Review for Best PlayStation Magazine

feels is worthy for your attention this month in their magazine preview demo disk. With E3 being just a few weeks away, most dedicated gamers are chomping at the bit to see the upcoming titles for their system of choice. So instead of a few more pages of witty repartee, let`s get down to brass tax.

For you PS2 motorheads, there is only one topic of discussion. That would be Gran Turismo 4 (GT4). If you were paying attention last month, you would know that OPM has included a whole section dedicated to the upcoming release of GT4. Unfortunately, once again fans of the series will be disappointed. All that is included in their headlining section is two videos concerning the SEMA awards. One video shows the beautiful cars as one of the judges walks the floor, while another one gives you a look at the GT4 Best in Show winning 1962 Buick Special, along with a few of the other close competitors. This glorious victor will be showcased in the new game when it is released in the near future. What better prize could one ask for than to have their own personal vehicle included in the world’s best racing simulator? Hopefully, next month’s issue will have some new information and possibly some video for us to all drool over.

Robin Wilson, the member of the Gin Blossoms, is the focus of the Extras section. There is an interview with him about all of his favorite hobbies, including his gaming habits. While some people may find these talks with the rich and famous wondrous, I would rather have more interesting discussions with the game developers instead. In this section, you will also find the Fogtint customizing option and the disk credits. So, unless you are a big fan of the band, you won’t be spending much time here. On to more interesting topics: the included video game information.

The Replay section contains downloadable codes for Killswitch and the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. There are also two Cool Moves for The Simpsons: Hit and Run and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.

In the Playground, there are four videos and six playable demos. Probably the best of these videos is Midway’s Psi-Ops: Mindgate Conspiracy. The preview gives you a very good feel for the game and really brings up the interest level.

Your character has all different forms of psychic powers including psychokinesis and clairvoyance and has been sent on a mission by a super-secret agency to probably save the world or something along those lines. Everything in the preview is not spelled out, but if it handles as well as it looks. I believe Midway may have a winner on their hands.

The other noteworthy video is for Hitman: Contracts. While there was no actual gameplay featured, the full-motion video was truly breathtaking. It was just as impressive for me now as was the intro movie for Driver when it was released back on the PSOne. They both pulled the desire strings in my gaming soul which make me want to see and play more. This one should also be impressive.

The two remaining videos were for All-Star Baseball 2005 and Alias. Neither one was very stirring and seemed to be included just to take up space. In both, the screen views jumped around so quickly it was very hard to get a good look at what they were selling. This usually spells disaster for gameplay and underachievement with the product. However, I’ll have to wait for more of a display before rendering a complete opinion.

Just like last month, there seems to be a common thread for the playable demos as seen on FullGamePC. Four of the six are action adventures. While each one has a separate theme, it all seemed like I was playing different variations of the same thing over and over again. The first of these is Cy Girls.

While this Konami creation is far from an equal to the likes of Solid Snake, I found the demo to be entertaining. It is also very informative, as just about every step is covered with a break in the action to have a tutorial to explain the action that should be taking place in the game. I did find the experience daunting, as I prefer to have just a taste, rather than an entire meal while sampling a demo. Nevertheless, this looks to be a very deep action game with a lot to explore.

Terminator 3: Redemption is another action-adventure game. T3 has the feel of the Terminator universe that includes the music and looks of the films. You even have the actual voice of Arnold snapping off some of the dry one-liners that he is better known for. One neat aspect of the game is the ability to switch the visuals from a normal mode to that of Terminator view. The game recreates the 1st person view made famous in the first movie to the letter, even though it is done in a 3rd person perspective. The controls of the character are very loose and the environments are difficult to navigate. Hopefully, these will be corrected when the final product arrives in stores.

One of the most anticipated games due out soon for the PS2 is Syphon Filter: Omega Strain. Here you get the opportunity to experience this soon-to-be classic. While there are no online abilities to try out, you are given a healthy helping of the single-player mode of the game. Just from playing the demo for a few minutes, I could tell that this one is destined to be talked about by gamers for a long time. The controls take a little getting used to, but the learning curve is very short. If you just had this as a playable demo on the disk, it would be worth the cover price of the magazine. This will be a must-have for any PlayStation 2 owner.

The final game in our quartet is Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3. While the gameplay is everything that you would expect from this title, the whole Special Forces combat is beginning to get a little stale. RS3 is definitely the highlight of everything that Clancy has brought to the PS2. The environments in the demo are very tight and confining, which only adds to the challenge of taking on the bad guys. Death can come very quickly to the inexperienced player. The AI of the opponents is highly tweaked and you do not feel like you are going up against a bunch of computer-generated enemies. If you are into 1st person shooters, this should be ending up in your collection much sooner than later.

Probably the most enjoyable demo for myself was Fight Night 2004, a brand new boxing game brought to us by EA Sports. The new total control features of the game really reinvent the wheel when it comes to the genre. Forget about button mashing to win your bouts. The new control scheme makes for a much deeper, more challenging experience. Graphically, the game stands far above any other boxing game created for the PS2. Boxers show wear and tear as the rounds go by and their bodies react realistically when they are hit. You will find yourself coming back to this demo time and time again once you get your fill of the shooters. If the rest of the game keeps the EA touch, I would expect this game to have knocked out the competition with a single roundhouse.

The final section of the disk is the Inside the Game area. I know you’re screaming, “That was only five playable demos. Where’s the other one?” Calm down there speedy and let me get to things in my own pace. This part of the disk is the spotlight for Sony, even though it’s not advertised as such. In it, you get to see a video interview with the creator of the EyeToy, Dr. Richard Marks. This controller has been in the works since the early days of the PS2 and its second playable game, EyeToy: Groove, has just been released to the public. Here you get to see the new game in action, including the newly developed two-player mode. Once this is completed, you also can watch and experiment with the two tech demos for the EyeToy.

The first is a simple filter demo which shows the possible video enhancements that the controller can create for future video games. Some of these like the green screens (like those used for your local weather forecasts), invisibility, spotlighting, edge detection, soft focus, and fourteen others are here for your goofing enjoyment.

The other is a magic spells demo. In this Dr. Marks gives an explanation of what you will be able to do with the EyeToy in using props to actually cast over twelve different spells. By picking an object, a ball on a stick works surprisingly well, you can then activate the wand by simply waving your hand above it. Once this has been done, you just move your wand to create a PS2 shape (X, O, triangle, square, etc.) which corresponds to the relative spell. To cast the spell you can either flick your wand immediately or let the power build to cast a level 2 spell. While this sounds exceptionally cool for future games, the actual application really needs some more work. Even with every light in the room on, the EyeToy gave me loads of problems creating the spells and took numerous attempts to get the actual ones I originally asked for. Nevertheless, it was a nice look into the future of what I expect gaming to be like in the next five years.

Well, there you are gamers, another OPM review has come to a close. I hope that this has been as yummy to your gaming tastes as it was to mine. Make sure to check back in a few weeks for our next look at OPM issue number 81.

Until then, happy gaming.

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