DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Darkmatters hearts PlayStation BetaRooms

PlayStation BetaRooms

Experienced by Matt Adcock

Some friends are just great – you know the ones, say for instance the guy who texts you that he’s bagged tickets to the PlayStation BetaRooms – where you’ll get to play Killzone 3, Gran Turismo 5, Motorstorm Apocalypse, Dead Nation, Little Big Planet 2 and try the new MOVE with Heavy Rain, Sports Champion, Kung Fu Rider, The Fight…

So last weekend Alan ‘top mate’ Masters and I went on a PS3 road trip to The Custard Factory in Birmingham – there to experience all that PlayStation BetaRooms had to offer.

Here are my quick reviews of the games played:

Killzone 3 Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 awesome jetpack assisted battles out of 10)

The best looking future warfare simulator available just got better. Killzone 2 is a great game, but for the next in the series everything has been refined, polished and upgraded… We got to play through a Helghast infested complex set in an icy area where jet pack assisted leaping across icebergs is the order of the day. Very very satisfying gameplay (even at this stage and the game doesn’t release until Feb ’11) – experiencing KZ3 has set my level of:
Anticipation to ‘OFF THE SCALE’!!

Dead Nation Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 zombie clown heads out of 10)

From the quality dudes who made Super Stardust HD comes a zombie game that grabs you in its bloody, cold grip and never lets you go… Think Robotron with glorious, gory zombie enemies and some tasty weaponry with which to send them back to hell and you’ll have some idea of what to expect!? The action is fast, the graphics are excellent – loved the darkness that wraps the levels – a spooky funfair which was all ‘Zombieland’ drips with menace and you’re sure what nasty enemy you’ll find in your trusty torchlight next. Anticipation level: ‘WILL BUY ON DAY 1’!

Gran Turismo 5 (3D) Darkmatters rating: öööööööööö (10 perfect driving experiences out of 10)
GT5 has been a long long time coming… So many screenshots, so many news items about additional features – Top Gear track etc… But now the game is a mere 3 months away and having played it in both 3D and 2D , I can confirm that there is nothing even close to Gran Turismo 5 available – this is a benchmark raising work of art that plays like a dream and look better than you can imagine. The 3D depth of field is beautifully realised, but even in humble 2D this is like having a ‘Being John Malkovich’ tunnel straight into the Stig’s head! The cars look, feel and sound amazing, the handling is pitch perfect and the gameplay is wonderfully varied – the rally stage we tried in a Citroen was slippy as hell, the tarmac circuit a grippy tyre screeching workout. Anticipation level: ‘CAN’T WAIT’, might actually preorder the super collectors edition… seriously, this is going to be a long three months till this baby hits and shows the world that there simply is nothing that can touch the PS3 for racing!!

Motorstorm Apocalypse Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 destruction overloads out of 10)
Hang on a minute – GT5 is truly amazing but even though it has damage, it doesn’t have massive sky scrapers collapsing as you drive through their smoking wreckage… Motorstorm blazed a trail for balls-to-the-wall off road racing with crazy crashes, lovely graphics and frantic multiplayer online races / battles. Now it’s back in a Mad Max like near future – and you are the road warrior! We played Motorstorm Apocalypse not just because it is so fun that it makes grown men giggle and whoop like schoolgirls at a Justin Bieber topless concert, no the lovely people at the PlayStation BetaRooms were offering a massive Sony 3D TV to the fastest time set!? One shot – everything to play for! OK, so we placed 6th on the leaderboard (really should have done some practicing before hitting the timed lap console) so no new TV but a great memory of adrenalin rushing racing that upped my anticipation rating for this from ‘will get’ to ‘MUST BUY’.

