Fired Up E3 2005 Preshow Hands-On

We get into some multiplayer vehicular combat as we check out London Studios' upcoming PSP action game.


During Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's pre-E3 press conference in Los Angeles this afternoon we were able to get our hands on a work-in-progress version of Fired Up for the first time. Currently in development at SCEE's London Studios, Fired Up is a vehicular combat game for up to eight players. The great news is that with only a single copy of the game you and seven friends will be able to battle each other with the entire game's content at your disposal.

The first vehicular deathmatch that we played, however, was against the CPU drivers who will be your opponents in the story-driven single-player mode. The sizable map that we were playing on was set in a run-down city environment with a large lake or river in the middle that we were able to get in and out of quite easily by using ramps. A small map in one of the corners of the screen helped us to locate enemies (represented by red dots), and the fact that we often couldn't see any of our seven enemies on the map speaks volumes about the size of the arena that we were driving around.

When we managed to locate enemies, we were able to attack them either with our chosen vehicle's primary weapon (we tried both a truck with a machine gun and a tank with a cannon, both with unlimited ammo) or with whichever secondary weapon we were carrying at the time. Secondary weapons in Fired Up are picked up in much the same way as they are in first-person shooters--you'll see colorful floating icons scattered throughout the maps, and driving through one will replace your existing secondary weapon with the one that the icon represents. Secondary weapons that we got to see in action included a laser, multiple rockets, homing missiles, and EMPs that could disable targets' weapons or engines.

In addition to the weapon icons strewn liberally throughout the maps, we were able to collect scavenger icons, some of which were in less than obvious locations. When we collected 10 of them, we unlocked an additional weapon type, which then became available to us via a whole new set of weapon icons.

Before playing our second match, we were invited to see for ourselves just how easy Fired Up will make it for you to download new content and to share that content with your friends, even if they don't own a copy of the game. It took just a minute or two for us to get online and download one of the three additional maps (Ice, Ruins Reduced, and Republic City), which were made available during the SCEE event. It took under a minute to share the game code with each of the three players we were going to battle with, and then it took only a few moments to simultaneously upload the map that we had chosen (since we were the hosts) to the other players.

Multiplayer modes of play available to us included regular deathmatch, team deathmatch, race, and assimilation. We chose the regular deathmatch, and are pleased to report that the game ran every bit as smoothly with four players as it did during our single-player session. The different vehicles that we took for test-drives during our time with Fired Up handled very differently, and we noted that the faster vehicles in the game were, unsurprisingly, not as well armored than the larger, slower ones.

We had a lot of fun during our time with Fired Up, and during a conversation with one of the SCEE representatives on hand we obtained some information that should be pretty exciting for those of you in Europe. Basically, when you purchase a copy of Fired Up, Wipeout Pure, or MediEvil: Resurrection in Europe, you'll get playable demos of the other two games that can be shared with and played against others in the same way as regular game content.

A North American release for Fired Up has not been confirmed at this time, but we'll bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.

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