you choose the full damage setting, take care to protect those lights. Driving twisty road courses with only one headlight is absolutely nerve wracking.
“Racing at night, you lose your reference points you use during daylight,” Milner said. “At nighttime, you have to relearn the track.”
For online racing, Autolog is back. Introduced during “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit,” the Autolog feature takes racing into the social realm with your gaming friends.
Not only can you compete against others by posting faster times than your friends, you can also recommend and get recommendations about great races and tracks. When you post a personal record or best time on a course, Autolog will notify your racing friends and give you bragging rights – until one of your friends comes along and takes the title away from you.
“We are targeting a slight different demographic from the gear heads,” Neilson said. “We really wanted to make a racing game for racing fans.”
The career mode is where “Shift 2” really shines with a progressive learning curve and exciting races to choose from. The path is not linear, but does unlock different levels as driver experience increases.
From the beginning, new drivers are dropped immediately into a couple of evaluation races. This way, the game can automatically find out which settings are best for your driving style.
Don’t worry. If you want to change the settings, you can. But the early races give you a great feel for what is coming up in the career mode.
There are several competitions available at each level and winning gains valuable experience points and money for upgrades and new cars. Real and fantasy tracks open up and feel genuine with rough streets courses and winding road courses.
Overall, “Shift 2” delivers on its promise of realism and brings home the checkered flag. The helmet cam view and feel adds something not found in other racing games. It challenges the driver to really immerse themselves in the course and the race.
The AI is smart and will give room (or crowd you) depending on how you are driving. They don’t follow a predetermined route at all costs, which has always been frustrating in the past.
The variety of cars and tweaks available can put you in just about any machine you would want to race. And the upgrades allow you to make your dream car ready to compete in nearly any classification.
“Every race is fun and different,” Neilson said. “We’ve created a game that keeps up the energy. We wanted to make sure every second is intensive and fun.”
“Shift 2: Unleashed” is available now for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It is rated E for everyone with notations on mild suggestive themes and mild violence. This review was done playing a retail version of the Limited Edition game on the Xbox 360.
A new driving game attempts to tap into the thrill of driving on the open road in scenic areas with not a care on your mind. Until you decide to sign up for that dirt race across mountainous roads with switchback curves and no pavement.
“Test Drive Unlimited 2” (Eden Games, Atari) breaks out of the mold for “driving as racing” games and introduces social and exploration skills as part of their MOOR – massively open online racing game. It is more about the driving experience rather than constantly racing others for win and points.
Starting off as a valet at a hotel on the island of Ibiza off the coast of Spain, I was quickly recruited to participate in a television show that features racing around the streets of a resort city. But once I got my license, car and first win, I quickly found out that there is more than racing to this game.
To raise my level in the game, I needed to do more than win championships (which unlocks other championships). I needed to explore, collect and socialize with other players to increase my skills and get to higher levels.
First things first. The vehicles.
The selection of available cars is extensive, but not overwhelming. Nearly 100 cars can be won or purchased once you earn enough money.
There is some customization of the vehicles at the body shops, but most is just cosmetic. This isn’t a game for gear heads. There are different levels of engines, brakes and the like that can be bought to improve performance with no specific tuning required.
The vehicles have a decent feel to them while driving. Not simulation, but not arcade style either. There is a consistency of physics to their reactions on the roads. Heavier vehicles take longer to accelerate and stop while smaller cars feel more nimble.
They aren’t difficult to drive, but my ’68 Mustang Fastback definitely needed new tires from the get-go with hardly any grip.
Racing championships are held in 6 stages that involve timed events, elimination races, radar events and door to door racing. Finish high enough and accumulate enough points to win and unlock the next championship.
Exploration levels and collection levels keep track of how many new roads you’ve discovered, how many scenic locations you can photograph and how many old wrecks you can find hidden in the off road areas.
Designers wanted to keep the environment lively so there is plenty to see and look at as you explore the different islands in the game. Whether you stay on the asphalt or decide to head for the hills off road, each contains enough signature places to hold your interest while you rack up the miles.
Also, you can find points of interest along the way that will invite you to join in a group race, transport someone to another location or even where you can get your hair done.
It is the social aspect where TDU2 really wants to shine. Other players populate the island at the same time as you drive around and can interact with you when you cross paths.
They can challenge you to an instant race with just the two of you, help create a group of drivers for a special challenge or even assist completing some tasks. Developers are ready to support thousands of players in the game world, but due to graphic limits, attempt to manage how many players are being shown at any one time.
