After posting on the PS3 hardware and software it’s time to look at the games. Certainly the most important part of any console release is the quality of the games. The most touted games on release are Motorstorm and Resistance:Fall of Man. How do they shape up?

Motorstorm
Being the flagship PS3 title, Motorstorm has a lot to live up to. The game had so much pre-release hype and false starts (rendered E3 demo’s etc) and then a release in Japan minus the online component – how would it fair?

Motorstorm is in some ways the perfect release title. Loud music, high impact visuals and massive, at times bewildering arena’s to race in. You can’t fail to be impressed in that first half hour. For mates popping round and demo pods it’s a great game. After that half hour though is pretty disappointing. You realise that there isn’t much variety to the music and it soon repeats. You also realise you can’t change it to any of your own music. The graphics still impress but there’s a sameness about everything. Away from the wow stuff though and it’s just repetition. Offline is just select a bike, truck etc and race on one of the eight tracks. Yep – no longer arena’s. There isn’t that many routes and there’s usually the one route for your particular vehicle. The load times are also very long – some of the worst I’ve seen in recent years. It gets very annoying that selecting a vehicle takes such a long time, never mind the actual track loading.

Motorstorm

Online is at times impressive (lag free 12 player racing) but I reckon at least a third of my online games have not started, crashed out or been buggy in such a way to ruin the race. One of the other shortfalls is the lack of interaction. For all you know your racing against AI with the PS3 generating random gamertags to display – it is totally lacking in speech and atmosphere. While it does support speech hardly anyone has a headset and the game will also switch off speech to protect lag. Unlike offline, most online games also have catch up disabled. Quite a lot of the games I’ve raced sees one person break away from the pack and he will ultimately win the race as the pack fight each other while he sails off into the distance. Like the real F1 most online races are decided within the first few corners.

Ultimately if you get a PS3 you should get Motorstorm as it does initially impress – just don’t expect that feeling to last.

Resistance:Fall of Man
Resistance is a first person shooter set in the period around World War 2 but with an alternate history. It’s also the PS3’s strongest release title. I’ve found the graphics to be a big surprise in this title. Although not up to Gears of Wars visuals I think it’s far stronger than the Call of Duty series. Considering this is a launch title it’s a pretty impressive achievement. Probably whats hurts the game the most is the first couple of hours. The gameplay is fairly tame and doesn’t really change pace. In fact the first couple of hours in the single player mode are the worst aspects of the game – totally contrasting Motorstorm with it’s short term joy. However once you reach Manchester level in the game it takes off and turns into one of the better FPS I’ve played. Theres some real surprises in the game and the weapon selection is excellent. In the Manchester level there’s also some great visuals – the game is busy with a lot of on screen action showing off some of the power that the PS3 has.

Resistance

However the trump card is the online mode. 40 player lag free gaming is hard to beat. Map variety is pretty good and with the wide selection of weapons it can make for some frantic gaming. I deliberately use the word frantic as the lack of voice comms (the game supports it but there’s still few players using it) leads to little strategy in the game. I hate to think how Ghost Recon will be played on the PS3.

There are a variety of game modes including Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Assault modes with support for clans and also a lot of host options to tailor the game. It’s very impressive and I’m convinced it would be one of the most played FPS on Xbox Live if it released on the 360. I think it’s more impressive online than Gears of War for example but then I do have some issues with how Gears of War plays. Overall a cracking game that hasn’t had the attention it deserves and highly recommended if you’ve got a PS3.

Virtua Fighter 5
It wouldn’t be a console launch without a fighting game being released and for the PS3 comes Virtua Fighter 5. The Virtua Fighter series is probably the most technical fighter you can buy and even though this type of game isn’t my strong point I still felt obliged to purchase as visually it is impressive.

Virtua Fighter 5

Gameplay is also very good although I think my own skills let it down. Each fighter has there own moves and characteristics and there is just so much to learn that this actually feels more daunting to me than any other game. There’s so much to remember but to be fair I haven’t played it enough to be too critical – it’s an excellent game that is well worth the purchase and far more impressive than the Dead or Alive series on the 360.

GT:HD
Available to download for free is a demo of Gran Turismo. There’s only one track and a number of cars available but even for such a small demo it’s addictive. As you beat each challenge you unlock a new car up to a maximum of 12 with tuned version of those cars becoming available. Your times are uploaded to global scoreboards and you can save your own replays.

GT HD

You can also view the replays of the top times from around the world. Graphics are superb and are some of the most realistic I’ve seen in a racing game so far. It’s a great demo and GT is a game I can’t wait to play when it comes out, hopefully this year.

Flow
This is a much touted downloadable game from Sony. If you listen to the hype then Flow is the PS3’s equivalent to Geometry Wars however in practice it’s an entirely different beast. The aim is to evolve your organism as it flows deeper through…the sea? There are no high scores, no online modes and the only competition is if someone else picks up a pad and joins you. However it’s a great experience. The graphics are simple but very effective as is the surround sound. It’s also one of the few games to make full use of the sixaxis controller.

Flow

I see this as more a relaxation game, something to put on when downloading a demo or video. It’s not something I would rush to play every day. It’s also a great system demo and gets people used to the controller. but it’s a shame there isn’t more to it, especially as it’s so hyped. If you’ve not got a PS3 you can also play this on your pc or mac by visiting here.

Future Games?
One of the problems with the PS3 is the lack of exclusive titles. No longer are GTA and Pro Evo Soccer exclusive to Sony. They’ve even lost Devil May Cry and there are rumours about other exclusive titles moving to cross platform. Despite this there are still some games coming out only on the PS3 that I’m looking forward to – Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Heavenly Sword, Gran Turismo, Little Big Planet, Lair, Metal Gear Solid and Warcraft and there’s probably more that I can’t think off at the moment. If these titles can deliver then the PS3 has a promising future.

The Verdict?
The PS3 is a far more capable console than I originally thought. More impressively the launch titles are of a really high standard. However the online capabilities are a real letdown and moving from playing an online game on the 360 to an online game on the PS3 is a jarring experience.

The PS3 had a good launch line up although games are now looking pretty sparse which to be fair happened to the 360 and in particular the Wii. However there are enough exclusives and future titles coming to make the PS3 a console worth owning. The addition of Blu-Ray and the potential in the hardware thats still to be unlocked leaves a lot to be looking forward too. However if I had to recommend a console purchase to someone today, it would still be the Xbox 360. it will be interesting to see if I feel the same way in 6 months time.