Rachet & Clank: Tools of Destruction
I didn't spend too much time with this one, because it didn't look like much of a departure from the well-known PS2 games. Even graphically. Sure, there's a greater draw distance, more geometry in the futuristic cityscape, higher resolution, and a helluva lot more explosions going off in the background, but the core art style is very, very similar. The textures are still minimal, the trees and buildings are bulk reproduced and have a samey look, and the explosions are cool enough but not any showcase of particle effects.
If this sounds overly negative, it's only because the E3 footage had some people saying this was a top tier PS3 game in terms of graphical flair. It's not. Killzone 2, Heavenly Sword, Uncharted, are all on another level, even taking into account R&C's more cartoonish art style. There's one section of the demo that takes place from an overhead perspective, and looks almost as if it could have been done on PS2.
Don't get me wrong; I've long been a fan of this series, and I love a solid third-person shooter. But Ratchet seems to have fallen into a bit of a rut by his fifth outing. I don't care how much cool stuff is going on in the background, the rail sliding is getting old. Enough with the collecting the bolts. Sonic's done it to death already, and now we even have Nariko rope-rail-sliding in Heavenly Sword. You'll see the same style future city, the same brand of enemies, and the same reheated weapon-platformer conventions in this game if the demo is any indication. It all looks nicer and on a grander scale, but Insomniac needs to do something new with Ratchet, as long as they don't ship him off to an island with waterpack strapped to his back.
Another would-be graphical showpiece that turns out underwhelming in person. Though other, less videogame forum-jaded attendees in the crowd seemed relatively impressed by the visuals of this dragon-rider shooter. It's not ugly by any means, but I expected a bit more from Factor 5. The ground textures aren't very detailed, and there was a weird contrast issue, where the lighting would suddenly get dramatically darker depending on the position of the dragon to the sun and the sky. The self-shadowing was off. I don't think it was just the LCD on display.
The flight control needs some work, it's a bit too floaty. I didn't spend much time with it because, well, it wasn't very appealing. Normally I'd give a demo more benefit of the doubt, but this one is coming out in a few weeks and has already garnered negative reviews from the major game magazines. Rent Reign of Fire on Blu-Ray instead.
That concludes my walk through Sony's piece of the showroom floor. The focus was definitely on PS3, and I think it got the platform some good word of mouth. They really have to work on that Sony Comics division though, I didn't see a single book anywhere.