Trying to follow last weeks E3 conference was a bit of a mixed bag for me: firstly, trying to evaluate goings-on on a tiny pixellated internet stream probably doesn’t do justice to all the HD-quality games around these days. Secondly, the thunderous roar of the hype machine is wont to cloud the mind: flashy presentations using smoke and mirror tactics can make even the direst of games seem worthy of your interest.
So after the dust from the fireworks has settled, what do we here at Games Catalyst make of what the E3 conference had to offer? We’ve done Microsoft, so what of Sony?
Sony had the floor for the second day of the conference, and unlike Microsoft had new hardware to announce. Their PlayStation Vita (Vita being Latin for ‘life’) is a successor to the handheld PSP, promising improved visuals, dual analogue sticks, 3G support (on the more expensive models, naturally), a touchscreen UI, and jettisoning the video output socket of the original PSP.
Software for the PlayStation Vita will come on Vita Cards, a new proprietary flash card format, rather than on the Universal Media Discs (UMDs) used by the original PSP. Titles announced include WipEout 2048, Virtua Tennis 4, Street Fighter X Tekken, and as yet untitled versions of Call Of Duty and LittleBigPlanet.
Elsewhere, in PS3 world, there was plenty of activity, and indeed plenty of crossover opportunities with the new portable. Ruin, a new action RPG developed by both Sony San Diego and Idle Minds, was also announced for the Vita and PS3. An RPG in the Diablo-style armed with a social element in which you’ll be able to help, hinder or harm other players. Players even have their own dungeon, in which the layout and ambience will be shaped by how progress through the main game.
God of War: Origins Collection comprises PSP games God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta, but now bundled together for this HD PS3 collection. Both games in the package will support 3D and will hopefully have improved visuals.
Players will also have the ability to move games from the Vita to the PS3 and vice versa, allowing you to pick up exactly where you left off; surely a good idea for those gamers commuting who can seamlessly continue their save game on the train, bus or even whilst cycling through a busy intersection. OK, maybe not that last one.
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest is a first person romp that sees you stepping into titular skeleton’s shoes as he fights his way through hordes of monsters utilising the PlayStation Move add-on, expect Zelda-like crossbow and sword action. Developed by Zindagi Games, it has a fun and fresh cartoon style, full 1:1 movement tracking is promised when it launches in the Autumn.
Sadly, there was no sign of Rockstar’s appropriately stealthy Agent, which was perhaps the title I was most looking forward to amid rumours of its cancellation. Overall, a decent E3 showing from Sony, solid all-round but nothing particularly spectacular in any area, just doing enough to keep share prices and consumer interest high. I felt on the games front perhaps Microsoft’s exclusive titles had the edge, but the varied focus of Sony’s presentation means there was something to look forward to for everyone.