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E3: Sony Plays Things Safe

Article: Showcase lacks the X factor

Sony's E3 seems to have lacked that impact we've come to expect from what is still the world's biggest games expo. For a start, where was its counter-attack to Microsoft's Final Fantasy XIII coup?

There doesn't seem to have been any real surprises that we haven't known about or covered already. The new 80GB PS3 for US (and now Europe) was the biggest news, but anyone watching the conference from home would already have a PS3. And the fact that new SKU still lacks PS2 support is still gutting.

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We were all excited about seeing God of War III, but it may as well have not turned up. We know what to expect from the game, sure, but seeing Kratos batter a few faces, even if only in a CGI trailer, would have been enough to get the juices flowing.

But the trailer shown, which you can see here, did little for us and we know as much about the game as we did before we turned up.

None of the rumours surfaced either, just like at Nintendo's conference. LittleBigPlanet for PSP? A new break-apart PS3 controller? Nothing...

Super Stardust Portable and Resistance Retribution on PSP are decent-looking titles, but no one leapt out of their seats. The same goes for the Platinum range announcement (which is more for the late-entry mainstream guys than the hardcore gamer) and the new PSN titles - Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty, Flower and Rag Doll Kung Fu.

MAG sounds great on paper, but a 256-player FPS multiplayer game needs to be shown in action to get people excited and prove it works well. Right now we just have to take Sony's word for it because the CGI trailer of a few dozen soldiers attacking a military post did little more than show how nice FMV is looking these days.

But it's not a disaster for PS3 fans by any means. Our disappointment with the show stems more from a lack of surprises than a lack of stuff to look forward to. There were plenty of previously announced games to talk about, but Resistance 2 was the only game that got a good showing.

Home looks cool but we want a release date, Sony. That's all. Not another video of some avatars dancing like dads at a wedding party. Killzone 2 was a no-show - a new and spectacular level walkthrough would have been nice.

We've seen what LittleBigPlanet can do. It's all about user created content - we get it. Now it's just time to get the game out the door. And where the hell was WipEout HD? We've been playing what seems like a near-finished version of it for months. Sony's new don't-worry-about-release-dates policy is clearly in action there.

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And do we really want to sit through trailers for PS2 games? We've had PS3's for almost two years now, and our PS2s are slung in our little brother's toy box. That's clearly another nod to the new focus on mainstream gamers that the entire industry seems to be taking on board.

No need to go mental though, Sony has a solid line-up for its hardcore gaming crowd. That, at least, is something PS3 owners can be safe knowing. And we're sure there's more behind the scenes. It's just a shame that Sony didn't want to talk about them at E3.