Sony had a lot to deliver with their E3 conference this year. After the hubbub of the PSN outage, there were as many people out for blood in the audience as there were people out for games. Plus, with the conference also scheduled to run a bum-numbing five hours, there was a hefty amount of anxiety surrounding the event.
The fear soon subsided as the show proved very triumphant for Sony, detailing their recently announced handheld, the PS Vita, while providing fresh glimpses at their AAA titles and showing off some fancy tech that’ll be hitting shops later in the year. That wasn’t before Sony’s Jack Tretton hit the stage to talk PSN outage, mind. “Nothing makes their editor’s day like controversy and bad news,” he began. “So to the press I say... you’re welcome.” He went on to provide a humble apology for the outage and opened proceedings with everyone’s favourite not-Mark-Wahlberg hero, Nathan Drake.
The Uncharted 3 demo started with some visuals that were only bettered by Battlefield 3 earlier that day. Drake’s investigating a boat sailing across the sea, taking out goons and trying his hardest not to drown as water floods the vessel. It’s a thunderous action-fest that looked every bit as exhilarating as the brilliantly paced train stage that opened Uncharted 2.
Resistance 3 in 3D followed, looking rather lovely in a snarling-alien-scum-getting-blown-up kind of way. It was followed by the announcement of fully remastered 3D versions of the two PSP God of War titles and the classic Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, all heading to the PS3.
And the 3D-loving continued with the unveiling of a new PlayStation branded 3D television aimed at bedrooms and dorm rooms across the land. It makes use of mind-bending technology that allows two players to see two separate full images on the same screen. Having tried it, it’s simply a fantastic piece of kit that, with the touch of a button on the glasses, switches between the two images. It’ll retail somewhere around £500 (with Resistance 3 and glasses) for us Blighty lot later in the year.
The conference continued with the surprises as Coby Bryant walked on stage to play (badly) the latest NBA game. That was closely followed by a rather dull-looking kiddie Move title called Medieval. Starhawk was next, a PS3 exclusive title from the team behind Warhawk, that allows you to battle in spacecrafts, vehicles and on foot. No gameplay shown but an interesting prospect that could prove a heap of fun online, much like the developer’s Warhawk.
Sony are dipping back into one of their cuter franchises, giving Sly Cooper a new adventure. Later, the audience was introduced to an EVE Online tie-in Dust 514. An interesting idea but this first-person shooter looked quite generic in an increasingly stale genre. More interesting, Ken Levine took the stage to talk Bioshock Infinite, which takes the series to a floating metropolis in the sky. Previously a sceptic, Levine has now come round to PlayStation Move and Infinite will come with full integration. More surprisingly, he also announced a new story set within the Bioshock universe is in development for the PS Vita. It’s unclear exactly what it’ll deliver – whether it’s in the new sky-bound city or back in Rapture – but an exciting prospect and a real win for the handheld.
Fans of JJ Abram’s Star Trek can look forward to a game based on the universe heading out next year (in time for the movie sequel. Apparently). Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto lend their likenesses, as the game takes place between the two movies. It looked a lot like Mass Effect – which is no bad thing – and, if you’re inclined, you can pick-up a Move peripheral shaped like a classic Star Trek Phaser.
A big chunk of the conference concerned the Vita and we got to see a new Uncharted, ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet in action and all looking as polished as their PS3 counterparts. All the games make use of the multiple touchpads, the touchscreen and Sixaxis motion controls. Less exciting was the announcement of Street Fight X Tekken, with the added bonus of InFamous 2’s Cole (resembling some sort of electrified ape) added to the fighter roster.
A rush of other titles PS Vita titles played at the close of the conference. Dynasty Warriors and Project Gravity stood tall among a flurry of lesser looking releases (does anyone really care about touchscreen pool game?). Overall, it was a strong showing for the powerful handheld, featuring a wealth of top PlayStation and third-party titles to even sway the opinion of the most cynical gamer. It’ll be out later in the year in two models (3G and non-3G) at a price point of around £250-£300.
A very technology-focused conference from Sony but one that didn’t disappoint. It ended with hands-on with all the games mentioned above within the massive arena. We got some time with the titles, so look for our thoughts later in the week.