This can sometimes lead to what I call ghost car syndrome – driving up on an intersection to see a car stopped at a red light only to pass right through that car instead of colliding with it or the car simply disappear from view as if it never existed.
It is a minor thing when compared to the expansive areas and number of players they want to populate the game. But it does take away from the immersion factor of the game.
“Test Drive Unlimited 2” does have some more pressing issues than ghost cars.
The voice acting is terrible. The script is so over the top outrageous that I began to wonder if they were actually poking fun at the characters.
The characters themselves aren’t very exciting. You can change how you look once you find a plastic surgeon, but lots of players end up looking a lot like each other. Or maybe my avatar just had a lot of identical brothers on the island.
Despite the points of interest and expansive layout, most of the off road environments were of the copy and paste variety. However, designers did create floating icons over the points of interest so that they could be easily spotted at 110 mph, which was very helpful.
Overall, TDU2 is not a game if you want to go racing. It is a game that is designed to go sightseeing with your friends and enjoy a picturesque sunset off the shores of Hawaii.
The social aspects and leveling requirements are interesting for a console game. There is a feeling of being able to do whatever you want, but only if you aren’t interested in leveling up.
It is a MOOR with only a portion of it dedicated to the R. But that is what they wanted it to be.
“Test Drive Unlimited 2” is rated T for teens (lyrics, mild suggestive themes, simulated gambling) and is available now on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. This review was done using a preview version of the Xbox 360 game.
While playing the latest incarnation of “Gran Turismo 5,” you may find yourself asking the same question after experiencing the lush detail and amazing graphics from this racing simulator. But is it too real?
Six years in the making from Polyphony Digital and Sony Computer Entertainment, “Gran Turismo 5” features over 1,000 automobiles and 71 different tracks so it is a very deep experience. From everyday cars like the Mini Cooper S to powerful NASCAR machines to prototype vehicles built by Ferrari, drivers can tailor their game to whatever style they wish.
The “devil is in the details” and GT5’s detail into each car is painstakingly accurate. Cars not only look and feel like the real thing, but sounds like them as well. While playing with the Cooper, my wife wandered into the room because she heard what sounded like her car and was amazed how much it resembled what sits in our garage.
The vehicles behave as they should, reacting to weight shifts and (new this year) sustaining damage that actually matters a little. Cars can also be tuned to change their suspension, power or grip on the road.
This is a car nut’s dream.
However, it may not be a racing game nut’s dream. The realism almost gets in the way of making this an experience that will reach out to racers.
In single player mode, there are races that are limited to specific makes and model years, but no easy way to find a car that fits those criteria. You’ll spend time going through hundreds of cars only to find out that (a) you don’t have enough credits to get the car or (b) you don’t have enough experience to drive it.
The artificial intelligence is either too aggressive or too single-minded at times. Some of my races ended prematurely when I got hooked from the side by another driver or forced off the road because the AI didn’t want to take another route. It was like driving against multiple Dale Earnhardts at times.
The feedback on the driving conditions was great. Bumps felt like bumps, resistance when sliding and getting some air when cresting a small hill at high speed.
But the view of the action was limited with the lack of a cockpit view and forced me to drive from a front bumper/hood viewpoint.
There is also a single player mode that allows players to control a team of racers, pitting them against competitions and helping them grow and get better. It is good if your idea of fun is being the owner/general manager instead of getting behind the wheel yourself.
The online version is pretty much straight up racing, but doesn’t disappoint. Social additions, like posting videos to YouTube and upload pictures to your personalized wall offer plenty of opportunities to show off your driving talents.
Up to 16 people can compete at any one time and I didn’t have any troubles with lagging or drop outs so it appears Sony has done the backend work on their servers to handle the crush of drivers.
Despite opting for the rather large download at the beginning that claimed to speed up in-game action, GT5 has download screens after nearly every menu choice. And don’t get me started on the soundtrack which seems to be a mix of smooth jazz and 70s porn music. Ugh.
In the end, “Gran Turismo 5” is a visually stunning game that hides what is basically a one-trick pony – even though that pony is gorgeous. Buy a car. Race it. Buy another car. Race that one too.
Unless you are a gear head, the option of tuning a car isn’t that inspiring when you can find another, more powerful and better handling car waiting for you at the dealership.
But the game’s brilliance lies in the driving, and for that, it takes home the checkered flag for providing a racing experience that is minutely detailed with a lifelike feel that almost has the wind blowing against your cheeks.
Be prepared for some uglier moments when you get off the track.
