A couple of PS2 gems?

Oliver Brown
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I did something I haven’t done for years recently: I bought Official PlayStation Magazine UK for the demo disk. No particular reason except now having a job I’m not so worried about the price of a magazine…

I was glad I did. It has two demos of games that look really cool (and they’re already out).

The first is Fahrenheit (although it was renamed before the launch - search GameSpot for Fahrenheit and it comes up). You control a guy who has just done a murder and you have to (basically) escape from the police. But it is so much more than that. Firstly, the genre is closest to point-and-click adventure à la Broken Sword, except it’s in 3D - you just move near objects and push the right analog stick in different directions to do different context-sensitive actions. Another point is the emphasis on story - you get to see things that are happening elsewhere that you wouldn’t normally know about (like the cop approaching the door of the men’s room where you committed the murder) if it is good for drama. Finally you get to control most of the important characters throughout the game (although not in the demo).

The second one is Shadow of the Colossus, a third person action adventure. All you have to do is go through the game killing these huge Colossi (they look like something out of Lord of the Rings - large walking bear type things. I mean large - they start out about the size of a house and get bigger). And that is literally all you have to do. No piddly bad guys in between, just the Colossi. The game gets away with this apparent simplicity with two (related) features: Firstly how you kill them is not that obvious. It generally involves climbing up them somehow and stabbing them but there’s usually more to it. Secondly the platform aspect of the game is amazing. The most important part is the “grip” feature. Basically you can hang on things (think Prince of Persia) and while hanging you can jump around and hang on other things. This is how you climb the Colossi. The physics engine for this is close to perfect. As the things move around trying to swipe at you your character swings around, ends up hanging with just one arm (so you have to wait for him to get his bearings and grab with both - all the while you’re grip strength lessens) and all sorts of cinematic type sequences occur. On the demo I managed to get all the way up to its head, got throw off and ended up hanging off its nose…

So go out and by them… I think I will.