E3: New PlayStation 3 titles push the limits

There were some big surprises in the PlayStation 3 game line-up revealed today at E3 - good news for SCEA, obviously still smarting from PSPgate.

Among the most notable, gameplay demonstrations of God of War 3, Assasin's Creed 2 and a trailer for the 15th installment in the ultra-huge Final Fantasy series that nobody knew existed until this morning's massive press conference.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: A stunning live demo of a level in the Drake's Fortune follow-up had the whole audience on the edges of their seats - a perfectly-rendered dilapidated city set amongst mountains could have easily been a photograph. When the action started with multiple enemies, a helicopter gunship firing wildly while gun battles raged and buildings collapsing around our heroes, it is obvious that the Naughty Dog team have pushed the PS3 hardware even further. Multiplayer beta goes live on Naughty Dog's site at midnight (LA time) tonight.

MAG: Stretching the boundaries of multi-player online gaming, this 256-player (no that wasn't a typo) combat behemoth was given the live play treatment with players across the US playing on both sides. A massive battlefield environment with players marked in red and blue showed just how far online wargaming has come. Action was frantic, with this glorious tech achievement, creating one serious warzone in cyberspace. See it here.

God of War 3: Another live demo, another stunned reaction from the crowd. God of War 3 ties up the trilogy which has thus far focused on the dark side of Greek mythology. Not surprisingly, the game has lost none of the gory intensity that made the previous versions two of it keep gamers awake for weeks on end. Graphics are incredibly fast with numerous new attacks, creatures and even the odd disembowling. Not for the squeamish but highly recommended for everyone else. This morning's preview can be watched here.

Final Fantasy XIV: SCEA boss Jack Tretton delighted in the crowd's surprise to this announcement, made immediately after the long-awaited Final Fantasy XIII demo was played. Most in the audience thought it was a joke at first. It will be an online-only MMORPG, and takes the FF franchise in a new direction, apparently. Very light on detail although it will be released next year, and the all-too-brief trailer looked very promising. Check out a FFXIII trailer here.

Agent: Rockstar, the company that bought us Grand Theft Auto and Midnight Club looks to have hit the mark yet again with this espionage title set in the late 1970s world of spies and assasins. Very little was revealed other than that it will be ultra-tasty and a PS3 exclusive.

Assasin's Creed 2: OMG this looks good. Those who became addicted to the sinister predecessor won't be disappointed. Lush graphics, utterly smooth action and a whole new era make up the title. Now set in the Italian Renaissance, our hero doesn't start as an assasin, just gravitates that way by necessity. His friends - including Leonardo Da Vinci, who shares his inventions including the legendary flying machine - teach him what he needs to know. There are more ways to kill, plus 30 new weapons (double-bladed sword looks particularly effective).

Assasin's Creed Bloodlines on PSP will unlock another half dozen instruments of death. Both will release in November this year. Gametrailers have the main game trailer here.

ModNation Racers: Following Little Big Planet's 'play, create, share' ethos, this new frachise takes good ol' kart race battle gaming to a new level and adds plenty of extras. Aside from being able to share the infinitely customisable cars and characters, players can create tracks - with full environments, weather, pick-ups, trees, surface changes and even mountains and villages - from scratch. We watched an excellent track made live onstage in a matter of minutes. Impressive for its real time terraforming alone.

Gran Turismo 5: It is ridiculous how long we've been promised this one, but it's coming. The Prologue version was nothing more than a quick snack of the main event, which looks stunning. Included in the quick-look trailer from Polyphony Digital were WRC and NASCAR racecars and logos - more competitions added to the pile, it would seem. Graphics look stunning, and with the GT physics engine among the best in the game trade, it promises to be a beauty.

The Last Guardian: Sony confirmed that Masashi Kudo's The Last Guardian will follow the excellent Ico and Shadow of the Colossus onto the console. The lush-looking trailer showed a boy palling around with a griffin, and a few 'fleeing the scene of a beating' snippets.

Matt Greenop is a guest of Sony PlayStation at E3 Expo

Taken from the New Zealand Herald