“Gran Turismo 5” is an exclusive title for the PlayStation 3. This game was reviewed by using the standard PS3 Sixaxis controller as well as the Logitech Driving Force GT steering controller. It is rated E for everyone.
The game from Criterion and Electronic Arts is the latest in the “Need For Speed” series and features many of the world’s foremost performance machines. It garnered early praise by receiving the “Best Racing Game” award at this year’s E3 convention in Los Angeles.
The action is split into two sides – racers and police. Each side has a wide variety of automobiles at their disposal and objectives are vastly different depending on which side of the law you want to play.
Racer missions consist of getting from point A to point B as fast as you can. Sometimes, you will be pitted in a straight race against other drivers, but police chase vehicles join in the action to provide further inspiration in your run to victory.
Police missions are exactly what you’d expect – chase down and bust (i.e. – wreck) the dangerous speeders in your territory. Often, you’ll be expected to shut down an entire pack of daredevil drivers so pick them off one at a time.
The automobiles are the real stars of the game. From car makers such as Alfa Romer and Aston Martin to Porsche and Subaru, the cars are the best in speed and performance that are on the road.
Many of the models can be played by either side but some are limited either to racing or police. Wait until you see a Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggra dressed up in black and white.
The driving is fantastic and, while it doesn’t handle exactly like it would in real life, each car responds differently under a variety of driving conditions. Heavier cars don’t corner as well as lighter cars, but do perform better in off-road situations than their less-weighty brothers.
The controls make a nice blend of precision driving skill with a touch of arcade style driving so the game can be picked up easily. There are also plenty of tips to help you out in case you want to hone your skills even further.
And just in case you were wondering, it will take more than speed to complete your missions.
Police have a variety of weapons at their disposal to bring racers to a halt. Stop sticks, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) charges, road blocks and helicopter support are all available to stop the race and nab the bad guys.
Racers are not without their own weapons as well. They also have stop sticks and EMP, but they also have a jamming device to block police signals and a turbo boost that really should only be used on straightaways for maximum effect.
More cars, stronger weapons and faster challenges get unlocked as the player progresses. Those advancements also transfer over to use in online multiplayer action.
The online action really wants to involve your friends. You can post photos, best times or directly challenge your buds and give you bragging rights over their weak driving skills.
But what if none of your friends has “NFS:HP” yet? Don’t despair for the game will set you up against opponents from around the world to show off your abilities in straight racing or chase modes.
Those who want to play demo derby with their cars will find themselves in the back of the pack. This is a racing game for cars designed to highlight performance and speed – no NASCAR drivers needed.
The tracks are varied with shortcuts sprinkled throughout to gain a racing advantage or cut off a bad guy. Weather changes, daylight versus darkness and road conditions all play a part in each contest.
There is some variety to the environments but often it gets overlooked as you speed past. I was busy admiring a breathtaking waterfall and neglected to notice the hairpin turn that was fast approaching.
Overall, the game is slick and well polished. The action is immersive; the cars are intense; and the thrill is on-the-edge-of-your-seat good. It is available on Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and even your iPhone.
While playing the game, I “accidentally” stayed up until 4:30 a.m. trying to unlock new cars (specifically the Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake), find faster races and beat more opponents. It deserves the award it got in June at E3 and probably has more on the way.
If you enjoy driving cars that probably most of us will never even get to touch, “Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit” delivers in spades. Now excuse me while I drive past this doughnut shop..
Electronic Arts announced big news for two of their major non-sports franchises and special package for two other titles at the GamesCom festival in Cologne, Germany on Tuesday.
BioWare and EA announced that “Dragon Age 2” will be available in March 2011, a sequel from their 2009 hit, “Dragon Age: Origins.”
“With Dragon Age 2, we are building on the outstanding role-playing game fundamentals the original delivered while taking the franchise in a new direction with faster, more responsive combat that will allow players to think like a general, but fight like a Spartan,” said Mark Darrah, executive producer at BioWare. “We are giving the franchise’s gameplay a shot of adrenaline. We can’t wait to get the game in people’s hands so they can feel the difference.”
“Dragon Age 2” will have a new hero, revamped art work and an all-new story that spans 10 years in the “Dragon Age” timeline. The new game is expected to be available on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
“Mass Effect 2” (BioWare/Electronic Arts), already the highest rated game in 2010 for the Xbox 360, will be headed to the PlayStation 3 console at the beginning of 2011. The release will include the full game and hours of bonus content.
“Crysis 2” (Crytek/Electronic Arts) will be getting to special treatments when it is released later in 2010.
