E3 2009: Assessment: Sony Conference

June 5, 2009
SNE30901

Uncharted 2 made for a great opener.

As with the other systems, in my pre-E3 assessment for the PS3 I broke the console’s strengths and weaknesses down into three categories: Hardware, Software (Hardcore) and Software (Casual).  With the Sony press conference out of the way (which should cover all their significant announcements) I’m going to take a look at each of those categories again and see how Sony fared (in my opinion).  After that is an assessment of each individual item revealed/shown, and my verdict on the conference as a whole.  Click through for details.

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Today’s Play: LittleBig Sim Kart Wheels

May 31, 2009

I haven’t played anything for a few days (which is why there were no Today’s Play entries).  Nothing in my collection particularly excites me at the moment, mostly because I’m tempted to buy something new.  Today, however, I did put some time into Mario Kart Wii, LittleBigPlanet and The Sims 2.

Mario Kart Wii

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Being somebody who doesn’t generally like racing or enjoy driving, I’m fairly easy to please with the Mario Kart games.  As long as there are the familiar characters (especially Wario, my personal default choice), a healthy selection of tracks and the ability to race in the cups with friends/family then I’m happy, so Mario Kart Wii is exactly what I wanted from it.

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Pre-E3 assessment: PS3

May 29, 2009

The 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) begins in a few days, so I’m going to share my opinion on the state of each of the consoles as they are now, and what might be revealed at E3 to improve things.  After E3 is over I’ll look at what has been announced and see how I think they all fared.

Each console will broken down into three categories: hardware (concerning the actual console itself), hardcore software (with “hardcore” being shorthand for the dedicated gamers who read video game news sites and are part of gaming communities) and casual software (with “casual” being used to describe both the gamers who enjoy the hobby but don’t immerse themselves in it, and the expanded audience that has been attracted to gaming by the Wii).

PlayStation 3

Hardware

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Current Problems: In one word: Price.  In many words, the PS3’s current price point is too high, making it unattractive to the average consumer.  In months where the 360 and Wii sell well the PS3 sells merely okay, and in months where the 360 and Wii sell merely okay the PS3 sells poorly (as evidenced by the most recent NPD data).  Even the release of the biggest console exclusive this year, Killzone 2, did not help the PS3 outsell (or even match) the other two consoles, despite them not having comparable releases.

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Today’s Play: LittleBig Noby Saints

May 23, 2009

A little more variation in today’s games, with a bit of LittleBigPlanet and a lot of Saint’s Row 2 added to the regular Noby Noby Boy excursion.

LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet01

LittleBigPlanet is another of my nephew’s favourite games right now, and he has spent a considerable amount of time on it getting every item, completing every level without dying, playing levels online and spending hours making his own levels and experiments.

The DLC for the game has been plentiful, but varies in value.  On the one side there’s the fantastic Metal Gear Solid pack that added the paintball gun (which radically transforms the game) and had several levels, culminating in an incredibly complicated boss encounter (that’s complicated to make, not to defeat), while at the other end there are just costumes.

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Today’s Play: The inFamous Noby Noby Boy

May 22, 2009

As ever, I spent a bit of time playing Noby Noby Boy today.  There was no Valkyria Chronicles because the inFamous demo appeared yesterday on the EU Store (and also the US one now), so I spent a couple of hours playing that instead.

inFamous

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I’ve been looking forward to this game for quite a while.  Videos and screenshots made it look very much like Crackdown, the Xbox 360 game from Realtime Worlds with a similar overall concept – super-powered man with the ability to scale buidlings with ease is unleashed into a sandbox city filled with enemies – which is a game I enjoyed a lot.  I had worried that I was perhaps attaching expecations to inFamous of things that Sucker Punch weren’t even trying to do, based on a few superficial similarities to a game I enjoyed, but thankfully those worries seem to be misplaced.

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LittleBigPlanet

April 10, 2009

About:

Released on: PlayStation 3

Developed By: Media Molecule

Who Also Developed: Nothing. Parts of the team have worked on Lionhead games (Black & White, Fable) and the indie Rag Doll Kung Fu.

Published By: Sony

Players: Up to four, local or online.

Additional Content: Many costumes (some free), one level pack and several sticker packs.

Ben’s Progress: Game completed locally with two other players and a couple online. Many community levels played, level editor experimented with. 37 of 48 trophies earned in the base game (non-DLC), 10 of 11 in DLC.

Quick Opinion:

Buy if:

You like 2D platformers, especially when played with friends.

You enjoy creating your own content or enjoy playing the efforts of an active community.

Try if:

You quite like platformers but aren’t interested in making your own levels, or place little value on user-created content.

Skip if:

You don’t like platformers at all.

You don’t like platformers that lack perfectly precise controls.

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