E3 2002: Hardware hands-on

Sony showcases Hardware, the upcoming network-compatible vehicular combat game.

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Hardware, an upcoming vehicular combat game built largely around military vehicles of various sorts, was on display at Sony's E3 booth this year. A LAN was set up in Sony's booth to showcase the game, which allowed groups of showgoers to engage in impromptu deathmatches. The game, at this point, features only a handful of playable vehicles: two kinds of tanks, a light buggy, and a medium-sized humvee. Eight players were allowed to fight in the arena that we got to play in, and, from what we saw during our playtime, it all ran without a hitch.

The game's mechanics, in its present state, are extremely simple. The X button propels you forward, the square button makes you go backward, and the R1 button lets you shoot. Alternate weapons were scattered all over the map we played, but there wasn't much in the way of noticeably different weapon effects, as far as we were able to discern. It's currently all very straightforward, though when there were enough players populating the environments, the game felt decently engaging. Hopefully, though, there will be much more to it than what we're currently seeing.

Graphically, Hardware looks clean and serviceable, though a bit no-frills. The environments were sparsely populated, with elevated bits of geometry occasionally housing health and weapon pick-ups, as well as other sorts of garnishes. One, for instance, featured a ramped launch pad with a helicopter parked on top. We hope the build we played isn't an indication of what the final game will look like.

As far as we can tell, Hardware surfaced unexpectedly on the scene at Sony's booth. No press materials accompanied its showing, and no background information was present on its placard. We'll have more information on the game for you as soon as we're able to dig it up.

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