The “Crysis 2 Limited Edition” and the “Crysis 2 Nano Edition” will feature premium packaging and special unlocks for the “Crysis 2” multiplayer game.
The “Crysis 2 Limited Edition” will be available for no additional cost and features four in-game unlocks for the multiplayer experience:
- Bonus XP – Players will jump into multiplayer battles with an edge by starting with enough experience points to gain early access to all 5 preset class load-outs.
- SCAR Hologram Decoy – This special attachment to the SCAR will project a hologram image of the player, allowing them to confuse their opponents with the decoy.
- SCAR Weapon Skin – This digital camouflage skin will allow players to add a personalized touch to one of the more popular assault rifles in the game.
- Platinum Dog Tag – This special one-of-a-kind dog tag is one of over 250 that will be collectible in “Crysis 2” multiplayer, helping to separate you from the rest of the field.
The “Crysis 2 Nano Edition” will include the Limited Edition housed in a steel case plus a statue of the game’s hero, Prophet, on top of a New York taxi cab, a high-quality art book, all packaged inside a backpack modeled after the Nanosuit itself. Not available in stores, the Nano Edition is available in extremely limited quantities via pre-order only for $149.99.
“Crysis 2” will be available for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on March 22.
Finally, “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit” (Criterion/EA) will be getting the Limited Edition treatment as well.
The Limited Edition features six of the world’s fastest cars that players can use to race and chase their friends, right out of the box. The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, Ford Shelby GT500, Audi TT RS Coupé, Chevrolet Camaro SS, Porsche Cayman S and Dodge Challenger SRT8 will all be part of the new package.
The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and Ford Shelby GT500 are only available in the Limited Edition – and will not be available at any other time. The Audi TT RS Coupé, Chevrolet Camaro SS, Porsche Cayman S and Dodge Challenger SRT8 can be unlocked by leveling up in the game.
“Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit” recently won the prestigious ‘Best Racing Game’ award at the Electronic Entertainment Expo from the Game Critics Awards. It will be available on November 16, 2010 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC.
Nintendo wants to find the best of the best Wii games players with a national competition featuring five of their popular games.
Beginning July 16, the Wii Games: Summer 2010 competition will open to all gamers in theme parks and shopping malls in 24 cities.
Players will do battle as two- and four-player teams organized by age groups. They will compete in five games: basketball and bowling in “Wii Sports Resort,” the Hula Hoop challenge from “Wii Fit Plus,” and two adventure games, “New Super Mario Bros. Wii” and “Mario Kart Wii.”
Scores from the games will be combined to determine winners. The competition concludes with a national championship event in Los Angeles on September 3-5.
Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson will serve as the ambassador for the competition and appear at some events.
“I play Wii games with my friends and family all the time,” said Johnson, a medal-winning gymnast at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. “I’m looking forward to watching people from all over the country coming together to have fun and compete.”
Winners will receive an entertainment package that includes a flat-screen television and surround system, a new Wii console with Nintendo games and Netflix membership. Winners in the family category will also receive cruise for the entire team.
For complete rules and more information, click here.
During the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), one of the games that was demonstrated with the Kinect motion-controller was the driving game “Forza.”
The hands-free Kinect allowed players to examine the virtual cars they were driving, get a look at features and peek inside at the interior. One car manufacturer is ready to use that technology to get people to examine their real cars.
Microsoft announced that it is partnering with Chevrolet to promote the new Chevrolet Volt through a new game for the Xbox 360 using Kinect.
A Microsoft press release said players will have the opportunity to take the test-drive concept to a new level by driving a Volt in “Kinect Joy Ride,” the first controller-free racing game from Microsoft. After viewing a video advertisement on Xbox LIVE or on the Web, consumers will be able to unlock the Volt to virtually drive the car in the game.
“Chevrolet Volt is not only offering a new way for car buyers to interact with and learn about a vehicle before heading to the dealership,” said Darren Huston, corporate vice president of the Global Consumer & Online group at Microsoft. “It’s enabling people to virtually test drive the Volt from the comfort of their own living room.”
Kiosks are also expected to be placed within Chevrolet showrooms to allow people to take a virtual test-drive in the econo-friendly vehicle.
Kinect is expected to be out in November.
With a new motion-controller in hand, Sony hit the E3 stage amid a display of their hardware and the sounds of rock and roll blasting.
Saying they are ready to take their entertainment to the next level, Sony immediately touted their efforts into the 3-D arena with the software updates and new consoles with 3-D build in. Twenty titles are expected to be created natively by March 2011 that will be 3-D ready.
