Playstation 2 games
Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain Multiplayer
We tested out a co-op version of Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain . This is a third-person action sequel to the popular title that was released several years ago. Up to four can play at once, and I setup a game for others to join in. In our customization screen, we can adjust our characters’ load-out for the coming mission. We chose weapons for primary, secondary and backup weapons, as well as grenades. Once our character was ready, we waited for the other players to join up and once three agents were ready, we launched the game. The graphics look very dated, for some reason – maybe it was the monitor – the jaggies were very pronounced, especially in the characters and objects far away.
The co-op version is quite fun, however, as you help your buddies get through the level. There was a headset attached, we tried to turn it on, but it had no sound nor did the microphone respond. After each enemy was downed, you can check the bag that they dropped to replenish ammo or get a new piece. Once your character gets more and more injured, you can visually see blood stains on the clothing, which was a nice realistic touch. The controls were fairly well-done. You can press L1 to zoom in on an enemy and move the cursor around while firing. You can roll and jump as well as crouch while firing. It was all quite seamless and had a very slight learning curve. The enemy was not smart, as I was able to pick them off at long range while they stood in the open.
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Multiplayer
Ratchet and Clank are back, and this time we got to try out a team-based portion of the multiplayer gameplay which was a blast. There were only a few characters to choose from, and we got stuck being a little snowman. I think the snowy terrain helped us get more natural camouflage cover. Anyway, the game is quite fun and is easy to simply ‘jump into’ with nary a learning curve. It’s a third-person shooter complete with bases, auto turrets, controllable vehicles, sniper rifles, and even autonomic robots who help defend your base.
We played in a network game over LAN with 5-6 other people and were split into two teams. There were bases to take over as you try to dominate a map’s checkpoints. There were plenty of jumping and hacking and shooting during the game. I was able to jump into the jeep once, only to drive towards an anti-vehicle turret, which sundered my ride to smithereens along with its occupant. This online portion of the game has great potential in keeping the replay value high and will sure give Ratchet and Clank fans a wacky online gaming treat.
Area 51 Single and Multiplayer
Midway has its own separate hall away from the buzz in the West Hall. It was sort of to the side, and many E3 visitors may have missed it, like we almost did. So, we tried out Area 51, first in the single-player version. The gameplay echoes of Doom 3’s, since you are mostly on a spaceship or station, and battling through corridors to advance in the game. The game is fast paced and controls well for an FPS on the console. In the E3 demo version, you can select three levels. One of the level available to play was on an alien-infested space station. The levels were a dark version of Halo, we would say, and there were nasty aliens waiting behind many corners. The weapons were a mix of alien and futuristic guns (shotgun, rifle and sniper-scoped-gun) that fire ammo rounds. Each weapon had two modes of fire, which allows for more creative gameplay and variety.
The graphics were well-rendered and fit well with the atmosphere they were trying to create. You can shoot virtually any object in the environment and it would react; for example, I shot a screen once, and it started to send sparks out from the bullet hole, and so I shot many more times, and more sparks appeared.
We got to try the multiplayer game as well, and it was quite fun to get into. It was just like multiplayer Halo, and the mode we played was free-for-all. The hallways were tight and you had to basically fire first to kill, as the weapons were quite effective in downing an opponent. There were many things to hide behind, such as crates, fallen debris and darkness, which required the user to be more careful of ambushes. It was a fun experience, and we will see what the final version of the game will be like.
Formula 1 2005
The load times on this racing title were horrendous, so we’re hoping that this will be tweaked in the final version. The graphics were well-done, with great lighting effects and detailed car models. You can switch between different cameras to cater to your liking. If you were in the cockpit view, you can see the driver’s gloves controlling the steering wheel. In the E3 demo version, you can choose only a few teams and also choose the racer within those teams. Naturally (if you’ve seen my forum image thumbnail), I selected Michael Schumacher for Ferrari. The controls are pretty good, though we recommend a steering wheel and pedals for this title. We do, however, hate having the acceleration button be the ‘X’ button (which is pressure sensitive), because that would mean that you would literally have to mash down your thumb so hard to achieve maximum acceleration; which is about 95% of the racing experience. Since we hate having tired thumbs, while playing Gran Turismo, we quickly moved the gas action to the ‘R2’ button. Since we didn’t have time to do that with F1 2005, the experience was somewhat dulled. This title is a must for Formula 1 fans, which isn’t as big in the U.S. as it is in Europe and Asia; like soccer.