E3 2012: Sony Conference Liveblog

Sony’s turn to wow as it looks to peddle core franchises Little Big Planet (albeit in go karting form) and God of War: Ascension, shine light on Naughty Dog’s surly The Last of Us and unveil, fingers crossed, Quantic Dream’s “Beyond”. Also, there’s that Vita thing that hasn’t really panned out.

03:30 - And that’s a wrap. Relatively strong showing with The Last of Us and God of War rescuing the soiree from the clutches of Wonderbook and Playstation Mobile. Playstation Vita anyone?

03:20 - We segue straight into The Last of Us. Um. It also looks smashing. Clearly running on Naughty Dog tech because it looks like Uncharted. Except better. The environment is rich with detail as the two characters navigate another lost world reclaimed by nature. At the first sound of humans the two dart into cover, it’s all very The Road. Stealth seems to be integral as the character slinks toward an enemy and strangles him. No two second ordeal here, it takes a while. The whole thing seems a lot more human than Uncharted. The character purloins a pistol but only gets six bullets and gunplay looks cumbersome. He gets shot and reels like he’s been hit with a sledgehammer. There’s none of Uncharted’s bravado here.

Survival is the word that comes to mind. The character uses an enemy as a human shield before bashing his head in with the butt end of a handgun. This is brutal. Another enemy hears the telltale click signalling the player is clean out of ammunition: “I know that sound, I’ve got you now” he snarls. The enemy advances toward the player but the girl, concealed away to the right, hurls a brick that connects ever-so-sweetly with his temple. The crowd roars, they like that. It really is violent as hell but not in a cool-dude way. Feels very survival horror. Inventory system is handled in realtime as the character pieces together a molotov cocktail to toss at the chap around the bend. Realtime charred corpses too. The final kerfuffle sees all the gory details of a human head being decimated shotgun style. Cut to title. Rapturous applause. Deserved.

03:17 – Okay. It’s a cave troll with the head of an elephant. Kratos is fighting an elephant cave troll. It’s making elephant noises with its elephant trunk. It’s also angry. Kratos literally rips its brain out. No wonder it’s pissed. We see brain. Stabby stabby brain brain. Ends with Kratos jumping at a giant tentacle monster. March 12th 2012.

03:16 - Kratos is duking it out with a giant dude armed with a glowing hammer. I say giant, he’s only like… 12 feet tall. Pretty diminutive by God of War’s standards. And now onto something else belligerent and big.

03:12 - Kratos hauls a giant sword out of a dude’s back and dives headfirst into the familiar slicing and dicing jig that has defined his entire existence. Arms soar, legs are lopped off and oh Kratos has just pulled some chap’s head clean from its roost. Good grief. Oh he’s done it again. Can I reitterate, it really does take pretty and ramp that up to, like, 14. Looks like God of War in terms of gameplay. QTEs, button mashing, lite platforming, massive boss battles. Kratos rebuilds a bit of the broken world with a magic bracelet and engages in some Uncharted-esque platforming. 

03:10 – Finally, God of War: Ascension gets a look in. Do I need to tell anyone that it looks fucking outrageous?

03:07 - This has come to a grinding halt. Talk of Android, Playstation Suite and some other stuff that doesn’t have much to do with anything fun. Playstation Suite is going to be compatible with HTC. Renaming Playstation Suite to Playstation Mobile.

03:05 - Still casting spells with a glow in the dark dildo.

03:02 - Come on now, it’s been nearly ten minutes. Wonderbook’s pretty nifty but this is the longest we’ve spent on any announcement. 

03:00 - Someone with genuine charisma is on stage. The crowd don’t quite know how to react. Grown people are using the Move to cast spells. 

02:58 - They’re working with Rowling of ‘Arry Potter fame. She’s written something, or given permission for someone else to write something, called Book of Spells. Cast spells with the Playstation Move. ‘Learn the secrets of wizardry and the art of magic.’

02:55 – They’ve built something that brings books to life. Or something. It’s called Wonderbook. Sounds impressive but er, also sounds like science fiction mumbo jumbo. Presumably the books have to be written with Wonderbook in mind.

02:52 - We’re moving on to Playstation Move, now. Andrew House is up to talk motion control.

02:51 - Looks good! Confirmed “co-op campaign, an entire island for adversarial multiplayer and a map editor.” Not much then.

02:49 - The Man With The Manliest Voice is playing a live action demo with four others now whose voices are quite pathetic by comparison. This looks like a mini-campaign with flamethrowers! LOOK AT ALL THAT COLOUR. SOAK IT UP. SOAK UP THE GREEN AND THE BLUE. 

02:48 - The Man With The Manliest Voice rocks up to talk Far Cry 3. “We didn’t build just one game. We built two.” Four player co-op announced for Far Cry 3.

02:43 - A thespian naval battles commence. Oh boy the graphics are well nice innit. The weather takes a turn for the worst as our gallant shipmates unleash a salvo of cannonballs toward our enemy. Surf sprays, boats rock, cannons spit round balls of deathly death out at other big ships. Rambunctious! This is not Creed as we know it but it looks immense. Another smart move on Ubi’s behalf to show us something completely different. Ubisoft are ablaze today.

02:41 - And now on to Assassin’s Creed 3 proper. Presumably that’s the Vita over and done with then? AC3 looks amazing. We’re at sea. Sexy water. Sexy islands. Sexy ship. I think we’re driving it. Do you drive ships? Piloting? Navigating? Steering? Sailing? I don’t know.

02:40 – Straight in with Assassin’s Creed. The Vita title is set in New Orleans; has horses, jumping, a lady character, killing. Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation. ‘Built from the ground up for Vita.’ Available October 30 with a crystal white wifi Vita bundle. 

