PlayStation Access – Glasgow 15 October 2011

Glasgow’s Maryhill is not a place for the faint hearted. As we made our way to the Glue Factory for PlayStation Access, we passed by several hooded figures who had obviously not visited a dentist for several years, and who exuded a menace that Dark Souls would be proud of. It was a strange setting for PlayStation Access, which gives gamers a chance to get hands-on experience with the latest games to grace the PS3, but it was worth it.

Once we entered the Glue Factory the mood changed and we were greeted with a barrage of dance music and large TVs hooked up to PlayStation 3 consoles, with the only menace coming from the demo of Dark Souls. After a brief look around we noticed that they had the new Sony 3D headset, the HMZ-T1, hooked up to a PS3. They had two on show, one which let you play Tekken Tag Tournament, and the other with a trailer of the soon to be released Amazing Spider-man movie. I tried the Tekken demo, and it took me a while to adjust the headset to fit my large cranium. To be honest, we’re not sure these headsets were set up right, as the 3D effect didn’t really work too well and the picture appeared blurry. The 5.1 Dolby Surround sound also wasn’t working on the Tekken demo, and my friend also noted the lack of 3D and blurry picture quality while watching the Spider-man trailer. Not the best of starts.

Welcome to the jungle baby!

From there we entered the Uncharted 3 area, which was made up to look like a jungle with vines brushing your hair and a misty haze which lingered as you walked to your station. They had several PS3s linked together for the multiplayer demo, which took place in what looked like an ancient derelict Egyptian village. Graphically it was as superb as always, with nice bright graphics which were interrupted by a sandstorm which gradually engulfed the play area. This was a terrific showcase of the graphics, with the level gradually darkening and visibility cut right down, which made spotting opponents incredibly difficult. It was this dynamic atmospheric change which makes you wonder why more shooters don’t utilise the weather to change the tactics of players mid battle. Something like Battlefield would be terrific with changing weather patterns forcing snipers to change their tactics during the middle of a game. Overall the demo was very impressive, and we have no doubts that Uncharted 3 is shaping up to be one of the must-have titles this winter.

After we left the Uncharted jungle, we entered the FIFA 12 competition, which if you won, would enter you into the FIFA Interactive World Cup. 16 players took part, and this was whittled down in a cup competition format until the winner was crowned. Needless to say we were beaten by a young whipper snapper in the first round 2-1. Even though we took an early lead we just couldn’t hold on for a famous victory. After a short conciliatory visit to the bar, which this time served beer as well as soft drinks, we went to try Assassin’s Creed Revelations’ multiplayer, where again several PS3s were linked for our enjoyment. This was one of the same levels that was previewed in the beta earlier this year, and was just as enjoyable as we remember. Also on show was GoldenEye Reloaded, which has had a nice HD lick of paint from the Wii original, with higher resolution textures and lighting effects, along with more detailed character models. The level on show was the Dam level at the start of the game, and it looked really good, although the AI perhaps hasn’t been updated as much as the graphics.

We entered the FIFA 12 competition, but were turfed out after the first round.

One of the most hyped games this year is Battlefield 3, and they had a short single player demo of Operation Guillotine that we had the chance to play. The level starts off at the top of a hill in Tehran, and after a short interlude, we charged down the hill and were met with a road filled with enemy troops. After taking care of them, we had to setup a mortar and then scaled over a wall, where we encountered nests of enemy soldiers. We then went towards a block of appartments taking down a few enemy soldiers as we went. There were a couple of bullet time slow-mo moments as we burst through doors, which were very reminiscent of Modern Warfare 2. After we had finished going through the apartment, we made it to our convoy of humvees where the demo ended. We have to say the level was very linear, and there wasn’t a great deal of destruction on show. In fact you could easily have thought we were playing Call of Duty. It was enjoyable enough, although very short, but Battlefield is all about large open maps and destructible scenery, and like the Beta before it, the demo seemed to pander to the Call of Duty crowd a little too much.

Resistance 3 was also in playable form, with players able to get some hands-on with the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter peripheral. The demo saw the player on a boat in what looked like the swamps of Missisippi, and we had to take out Chimera who were in buildings that surrounded the water. A few of them jumped onto our boat, and we took them down with the powerful shotgun. At times the boat got stuck on ice and we had to blast the ice shards to get moving again. Eventually we reached some bridges where we encountered a huge tripod like monster, which was very impressive. The demo really has got us interested in Resistance 3, and we look forward to playing it again in the near future.

There were plenty demo stations available.

Also on show was God of War Collection Volume 2, which was demoed in 3D. This unfortunately was the only game setup in 3D, which was disappointing considering at the last PlayStation Access they had Killzone 3, SOCOM 4, and Motorstorm Apocalypse all being playable in 3D, and there is no doubt that it does enhance the gaming experience. We also tried Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which wasn’t a great deal different to the original, but was quick and as graphically polished as Tekken always has been. StarHawk was another on show, and we had a lot of fun taking down the aliens and building structures. It was a pretty decent third person shooter, but again the multiplayer wasn’t shown, which was the main appeal of its predecessor WarHawk. It’s definitely a game to keep a close eye on in the next few months. Little Big Planet 2 Move Edition was also playable, but by this time we were too late, unfortunately, to test it out. Batman Arkham City was to have been shown at the event, but unfortunately the publishers didn’t have time to prepare a demo, which was extremely disappointing. With the game out now though, we won’t have to wait to take the Dark Knight to the skys and sewers of Arkham City.

We had a lot of fun at PlayStation Access. Meeting up with PSN friends and playing the latest games is always an exciting proposition, and we look forward to the next one, hopefully early next year. In our opinion there just aren’t enough gaming events like this in Scotland, and unfortunately this one wasn’t very well publicised. Perhaps it could do with better marketing, and the lack of the Dark Knight was disappointing. It would also have been nice to meet some developers, but overall it was well worth the trip, and at the end of it we received a goody bag containing a rather cool Uncharted 3 T-shirt and a Resistance 3 Chimeran Sackboy keyring. Whether or not you made it out of Maryhill with the goody bag still on your arm is another story altogether!

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Written by Kevin M

I’ve been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70’s. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

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