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E3 2012 – Sony Conference Recap and Review

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With the opening day evening slot, Sony was in an interesting position. Rather than being forced to kickoff the expo, they began by riding on the waves of excitement E3 had for all of the gaming fans in the world, and those waves carried right on over into their conference. With some big game announcements, exclusive details, gameplay footage, and live demonstrations – Sony’s conference had just about everything you would want…just about. They opened up with a long and elaborate montage, as if to say “Hey, look, we have lots of cool games!” But did that same tone carry throughout the conference? Continue reading for more details, and make sure to click the game names for links to their relevant articles as well!

Beyond: Two Souls

Everyone knew this announcement was coming – but David Cage was able to still deliver an exciting announcement that surprised people all the same. Focusing on the concept of what happens after we die, Beyond: Two Souls is looking to maintain that trademark cinematic quality that has made Quantic Dream the popular developer that they are today. While this is most definitely not like the Kara tech demo, I am still excited to see what this turns into.

 

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Following a brand new game announcement like Beyond is a near impossible feat, so Sony decided to follow it up with something trusty and reliable – a game featuring their all-star cast of past and current characters. The gameplay demo showed off what a typical match may entail with the game, and they also revealed it will be 100% cross-play compatible with the Vita and PS3. At the end they even unveiled a couple new characters. This looks like a welcome addition to the Sony library, even if it would have been just as welcome years ago.

 

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation

This game has been rumored for a while, but now we finally have seen it in action and know some concrete details about it. The game is exclusively for the Vita, and will even feature some cross-game compatibility with the PS3 version of Assassin’s Creed III, allowing you to unlock special items and content. Judging from the brief trailer, it seems to be a bonafide Assassin’s Creed game built from the ground up with the Vita in mind – not just a port or a watered down version. This game will also be released with the debut white colored PS Vita system, as a special package deal. This and Uncharted: Golden Abyss are but brief glimpses into the future of what the Vita is capable of doing; it’s unfortunate more games weren’t unveiled for the struggling handheld.

 

Wonderbook: Book of Spells

Enter my least favorite part of E3 so far. Not only was this demonstration a terrible example of what this book platform, and specifically the Book of Spells can do, it was a dreadful presentation in general. It seemed like many of the users in the presentation were not really sure how to interact with it, proving how un-intuitive it must be, and the entire concept seemed to lack substance. A glorified story book is great and all as a clip in a montage, but half an hour of the entire Sony press conference at the biggest gaming event in the world? No thank you. Furthermore, why isn’t this a fully-fledged Harry Potter game? Read our initial post for more information on this thing…

 

God of War: Ascension

Easily one of the most popular faces for Sony today, Kratos definitely showed up at the conference. Unfortunately, not a whole lot else happened. There is this new God of War game coming out, as you probably know. It has multiplayer this time, but you wouldn’t have known that if you were just watching E3. Instead of showing something gamers have not seen before, they simply showed some single player gameplay that could have just as well been taken directly from God of War 3. Time will tell how this game ends up, but I am not looking forward to replaying the same game again.

 

The Last of Us

Saving the best for last, we finally get to see some real gameplay footage of the fantastic PS3 exclusive: The Last of Us. Naughty Dog has seemed to really have outdone themselves this time, as this game is absolutely breathtaking. I was literally speechless after seeing this for the first time. The tone is absolutely brutal, and the relationship between the characters is so rich and realistic. AI seems to work incredible well, and everything looks to be clicking at this point. If this game ends up being half as good as it looks, I’ll be an extremely happy gamer.

 

The Other Games

First off, there is no denying that Sony has a pretty solid stable of exclusive brands in its arsenal to market to consumers. Unfortunately, the possibility of tons of awesome games does not an awesome conference make. Instead of announcing or teasing a bunch of new games or something of that nature, they kept it pretty basic.

They showed off some sea-based gameplay in Assassin’s Creed III which truly does look admittedly amazing. Then they also premiered the newly announced cooperative multiplayer feature of Far Cray 3. If you weren’t listening closely you could have easily missed the part where they said the PS3 is getting exclusive Far Cry 3 DLC…way to brush over that one!

Maintaining this theme of not talking about topics enough, they showed a logo for Call of Duty: Black Ops Unclassified. Just a logo. No gameplay, no details, no launch date. Just a logo. That just about wraps up the Vita information as far as new games goes…which is terribly unfortunate. Where was Killzone Vita? Where was inFamous Vita? Where was LittleBigPlanet Vita? Where were any more games? With the power and comfort the system possesses, it could easily be home to some amazing RPGs…where are those games? No where to be found apparently.

 

What Else Happened?

To put it bluntly and honestly, not a whole lot. As you can see in the image above, at some point they did unveil this contraption…that looks absolutely terrible. Be sure to check our our article on that for more details. Otherwise, there really weren’t any other games talked about at all. A lot of gamers, myself included, were really hoping to find out about The Last Guardian. With the head designers from Team Ico leaving, the game has been in question for quite some time, but it was confirmed to still be in development. Does this mean the game has finally died off entirely?

Why wasn’t there more discussion about the Vita? Specifically, where were the Vita games? As I discussed above, the Vita did not get near enough attention in the conference. Thankfully they unveiled some nice news as far as PlayStation Plus and Network are concerned. For starters PSOne Classics will finally become available for players to download and play on their Vita. Yes, that means you could play games like Final Fantasy VII and Spyro the Dragon right on your Vita. Hopefully they offer some type of cloud saving technology in order to allow gamers to pick up from those same save files right on their PS3’s.

In addition to that, some details on the PlayStation Plus overhaul have been revealed. First off, they plan on integrating specific Vita benefits for PlayStation Plus users, in addition to more free games. In June alone, Sony plans on giving out access to 12 AAA-quality titles like LittleBigPlanet 2, inFamous 2, and much more.

New features for Vita are coming as well, with YouTube and Hulu Plus apps soon becoming available. Finally, they displayed a new cross-controller technology that involves controlling similar titles with the PS3 controller and PS Vita. It will offer unlockable and special content as the concepts grow.

Sony also rolled out details about its PlayStation Suite and PlayStation Mobile brand names. In-depth information was very sparse at the conference, but it seems like a way to connect mobile devices and integrate them into the PlayStation experience. They also unveiled their first non-Sony partner in HTC, allowing for a broader audience to market their brand. What exactly these initiatives have in store for us is mostly unknown, but they are definitely something to keep an eye on.

 

Impressions

I expected a lot more out of Sony at this E3. After having their handheld launch just a few months ago, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to really blow it up and make it the focus. They did a fine job highlighting a few stand-out titles like The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls, but more work should have been put into their lineup. Why was Wonderbook such a large focus of the press conference? It seems like a cool concept, but it should not have been anything more than a clip from one of their infamous montages – most certainly not 20+ minutes of the full press conference.

That time saved from axing Wonderbook could have been used to quickly show 3 or 4 Vita titles, or even explain more ways that Plus and PS3 users can interact with their Vitas. Overall I would be lying if I said I disliked Sony’s conference – The Last of Us is one of the best looking games I have ever seen in my life – but it just should have been more.

About The Author
David Jagneaux Senior Editor
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