Posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at 9:00 AM by Guest
Following last years apologetic showing at E3 (following the PSN hacking scandal), Sony launched an impressive and strong conference this year, on an equally impressive stage. Jack Tretton thanked the fans for their continued support, and then introduced the first new IP of the Sony Conference: Quantic Dream‘s Beyond: Two Souls.
Beyond is a story of life and the afterlife, and features the main protagonist Jodie Holmes who is voiced and motion captured by Academy Award nominee Ellen Page. In the cinematic sequence we were shown (which was all filmed with in-game footage), Jodie is interviewed by a police officer before a SWAT team intervenes. David Cage’s team have really increased the realism in both the acting (as shown by the talent they have employed) and in the photo-realism in the visuals. It could be argued that they are more realistic and impressive than the stunning “Heavy Rain”, which was created by the same studio. Jodie appears to be helped during the game by her invisible companion, “Ivan”, and we are to play through the game during a 15 year span of Jodie’s life. With no sign of gameplay footage, it is hard to judge the title yet, but it was still an impressive opening pitch for a third party developer.
The second game to show, and featuring actual multiplayer gameplay, was Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale and is available for both the PS3 console, and the PSVita, and features cross-platform compatibility. It is essentially a multiplayer beat-em-up (I am trying hard to avoid direct comparisons to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros series, but it is difficult), featuring characters from the Playstation back catalogue, and levels inspired by the games. Fat Princess, Sweet-tooth, Kratos and Sly Cooper were featured fighting in a Ratchet and Clank inspired level, with the Hydra from God Of War in the background, interacting with the characters at random intervals. It looked crisp, with the visuals more suited to the PSVita, or even the PSP rather than the PS3, but the 2D level design and super powers may make this a fun game, especially with the announcement of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series making an appearance as a playable character.
Next on the roster was an announcement that there will be cross-controller DLC released for Little Big Planet 2, so that the game can be played on the PS3 using the PSVita as a remote, and the DLC will also feature additional content to make the most of the PSVita’s touchscreen. In related news, Playstation Plus is receiving a reboot of sorts; new games (including LBP2 and Infamous 2) are being released for free to Plus subscribers, and everyone in the E3 auditorium received 1 year passes for the service. PS1 classics are also finally being released for the PSVita, including Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy games.
There was an announcement about TV, movie and sports features available on PS3, and the YouTube app for PSVita, but thankfully this was merely a brief overview, and much more concise and welcome than the extended Microsoft announcement.
Two new PSVita games were announced to cheering crowds, the first being Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified, which is due for a Christmas release and will make full use of the dual analogue sticks and also the touchscreen and rear touchpad. The second game is Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, and is set in a similar time frame to Assassins Creed 3, but features a female assassin lead character, and will make full use of the camera, motion control and touchscreen, and is due out on Hallowe’en of this year.
The Assassins Creed news didn’t stop there, as there was news from Assassins Creed 3, but this time featuring footage of the ship-based battles we can look forward to, as the lead character Connor will steer the ship in rough seas and command the cannon’s to fire on the enemy ships of the English. We are promised changing weather climates in the water, which will lead to rougher (or calmer) seas as you would expect. The ocean looked expansive and detailed, and the waves looked almost as attractive as the snow and plains footage we have already seen. This game is going to be BIG!
Ubisoft weren’t finished there, as before they left they announced a new piece of news surrounding FarCry 3: 4-player co-op. They have been working on it as a separate game in itself, and it will feature exclusive DLC for PS3 owners, and is promised to be large and impressive. From the live gameplay featured, I can believe this, and the squad worked together exchanging orders to eliminate the hostile threats in shanty towns and structures. We were also told of the 3-island based single player, multiplayer and the map editor for creating your own games. Quite a lot of content for one Bluray disk!
Andrew House presented the Playstation Move peripheral, as it received it’s own section and announced compatibility with upcoming titles like Epic Mickey 2, Bioshock Infinite and Little Big Planet Karting. We were promised a “Transformative experience that would redefine our expectations”, before being shown a new peripheral; The Wonderbook. As the name suggests, this is an actual book, with pages marked with AR (Augmented Reality) markers that interact with the software and are interpreted by the Playstation Eye. The idea being that families can turn storytelling into something more interactive and magical, whether it is a fairy tale or a non-fiction book such as an atlas. The first major title for the Wonderbook is The Book Of Spells, by author JK Rowling. The “game” turns the Wonderbook into a spell book, featuring spells from the Harry Potter series, and is being updated regularly by Ms Rowling herself via her website “PotterMore”. The Playstation Move remote turns into a magic wand, allowing you to recreate spells on screen and fight dragons and other creatures. There is also a rather magical (forgive the pun) looking paper theatre, which really shows off how impressive the AR capture is. The Wonderbook and The Book Of Spells are due for release towards the end of the year.
In other news, the Playstation Suite is being rebranded “Playstation Mobile” following a successful team up with mobile giants HTC and their Android devices. This will bring a new gaming era of Playstation standard titles onto mobile devices, and the beta-testing for this has proved very successful, so for the mobile gamers out there, this may well be something worth watching.
Finally onto the two blockbuster games that everyone was waiting for, and the latest instalment of God of War – Ascension. The gameplay footage looked impressive, combat is as fluid as ever (if a little repetitive and similar to the previous games), and the QTE’s return in all of the expected places. The addition of magic to create platforming seems quite impressive, and the platforming itself is fluid and on a par with anything Lara or Drake can manage, so this may be a game to watch out for for fans of the series, or those new to the genre.
Naughty Dog closed the show with an impressive live gameplay feature of The Last Of Us, which featured lush visuals and some platforming and combat to demonstrate it’s capabilities. While not an Uncharted game, the dialogue between the characters, and the gunplay and platforming look and sound very similar. The melee combat is a lot more intuitive, and lead character Joel is more brutal and “hands on” than Nathan Drake ever was. His sidekick Ellie is no wallflower either, distracting a hostile by throwing a brick at his head, reassuring us this will not be an Ico style game of “protect and cover”. If Assassins Creed 3 doesn’t win Game of the Year next year, my money is on this.
Finally, Jack Tretton reassured fans that the Playstation will remain the “epicentre of gaming”, and promised that the “best is yet to come”. Inspiring words, from an impressive conference.
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