02:39 - Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified launches this holiday. We’ve moved on to Vita.

02:37 - Tretton rattles through all the TV/apps/toss. Good work.

02:35 – PSOne classics coming to Vita beginning this summer. 

02:34 - Sony’s giving one year Playstation+ memberships out at the door. Mighty cheers! Everyone loves free stuff, and that’s a generous amount of free stuff. 

02:33 – Over 200 downloadable games coming to PSN over the next twelve months.

02:32 – Journey is PSN’s best selling title of all time. Deserved.

02:31 - Oh dear. It’s stat time. Yeah yeah, Playstation is great and everything. 400 billion PS3s sold galaxy wide. 42 people connected to Playstation Home.

02:30 - Tretton’s back and the buzzwords “always on”, and “Playstation ecosystem” are being bandied about willy nilly. All Stars launches this holiday season.

02:29 - Nathan Drake is revealed as a playable character. The iconic Uncharted music echoes throughout the room, wonderful. And the Big Daddy from Bioshock. Mr Bubbles! Safe to say people in the audience like that.

02:27 – Here’s a detailed lowdown of what has just been shown on screen: PUNCH, KICK, PUNCH, SLASH, POW, WHACK, SMASH, PUNCH, CRASH, CRACK. A dragon is taking indiscriminate potshots at the characters from behind the plane they’re doing battle on. Is Fat Princess really an iconic Playstation character? That said, she just beat Kratos into submission. Bloody hell, she couldn’t even walk in her game!

02:26 - Fat Princess, Kratos, Sweet Tooth and Sly Cooper are duking it out on the Ratchet & Clank level Metropolis. It looks great, seems fairly mental.

02:25 - There’s a 4 player demo with two players playing on the Vita and two on the PS3. All playing together via cross-play, of course.

02:24 - All Stars will be available for Vita and will be cross-compatible with the Playstation 3 version. 

02:23 – Well put it like that Sony and sure, you do have a fair few legendary characters. 

02:22 – Tretton makes his return. He’s introducing Playstation All Stars Battle Royale by reminding us all of the “To Jack” viral ad from last year starring iconic Playstation characters. And Jack.

02:15 - We’re in a realtime demo from early on in the game. A police officer is stood over Holmes, the facial expressions are off the charts. It’s Ellen Page! They’re in a police station. “I found you by the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere.” he muses. Page flings a coffee mug at the wall with her MIND. The police officer doesn’t seem all that perturbed. The facial expressions of Page’s character are staggering. Page finally talks, “I know, they’re coming.” Then SWAT bust into the joint. Cut to montage. There’s exploding helicopters, crashing cars, dramatic running, a bit on top of a train, a bit in the rain, Page gets all sweary in the rain. Looks promising.

02:14 - Jodie Holmes will be played by Ellen Page. That’s cool.

02:11 - Leading off with new IP. That’s what I like to hear. It’s the Quantic Dream title. David Cage takes to the stage and also receives a rousing round of applause. He has announced Beyond, subtitled Two Souls. “Death is the biggest mystery of mankind. What will happen after we die is something nobody knows.” Tells the story of a character (Jodie) over 15 years of her life. “We will grow with her through happy and difficult times”, says Cage. Apparently she’s connected to the other world, or something. Sounds supernatural.

02:10 – He welcomes Kaz Hirai who gets a rousing round of applause. 

02:09 – Teehee, he mentioned Playstation Home. Giggle.

02:08 - Jack Tretton makes his way out. Oh look. He’s still really likeable. He gives the nod to all those who started queuing at 4pm yesterday. Classy. Cracks some jokes. People laugh.

02:05 - Games. I see games. Games like Darksiders, Hitman: Absolution, The Last of Us, Portal, God of War, Lollipop Chainsaw, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Metal Gear, Assassin’s Creed, that other one, Tiger Woods, Go Karting, BIOSHOCK INFINITE! All interspersed with moving-images of various Playstation controllers and consoles. 

02:04 – And go. Gonna need a montage, MONTAGE! 

02:03 – There’s also Bioshock Infinite, Dishonoured and Hitman: Absolution. Any chance we’ll see those here?

01:49 – Yeah yeah Heavy Rain pretty much buckled under the weight of its narrative imperfections and David Cage could do with leaving the writing up to someone else, but there’s no denying tech like this is exciting. Plus, I’d take Cage’s cranky writing and tendency to overlook gaping plot holes over the toss we have to deal with on a daily basis; dude-bros winning the wars against entire armies by virtue of being Americans, a giant middle finger to Russia/The Middle East and anyone with a fucking brain cell count above 7.0. All that hubbub, you know.

01:48 - I don’t think we’ll catch the faintest glimpse of that bipedal comedy vacuum, though. Sony doesn’t need to divert attention away from a potentially illustrious line up with the likes of God of War: Ascension, Little Big Planet Go Karting, The Last of Us and whatever they’ve got pencilled in for the Vita. I’m dying to know what  Quantic Dream are up to. That Kara video was cracking. “I’m scared” gets me every single time.

01:43 – Ubisoft’s will be a tough act to follow but I reckon Sony were guffawing during Microsoft’s conference. I can’t imagine the proud Japanese giants are about to let Usher within boogieing distance of their conference, although lets not forget that Lord of the Cretins Kevin Butler is a perennial threat.

01:41 - Sony’s conference begins at 2am in The Land of Tea and Royalty so any grammatical errors are entirely the fault of whichever chump decided that four conferences in one day was a great idea. 

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