“Killzone 3,” a title that was developed and created with 3-D in mind, is intended to put the gamer in the middle of a war. Tougher enemies, stronger weapons and an expansive environment were all featured in a pre-alpha code demo video. There was also a cool scene where a soldier used a jetpack to sneak behind the enemy to place some explosive charges.
The game is expected to arrive on the shelves on February 2011 exclusively for the PS3 and fully compatible with Move.
More 3-D games – “Crysis 2,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Gran Turismo 5,” and more – were also featured in a wide-ranging video.
The Move controller is expected to be Sony’s efforts into more realism into gaming. Using the PlayStation Eye camera, the Move will offer more precision in game play and will be used in family friendly games as well as appeal to core gamers.
Forty developers are working on games that will utilize the Move controller with more ready to join in. They also featured some games they think the Move will be perfect for the action.
“Sorcery” is third-person, action game that puts the player into the role of a young wizard in a fantasy world. Live action game play showed how the Move is utilized to fire of a wand, open a door or shake up and drink a potion. The graphics were impressive and the game will be out in the spring of 2011.
“Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11″ showed how moving the Move controller directly affects how the club behaves during the game. Not only does the controller need direction, but touch on the course (and the Move) is also important during the game.
“Heroes on the Move” brings together six classic Sony characters for the first time. Daxter & Jax, Rachet & Clank and Sly & Benley will all be in the new game that will use the Move.
Kevin Butler, the PS3′s mouthpiece, came out to a roar from the audience and proceeded to do a little Kinect-bashing. He then issued a “Call to gaming” to players of all ages. And the audience loved it.
Move will be available in Europe on September 15 and in North America on September 19. The Move controller is priced at $49.99 with the Navigation controller priced at $29.99. Both controllers bundled with a PS3 and the Champions Move game will retail at $399.99.
Some games will be getting software updates to support the new Move controller.
Sony also showed off a new campaign that focused on the PSP with a young kid named Marcus who wants players to “Step Your Game Up.”
“God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” “Invizimals,” and “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker” were all shown as PSP-exclusive titles. “Invizimals” also utilizes a PSP-camera peripheral to play the game. Over 70 new titles are expected to be released by December.
Casting call for the second season of “The Tester,” a reality-based show about becoming a game tester for Sony, will be starting soon. Sony also replicated their E3 booth in the PlayStation Network to check out their stuff online.
“Little Big Planet 2″ will show a multi-player, competitive environment where players can bring their Sackboys into an area to challenge others. Not only can gamers create their own Sackboy, they can create whatever kind of game they want – racing, puzzles, platforming and a real-time strategy game. Everything can be created and the limits are the boundaries of the imagination.
Sony also announced the PlayStation Plus service that will offer users exclusive material and content, preferred early demo and beta invites plus discounts on items in the PlayStation Store. A yearly subscription will cost $49.99 and the service will live on top of the current PlayStation Network service, which is free.
Electronic Arts also made an appearance to announce two new titles with exclusive content for the PlayStation 3. “Medal of Honor” will offer limited edition that contains the remastered “Medal of Honor: Frontline” game – two games for one price only for PS3. “Dead Space 2″ will also have exclusive content in the form of another limited edition only for the PS3.
“Portal 2,” a follow-up to the surprise PC hit “Portal,” will be available on the PS3 as well as features from the Steam gaming platform engine.
A brief video of “Final Fantasy XIV” was shown with no launch title announced.
Exclusive PS3 content to “Mafia II” was also announced as well as exclusive missions in the new “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” game coming out on November 16.
Many more big name titles are expected to hit the PS3 and PSP before the end of the year including “Mortal Kombat” and “DC Universe Online.”
More cinematic video was shown from “Gran Turismo 5″ (that will include NASCAR in this version) and “Infamous 2″.
The longest-running PlayStation franchise, “Twisted Metal,” will be making a comeback exclusively on the PS3. The violent clowns and dolls return with deathmatch mode, Nuke mode and side-by-side action.
Sony president Jack Tretton says after 15 years of producing great content, they are ready to write a whole chapter. And it starts today.
When developers and publishers of the world’s most popular games get together, expect big announcements, big promises and a few surprises. This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles promises to be bigger than ever.
Most of the focus will be on console makers with motion controller and 3D news from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. But game makers are ready to make their own noise with titles that should be ready to take advantage of the console advancements.
