E3 06: Sony's booth holds PS3 surprises

Massive exhibit sports dozens of playable kiosks for Sony's next-gen console, including a demo for previously unannounced titles Wardevil: Enigma and something new from the creators of Indigo Prophecy.

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LOS ANGELES--Gamers have been waiting a long time for some interaction with Sony's PlayStation 3. Up until this morning, most looks at the PlayStation 3 have been hands off, with gamers attempting to get a bead on the system's capabilities based on hype and scraps from trailers. Today, however, all that changed.

As many had hoped, PS3 games were playable in force on the floor of the show. Two giant video screens showing video versions of Sony's recent "Play Beyond" ad campaign welcome visitors to the booth. Sony's booth workers passed out PS3-branded lanyards to attendees as they were funneled into the heart of Sony's booth and the much-hoped for playable versions of PS3 games.

The crowd quickly grew thick around each embankment of PS3 games, with two monitors and playable demos on either side of a glass case housing a number of PS3 development kits. But those waiting for their turn at the system's motion-sensitive controller had their attention drawn to a mammoth screen showing a Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer as much as to the games they were about to play.

As for which games those were, the lineup consisted of a number of first- and third-party titles. Incognito's long-awaited sequel to Warhawk (called simply Warhawk) drew plenty of attention on its eight kiosks, as did the title formerly known as I-8, Resistance: Fall of Man. Heavenly Blade, Formula One 06, Namco Bandai's Gundam, Madden 07, Sonic the Hedgehog, Virtua Tennis 3, and Genji 2.

There were also a couple of unexpected playable demos on the booth's elevated walkway. One was for WarDevil: Enigma, which appears to be the same game as the Xbox 360 WarDevil. The other was for a demo called Heavy Rain: The Casting from Quantic Dream, makers of last year's acclaimed adventure title Indigo Prophecy. Though initial reports pegged Heavy Rain as a prequel to Indigo Prophecy, it is unclear if is a full-fledged game or merely an intricate tech demo.

While the walkway was completely open when the show started, Sony has since set up a line for it not unlike the one across the aisle at Nintendo's booth, complete with signs advising people of how long it would take to get up there. A number of other PS3 titles including Eye of Judgment and Singstar were on display in windowed enclosures along the edge of the PS3 section.

While the focus was on the PS3, Sony turned heads with its PlayStation 2 and PSP lineups as well. The PSP area featured a number of approximations of everyday locations, including a setup of first-class airplane seats, a park bench, a bsketball court, and a subway car. There was also a content download station, and a playable version of the system's PSone emulator featuring Ridge Racer.

The PS2 may be getting long in the tooth, but Sony's convinced there's life in the machine yet, and the array of PS2 games lining the outskirts of the company's booth is one argument why. Guitar Hero II, God of War II, and Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerberus drew particularly close attention from show-goers, but Yakuza, Final Fantasy XII, and a number of other PS2 games rounded out the system's current-gen offerings.

Check back soon for GameSpot's impressions of games straight from the show floor.

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