19th June 2011 - Sony are in the eyes of the entire industry. Always with a handful of tricks up their sleeves for E3 time, and after the recent worldwide hacking scandal, Sony had the one show nobody wanted to miss this year. To say the least, it didn’t disappoint, so please read on for All Age Gaming’s full review of Sony’s 2011 E3 Press Conference.
We’re Very Sorry!
Before the real show began, Sony did the honourable thing that we all expected and wanted; they publically apologised to their retailers, publishing partners, developers and most importantly, their loyal consumers for the infamous PSN hacking event. A quick recap; earlier this year Sony Playstation Network was the victim of a serious hacking, resulting in up to 70 million users details and data being compromised from unknown forces. The system was given a swift shut down, but not before untold damages were done. Well now, over a month later, Sony finally has the entire system back up and running, safer than ever. And with good measure, the hardware giant’s offered a heartfelt apology for the extreme worldwide inconvenience.
Starting the real deal off with a bang, Sony presented to the audience a live demonstration of the much anticipated Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. With a highly detailed cruise ship level in play, the demo was greatly entertaining. The franchises trademark mixture of stunning visuals and exciting gameplay was still very much intact, and after the gameplay, we were given a confirmed release date of November 1st, 2011, as well as the announcement that the multiplayer beta begins on June 28th, and that Sony and Subway have partnered to give away codes to the complete multiplayer package before October.
Next up was a Resistance 3 demonstration. Whether it was just because of the impact of the previous gameplay demo of Uncharted, or the fact it looked like an overly generic shooter not worthy of the Resistance title, the demonstration was a great big slap to the face. And not in the sense where you need one to make sure you aren’t dreaming. The level on show was a very standard shooting experience, very unlike what we’ve come to expect from the series in the past. Afterwards, there was a Special Edition complete with a set of Move fittings for those who haven’t invested in the hardware yet. It can be played with a normal controller, too, but Sony really has faith in the FPS Move experience so it may be worth a try if you haven’t already given it a shot.
God of War: Origins
Of course, not the origins of the franchise itself, the God of War: Origins Collection brings together both of the acclaimed PSP variants of the mega-hit series to the PS3 in one easy package with upgraded visuals and gameplay. To be released in September, this collection will also launch alongside the Shadow of the Colossus HD remake, both exclusively for the PS3.
The Future of the Future of Gaming?
3D TV’s are already described by some as the future of gaming, offering great deals of potential depth (literally) to the age old gaming formula. Well Sony says ‘We’ll have none of that!’, as they show they are already making a step to take it all to the next level.
The result of Sony’s boundary pushing expertise is a unique 24” 3D TV that allows gamers to play ‘split-screen’ without actually having to split the screen. We all dread the inevitable ‘Screen-Cheats’ that plague same-couch gaming, so with Sony’s new TV, those worries go out with window. With 2 sets of glasses, the TV has a completely unique feature that allows both gamers to see different screens on the same television. Sony is releasing this device later this year, in a bundle including Resistance 3, all the goodies of the TV set and a HDMI cable.
Moving it Along Now
Sony then made use of the time to show off a few Move demonstrations. Presumably in an attempt to gather some numbers on the lacklustre sales of the device. First shown was the Move compatibility with the upcoming NBA 2K12. It looks like a much simpler way to play, and was a great demonstration after Microsoft’s lack-of-one for their promised EA Sports Kinect integration. NBA 2K12 will release this October.
Then came Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest. From the team that brought you Sports Champions, Deadmund’s Quest is an on-rails action game, with complete Move-required playability. The combat looks very intriguing, but it’s a shame you have such limited movability given the rails factor. Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest launches this fall.
In a strange move, Sony hyped their Infamous 2 game with a new trailer. Strange because Infamous 2 was being released the very next day after the show, and this time could have been used up by a showing of an anticipated Sony title for later in the year. It was a bit of a time-waster, but they then helped the moment by making it about Move yet again, with confirmation that the titles Mission Creator mode would feature support for it, and then let it be known that before the year was out, Little Big Planet 2 would acquire a Move update.
We all love Sequels!
It’s getting a little tedious with so many sequel announcements every week in our fine industry, but Sony decided to throw a few more on the barby. They announced Starhawk, a sequel to the successful Warhawk multiplayer game, before finally officially revealing the expected return of Sly Cooper, the classic PS2 hero. Starhawk and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time are expected to see the light of day in 2012.
You’ve heard the jokes, you’ve heard the praise and you’ve probably heard the screams of frustration; but, if you’ve never played PC MMO legend EVE Online, you can now experience its universe from a very different standpoint with Dust 514. The title is a First Person Shooter, set in the expansive and lore-rich universe of EVE Online. The very short gameplay shown failed to impress me visually, and looked fairly generic for such a unique premise, but with promised forms of cross-compatibility with Dist and the original EVE MMO, the game could turn out to be something very special indeed. Keep an eye on this one, and we at All Age Gaming will be bringing you news on this as it breaks. Dust 514 has a release date of 2012.