Fan favorites “Gran Turismo 5″ and “LittleBigPlanet 2″ will be getting upgrades with more realism, better graphics and more sharing between players. “SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs” will allow players to lead a 5-person squad on a six-day battle in Asia and it will be supported by the new Move controller.
“Killzone 3″ is ready to bring the realism into your gaming room. The first-person shooter will support full 3-D gameplay. Steven Ter Heide, Senior Producer of Killzone 3, said having larger areas to explore and an increased sense of immersion was challenging, but ambitious, to pull off.
“3-D really helps to heighten that sensation of being in the middle of this epic war,” he said. “The increased sense of immersion makes the environments and enemies almost tangible. It’s very much a foreground thing.”
Sony will also be showcasing their online role-playing game, “DC Universe Online”, and the latest incarnation into the God of War mythos, “God of War: Ghost of Sparta” for the PSP.
“Halo Reach” was released as a beta in May. More than 2.7 million players played over 17 days and Microsoft is ready to show the rest of the game during E3. It has already been tapped as the biggest seller in 2010 by a survey of game insiders.
Microsoft showcased many exclusive titles at a press conference prior to the opening of E3, including many games that will utilize their new motion-controller called Kinect. Big names like “Call of Duty: Black Ops”, “Gears of War 3″, and “Fable 3″ will be coming out later this year.
The early Kinect games (“Kinectimals”, “Kinect Sports”, “Kinect Joy Ride”, “Kinect Adventures”) are all played without a controller. Many will require games to be in pretty good shape to truly succeed and enjoy.
Likewise, Nintendo will be announcing games to go with their new 3-D handheld console, Nintendo 3DS. But they aren’t neglecting the Wii.
Samus returns in “Metroid: Other M”, which is expected to be release in 2010. They are also going to release info on a game that is currently called “Zelda Wii”, although that title is expected to change.
UbiSoft is trying to aim for the major genres with a first-person shooter, a driving game, and a sports game. “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” will offer players the ability to become nearly invisible while completing their missions.
“Driver: San Francisco” brings the series to UbiSoft for the first time, staying true to the franchise while offering a high level of grittiness. And Olympic medalist Shawn White returns to his roots for the new “Shawn White Skateboarding” game.
Ubisoft president Laurent Detoc said this is a great time to be into gaming.
“3-D gaming will improve our storytelling, immersion and experience for the players,” Detoc said. “We think it is going to be enormous and continuing down a path we’re already on.”
Holding a press conference the day before E3, the company also unveiled a new fitness game to be used with Kinect, a shooting game that isn’t played in front of a computer and a video game inspired by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Best of the rest
Starkiller is back to take on Darth Vader in “Star Wars: Force Unleashed II” from LucasArts. The cinematic trailers for the game have fans gasping and an early demo video shows some new powers. Then again, it is Star Wars, which means it will have an instant fan base ready to praise or bury the game.
Electronic Arts will have their latest versions on “Madden NFL 11″ and “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11″, which will offer online play for Ryder Cup action. “Bulletstorm” is a new game that will be revealed for the first time at E3 and offers “kill with skill” gameplay. EA is also ready to show off follow-ups to two of their big titles — “Crysis 2″ and “Dead Space 2″.
2KGames will be revealing more about their work on “Civilization V” and “Mafia II”.
Disney Interactive Studios is banking on games with movie tie-ins. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned”, “Tron Evolution”, and “Toy Story 3″ (which will be Move compatible) are going to be featured at E3. Mickey is also going to make an appearance for a new title called “Epic Mickey”.
Bethesda will be display their follow-up to the 2008 Game of the Year “Fallout 3″ with “Fallout: New Vegas” (Oct. 19). Imagine all the post-apocalyptic grime and grit, but amp it up and set it in Vegas. And what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there.
Capcom is showing off the latest installment in the VS series with “Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds”. And what would a gaming conference be if there wasn’t a zombie sighting? “Dead Rising 2″ will give players the opportunity to turn everyday objects into weapons to repel massive zombie attacks.
There will be music games (“Rock Band 3″, “DJ Hero 2″), re-imagined classic characters (“Sonic the Hedgehog 4″, “Mortal Kombat”, “LEGO Harry Potter”), and sports games (“NBA Elite 11, NBA Jam”).
Many more game titles are going to be announced once the console makers release the new information about their hardware changes. There are sure to be some surprises (possibly a Michael Jackson dance game?).
As one participant said, “We’re going to have the biggest entertainment announcement of E3.” We’ll see at the end of the week who can really lay claim to that title.