Sony and Sega – Ridge Racer 7, Resistance: Fall of Man, Virtua Fighter 5 review

a selection of PlayStation 3 launch games
Photo of Sony and Sega – Ridge Racer 7, Resistance: Fall of Man, Virtua Fighter 5
£39.99. each

A console is only as good as its games, so let’s see what the launch line-up for Sony’s PlayStation 3 looks like.

We’ll start with Ridge Racer 7. For so long, the Ridge Racer franchise was considered a bit of a Sony-only franchise. The first games in the franchise did no harm for the original PlayStation, Ridge Racer 5 launched with the PS2 and even the PSP has picked up a couple of Ridge Racer titles. However, when the Xbox 360 became the home for Ridge Racer 6, it seemed the Sony hold had been broken.

Not so. The arcade racing exploits of Ridge Racer 7 are PS3-exclusive and a launch title too, and broadly the game delivers what you’d expect. It’s also, no matter how much hyperbole the PR blurb serves up, very close to RR6. Differences include a greater amount of customisable options, commendable tweaking to the nitrous system and a lot of races to work through. Its core selling point is still its insanely entertaining drift system, but the bottom line is that it is, as it always was, a very good arcade racing game, with a level of depth it rarely gets credit for. Not a reason for buying the PS3, perhaps, but a bit of a bonus nonetheless.

The real killer app that’s being pushed heavily is Resistance: Fall Of Man. It’s also, at this stage, probably the best game on the PlayStation 3. In many ways it feels like some of the finest moments of Call Of Duty, albeit fighting mutated creatures. Spectacular on the cinematics, the core game is a fairly straightforward yet undeniably exciting first person shooter that’s an awful lot of fun. The single player campaign is lengthy and enjoyable, and while there are some moderate issues over the tetchiness of the controls, Resistance is the game that’s likely to take up residency in the PS3 first.

Among the third party supporters of the PS3 are the likes of Activision and EA, and they have duly stumped up rehashes or PS3 conversions of some of their recent hits. Thus, Call Of Duty 3, Fight Night Round 3 and Need For Speed Carbon have been rolled out, although – in spite of their qualities – none of them really gives the PS3 the kick it needs.

Instead, Sony has its ex-arch rival Sega to thank for bolstering the day one line-up into something far more impressive. And among the terrific Virtua Tennis 3, the tepid Sonic and the entertaining enough World Snooker Championship 2007 is Virtua Fighter 5. It’s an extremely strong fighting game, with the devil very much in the detail. There are so many nuances to the action, so much depth and so much to enjoy, it’s well worth picking up. That it looks stunning too is very welcome indeed.

The PS3 is certainly enjoying a wide launch line-up, and while only a few titles stand worthy of too much attention, the three main ones we’ve seen here are each good games. You’re unlikely to be disappointed with any of them.

Company: Sony and Sega

Three good games to send the PS3 on its way. But this is only the beginning of the fight ahead...