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E3 2006 – Day 1: PS3 on the Show Floor

As E3 starts rolling, everyone is talking about Sony’s PS3 launch details. Dropping on November 17 in North America, the entry-level version of the console will sell for $499, with a second bundle coming in at a whopping $599. People gasped last year when MS announced their more expensive 360 would be $399; Sony’s cheaper PS3 is $100 more than that. To make that price worthwhile they’ll need to deliver some pretty hot looking games, and while they have plenty of playable titles on the show floor, not all are system sellers.

Sony's Booth Entrance
Sony’s Booth Entrance

The Sony PS3 Up Close
The Sony PS3 and Controller

The hottest looking PS3 game on the show floor is Heavenly Sword, a brawler with the same sort of visual style and intensity as God of War, but seeming to focus more on arena-based combat and starring a rather non-godlike red-headed female character. This was the best looking game at Sony’s pre-show event and it’s now one of the best on the show floor, featuring amazing action, great animations, and very impressive graphics.

Heavenly Sword Ninja Lady
Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword Fighting
Heavenly Sword Fighting

Another great looking one is Gundam Mobile Suit, a slow-paced giant mecha game. It’s only 20% complete so there’s not a lot to do in the small demo, but you can stomp around in a desert wasteland, gaze at the amazing metal effects layered on the Gundam models, and destroy a series of AI-controlled opponents.

Gundam Mobile Suit Screenshot
Gundam Mobile Suit

Gundam Mobile Suit Group Screenshot
Another great shot of Gundam Mobile Suit

Warhawk, the game Sony used to show off their motion-sensitive controller at the pre-show event, is also playable, and while moving the controller around to fly your ship takes a little practice, it’s surprisingly precise and workable. Otherwise, though, the game is nothing special, delivering good but not great graphics and fairly repetitive gameplay.

Warhawk Screenshot
Warhawk: Feel my wrath!

Warhawk screenshot of a soldier
A Soldier in Warhawk

Resistance: Fall of Man, a gritty shooter from the creators of Ratchet and Clank, is likewise somewhat forgettable, looking and playing just about any other FPS. Madden 07 also disappoints, actually looking worse than its 360 counterpart. Other playable games include the great looking but not quite revolutionary Virtua Tennis, the fast-paced F1 06, the 1080p GT HD shown at Sony’s pre-show event, and Sega’s next-gen Sonic the Hedgehog.

Resistance: Fall of Man screenshot
Resistance: Fall of Man

While many of these look good, only a few of them look stellar. The motion-sensitive controller feels nice, but only Warhawk really uses it. Finally, a quick poll among developers indicates thatfew are sure whether their games will manage to hit the 1080p resolution Sony is touting. With MS and Nintendo both showing great things, and with Sony stuck on a $600 price point, at the momentthings aren’t looking great for Playstation fans.