Well I made it to the show, after a lot of messing around on trains that didn’t go where I expected them to, mainly because Kahin Makuhari is a very different station from Makuhari! In the end, I didn’t have a long wait to get in, as I feared, just strolling in with everyone else. So was the whole thing worth the hype? In three words- hmm, probably not! There were precious few new complete games on offer, just lots of promises from Sony about what would be available later in the year or next year. There was, for the X-box fans, the imminent release of Halo 3, which seems to have made the presses of the non-gaming news, so vast is the hype and so popular the game (with not much new, but everything better- that’s evolution for you), but from Sony only videos of what might be great CG, or might be an amazing game. Having the Sony store also means I can just click and download any of these videos from the comfort of the living room, what I went for was the excitement factor , the oooh! But what I saw seemed more like buisiness as usual, a tamed ‘next-gen’ revolution.
As for those Sony purromises, mainly for 2008, they do make you drool at what could be possible. For years people like me have been hoping for games to metamorphose into fully-fledged, immersing entertainment, like being a star in a film. Will they finally breach the line between full-motion video and in-game graphics, or will it just be more of the same, yet again? Metal Gear Solid 4 looks really good, whilst the final Fantasy Games look incredible, though I the latter to be biggest hits here in Japan, where their franchises are well-known and people are quite happy with cut-scene-driven games that to me are practically movies (not a bad thing, but not really a game anymore to me). Seen in high-def it was incredible, actually having more vivid and fantastic imagery than any movie I’ve seen. Meanwhile, MGS4 seems to be set in post-war, unstable Iraq (though of course they don’t say this) with a complex story involving various factions and I found it actually moving to watch. Both of them seemed to have quite ‘adult themes’, which seems to be the tone of the console on the whole. We’ll just have to wait to see if their game-play is as amazing as their graphics (and I for one am sceptical
The game I’m actually most excited about playing would have to be Gran Turismo 5 ‘Prologue’– the next generation of the the demo of the final game. Confused? You should be! I’ve been playing the preview ‘Concept’ a lot and Prologue just looks incredible, with all the new cars and tracks, along with stunningly detailed cut-scenes. Too bad the demo will cost 4,500 yen, a rip-off for a demo if you ask me, but I’m sure it’ll be possible to pick it up second hand for a lot less before too long, so that doesn’t worry me! Seeing the long line to play it I declined to wait, as it looks to be a much more varied version of the demo I already have. Also, soon to come is the new Ratchet and Clank game, with gorgeous videos and probably great game-play. The other big news of the show, for us Sony fan-boys, would be the Dual-shock 3 controller, which brings the shocks back into gaming- well it will in Japan in November, at least.
So, not much new out there for now, which made the show a bit of a let-down compared to the last one. Well, since the last one heralded the near-launch of the PS3 and Wii, it couldn’t hope to compete! The games are maturing, with beautiful titles like Lair, Warhawk, Heavenly Sword and Folklore out, but no ‘must have it’ titles that will make millions rush out to get a PS3 and this time, not to sell it on E-bay. Still, I’m loving mine and hope others get the message of the sheer convergence value of an all-in-one media center, that goes straight into a HDTV with only one cable, letting you play music, videos, photos, DVDs, even SACDs and blue-ray, all at the drop of a hat. So forward-looking. Oh yes, and it plays games games too!
In actual use, it’s pretty quiet (but not as silent as my DVD player) and brings a certain smooth style to everything, like a basic iTunes for your TV. We watch music vids on it, listen to fave MP3s, especially use it for photo slide-shows, where the 1080p resolution and general smoothness come in very handy. For me, I’m pretty happy with the games on offer, being someone catching up with the library already out there. One thing I do feel it misses is that kind of fun (and exercise) you get with the Wii- and so far only with the Wii. In terms of big hits, which do seem to be delayed (I thought they’d at least be ready by now), it’s a case of patience, doctor and anyone after them will probably wait until then. In the meantime, there’s plenty to do on it!