There are very few people who could be considered a celebrity of the gaming world. Peter Molyneux. Cliff Bleszinski. The Zelda guy, maybe? But one name that every modern day gamer should know is Ken Levine, the brains behind one of the industry’s best series; Bioshock.
Ken Levine took to the stage to talk a little bit about the upcoming Bioshock: Infinite title, and announce a brand new original Bioshock title for the Playstation Vita (I’ll get to that bad boy in a moment). He finished off his appearance by announcing exclusive DLC for Infinite, and to quickly mention that Saints Row 3 (another 2K title) will feature an exclusive mode making use of the controversial weapon that’s been seen in early previews – let’s just call it a bat. A big, bendy purple bat that one would be required to purchase from an Adults Shop. Yes, that weapon.
The stage was then graced with EA’s presence. The gaming mammoths announced a few little exclusive pieces for PS3 owners in a few of their games. Firstly, Mt. Fuji would appear as an exclusive in the SSX reboot, then moving on to the new Need for Speed title, Need for Speed: The Run and announcing that it would feature a number of PS3-only cars to race in from day one. It was also revealed that the anticipated Battlefield 3, releasing this coming October, would have an included game on the Blu-Ray version of the game – none other than the critically acclaimed Battlefield 1943, at no extra change.
Then came the shock announcement of a game based on the Star Trek movie adaption would be released later this year, including an extra PS3-exclsuive Chapter with everything the console has been marketing itself for; 3D and Move support. There would also be a special Star Trek-inspired Phaser shell for the Move remote.
I for one am constantly amused and amazed by the extent Sony goes to make sure its loyal customers feel like one of a kind. With Microsoft losing the exclusive content battle in practically every aspect, I have to praise Sony for delivering the goods year after year without fail.
The Playstation Vita
The Sony PSP was one of the most successful and acclaimed handheld systems of all time. And as to not just release another half-assed PSP model or a PSP 2, Sony bring you the Playstation Vita. It’s a system sure to make a splash, bringing unique use of 2 screens. One on the front of the machine, one on the back. Actually, the back one is less of a screen, and more of a pad. It doesn’t display pictures, but allows for touch-play and can be programmed to add weird and wonderful features to the games the machine houses. Both sides of the system can be used as touch screens to control different aspects of the consoles games, as well as the inclusion of 2 Joysticks, the standard face buttons and triggers. All of these buttons allow for completely playable games of any genre. For the first time ever, we may get proper (red; good) FPS games on a handheld console.
Among the games shown for the console were an Uncharted title and a ModNation Racers game. Titled Uncharted: Golden Abyss, this game showed that the console was very capable of core experiences that rival its home-console counterparts. The action was as fluent and responsive as the PS3 game, albeit a little less pretty, and the game made good use of both the standard joysticks and buttons, as well as the touch screen. Players can touch enemies to engage in combat in a range of different ways, or use their fingers to ‘paint’ a series of platforms and watch as Drake will scale them in stunning fluency. If it takes software to sell hardware, Sony has a real chance at raking in the cash with this game on the console.
ModNation Racers for the Vita looked pretty special, too. The demonstration we were shown made good use of the pack panel/touch pad as well as the touch screen to create tracks with a new sense of ease and detail. Gamers can simply drag their finger across the screen to create tracks, and use painting tools and pressure to create mountains/forests/lakes/the lot. It will bring a new generation of track creators to the world of ModNation, and with the systems promised online capabilities, a slew of great new tracks to play from around the world. Sony also revealed that all of the player-made tracks from the PS3 ModNation game will be available from launch.
In a very similar move, the Vita will also be getting a Little Big Planet title. With the same deal as ModNation Racers, LBP on the Vita will include the franchises great level creator able to be controlled and used very well, and very easily, with the touch screens. This section was concluded with the surprise reveal that the Vita would allow for cross-game chat using the consoles party mode (think, Xbox LIVE's party chat). For a handheld console, this is big, big news.
The last noteworthy game announced was Wipeout 2048, a new game in the Wipeout series with a ton of new tracks, boats and gameplay options. Using the Vita’s motion controlled steering, that simply has players tilting the console, 2048 looks to be a worthy successor to the HD remake currently rocking consoles, and even allows cross-platform multiplayer with the older material with gamers playing on the PS3.
The way many of the game announced will allow cross-platform compatibility and DLC sharing in some minor forms should benefit everybody in the long run, and is a trend Sony hopefully stick with in the future instalments. Let just hope no one tells them that people would pay for that privilege!
The show was wrapped up with Sony announcing the Playstation Vita, for all tis worth and all it delivers, will only retail at a measly US$250 for the standard variant, or a still cheque happy US$300 for the Wireless 3G variant, with internet services provided exclusively with AT&T in the United States. There was no pricing or ISP info for Australia or any other region, but expect that in the immediate future given the Playstation Vitas 2011 Holiday release.
Given the hellfire the company came under just months before, Sony did a great job at bouncing back and managing to surprise and impress everyone with their E3 showing this year. With plenty of exclusive games and content, the Playstation 3 and the newly announced Playstation Vita prove that Sony are leading the core experience for gamers the world over and show no signs of slowing down.