E3’11: Thoughts from Sony’s Presspectacle

It worked the last two times to cut down on the clutter so let’s jump into Sony’s Presspectacle by getting all the stuff out of the way that I don’t care about. Over the years Sony’s exclusive IPs have lost my interest so we can tiptoe right over Resistance 3, inFamous 2, God of War PSP: The Origins Collection and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.

I’m glad they addressed the PSN outage but it never felt truly genuine. I guess when you’re Jack Tretton and you’re on a stage to wow the world with your wares it’s hard not to come off rehearsed. I accept, Sony, just take this as seriously as you say you do and don’t let it happen again.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. I could write volumes just about the demo they showed. Since I promised to be brief, however, I’ll just say that it’s clearly this game’s ‘Train level’ from Uncharted 2 and that the water simulation (and simulation within a simulation) made this damn near Game of the Show for me. Cannot wait to play the whole game and I’m officially on media blackout until it’s released!

The next surprise was the 24″ 3D display they’ll be selling soon. At first I wrote it off as another lame push for 3D but when they mentioned the two-players-on-one-screen angle a lone neuron sparked in my head. Years ago, I wanna say 2007, I first read about a means to show two simultaneous images, full screen on one screen, to two different viewers. It’s been so long I assumed it was a theory that never paid off but 5 years later, here it is, PlayStation branded even. Since the reveal word has come in of some ghosting problems and it still requires you to wear shuttered glasses but I love the concept nonetheless.

MOVE-ing along, Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest piqued my attention as I thought I was about to see the return of Sir Daniel Fortesque. Sadly, it’s a Move game that looks like an on-rails action game with archery, sword fighting and other moves you may have pulled off in Sports Champions. It looked kind of fun but isn’t MOVE-ing me to go buy a Move.

Next up was Dust 514, the online sci-fi strategy/teamwork/shooter project by EVE Online creators, CCP. It wasn’t immediately exciting until they mentioned that the victories and advancements that take place here will somehow impact the world of EVE and vice versa. The idea of two radically different games effecting one another is enough to get me on board at this early stage.

Just when things were getting good out comes Ken Levine who (after an admittedly awesome demo of Bioshock Infinite) starts tittering on about how he disparaged motion controls in the past but has seen the light and is working on *something* for PlayStation Vita. If you were wondering where the money Sony saved by skimping on PSN security went, here’s your answer. This led into a slew of disappointing news like how a bunch of upcoming PS3 games (Bioshock Infinite, Battlefield 3) will feature the entire previous game right on the disc. Weren’t they just going on about how much space games are taking up on blu-ray discs and now they can miraculously fit TWO modern games inside? I got a cramp in my eyebrow from how fast it snapped into position.

Kicking the sleaze into high gear was news that several EA games would feature exclusive content only on PlayStation 3. Most of it is pre-order caliber stuff but SSX (one of the games I’m most looking forward to) will see the entire Mt. Fuji level with 20 starting points locked away on PS3. It’s terrible when retail stores pay for exclusives like this and if Sony’s going to throw money around they might as well make the entire game an exclusive, not just bits and pieces of it.

PlayStation Vita: The Whole World in Play
Just when I was expecting Kaz Hirai to come out and praise an exclusive paint job for a car in Ridge Racer Unbounded he whips out an NGP and puts that prototypical acronym to rest forever. PlayStation Vita it is and over the next several minutes my opinion goes from passing fancy to internal struggle over whether to buy one. The tech is impressive — even more impressive is how little they left out, this thing has seemingly everything — but I kept reminding myself the same was true of the original PSP.

AT&T service aside, everything they showed impressed me, from Uncharted: Golden Abyss’ combo controls that use buttons and/or the touchscreens (both front and rear) to the Transfarring-like features of Ruin that let you near-instantly hop from PSV to PS3 versions of the game. What sold me the hardest, however, were LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers. Both of the DIY games suddenly seemed perfect with touch controls to create objects and worlds with the most absurd simplicity. They also showed a Dynasty Warriors demo which looked awesome in the worst possible ways. But the surprise of the show was the price: $249 for the wifi-only model. Between the equally-priced 3DS and PSV there is no debate in my mind. That is, if I were a handheld gamer. That’s a whole other discussion but it’s already pretty hard to not want a PSV on Day One, whenever that is.

And that was about it for the Sony show. The heartless prattle of Jack Tretton didn’t cast any magic on me but I still wound up pretty excited about the Vita and a few of the PS3 games. Looks like the console holds its place on the TV stand for the foreseeable future.

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