>Full disclosure: Sony has been my platform of choice since before I quit and after I jumped back into console gaming. With so many properties under their belt that interest me, I can’t help being more interested in their franchises than most. Sony being my main platform also means I already have all of their hardware. As such I won’t be saying much about any hardware bundles announced.
While I am primarily a Sony fan, I know very well what’s going on with other platforms. With the Wii U on the horizon and PC gaming putting consoles to shame in both graphics and software lately, Sony needed to wow me as my personal gaming incumbent. Here’s my rundown.
Sony are showing off a ton of just-released and upcoming games, with only half of them being remotely interesting to me. I will say, however, that this single montage has shown off more upcoming games in four minutes than Microsoft showed off in an entire hour and a half of conference. With the seemingly fair division of games between the PS3 and Vita, this bodes well for them.
Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)
Quantic Dream games have mostly been misses for me. The trailer for this game didn’t help me change that opinion. While the announcement of Ellen Page as the lead actress is interesting from a dramatic point of view, I somehow feel that the game still won’t engage me in the same way Uncharted‘s motion capture acting does. In the end, the game still seems like typical Quantic Dream fare: an interactive movie with amazing focus on graphical realism. If the game proves to be anything beyond that, it could catch my attention.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, Vita)
Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of Smash Bros. at all, let alone fighting games. I’ll still try to see this game for what it is, much like I tried to do with Gears of War.
Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Fat Princess, Sly Cooper, Radek, Parappa… Decent roster, even though it’s far less cohesive than Super Smash Bros‘. Their appearance in the game seems fairly well balanced to bring realistic characters a bit more into a cartoonish look, while bringing cartoonish characters closer to a realistic model.
Cross Play with Vita looks interesting, but I see this being too expensive if they don’t make a dual-platform bundle to take the edge off for dual platform owners.
The Super system seems like the kind of thing that sets this game a fair bit apart from Smash Bros. The only way they’ve shown a player be defeated is by Supers and environmental hazards, which could make matches a bit less one-sided.
The final announcements of Nathan Drake and *gasp!* Big Daddy were there to both be crowd-pleasers and open the proverbial floodgates to third party and multiplatform entries into the roster. It’s an effective tease, though my attachment to Big Daddy isn’t as high as Solid Snake back during the Brawl announcement.
LittleBigPlanet 2 Cross-Controller (PS3, Vita)
Sony… you just called the Vita a controller. I thought you were trying to move away from that ridicule and establish it as a separate platform?
Indie Games (Journey, Dyad, Papo & Yo, The Unfinished Swan) (PS3, Vita?)
As someone who loved Journey, I’m glad to see it be the best-selling game on the platform. However, I’m not one to give indie games special quarter for being made/subsidized on a low budget. Most of the other titles mentioned just don’t interest me in the same way Journey did when it was teased last year.
PlayStation Plus (free Infamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, Saints Row 2, etc.)
I have been a PS Plus member since it came out. The sheer amount of free content that *interests me* was worth way more than what I paid for the membership. That doesn’t even include how much money I saved on digital content I was already buying. Announcing a ton of free games just ensures I will be renewing my subscription when it comes up this year.
PSN on PS Vita (Guacamelee, Retro City Rampage, When Vikings Attack, PSOne Classics)
Let me start with the PSN-only games: Only Retro City Rampage interests me, but I’m already getting it on PC. As for the “60+” games coming to the PS Vita during the next year, I would have liked a small listing of the retail games. From Persona 4 to Sound Shapes, a lot of already announced games could have used some exposure here.
The PSOne Classics shown and effectively confirmed to be Vita compatible once the service goes live were Wild Arms, Twisted Metal 2, Cool Boarders, Arc The Lad, Jet Moto, Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy VII. A good launch roster, but this feature should have been ready a long while ago. I’m happy, but not impressed.
Sony Entertainment Network
I gave Microsoft flak for this and Sony fell into the same trap. They announced and showed off a ton of services with more than a few of them unavailable outside of the United States. That leads me to request once again that they distinguish what’s available in “North America” and what is US-only.
I will also say that the “panel view” they put up on the big screen is what they should have done to consolidate the video services and content available on PS3. The XMB is by far the worst interface for managing and quickly launching media content out of all current-gen consoles. That slightly curved collection of icons is aesthetically and ergonomically appealing.
PS Vita Multimedia Services (Youtube, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Music Unlimited)
Hulu Plus is the only standout in that it’s not available in my country. Once again, I am disappointed they didn’t make that distinction.
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified (Vita)
With no information available, I can’t say much about it. I have already covered my feelings on the franchise, though the lack of information also means I can’t give it any benefit of the doubt. I already don’t enjoy FPS on consoles and I am already assuming I won’t like them on the Vita, either.
