Sony's PlayStation Experience took place alongside the trade only ECTS at Earls Court in London this year, and gave the public a chance to experience some forthcoming titles many months before their UK release.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


The dark hall was bathed in mainly blue light, and numerous lasers projecting messages on to the walls, including PlayStation logos, along with huge projector screens showing both footage from some of the bigger games like Colin McRae Rally 3, and showing the on-stage action which was being hosted by Radio 1's Emma B.

Clear star of the show was Sony's Team Soho creation The Getaway, which is due for release before the end of the year, and sees you taking part in gangster based action around London's streets - read more about The Getaway in our Hands on feature.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


Codemasters were showing a range of titles, including the recently released ToCA Race Driver, and Colin McRae Rally 3, which was getting lots of play from both members of the public and trade visitors, and let us see just how realistic the weather effects are, from snow splattering on the windscreen to heavy rainfall thundering down on the screen and smearing as the wiper blades attempt to clear the screen.

Capcom had cel-shaded Auto Modellista on show, but unfortunately it didn't seem quite as great as we'd hoped it might, and the driving experience felt very lacking, especially in split screen mode. Single player was better, as there's more on screen including vapuor trails, but the whole game feels like it's lacking something very vital.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


The Sims was playable on one of EA's demo pods, although unfortunately it seemed very prone to crashing in it's early version of the code, and the most we got to see of the game was a demo mode which didn't give us much more of an insight to the gameplay than the still screenshots and the experiences of the PC version of the game.

More complete titles from Electronic Arts included Shox, which visually looks similar to Sega Rally, but features some stunt areas which may not appeal to rally purists (but then they've got Colin McRae 3) - the game seemed to play very well in both single and three player modes, although the cars seemed to exhibit a strange slowdown effect where you'd suddenly loose speed despite still accelerating. EA's Lord of the Rings title also seemed to attract a crowd, mainly of bearded men who didn't appear to want to look at any of the other games - strange.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


Infogrames were only showing the one title, on all ten of their demo pods, and that was Stuntman - visually the game looks like Wreckless, but with better graphics, and sees you drive cars across landscapes smashing things up and driving like a nutter - something that the Londoners at the show seemed fairly at home with.

Activision were showcasing their O2 range of titles, including Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2, Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer, and ever popular Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 which seemed to be favourite with the younger gamers who had clearly taken a day off from their local skateboard ramp to see what Uncle Tony was up to in his latest title.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


Ubi Soft had an impressive selection on show, including Sum of All Fears and Ghost Recon which seemed to be most favoured, alongside Ultimate Fighting Championship and Myst III: Exile.

Red Faction 2's improved arenas and brighter visuals seemed to be a hit with gamers who found their way to the THQ demo pods, and motocross title MX Superfly which played fairly well but seemed a bit unweidly, like a bike with slightly under-inflated tyres.

Eidos were showing off Hitman 2 and TimeSplitters 2, both of which proved fairly popular, but the obvious crowd puller was the latest Tomb Raider title, Angel of Darkness, which let us see the new high-polygon Lara making her way across new environments and showing off the darker and more involving gameplay that the title features.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


Acclaim's line up saw Burnout 2 being the main attraction from the titles that they were showcasing, which also included Aggressive Inline, Turok Evolution, Vexx and BMX XXX. It'd appear that the visuals in Burnout 2 are so realistic that people actually felt they were in the car, as they physically lent to the side as the car cornered, and jolted as if they were really in a car that was inches away from on-coming vehicles, with one punter almost tearing the control pad out of the wall as he fell over during one close shave with a bus - mad!

Online title SOCOM US Navy Seals seems as though it'll be hugely popular when it gets it's European release, and involves plenty of jungle based hide and seek style combat, where you'll find it's a good idea to hide in the undergrowth until you find someone, and then rush out and attempt to gun them down - before they do the same to you.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


Sony's new Eye Toy system also seemed to prove very popular, and saw three PlayStation 2 consoles set up with the USB web camera device, which lets you interact with the game based on your hand movements.

Each of the demo pods were running a different game, with WishiWashi requiring you to use sponges to clear bubbles and watery throth from the screen in the fastest time. A Kung-Fu style game requires you to fight against a computer character in a basic 2D fighting game.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


Finally a rhythm based music title saw willing particpants throwing their arms about hitting speakers in the four corners of the screen, and generally making a fool of themselves all in the name of having fun.

Some 18 mini-games are expected to come with the Eye Toy when it's released in Europe, although no firm release date or pricing was available from Sony, it'd seem that the system may retail at around 50, with further games in development and due for release during 2003.


PlayStation Experience [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


The addition of Sony's consumer event to ECTS seems to have been beneficial to both the trade and public, and brought back some publishers who were missed from ECTS 2001, and seems highly likely that a similar event will take place alongside next years ECTS.

We'll have more in-depth coverage of some of the major titles that were on show in the PlayStation Experience, over the next few days.