In this special edition of First Impressions, we review the four big press conferences of Day 1 of E3 2012. We’ll sieve out the most exciting announcements and the biggest disappointments. Note that this is only a first impression of what has been presented during the conference and may not be a fair representation of the actual game that is shown at E3, which we unfortunately do not have the privilege of getting our hands on. We will go through individual games in-depth separately based on more footage and interviews.
You can replay the entire Sony press conference here.
1. Beyond: Two Souls
Sony wasted no time in its attempts to impress at E3, and boy did they impress with Beyond: Two Souls. After the success that was Heavy Rain and the jaw-dropping short that was Kara, the pressure to deliver was high for developers Quantic Dream. Thankfully they did not disappoint. This game has so many things working for it: its distinct sense of style, an intricate plot that will definitely get people hooked, the development team’s stellar track record, and Ellen Paige. Quantic Dream boldly declares “Beyond will be…emotional, mature unique. Also breathtaking and spectacular”, and I do not see a reason to doubt them.
2. The Last of Us
Wanting to end their conference on the best note possible, Sony concluded with The Last of Us. Not much was known about this title, other than that its an post-apocalyptic world and centers around a Father-daughter pair that’s trying to survive. What immediately got people talking was the graphics for this game were unbelievably crisp and detailed, but what kept them talking was The Last of Us’s gameplay. The AI of the supporting character Ellie appeared to be quite dependable and the enemy’s behavior looked like it posed quite the challenge too, giving rise to action sequences that got my attention. Although reminiscent of the Uncharted series (since they’re both made by the same people), The Last of Us is markedly different. The bleak and hopeless nature of the game’s environment sets it apart – Ellie and Joel are fighting to survive a whole world that’s against them, and they’re not even sure of where they’re headed. Its clear that Naughty Dog placed a lot of effort in crafting this game, and I’m glad they did because I. Cannot. Wait.
3. Assassin’s Creed 3 / Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation
H: The massive Assassin’s Creed universe is set to get even bigger with the release of AC3 for the PS3 and AC3: Liberation for the PS Vita. The franchise has stood the test of time and Sony is pulling out all the stops with these games, releasing exclusive AC-themed editions of both consoles. With the introduction of new characters (like the first female assassin in Liberation), an exciting 18th Century universe to explore and a legion of fans world-wide, I daresay Sony chose a right franchise to invest so much effort in. Oh and check out the exciting boat fight in Assassin’s Creed 3. The gaming world needs more exciting pirate boat fights.
4. Star Wars 1313
Not much is known about this surprising offer from LucasArts, but the trailer certainly brings a new hope for Star Wars games. This third-person shooter places the player in the shoes of a Bounty Hunter who navigates his way through a gritty underworld. Its nice to see such a different Star Wars game, thats not all about flashy force powers and lightsabers. The game’s dark and mature tone further sets it apart from LucasArt’s current offerings, as does its fast-paced gameplay. Looking forward to more details for this one.
1. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale
Its about time they made a game like this, but did they have to make it so similar to Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers? Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale seems like a port of Nintendo’s best selling game, even right down to its art style. News about this game’s cross-compatibility between PS Vita and the PS3 failed to make up for its copy and paste formula. Sony even used SSB as a tag in one of this game’s videos. Nope, sorry Sony, you’re going to have to try harder if this is your “one of a kind experience”.
2. God of War: Ascension
Some might be glad that Santa Monica is making another entry into the God of War series, but I’m quite frustrated: why are they throwing away the satisfying and fitting conclusion that God of War 3 achieved so brilliantly? Nevertheless, Ascension is happening. During the demonstration at E3 however, the game failed to impress, looking like just another cookie-cutter God of War game, like one of those PSP versions. I remember a time when the God of War franchise would continually impress with its exciting freshness – the series seems to have sunk from cutting-edge ideas to copious amounts of fan service.
KILL IT WITH FIRE:
Sony’s latest hardware offering, the Wonderbook, caught everyone by surprise. Who would have expected an Playstation and Literature combination? Unfortunately, the Wonderbook failed to even look functional, let alone impress. The people demonstrating looked awkward as they struggled to make the device work. Not even a collaboration with J.K. Rowling could save the Wonderbook’s clunky graphics. Is there even a demand for this in the first place? Potter fans will probably gobble up the device, but what about its future? Sony boldy asks “What if books let you explore other worlds?”, but don’t books do that already? Strange reason for existence if you ask me.