E3 isn’t until next week as of this writing, but because Einstein proved time is relative to location (something like that – just go with it) we’re able to bring you a little preview of the NGP’s future right now. We got the chance to play all the NGP games in Sony’s first-party lineup. Here’s what we think:
The undisputed prize stallion in the NGP’s launch stable, Golden Abyss looks to transfer the Uncharted series’ winning formula directly to the smaller screen: Drake’s still a charming rascal, it all looks phenomenal for a portable system, and the action is still a mix of puzzle solving, exploration and gunplay. Both the front touch screen and the back touch panel are used in multiple ways, but it’s almost always optional, so you can play the game using the usual console controls as well. Thank you, developers! We’ve actually got a full preview on this one as well – you should check it out. Read our full preview here.
Note the number? This Wipeout takes place a year before the first one in the in-game timeline. But the gameplay benefits from all the refinements made since the original game first arrived more than a decade ago. Namely, there are three different control modes: touch and tilt, standard (sticks and buttons), and “classic” – yep, it’s the air brake one that seasoned pros will love and everyone else will find excruciating. The online modes are beefed up too – in addition to connectivity with wipeout HD on PS3, you might find yourself competing in a normal race, then a one-on-one race against the guy who just beat you. Stuff like that. Want numbers? 10 new tracks, 20 new vehicles, and a bristling brace of new weapons – mostly missiles, machine guns, and other not-quite-rayguns kind of stuff.
An abstract platformer from the same indie genius who created Everyday Shooter, Sound Shapes is poised to be the underground hit of the NGP launch lineup. You play as a ball coated with suction cups, so you can roll, jump, and latch onto almost any surface. The point is to grab nodes littered throughout the level. Each one you grab adds a sound to a song playing in the background, so you go from silence to an entire tune by the end of the level. What’s more, certain enemies key to the music – like lasers that fire to the rhythm of the snare drum – and certain actions are samples. For instance, in a level with four platforms that each make a different noise, the game will record the timing and order in which you jump on them, and work that into the song as well. Finally, there’s a super-simple level editor, so expect to see a ton of user-created levels and tunes to hit the charts after the game’s release.
A twin-stick arcade shooter that takes place on a series of spherical worlds, this is a tweaked version of the PS3 and PSP versions. The pyrotechnic visuals are smooth and gorgeous – actually an improvement over the PS3 version, we’re told – and while the controls are largely the same (LOVE twin sticks on a portable), your bombs are gone. Instead, your special weapon will now be a black hole or a missile swarm. Nice! You’ll also be able to slow time, to jolt the NGP to create a shock wave, or tilt it to adjust the camera angle. As arcade shooters go, this is strong stuff.
The highly customizable kart racer hits NGP not as a port, but as a ground-up recreation with all the features of the full-sized edition as well as one spiffy new feature: the ability to create custom tracks in mere moments using the touch controls and your finger. It's a slick, quick interface that enables you to bounce back and forth between racing and tracing in moments.
Read on for more NGP debuts!