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (Vita)
I am a huge fan of Assassin’s Creed. The fact that this game features a female assassin and focused on the dual hidden blades during the trailer, compared to the focus on the tomahawk in the Assassin’s Creed III demo, makes this game instantly familiar and interesting. The setting being in Louisiana also piques my interest, since it will finally show the region in a historical light rarely featured: when it was controlled by the French. The interconnectivity with Assassin’s Creed III on PS3 solidifies my choice of platform for that title.
Assassin’s Creed III (PS3)
As mentioned above, I’m already sold on this game and the PS3 as my platform of choice. The gameplay demo itself seemed silly in the traditional Assassin’s Creed way: The hero taking on an entire armada with a single, smaller ship screams unrealistic in a way only Ubisoft knows how to exaggerate.
FarCry 3 (PS3)
Once again, I’m not interested by console FPS. I might try it on PC, but I don’t really like FarCry in the first place. The co-op seems like standard fare, too.
PlayStation Move (PS3) – Bioshock Infinite, DUST 514, Epic Mickey 2, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Sports Champions 2
There’s no denying that Move is the least successful and least useful motion gaming product from the three console manufacturers. This list of upcoming Move-compatible games still doesn’t entice me to *use* the controller much more than the three hours I spent over a year ago, since they’re already better with regular DualShock controllers.
Wonderbook (PS3 + Move)
This is yet another stab at grabbing children’s attention by Sony, much like EyePet was. While the concept is an interesting application of AR cards/books, I feel like this announcement was solely made to grab headlines by showing off J.K. Rowling’s new project. It worked, but did they have to spend so much time in the conference on it?
PlayStation Mobile (PS Vita, Android)
This platform has been in beta for the longest time with little talk or software to show for it. As a developer myself, I was fairly peeved when they restricted the beta to US residents. However, I’m still hoping PlayStation Mobile brings forth new possibilities to both the Vita and mobile platforms in the form of harmonized video game content. It seems more like a pipe dream right now, but one can only hope.
The announcement of HTC as a partner was also an interesting twist. As a person whose carrier of choice does not carry Sony/Ericsson phones but does carry HTC. This could effectively move me away from Samsung phones when my current contract is up.
God of War: Ascension (PS3)
Yet another franchise of Sony’s I actually like. The new mechanics presented during the gameplay demo varied from interesting to immensely boring. The changes to combat, like wrecking ball tethering and time freezing enemies in the air were good changes that will keep things fresh. However, the time reversal ability and the subsequent breaks in platforming that it causes are indicative of the developers wanting to extend play time of the campaign.
With all that said, the focus on a multiplayer mode and its subsequent shortening of the single-player campaign is making me very wary of this title. Those two things are the exact opposite of what I want from a God of War game.
The Last of Us (PS3)
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I found this uninteresting. Naughty Dog are applying Uncharted‘s gameplay mechanics to Resident Evil‘s ammo restrictions. Add the previous revelation that it could include survival horror in the form of zombie-esque monsters and they completely lost me. I would have preferred it if they kept the post-apocalyptic world monster-free, but the ammo restrictions and lack of light-hearted moments would have probably kept me from the game.
Two console manufacturers down, one to go. With Sony being my platform maker of choice, it’s no surprise that I ended up liking far more game announcements and mentions than an average gamer. That being said, Sony didn’t completely wow me with the actual conference. Many titles I care about appeared in that four minute montage at the top of the conference and were never named, let alone mentioned or explained. Without foreknowledge of those games from trailers and screenshots, most people failed to recognize at least fifteen individual games presented there. That’s a lot of games that I would have gladly traded with Wonderbook‘s stage time.
Then there are the games that weren’t shown at all. Keiji Inafune, so-called “father” of Mega Man and ex-Capcom celebrity, was present and showing off Soul Sacrifice on the E3 show floor. Why not spend a few minutes with him on stage? I know Sony had live streams all week for numerous demos, but Sony are literally partnered with a celebrity developer and should have flaunted it. That’s where Sony should have better managed their presentations.
Disclaimer: As someone who dropped out of console gaming back in the mid-PSOne/N64/Saturn days, I only rejoined the party two years after the current generation started. I have primarily been and still remain someone who prefers Sony consoles over Nintendo and Microsoft, so this puts me in a unique “opposite” position from David’s. My game preferences are also fairly different and are as follows.
Likes: RPG, Platformer (mostly Mega Man and Kirby), “Musou” (think Dynasty Warriors and its brethren), Adventure, Third Person Shooter, Monster Hunting
So-so: Quick Time Event Action (God of War), Strategy, Stealth, Puzzle, PC First Person Shooter
Dislikes: Survival Horror, Console First Person Shooter, anything Zombie-focused, Motion, Racing, Fighting, Party