Play.com Live 08; Day One wrap-up
Wembley Stadium played host to the inaugural Play.com Live show today, with another day of the event coming tomorrow.
PS3 Attitude were there to cover the event and whilst there was a lack of items we felt needed 'live' updates, there were some highlights for PS3 fans.
The bottom floor of the event was almost exclusively Xbox 360 hardware. And yet there were still new builds of multi-platform products to be played. The latest Soul Calibur IV was there and looks very slick indeed.
Playing as one of three characters - Taki, Cassandra or Mitsurugi - it is exactly what you would expect from a Soul Calibur title. Only this time the graphics have taken a real ramp up since the PS2 incarnation. Everything looks pixel perfect.
Rainbox Six Vegas 2 was also present and was another title that seemed to deliver exactly what was expected of it. A straight sequel, and whilst that's not a bad thing it also doesn't appear on the surface to bring anything new to the franchise.
Moving upstairs marked the shift from white to black as everything became PS3-oriented. Immediately to the right was the Rock Band setup from EA. With still no release date for the UK, I was surprised at the skill of some of the players, the best of which were chosen to battle on the music stage later in the day for a complete Rock Band kit each.
Sony's stand was very well put together with some impressive 'pods' set up for GT5: Prologue. Around the driving area Sony had a number of screens showing videos from LittleBigPlanet and God of War: Chains of Olympus for PSP. In addition, they had playable demos of Time Crisis 4 and the new Buzz! game.
We covered Time Crisis 4's FPS functionality earlier today. In the standard game mode it doesn't offer anything new, but the new GunCon 3 is a remarkable piece of equipment that we expect will be made use of in the future to much better effect.
Buzz! now comes with wireless controllers, although your old wired ones will do just fine. The game has taken a real step up graphically as you'd expect, but the new game modes are a lot more fun and I can see this version being a massive hit for families. I played against three other players (and won with 5,000 points - woo hoo!) and it really helped me to forget just how much my feet were hurting!
The latest build of Haze was also available to play upstairs and although it doesn't look like it has graphically moved on from the build of Haze we played at GameCity, it's still as exciting to us as before. In the deluge of FPS titles available for the PS3, I can see Haze being one of those that raises its head above the rest. The responses I got from other players seemed to suggest they thought so too.
Capcom showed the Street Fighter IV trailer and had Lost Planet set up to play, so I'm afraid we didn't spend much time with that.
On the third floor were a few third-party stands, such as the memory manufacturer SanDisk and Corgi, who had light sabres and other merchandise for sale. I was fortunate enough to meet my favourite ever Dr. Who - Tom Baker - who was being as effervescent as ever. On the next stand was Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge fame who I shared a few comedy moments with.
The e-sports section of the show saw one lucky PES 2008 player walk away with £50,000 in cold, hard cash. The Soul Calibur IV competition had a Dodge car as the prize. Certainly Play.com seemed to have lined up some pretty decent prizes for their first show, and it's good to see e-sports becoming more serious and gaining better rewards.
The two outstanding moments for me were the actual gameplay video from Codemasters of Race Driver: GRID, and the demonstration from the guys who are making Far Cry 2.
Race Driver: GRID looks amazing, but it is the little things that make a difference. The environments you race in and the detail in the crowd and surroundings are superb, but also subtle. Unlike some racing games I've played, the crowd don't all move in unison as if they're connected by a metal rod, and they're not cardboard cut outs either. It's this subtlety that makes all the difference.
Far Cry 2 will be coming to the PS3, and it looks like a serious step up for FPS titles. The real selling point is the natural weather and enemy AI. Virtual wind blows the palm fronds (which are all destructible) and also allows you to set fires that blow towards your enemies, helping you gain cover and create a distraction. The world (which is 50Km in size!) gradually moves through a 24-hour cycle. If you spend long enough, you'll see the sun set. If you want to perform a mission at night, you can sleep for a while and tackle it in the dark.
We'll have more on Race Driver: GRID and Far Cry 2 in the near future.
So - on to Day Two. We'll cover anything that needs a quick update live from the show, but come back same time, same place tomorrow for a wrap-up.