Continuing our whirlwind tour of the gaming delights which are in store for us in 2007, our next stop is that most contentious of platforms - the PlayStation 3. While it'll only be in Europe for three quarters of the year at most, and it's largely accepted that the first year of any console's life is generally a somewhat sparse one on the software front, a quick scan of the release schedules shows that PS3 actually has some very interesting prospects ahead of it this year. It may not be able to match the full head of steam that the Xbox 360 has built up just yet, but if Sony can deliver some of the headline titles on this list on schedule, the PS3's hefty price tag might start looking a little more palatable.
Eurogamer's Top Picks
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal;
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Also Available On: PC, X360
The latest creation from the studio that reinvigorated Prince of Persia is one of the most hotly anticipated titles for the PS3, and for good reason. Early demonstrations have shown stunningly realistic combat and movement, adaptive AI which sees entire crowds reacting intelligently to your actions, and the kind of freedom of choice which gamers have dreamed about for years.
The premise of the game seemingly sees you carrying out a number of assassinations, keeping your wits about you as you take into account factors like the reaction of civilians which have never really had an effect on gameplay in the past - but the presence of a futuristic HUD at the end of an E3 video, and comments from one of the voice actresses involved with the game, suggest that there's more to the plot than meets the eye. Originally announced as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, the decision to make Assassin's Creed available on Xbox 360 and PC as well has been welcomed by gamers, even if it's unlikely to make for many happy faces at Sony.
Grand Theft Auto IV
- Developer: Rockstar North;
- Publisher: Rockstar Games
- Also Available On: X360
Although it's the first Grand Theft Auto game since the series exploded into 3D with GTA3 not to launch exclusively on a Sony platform, there's still no overstating just how important Rockstar North's next effort is to the PlayStation 3. Microsoft's coup in getting a simultaneous launch on Xbox 360 is significant, of course, but to the mass market GTA is synonymous with PlayStation, and many will make their decision on whether to invest in the next-gen this year on just how much of a must-have GTAIV actually is. October will tell all; for now, we're utterly in the dark. Everyone knows how Grand Theft Auto plays, but pondering over what Rockstar North is going to do with the graphical and processing prowess of the next-gen consoles is nothing but pure speculation. The one thing we do know - if this strikes the same kind of chord that previous iterations of the series have, GTAIV could be the biggest game of the year.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
- Developer: Kojima Productions;
- Publisher: Konami
- PlayStation 3 Exclusive
Five years have changed nothing; Hideo Kojima still has the power to wow us, and Metal Gear Solid still has the power to sell consoles. Just as the stunning trailers for Metal Gear Solid 2 made gamers' jaws drop and sold god knows how many PS2s before the (arguably lukewarm) game actually appeared, Metal Gear Solid 4 is already convincing plenty of people that they want a PS3. We're sure that Kojima's legendary affection for enormous cut-scenes, convoluted plots and unexpected philosophical dissertations hasn't diminished, but equally, early glimpses of how MGS4 plays show a promising evolution of MGS' enjoyable combination of action and stealth. Assuming it remains PS3 exclusive - and bear in mind that after a flirtation with the Xbox with MGS2: Substance, Kojima Productions chose to withdraw from Microsoft's platform when it released MGS3: Subsistence - and assuming that the team actually finish it in time for a 2007 release, this could be exactly the title that the PS3 needs to justify some of Sony's wilder next-gen claims.
- Developer: SCEE Team Soho;
- Publisher: SCEE
- PlayStation 3 Exclusive
... And with that, half a million hardcore gamer eyebrows made a leap for the ceiling. We're not kidding, though - ever since it was first demoed at GDC last February, Singstar has been very near the top of our most-wanted list for the PlayStation 3. The more we hear about it, the more it sounds like a killer app; selling it as a service (you pay for each karaoke video you download, and you can just watch them as music videos if you like, too) means you can build your own preferred compilation of tracks with no dross you don't want, and opens the possibility of countless tracks that would never have been popular enough to make it onto a Singstar disc compilation becoming available at last. The possibilities opened up by being able to share videos of your performances over the Internet intrigue us, as you'd expect from the YouTube Generation - and it's just down-the-pub speculation as yet, but if Sony does fancy using Bluetooth wireless microphones this time, count us in. After all, the most popular console in many households will always be the one that goes best with a bottle of vodka or a six-pack.
White Knight Story
- Developer: Level 5;
- Publisher: SCEI
- PlayStation 3 Exclusive
Whatever other problems Sony may have had in 2006 - and by god, there were plenty of them - the PS3's showing at the Tokyo Games Show was nonetheless a high point. However, the games which impressed us were games which would be expected to do so - MGS, Final Fantasy, Ridge Racer, Devil May Cry, all big Sony-centric franchises which are meant to be the bread and butter of PlayStation. The one game which genuinely came out of left field and caught our imagination was White Knight Story - a previously unknown title from acclaimed RPG developer Level 5. Astonishing graphics and superb artwork are to be expected from any next-gen title that fancies its chances at being triple-A; what really stood out about White Knight Story's trailer was an extraordinary battle system which rewards proper use of offensive and defensive sword fighting strategy. The ability to summon a fearsome mech and pilot it in battle doesn't hurt, either. Many will dismiss White Knight Story as being just another JRPG, which is fair enough - but for plenty of gamers, a truly top notch JRPG is a compelling reason to buy into a console platform.