The Xbox 360 might very well have Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alan Wake and a new Halo this year, but in terms of exclusives for the first quarter, Mass Effect 2 aside, they’ve left the door wide open for Sony to push through with their trio of hard hitting titles, all of which (through no coincidence) are distinct enough to attract fans of pretty much most genres. Looking at the list, the only thing really absent is a racing game, and it’s presumably Sony’s confidence in the existing line-up that’s pushed back Gran Turismo 5 – perhaps, put simply, it really wasn’t needed yet.
So, first up is January, and the Zipper-produced MAG. MAG might not be to everyone’s taste, but the recent demo has proved that people are keen to get involved with the 256-player online battles. We’re heading south to play the final version of MAG this week, so we’ll let you know what the full game is like once we get back, but rest assured that Sony are well aware of the importance of first person shooters to the gaming public and will be behind MAG just as much as Uncharted 2 in terms of pushing the game to game-hungry shooter fans. It’s an ambitious title, for sure, and only has Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 to battle against.
Next up is Heavy Rain, in February. Much has been said about Heavy Rain over the past couple of years, and it’s still surprising that the main story hasn’t yet been revealed, such is the tight grip Sony have over the press on this one. The game, billed as a “dark and sophisticated film noir thriller” looks to take videogaming into a whole new direction with complex plot threads, moral decisions and a cast of detailed, stunning looking characters that must be making the PS3 ache. We’ve yet to sample the final version of Heavy Rain, but we’re looking forward to buying into the hype.
Finally, March sees the release of God Of War III, the game that has seen a huge amount of hype and discussion since it was first announced with that teaser trailer. The follow up to two of the PS2’s best games has a lot riding on its shoulders, but we’re confident that Kratos has the muscles to cope with the strain – it might not be to everyone’s taste, but anyone looking for a polished third person adventure will be looking at God Of War III when it arrives in a couple of months, and Sony will be well aware of that and will be making sure that every gamer without a PS3 knows it’s coming.
After March, of course, the Xbox 360 fights back, but that’s for another day…