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Posts Tagged ‘E3 2012

Sony Acquires Content Streaming Specialist Gaikai For $380 million – What This Means For Playstation Gaming

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It’s a done thing – though don’t expect much from the deal until the PS4/Orbis makes it’s next-generation bow.

It was supposed to be announced at Sony’s E3 press conference but it was not to be; instead nearly a month later, Sony and cloud gaming specialist Gaikai have confirmed that a deal has been struck for the Japanese hardware manufacturer to own the Dave Perry run outfit for the price of $380 million.

The purchase of Gaikai includes all of their technology and infrastructure; effectively providing Sony with a ready-made large network of datacentres to deliver streaming content to its consumers.  More specifically, it fully enables them to branch out and create a full-on, bonafide cloud gaming platform.

Andrew House, group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment had this to say regarding the deal:

“By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences.  SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices.”

Cutting through the blurb, what this really means is that Sony will be able to supply a cloud-gaming service to its customers which would likely include the streamable PS3 demos and a smattering of PS2 and PSOne library content, as has been rumoured already.  Such a service would be a tremendous boon for the company as it would not only allow them to embellish the forthcoming PS4 and the struggling Playstation Vita handheld with a great new feature that would enable widespread access to a whole library of PSOne and PS2 content, it would also allow them to monetize non-Playstation users too; with the streaming service also being made available to tablets and smartphones.

I would also wager a significant amount of money that the service would be a Playstation Plus exclusive so as to further incentivise that initiative and get that many more subscribers on board.

The specifics for the deal have yet to manifest themselves, but until they do; the potential of the deal is blatant and obvious for all to see.  I’ll have more on this as and when the particulars become available, until that comes to pass however, feel free to try out the Gaikai cloud gaming experience by clicking on the Gaikai logo below:

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Written by bitsnark

July 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

Jump In, Nobody Cares – Microsoft E3 2012 Press Conference Analysis

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If you’re looking for the Microsoft of 2009 you’ve come to the wrong place. They have E3 2013 booked instead. Thank you for your time.

Of all three console manufacturers, the next-gen white elephant in the room loomed no larger than it did at Microsoft’s E3 press conference.

While not quite a train wreck raging with the fires of fanboy discontent, the Microsoft press conference was nevertheless the weakest of the three (narrowly beating out Nintendo’s second time screw up at unveiling the WiiU). Of the three manufacturers doing press conferences at E3 2012, Microsoft had the least stakes to play for since they weren’t trying to reinvigorate a flagging handheld or attempt to relaunch a brand new home console in the eyes of Joe Consumer.

Still, while the bright-spots were very few and far between they nonetheless were still there, beginning unsurprisingly with 343 Industries Halo 4.

Halo 4 – The fight starts, again.

There really wasn’t anything else at the presser that even remotely approached the same level of gravitas.

It was common knowledge that regardless of whatever else Microsoft was going to announce, that Halo 4 would be the centrepiece of their briefing. It was generally accepted thinking that Halo 4 was to be the solid and dependable title that would back up more significant, surprising announcements.

As it turned out there actually weren’t any terribly significant or surprising announcements and as luck would have it, Halo 4 actually stepped up to the plate; sneaking up on us all and delivering some of the most solid looking gameplay the series has seen for a long time.

Boasting a dramatic live-action introduction which segued into an in-game cut-scene, followed by some sumptuous jungle based gunplay, Halo 4 boasted polished visuals, classic and brand-new weaponry and a completely brand new foe for the eponymous Master Chief to combat (the cool looking tech/insect hyrbid race known as the Prometheans) . In short, Halo 4 looked every bit like the presser centrepiece for the Redmond software and hardware giant at E3.

Besides ‘just’ having a solid presser centrepiece, Halo 4 fulfilled another mandate; it reassured gamers that the Halo franchise remains in safe hands since creators and long-time custodians Bungie, left the IP in Microsoft’s hands in 2010.

Indeed, new developers 343 Industries have made fired an indomitable opening salvo for the new Halo trilogy – laying the sort of blueprint that should give gamers a confidence restoring glimpse into the state of Halo for the next seven to ten years.

DLC Announcements – When Exclusivity Fails You Let Them On Stage Anyway 

A popular Microsoft tactic for the last few years has been to secure timed exclusivity on downloadable content for perceivably popular third-party releases. This year was no different with Microsoft getting first dibs on DLC for Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 6 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

One thing that did surprise was that two of the games at their conference didn’t have any DLC timed exclusivity tied in with them. The highly anticipated Splinter Cell: Blacklist, was simply demonstrated for nearly ten minutes with no mention of exclusive features or DLC for the Microsoft platform (interesting given Conviction’s 360-only release), and South Park: The Stick Of Truth, was talked about on stage briefly by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but again, no exclusive 360-centric features or DLC were announced.

Unless I’m missing something, it seems a tad pointless for Microsoft to showcase multiplatform titles at their presser without the promise of any content unique to the Xbox 360 platform.

Effectively, they are freely showcasing titles that may be bought on competing systems with no unique differential (at this point at least) to convince customers to stick with the 360 SKU. That, ladies and gentlemen, is madness.

Like Clockwork – Social Apps & Nike Plus

Continuing their relentless crusade to ensure that the 360 is the centrepiece of the living room, Microsoft announced that more social apps would be available to users in the forthcoming months and that they had also entered into a partnership with sports label Nike, to create ‘Nike Plus’, a Kinect focused workout title.

Normally, multi-media and social stuff like this would be a sore-point of contention with many folk where press conference time should be dedicated to gaming, it’s innovations and additional related possibilities. In the context of their showing and realising the point of the Xbox 360’s life-cycle that we are in, it serves to fortify the notion that Microsoft are in a holding pattern until next year, where they get to announce and gleefully showcase their next lump of money-gobbling plastic to the world.

Essentially then, they can get away with devoting nearly a half a hour to this sort of the stuff now, but next year, where we expect to be over-fucking-whelmed by a cascade of quality first-party and third-party titles for the system that they would want us to purchase later that year, this sort of shit really isn’t going to fly.

Gears of War: Judgement – Entering The Breach Between Generations

Leaked just hours before the Microsoft presser was due to commence, this newest entry in the Gears of War saga was rumoured for good while, with the murmurings of both Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly and the game being a prequel, being accurately founded.

Set as a prequel to the events witnessed in the Gears of War trilogy, the primary protagonist has shifted from the gruff and muscle headed Marcus Fenix to the gruff, muscle headed and venom-tongued Baird. Based on the ever-so-brief snippets of video that have been released, gameplay-wise the game appears to have endured an equally conservative shift with People Can Fly taking the route of least resistance in showcasing a game that looks nigh-on identical to Gears of War 3.

For a developer new to such a big, blockbuster franchise this cautious and minimally risky entry in the series makes sense given the solid set of expectations that fans have for the series and also the fact that we’re in the twilight years for the platform that birthed this hugely successful IP in the first place. For those of us wanting to see the IP branch out and strike out onto some new ground, we’re very likely going to have to wait until its next-generation debut.

In actuality though, while Gears of War: Judgement looks like perfect franchise stop-gap fodder as we carefully make the leap between this generation and the next, the stigma of carrying such a moniker shouldn’t really be any cause for concern – it’s still a Gears of War title and by proxy of that fact; it still looks to be extremely solid.

In short, franchise-fans should remain entertained by this latest installment, but it won’t attract any new blood to their player base given the relatively safe road that the developers have travelled here in regards to the gameplay and new features.

Limp Wingmen – The ‘Other’ First Party Titles Forza: Horizon,  Fable: The Journey & Dance Central 3

Another franchise that is getting a spin-off title prior to its proper next-gen debut is Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport series with the introduction of Forza: Horizon. Distancing itself from the track-based simulation shenanigans that the series is known for, the Playground Games developed Forza Horizon is instead much more reminiscent of games like Test Drive Unlimited with its focus on open-world exploratory driving and motorsport lifestyle.

The official trailer for the game that was released at that show (which you can see below) was predictably showy; high on sizzle, low on steak and it’s really in the gameplay footage that managed to sneak out just before the show and after that we can get any sort of indication of the game’s quality.

To this end Forza Motorsport filled a strange a niche in the Microsoft presser – it appeared in trailer form to let everyone know that Microsoft have another first-party in the tube that isn’t called Halo or Gears of War, but did little else besides. Other than a mere, albeit flashy confirmation of it’s existence, no gameplay was shown or feature-set talked about on-stage – a somewhat troubling vote in confidence in the title given that we are now less than four months away from it’s launch.

Another game that only appeared in trailer format (and is also due for release in a few short months) was Lionhead’s Fable Kinect title, Fable: The Journey. Whilst they had the decency to make the trailer in-game, they should have had more decency to not even show it all. The game looked horrendous quite frankly – coming across as little other than a Kinect-driven light-gun title, the title looked uninspiring, rough and just downright awful. Take a look at the trailer below and cringe away:

Next up was Harmonix’s Dance Central 3 which was showcased by a combination of sizzle-reel trailer and Usher, of all fucking people, doing his jive-thang on stage and reminding us that A) Nobody can dance like him and that B) Nobody wants to. Really, his presence was merely there to market the ‘new’ feature of being able to mimic the dance routines of famous artists and also to reinforce the fact that Microsoft are THAT hip company who have their finger on the pulse on everybody under twenty-one years old.

In the end though, while certainly solid-enough based on the fact that little else will be changed over it’s highly accomplished predecessors, Dance Central 3 feels like more of the same instead of a little of something new.

Arguably, like the majority of the Microsoft first-party line-up, Dance Central 3 reeks of the fetid smell of conservatism; a smell bourne of Microsoft’s desire to save all of the really good stuff for their next-generation debut and as a result, serve as poor first-party wingmen for Halo 4 later this year.

Microsoft Smartglass – How To Make 2004 Seem New (and relevant) Again.

One thing that Microsoft made a rather large noise about at their conference was Microsoft Smartglass. Effectively a piece of connectivity tech, SmartGlass allows gamers to link their Xbox console to their smartphones and tablet devices for a number of different supplementary tasks and activities.

Microsoft believe that this is a difference-maker when it comes to new and involving gameplay experiences. It isn’t.

In one instance in which this was shown, EA had a player devising NFL strategies in-game on a Windows tablet, allowing instantaneous play of their chosen strategy in the game. In another example, Halo 4 developers 343 Industries displayed an interactive codex of information while Halo 4 was playing, in addition to a slew of matchmaking and other multiplayer features being done on the small screen instead of the TV.

While it sounds like a nice thing to have, it by no means sounds essential – it’s function and purpose consigning it to an extra-curricular augmentation of the gameplay experience rather than a meaningful addition to it. Smartglass then, provides Xbox 360 (and likely 720) owners with the sort of companion-like gameplay experiences that Nintendo DS owners have had for nearly eight years now. While the tech remains interesting at face value at least, I remain less than optimistic that many devs will look at the extra screen available to them and not proclaim “Yay! MAPS!”.

Microsoft @ E3 2012 – Conclusion

Boasting a barely perfunctory line-up of safe titles, you get the impression that only a small handful of folks at Microsoft give any sort of shit about the first-party fortunes of the console with the rest of the Microsoft Hive busying themselves for the unveiling of the next Xbox at E3 2013.

With the exception of the Microsoft SmartScreen – a tech that effectively gives 360 owners the same gameplay possibilities as Nintendo DS owners have had since 2004, everything else that was on display in their conference could largely be seen coming a mile off.

Halo 4 was a large (if unexpectedly spectacular) part of their line-up alongside an expected showing of previously announced first-party spin-off properties in Forza Horizon and Gears of War: Judgement. While Halo 4 certainly performed it’s vocation admirably as their centrifugal first-party offering, but backed up by some relatively limp and unexciting company in the form of Fable: The Journey, Forza: Horizon and Dance Central 3. Gears of War: Judgement was really the game that Microsoft should have positioned alongside Halo 4 to propel the 360 into next year where the veritable flood of triple-A third-party software would likely continue to buoy the platform to growth anyway, but alas, this was not to be.

Demonstrations of multiplat blockbusters such as Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 6 and Black Ops 2 did the usual shtick of combining fresh looks at these games alongside announcements of timed exclusivity on DLC for the Microsoft platform, despite some of them being given precious show time without any exclusivity announced at all.

Continuing on, further exposition of forthcoming social and TV applications continued to be an unfortunate hallmark for Microsoft at E3 alongside showings of Kinect fitness title Nike + and naff looking Kinect exclusive titles like Fable: The Journey.

Really it wasn’t so much the content that was there that troubled, more instead; it was the content that wasn’t. Things that would have bolstered their anaemic software offering such as details of the forthcoming Summer of Arcade were omitted from the presser altogether (they were announced on the official blog hours later) in favour of having Usher flail about on stage for nearly ten minutes in some vague attempt to shill the dance routine features of the next Dance Central title.

Overall then, if Microsoft didn’t seem like they were trying to capture the hearts and minds of all us at E3 it’s because they weren’t. As I write this article, Microsoft is readying the next generation successor to the Xbox 360 and as sure as I am that Microsoft are glad that E3 2012 is over, I’m just as sure the next year, everything that they’ve held back will be brought to the fore to make that machine have the best debut possible.

Well, they better do at any rate.

Written by bitsnark

July 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Vita Is Dead, Long Live Playstation 3 – Sony E3 2012 Press Conference Analysis

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Sony had a fairly decent presser if you’re a PS3 owner. Less so if you’re the owner of a shiny new Playstation Vita handheld.

It’s obvious to anybody with a clue that Sony just like Microsoft, certainly held back a great deal of announcements for next year where like the Redmond based software giant, they’ll announce their foray into the next-generation of console hardware. Unlike Microsoft however, whose presser reeked exclusively of the fetid smell of coasting this generation out, Sony also had to ensure that they put across a strong ‘Vita isn’t dead’ message; a crucial objective given the struggling fortunes endured by the handheld powerhouse recently.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how they fared shall we?

Playstation Vita – It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE! Oh wait, no, no. It was just a twitch.

This little fella needs all the help it can get. Someone forgot to send Sony the memo it seems.

The market hasn’t been kind to the Playstation Vita. It was supposed to be the machine that was going to triumphantly put two fingers up to the App Store and its ilk with home console quality gaming on the move and the finest visuals yet seen on a handheld device. That however, remains somewhat of a pipe dream; as the machine struggles at retail due to a relatively high price-point and lack of any real killer titles.

Sensible pricing and killer titles – the two key components of any successful console, handheld or otherwise should have been the crux of Sony’s bid to rejuvenate consumer interest in the Playstation Vita. As it was, their attempt to give the beleaguered handheld a shot in the arm, came across as both limp and unsatisfying with no sign of any decently priced bundles, discount initiatives or any real new titles for them to caw about outside of the previously expected Call of Duty and Assassins Creed spin-offs.

This was all we got to see at the presser for one of the Vita’s two great white third party hopes for the Vita. A logo. Soak it in bitch, soak it in.

Really, in retrospect, Assassins Creed 3: Liberation and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, is all they had to show for the machine and even then, all we really got was a logo unveiling of the latter and a gameplay video of the former that barely crossed the one minute mark. That was basically the brunt of their whole Vita push during the conference; two games – two spin-off games no less. Now, before you leap down by throat and gut me from the inside with your serrated dual-shock controllers, having two entries from what will surely be two of 2012’s most popular properties obviously isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a touch unspectacular when it isn’t being backed up by ANY other franchises – first party or otherwise.

Where was the God of War Vita title that is supposedly in production? Or the Killzone title that was shown last year? Or the Little Big Planet title that was announced at the same time as the handheld itself was? Where was any real, new first-party investment on Sony’s behalf in the platform other than the Playstation All-Stars port that every man and his dog knew was coming? I find it completely fucking crazy that they would attempt to realign in a positive fashion, consumer perception of their struggling handheld without some seriously compelling first party software to back it up.

Even third-party wise, a great deal of new games for the Vita simply just weren’t seen at the Sony conference and were sorely missed as a result. Instead of being part of the conference, Vita versions of games such as the newly announced Need for Speed: Most Wanted were relegated to footnotes in the respective publisher’s own press conferences. Really, rather than dispelling the fact that the Vita needs more decent, quality software, the slim pickings which were on show did little else then embolden the prevailing thought that the machine really has very little out, or coming out for it.

There are actually other third party titles coming out for the Vita y’know. Honest guv.

They didn’t even have a showreel for heaven’s sake, which would have been useful to at least highlight and remind folks about some of the forthcoming games like Persona 4: The Golden, Street Fighter X Tekken and more besides.

Some people have been keen to point out that this was Sony playing it safe and that there would be more unveils further down the road, but really this wasn’t playing it safe; this was tantamount to Sony putting the Vita out to die.

I mean really, they wouldn’t have had to do very much either to make things considerably better either; it’s already a well-known fact that Vita owners are craving HD collections, so why not feed that need and showcase the likes of Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter HD collections running on the Vita? Sure, it’s double-dipping perhaps, but just about everybody I’ve spoken to would prefer those sorts of experiences in the palms of their hands rather than on their PS3 and let’s face it, the Vita *really* needs those software sales, so it seems like a total no-brainer.

Anybody who believes that these two games wouldn’t be IDEALLY suited to the Vita, needs to be sectioned. Immediately.

Price-wise too, people are reluctant to buy into the hardware because its base price (not to mention the still insane price of Sony’s propriety memory cards) is still relatively high and all of the bundles that currently exist for it are utterly shit and to that end, Sony made no real headway in addressing the issue; unless of course you live in France where quite puzzlingly, they were given a fifty Euro discount off the machine for two weeks.

Absolutely pointless in the extreme.

THIS was about as exciting as Sony’s first party support for the Vita at E3 got. Wonderful. I feel better about that Vita purchase already.

Most alarmingly, this was the ideal (and possibly last) window of opportunity for Sony to reinvigorate the handheld since next year Sony need to be all about the Playstation 4/Orbis, in order to attempt to grab some a share of the next-gen attention that Microsoft will be openly and loudly grabbing for. I mean come on now, the machine is not even a year old and is in need of some real, heavy support and really needs sorting out in order to make the machine even remotely relevant to gamers tightly clutching their 3DS’s and swanky smartphone devices. As it stands, they completely failed in that task and going on their E3 showcase alone, I simply don’t see one or two third-party titles making a significant overall impact to the fortunes of the embattled handheld.

Playstation 3 – First Party Crashers

If the Playstation Vita; a format desperately in need of a boost of first-party support, was sadly missing it then you wouldn’t have to look far to find where it all went. Indeed, PS3 owners were in for a treat as Sony showed off the bombastic triumvirate of God of War: Ascension, Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us.

God of War: Ascension held little surprise for the audience but nevertheless showed itself to be a formidable offering. Showcasing some gorgeously violent combat, superb visuals and seemingly what appears to be a very robust and enjoyable multiplayer mode, the game looks to be effortlessly capable of dutifully fulfilling that awkward spot as a worthy follow-up to God of War 3, but not the next ‘real’ canonical entry in the series which is presumably being prepped for the next-generation Playstation home console.

Beyond: Two Souls, the latest title from Heavy Rain code-house Quantic Dream, turned out to be every bit the cinematic wonder that we all thought it would be. Boasting some of the best visuals probably ever to be seen in this current generation of console hardware, the demonstration of David Cage’s newest opus went predictably heavy on cinematic bombast and equally predictably light on any sort of gameplay expose’. With some hugely richly detailed environments, highly sophisticated modeled faces that would put LA Noire to shame and an extremely nuanced and delicately subtle performance by a digital Ellen Page (who seemingly has a supremely polished cranium), the game never lacked anything in stagger-factor whatsoever. However with that said, the lack of any real gameplay was disappointing yet somewhat understandable given the developer pedigree.

Finally, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us (the one with NOT Ellen Page) painted us a spectacularly grim picture of a post-apocalyptic future; giving us our first look at the game in motion. Visually, the game looks to be on par with the beautiful Uncharted titles that the company is mainly known for, but really, it’s the tense atmosphere and unrelentingly brutal and dynamic combat system that are the stars of the show. Showcasing a makeshift inventory system which allows you to combine every-day items for deadly effect (see the improve Molotov cocktail in the video) and an AI partner that reacts dynamically to the events which unfold (see the helpful stabbing she gives to a soldier wrestling with the main character), the game looks to be every bit as cinematic as it does eminently playable. In short: I can’t fucking wait for it and for me, it was easily the highlight of Sony’s first party offerings for the PS3.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Playstation: All-Stars or Ratchet & Clank: Q Force. Sure enough All-Stars is a solid enough Smash Bros esque mascot crossover fest, but outside of its highly touted cross-play feature with the also announced Vita version of the title, it’s pretty apparent that it lacks both the gravitas and the appeal of its aforementioned Sony stablemates.  The same thing applies to the announced, but not shown, Ratchet & Clank: Q Force; with developer Insomniac games promising a return to the gameplay style of old that brought them to the dance.  Really the fact that it was only mentioned and not shown in any sort of meaningful capacity, doesn’t exactly say much about Sony’s confidence in the title.

The US version is subtitled ‘Full Frontal Assault’. The UK version is subtitled ‘Q Force’. Just, wow.

Despite this though, they do have one advantage over their three more enticing brethren; both of them are actually coming out this year. So then, despite the spectacular nature of their demonstrations, the sad fact eventually sinks in that you won’t be playing these games this year and it really serves to underline the fact that despite their strong first-party showing, Sony actually have very little for you to enjoy this year.

The Last Guardian. If this guy isn’t next-gen bound i’ll eat my hat; or something vaguely hat-like.

Oh and the very distinct lack of The Last Guardian goodness was duly noted; anybody who expects it to appear on this generation of Sony hardware is clearly kidding themselves at this point; especially given the recent omission from the developer that they are having a ‘myriad of technical issues’ with the highly anticipated title.

Next year then.

Playstation Move – No Motion To Carry It

No decent Playstation Move support at E3? Kevin Butler wouldn’t stand for that shit.

It seems that Sony no longer wants to compete with Kinect, or at the very least, they aren’t too hot on talking about it. Microsoft on the one hand, seem completely hell-bent on including Kinect functionality in just about every title they can and forcing developers to smile and wax lyrical through gritted teeth about it. Sony however, seem a lot less keen to do so and additionally, appear a lot less interested in getting developers to continue sing the praises of the motion control device (the last guy who did was Ken Levine at last year’s E3 regarding Move integration into the forthcoming Bioshock: Infinite).

This year’s E3 presser did little to destroy the illusion that Sony don’t have much to say regarding the Playstation Move and despite some *relatively* solid sales numbers, you would think that they would have had more to show for the device than merely a sequel to 2010’s Sports Champions. In contrast to the previous year, where we had an enthusiastic (but again lone) demonstration of Sorcery, Sony’s presser was lacking – just a trailer announcing the game with minimal fanfare and that was your lot.

At this juncture, nobody should be surprised if Sony doesn’t opt to utilise Move as transitional technology (like Microsoft are doing with Kinect) for the next generation Playstation. They just come across as barely willing to give it the time of day, let alone any attempt to re-create a groundswell of interest in the thing at a developer level.

Playstation Plus – Pay It Forward

More free shit than you can shake a hairy stick at. Bravo Sony!

Playstation Plus has for the most part, never been much of a lure – at least to me anyway. Here was a service that you paid for monthly, quarterly or annually which gave you the odd free game, discounted game or beta access to a game that you didn’t really care too much about. Then E3 2012 happened and Sony went full-tilt with ‘Hey! We have lots of free shit to tempt you with!” and it worked.

A whole raft of games suddenly turned up on the service absolutely fucking free – the likes of Infamous 2, Warhammer 40K: Space Marine and the newly released Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown all together proved to be irresistible lure for many folks (including myself) and really, if this stuff continues (and the monthly game swap out plan suggests it will), I can see my new Playstation Plus subscription enduring for a good while yet.

Brilliant stuff.

Sony @ E3 2012 – Conclusion

Despite the considerable shortcomings with their Vita showing, Sony still managed to come across more like a company that cares about the current generation of gamers than Microsoft does by comparison. The demonstration of three highly anticipated, spectacular first-party offerings did much to bolster the perception that they remain invested in the current generation of Playstation and despite the fact they won’t arrive until 2013, it nonetheless speaks volumes about their support for the existing machine going forward through the next year.

While it was largely impossible to shake the feeling that Sony is saving its biggest guns for next year’s next-gen showdown, they really should have done better with supporting the Vita. It needs every bit of help it can get right now and the almost complete lack of demonstrable first and third party support at the presser, will do little else to mitigate the stymieing of growth that the handheld is current experiencing.

Overall though, the presence of some solid first party love for the PS3, bolstered by the new PS Move incentives wasn’t quite enough in my estimation erase the nasty taste that the PS Vita shafting left in my mouth. Sony should have gone for broke with new software announcements and bundles for their struggling handheld this year, since next year, the focus will irrecoverably have to shift to avoid being upstaged by Microsoft when they lock horns with them for their next-generation debut.  Hopefully, we’ll get some more Vita love in the coming weeks and months, but as far as E3 2012 goes, Sony had their chance and blew it.

Written by bitsnark

June 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

E3 2012 – EA Press Conference: Dead Space 3 On-Stage Demonstration

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What a way to kick off your conference; EA showed off a co-op on-stage demonstration of Dead Space 3.

To say it looked incredible, would be some sort of disgusting understatement.  Those lighting effects are going to cause my 360 to have a stroke I reckon.

Take a look for yourself:

Dead Space 3 is due to arrive on 360, PS3 and PC platforms in February, 2013. 

Written by bitsnark

June 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

E3 2012 – Microsoft Press Conference: South Park: The Stick of Truth Gets Trailered

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“Jews can’t be saviours, remember?”.

That line couldn’t really be uttered in any other game except for a South Park game.  Well, any game that wanted to be sold legally anyhow.

And so it is that South Park: The Stick of Truth got it’s first proper trailer during Microsoft’s E3 2012 conference which really displays just how Obsidian have managed to nail the ‘crappy’ aesthetic from the show.  A point of some pride it seemed as South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were on-stage telling the crowd just how much effort went into making the game look as accurately shit as it does.

I think it looks chuffing brilliant personally.

You can observe the trailer for the game below:

South Park: The Stick of Truth is due to arrive on 360, PC and PS3 platforms in early 2013.

Written by bitsnark

June 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm

E3 2012 – Microsoft Press Conference: Resident Evil 6 On-stage Gameplay Demonstration

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Another game that got the 0n-stage gameplay treatment was Capcom’s Resident Evil 6.  Showing off the series now trademark third person shootery action, mixed in with an (un)healthy amount of scripted QTE sequences, the gameplay sequence nevertheless delivered all of the cinematic bombast that one would expect from the newest instalment in the Resident Evil franchise.

They also announced that the 360 version would be having day one DLC first before any other format.  Swell.

Indulge your retinas below:

Resident Evil 6 is due on 360, PC and PS3 platforms on November 12th, 2012.

Written by bitsnark

June 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

E3 2012 – Microsoft Press Conference: Tomb Raider On-stage Demonstration

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Another glimmer of gaming bliss at the Microsoft presser (there weren’t that many, so really, you take whatever you can get), was the on-stage demonstration of the forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot.

The biggest surprise of all actually turned out to be the combat system, which despite all of the cinematic QTE bollocks going on around it, appeared solid and satisfying.  An interesting little tidbit was that the first lot of DLC will be exclusive to the 360 version.  Marvelous I guess.

Take a look at the trailer below:

Tomb Raider is due to be released on 360, PS3 and PC on March 5th, 2013.

Written by bitsnark

June 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

E3 2012 – Microsoft Press Conference: Splinter Cell Blacklist Unveiled

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Perhaps the highlight of their entire briefing, Ubisoft were on stage to showcase the Ubisoft Toronto developed Splinter Cell Blacklist for the first time.

Displaying a marked evolution rather than revolution of the gameplay introduced in 2010’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, this title showed Sam using his mark and execute whilst running and jumping over obstacles; as well as falling down on top of enemies too.  The game also gets bonus points for including a use for Kinect that isn’t totally nonsensical; here, you can use it to distract the enemy by saying things to get their attention before you do a steathly kill.

Overall, it was very impressive stuff indeed.

Take a look at the trailer below and see for yourself:

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is due to release on the Xbox 360 in Spring 2013. Other platforms have yet to be announced.

Written by bitsnark

June 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Pre-E3 2012: Arkane Studios ‘Dishonoured’ gets more than three minutes of in-game footage via newest trailer

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Every year there is always one game that gets everybody excited, but tends to hover under the radar of all the mass-marketed AAA/sequel stuff that gets spread around.

Dishonoured, developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda, is one such game.  Equal parts Bioshock, