Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sony at E3 - holding the middle ground

Sony had its work cut out for it going last, especially when it took its turn after Nintendo. After the PlayStation focussed conference I must admit I was pleasantly surprised that they did not linger on Move for as long as they could have done. Unfortunately it still didn’t hold the wow factor that I always hype these conferences up to have in my na├»ve and excitable mind.

One of the bigger reveals that I certainly wasn’t expecting probably would have stolen the show for me if it wasn’t for the hype building behind it for the last couple of weeks. I am an absolutely massive Valve fan, and Portal 2 is looking superb, definitely securing a day one purchase from me, but on the PC.

This is the thing though. Valve had been teasing us with an E3 surprise for some time now. The PC community literally burst into flames, lighting up with untold amounts of excitement. Half-life 3 was whispered all over the internet, with some very convincing looking hoaxes getting the better of people’s optimistic hopes. Valve soon stopped this by saying their surprise was Portal 2 related.

The surprise arrived yesterday during the Sony conference, when Gabe Newell strolled out to reveal that Portal 2 would be especially good on PS3. Geeez, thanks. I feel like I have been spat on slightly. Not quite in the face, but possibly just catching my elbow.

We got a Portal 2 trailer (which looks rather fabulous might I add), but I do feel slightly betrayed. I don’t mean to sound elitist here, but the PC crowd is and always has been Valve’s main market. Making the PS3 announcement the big surprise really underplayed the significance of its appearance. At least PS3 owners who have felt let down by the dev can now finally be happier.

What got me excited more than anything was left for the end, with the awesome tease of a new Twisted Metal game. For those not familiar with the series, imagine what would happen if the characters from Mario Kart were placed in a dark room for ten years, routinely beaten and fed dead puppies for the duration of their incarceration. They were then shown a room full of guns, cars and rockets and told to pimp their rides before brutally slaying each other to have their greatest desire fulfilled. Sounds fun doesn’t it!

Other highlights included Dead Space 2, Medal of Honour and Mafia 2 footage as well as another look at Little Big Planet 2. A lot of the show was in 3D, such as a lengthy Killzone 3 video, but I couldn’t really appreciate that as I wasn’t there to witness it.

The biggest cop out was Sony bigging up their Xbox Live esque paid subscription service, PlayStation Plus. Unlike Micro$oft’s version, you don’t have to pay to play online, but I can’t really see the point of the service if that is the case. You do get a range of games that you can play for free, including some of the PS One classics and game trials which might be alright. Possibly not worth £40 a year though.

With all the major platform conferences now done with, Sony left me feeling fairly neutral. Ranking them in order of awesomeness isn’t hard, as most people are agreeing that Nintendo won it, with Microsoft trailing behind and Sony sitting in the middle. Not a bad set of E3 announcements by any means, but it could have been so much better. I wonder if we’ll get many more surprises from the big event before it closes up for another year.

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