Dark Sector, Superstars, Turning Point, Viking, Condemned, more.
Welcome back to the latest in Eurogamer's continuing range of Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 comparison features, designed to provide additional commentary to the original Eurogamer reviews for each release, while doubling up as an ongoing commentary on the state of cross-platform game development in the new era of high definition gaming.
Supplementing our views are in-depth technical analyses of the titles at hand, backed up by high quality screenshots of each game only possible in the new digital AV age. Lossless 24-bit RGB frame grabs are ruthlessly swiped from the HDMI ports of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Elite using a Digital Foundry HD capture station, the only kit available built from the ground up for videogames in high definition. 720p 'screens' are taken as a matter of course, with 1080p shots also grabbed for comparison purposes when the game in question supports it on PlayStation 3 (that'll be just one then in this feature).
Yes, you're all waiting for the GTAIV face-off, and we have something special lined up for that, but in the meantime, perhaps we can tempt you with this delicious range of cross-platform fancies?
Sumo Digital has made quite a lot of games since its formation in 2003, but our favourites are the two OutRun games and Virtua Tennis 3; love letters for SEGA fans, penned on SEGA's behalf. Superstars Tennis, by contrast, is dinner, dancing, cocktails and fellatio. It's absolutely stuffed with SEGA characters lovingly recreated in 720p high-definition, full of tennis courts built in honour of games like Super Monkey Ball, House of the Dead, Golden Axe and Space Channel 5, with unlockable Achievements for 360 inspired by their names. SEGA Rally is a 40-shot rally, After Burner is a 100mph serve, OutRun is covering 6 miles on foot.
Mechanically it feels like a simplified take on Virtua Tennis, with a familiar service bar that takes one tap to initiate and a second well-timed tap to play the ball, and a pair of shot buttons and a lob available when you tap two buttons in sequence. Not unlike Mario Tennis - dead now, perhaps, thanks to Wii Sports' success - successful shots allow you to unleash character-specific special moves. A golden star outline fills up as you play, and once full you tug a trigger button, watch a cute animation, and take advantage of the result.
Everything is gloriously indulgent: AiAi's special shots bend like a boomerang as bananas tumble around the court; Beat from Jet Set Radio sends the ball cross court via two sharp turns accompanied by spray-can sound effects as Rokkaku police shoulder-charge the opposition; and Tails sends the ball over the net in a whirlwind that leaves his adversaries seeing stars. Balls on the Samba de Amigo court leave the racket to the sound of maracas, Flagman is the umpire on the OutRun level, break-dancing when he gets bored, and every court has several unlockable tunes bequeathed by the host product, selectable before each match. Smashing a glowing ball back and forth in-between dancing sombrero-wearing cacti is all the better for Samba de Janeiro belting away in the background.
If there's one thing more boring than listening to people complain about the endless mini-game compilations churned out for the Wii, it's having to play the endless mini-game compilations churned out for the Wii. So three cheers for SEGA and the new titles it's bringing out for Nintendo's console, none of which are mini-game compilations.
You're SEGA (bear with me). You've got arguably the best tennis game engine around from Virtua Tennis 3. You've got tons of iconic IP dating back more than 20 years. There's a gap in the release schedule, and pop SEGA Superstar Tennis emerges out of the delivery room fully formed, and with none of the desperate screaming and emergency surgery of a protracted labour.