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September 04, 2002 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-04

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11-The Michigan Daily - Wenesday, September 4, 2002
ARTS
Online gaming the highlight of
2002 Sony Gamers' Day event
By Matt Grandstaff
Daily Arts Writer

SAN FRANCISCO, California - At this year's Sony
Garners' Day press conference, Sony made strong argu-
ments through sales numbers that Nintendo and Microsoft,
makers of the GameCube and Xbox, respectively, are
merely competing for second place behind the PS2. But in
an age when corporate numbers can be deceiving, more
importantly, Sony proved its PS2 is ready for battle in the
latest console war.
Sony's most powerful weapon against the armies of
Mario and the Master Chief comes by way of an impres-
sive online strategy. Launched on Aug. 27, PS2 owners can
already play a handful of games online. Highlighting
these games are Sony's military strategy title, "Socom:
Navy Seals," last year's successful "Tony Hawk Pro Skater
3" and the latest football title from EA Sports, "Madden
NFL 2003." As for the rest of the year, Sony plans to have
at least 12 games online ready in 2002. Among these titles
are "Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4," "NBA Live 2003" and
"ATV Offroad Fury 2." At Gamers' Day, all of the above
titles were playable online and were relatively lag-free.
So how can one make the jump to cyberspace with their
PS2? During its press conference, Sony explained the sim-
plicity of getting the PS2 online. Gamers simply need to
purchase the Sony Network Adapter (which retails for
$39.99 and includes a rebate for a free copy of "Twisted
Metal Black Online"), install it and then set up their PS2
using their existing modem or broadband account. Fortu-
nately, unlike Microsoft's upcoming Xbox Live online
campaign, Sony's online plans currently do not include
additional costs for online gaming.
According to Executive Vice President of Sony Comput-
er Entertainment America, Andrew House, the simplicity
of getting gamers online with the PS2 is the key factor to a
successful online launch. "With the Playstation 2, we have
the first console that is real, ready and realistic to lead
consumers online easily," stated House. Gamers will
remember that while the Sega Dreamcast offered online
gaming in 2000, the system was already on its last leg.

With the network adapter you can play Madden online.
While Sony put a strong focus on online gaming at its
Gainers' Day event, it appears that those uninterested in
taking their game online will still have plenty to look for=
ward to over the next year. For PS2 gainers looking for an
answer to Nintendo's "Super Mario Sunshine," Sony's
"Ratchet and Clank" and "Sly Cooper and the Thievius
Raccoonus" both offer fans of platform games a fresh and
unique experience. In "Ratchet," gamers are immersed in
beautifully designed levels, where the duo takes on baddies
with an incredible arsenal of weapons, weapons like the
R.Y.N.O (short for ripping you a new one). As for "Sly
Cooper," the game can best be described as "Metal Gear
Solid" meets Saturday morning cartoons. "Sly Cooper" is
set for release later this month, while "Ratchet and Clank"
will hit stores around Thanksgiving.
For those tired of platform games, Gamers' Day featured
several other unique titles that will arrive in the next few
months. One of the best at the show was the Guy Ritchie
inspired, "The Getaway." Set in London, the game plays
like a more realistic "Grand Theft Auto," featuring real
neighborhoods and authentic car models from companies
such as Lexus and Land Rover. While the game plays very
much like Rockstar's bestseller, the game's incredible
graphics and "Lock Stock" style make it more than a
"GTA 3" clone. Another title that turned heads was "War
of the Monsters." Developed by Incog, known best for the
successful "Twisted Metal Black," the game plays like
your favorite "Godzilla" movie with completely interactive
(and destructible) environments.
At the conclusion of Sony's press conference, the media
was wowed by a first look at "Rise to Honor," a fighting
game inspired by and starring Jet Li. Using motion-capture
of Li's abilities and moves, the game has the look, feel and
even humor of your favorite marital arts' films. According
to Jim Wallace, an associate producer for the "Rise to
Honor" project said that as a result of Li's contributions,
the game already overcomes the shortcomings of the
recent Xbox title, "Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon." "Jet
didn't want to just lend his name; he wanted to be a major
part of the game so it would be great." "Rise to Honor" is
slated for a fall 2003 release.

SOCOM is one of Sony's first online games.

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