E3 2012: Sony Finishes Strong


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Sony is the second of the “Big Three” to have their press briefings at E3 2012. Much like Microsoft before them, it was a little light on surprises, but they did bring the heat with several extremely impressive demos.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Beyond: Two Souls
  • Heavy Rain developer, Quantic Dream, kicks off the show with a CGI presentation of their new game. Jody Holmes (voiced and performance captured by Ellen Page) is a girl that has always sensed that there’s more to the world than what we can see. The presentation begins with a police officer trying to get through to a seemingly catatonic Jody. He explains to her that he found her at the scene of an accident. After several minutes of trying to convince her that in order for him to be of any help she needs to open up to him, she still doesn’t respond. After more pushing Jody seems to get a little frustrated and she (or some unseen other force) telepathically throws a mug of coffee against the wall. This, understandably, frightens the cop, who proceeds to get out of that room as quickly as he can. As he’s on the way out, an entire SWAT team busts in through the front door of the police station with the intent of capturing Jody. This doesn’t go well for anyone. What followed was a quick montage of action clips that showed a helicopter crashing to the ground and what appeared to be Jody showcasing the ability to inhabit the bodies of the police officers.

    While they didn’t go into what the actual gameplay would be like whatsoever, what they showed definitely left me intrigued to see more.

  • Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale
  • It’s very obvious where this game gets its inspiration from. Someone at Sony looked at Super Smash Brothers and said to himself, “We have some characters, let’s do one of those.” Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all. The gameplay involved building up a super meter to unleash special moves to eliminate your opponents. The characters they announced were Kratos ( God of War), Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal), Fat Princess (Fat Princess) , Sly Cooper (Sly Cooper series), Nathan Drake (Uncharted) and the Big Daddy (Bioshock). They also announced a version for Playstation Vita as well as cross-compatibility between the two versions. It’s Super Smash Brothers with Playstation dudes.

  • Playstation Plus and Vita Talk
  • Next up were several rapid fire announcements about Playstation Plus and the Vita. They announced an expansion of the free titles available for the Plus service, including Infamous 2, Little Big Planet 2 and Saints Row 2. PS1 classics for Vita were up next, including Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy 7. Hulu Plus and Crackle are both coming to Vita, and Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified was announced as well. No details on that, however.

  • Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation
  • Exclusive to Vita is a side story to Assassin’s Creed 3 proper featuring a lady assassin. Not much was shown, but it looks like Assassin’s Creed 3 on the Vita. It will link with the PS3 version of Assassin’s Creed 3 to unlock new content. They also announced a bundle with a crystal white wi-fi Vita and 4gb memory card. Releases October 30th, 2012.

  • Assassin’s Creed 3
  • A lot has already been said about this game, but Sony had a little surprise up its sleeve for the show. Sneaking and stabbing will not be the only way to wage war against the Templars during the American Revolution. Get behind the wheel of a warship and get yourself into some full-on battles on the high seas. Dynamically shifting weather makes sailing and shooting unpredictable. The waves crashing against the sides of the ships look absolutely incredible. If I wasn’t already excited about this game, this puts it way over the top. They announced exclusive DLC for Playstation 3.

  • FarCry 3
  • Four-player co-op was the name of the game during this presentation. Players were tasked with grabbing explosives to blow up a bridge. It wasn’t made clear whether this was an option available on the entire open world map, but they did say that there was an entire co-pp campaign to play through. Once again, exclusive DLC on the Playstation 3.

  • Wonderbook
  • Next up was an extremely bizarre presentation for a new augmented reality game/book that uses the Playstation Move and Playstation Eye to use augmented reality to bring things inside a storybook to life. The first book/game published for Wonderbook is “The Book of Spells”, which takes place in the Harry Potter universe and is written in part by J.K. Rowling. The bulk of the…gameplay (?) consisted of reading a storybook to discover spells and the motions you need to make to cast them. If you’re into Harry Potter, this looks like it’ll be right up your alley.

  • God of War: Ascension
  • Kratos is still pissed, or since this is a prequel, he’s just starting to get pissed I guess? Lots of God of War stuff happening here. Slashing and stabbing with the signature blades. Some quicktime event finishing moves sprinkled around for good measure. There was a very interesting moment when Kratos was standing on a wooden dock that seconds later was destroyed by a giant sea monster. After pausing for a second, Kratos was able to use a new ability to rebuild the world around him and create platforms to reach a higher area. He was also able to use this ability to suspend enemies in the air for a moment to open them up for combos. Looks like more God of War. If that’s your thing, then you’ll feel right at home.

  • The Last of Us
  • Sony saved the best for last. Naughty Dog, of Uncharted fame, is behind this shocking and brutal look at the post-apocalypse. The demo started with a man and a young girl in an abandoned coffee shop looking for supplies. After moving on from there, they enter an abandoned hotel that’s occupied with hostiles. Moving silently, the man is able to take down one enemy before all hell broke loose. Ammunition seems extremely limited so you need to make every shot count. You’re able to switch seamlessly between a gun and melee. And believe me, the melee attacks are absolutely brutal. At one point the man’s pistol runs dry; this prompts his enemies to become more aggressive. After dispatching the initial wave of enemies, the man and girl have a moment to rest before more come.

    This is the point where they showed off the very cool menu interface. Rather than just being able to pop in and out of a menu at any moment, you actually have to physically take your backpack off and choose things inside it. After grabbing a Molotov cocktail out of the backpack, the man uses it to dispatch the remaining enemies. The demo ends with the girl saving the man from the last attacker, and after a short scuffle the man ends up with the upper hand and the bad guy ends up with a shotgun blast to the face. Absolutely incredible. This is “game of the show” type stuff.

    While it was kind of an underwhelming show overall, Sony ended up on an extremely strong note. Two down, one to go. What you got, Nintendo?

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