Little Big Planet 2 Darkmatters rating: öööööööööö (10 joy inducing creations out of 10)
Joy to the world, a saviour is born, but before we get to Christmas – the second coming of Little Big Planet will happen and this is massive step up from the first game. The new animated customs are great, the grapple dynamic allows for some suphero alike swinging from rooftop to ledge. Then there are the many new mini game options – which from what we experienced are so addictive that there might need to be LBP2 rehab clinics set up!? Everything you liked about the first Little Big Planet has been retained and tweaked, pretty much everything you didn’t like has been improved (no more ‘floaty’ jumping etc). In a word ‘excellent’ – Anticipation rating: ‘CREATION MESSIAH I PLEDGE MYSELF TO YOU’

The Fight Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 serious beatings out of 10)
OK so there’s been lots of talk about Sony’s motion sensing MOVE controllers – of which you’ll need one for each hand if you step up for this vicious street fighting, sin city styled fight club! I was a bit dubious as I’m really not a fan of the Wii. But drawn in by the stylish HD graphics I gave The Fight a go… And was impressed! The gameplay is nicely ‘pick up and play’ – your character moves and aims automatically which lets you focus on how best to beat the living daylights out of your opponent. Sure you can duck and weave (the camera tracks you even as the MOVE controllers mimic your punches). It all feels very satisfying and a million miles away from the slap scrappy boxing efforts of Wii that I’ve tried in the past. If you like fighting games, I’d say that MOVE is a much better way to go than even the Kinect – there is something very ‘right’ about holding the ergonomically pleasing controllers than simply ‘acting’ in front of a camera.

Sports Champions: Table Tennis Darkmatters rating: ööööööö (7 HD ping pongs out of 10)
The MOVE’s first of many sport simulator packages is ‘Sports Champions’ and we got to ping some serious pongs with Table Tennis. It looks excellent, is very responsive and allows for serious skills to be employed – be it adding spin through wrist posting, slamming a smash or serving an ace. It’s about as good as a table tennis sim could be – alas I’m not a big table tennis fan so it was all a bit lost on me. I’m much more excited about some of the other Sports Champions games that come as part of the package – Golf, Gladiator Duels and Archery to name just a few.

Kung Fu Rider Darkmatters rating: ööööö (5 HD office chair based crazy rollings out of 10)
Everybody was Kung Fu Riding…erm well this is a PAIN-alike racing game where you control a office chair as it speeds down a course trying to avoid obstacles, random enemies in suits and various challenges by flicking the MOVE controller or tilting it. This version is obviously in a pretty raw state as the controls need work, but they get sorted before launch and if this madcap title is a low price PSN download then I’d probably pick it up.
Anticipation rating ‘DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME, YET’

Heavy Rain MOVE Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 hands on dark crimes out of 10)
I loved Heavy Rain when it was simply a ‘press the right button’ interactive movie – and was curious how the MOVE controls would work with it. Now having played it – I can’t wait to go through the whole game again as the MOVE adds to the feeling actually being involved in the story – be it running from and fighting off masked assailants as a babe wearing nothing but her skimpies, or a tough detective trying to squeeze past a garbage container in a gloomy ‘mug me’ ally. The game throws up symbols on screen – you have a certainly amount of time to react and do the correct gesture – it’s immersive and satisfying and the MOVE controls are spot on.

BETAROOMS verdict: Darkmatters rating: öööööööööö (10 gaming experiences out of 10)

Hats off to Sony for bringing some of their big hitting games to the public at stages where feedback can still be incorporated in to the final development. I was seriously impressed with the excellent games coming from Sony in the next 6 months – and these are just the tip of the powerfisted beserker of gaming goodness that will be hitting the PS3 in that timescale. No other games consol has the depth and sheer excitement factor that the PS3 is going to rock this holiday season – the MOVE is a step up from the Wiimote in every way and unless dancing games are all you enjoy – you need a controller with triggers for the more varied stuff like erm, shooting!!

If there are more BetaRooms planned (can you imagine the potential with StarHawk, Last Guardian, Resistance 3, Eight Days, Time Crisis, Agent, Agency etc etc) I can only hope that my mate Alan is on the ball and bags the tickets sharpish!!

Check out these cool write ups of PlayStation BetaRooms:



Is this man 'The Stig' - or just Alan Masters?


Scott Pigrim said...

aw I can't wait to play the move PS3
how did it feel? is it heavier to hold than the piece of shot wii sticks?

call of duty said...

You have a fantastic blog with great reviews on the latest video games. I love it.

I gotta try Killzone 2. It looks awesome.

Thanks for the great video game reviews. They're really helpful.