PlayStation 3, eh? Seems a bit excessive. Oh well, at least it's got quite a few games out on day one. Not unlike the PSP launch in 2005, Sony's decision to hold off for a bit gave it a chance to assemble a bigger line-up. The result is a great deal of breadth, and while we haven't got kind words for all the big games, we have got words, and some of them are kind. Read on for a mixture.
The Third Place
Headlining - and handed out for free to a number of people who turned up at the midnight launches (Chart-Track: we hope you're watching) - is Insomniac's Resistance: Fall of Man. Views differ on how good it is, but we're in line on one thing: the single-player is fairly ropey and uninspired, despite the obvious ingenuity of a few of the better weapons. Chances are you'll enjoy sections of it immensely - a hillside climb using ethereal riot-shields, the descent into a Chimeran conversion centre - but at times it drags, and keep-left bollards are hardly a panacea, handsome though they are. Online it's another story, and one that can involve up to 39 other people. Support in the form of new gameplay modes and maps is coming, and those on display right now are enjoyable enough. Hardly the PS3's Halo then, but not a bad game either. You can read our Resistance: Fall of Man PAL review if you like, or perhaps you want to read Tom's thoughts on the Japanese version.
A much better poster-child for the PS3's abilities, and one now served with a multiplayer element for its European release, MotorStorm is what happens when you make people do rally games for a few years and then let them off the hook. Evolution turned in a game that owes as much of a debt to SSX as it does the developer's experience with World Rally Championship, and the result is often fast, always spectacular, and hard to put down. A lack of depth in tracks robbed it of a higher score, but that shouldn't put you off too much. Read our MotorStorm review to find out why poster-children are out and splashing mud on your own face is in.
It wouldn't be much of a PlayStation launch without a Ridge Racer game, and Ridge Racer 7 is certainly much of a Ridge Racer game: it's vast, and asks for more of your time than 90 men with clipboards. Compared to its Xbox 360 counterpart, Ridge Racer 6, it offers more tracks, although the amount of slightly rubbish races you have to do to get to the gruelling, frantic ones is similarly annoying. What puts it at a disadvantage compared to 6 though is its decision to confuse matters with lots of add-ons, expansion nitrous packs and other cheaty bits. Unless you actually want to live in the Ridge Racer world, you'll probably wish they hadn't bothered. 360 fans can stick with theirs, then, although if you never played it, then it's hard not to have fun - providing you haven't tired of spinning madly round corners in the previous 148 PlayStation iterations. Read our full Ridge Racer 7 review for more.
It's not all racing and guns on day one, either, as Virtua Fighter 5 proves. Some of the series' fans tell us they're buying a PS3 just to play this. Not because it's the only good game, but because this is all they want to play. That tells its own story: VF5 is an incredibly demanding but ultimately rewarding beat-'em-up, and one whose depths will always remain unapparent to many. Rob's Virtua Fighter 5 review aims to get to the bottom of this, but if you like mastering beat-'em-ups and haven't ever tried VF, just ask yourself whether you really want to learn which frame of animation needs to be targeted for a decent block or reversal and you can probably make your mind up without much trouble.
Other day-one exclusives include Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight, which flummoxed poor Dave upon review by being demonstrably rubbish and yet oddly likeable at the same time. Rob then had the same problem with Genji: Days of the Blade, where feelings of ill will gave way to a degree of affection. It's a pity he's not like that with us - we tire of being sworn at. No such luck for Full Auto 2: Battlelines, of course, which didn't really do enough to build on the Xbox 360 original - a game that wasn't very good in the first place. Formula One Championship Edition, meanwhile, will be reviewed this weekend.
The Third Party
Elsewhere it's a third party party, with a whole raft of games from the likes of Ubisoft, EA, SEGA and 2K Sports. Games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, F.E.A.R. and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent and Rainbow Six: Vegas all slipped, sadly (come on Tom - get it together), but that still leaves Virtua Tennis 3, Tony Hawk's Project 8, Enchanted Arms and Fight Night Round 3 landing heavy punches. The first two lack their 360 counterparts' online features, which is a shame, but they're strong games all, and you'd do well to consider them if you've been holding off. For the rest of the launch line-up, go look at the rest of the launch line-up.
Or, go online, and pick your way through the PlayStation Store. Or don't, because we've done it for you, in a feature helpfully called PlayStation Store, where Rob, Kristan and Tom wander through and pick out their favourites, write a few words, and then go to the bakery for lunch. There's much to choose from, with more to come. Turned out alright then, that PlayStation 3, eh? I mean, if you can afford one.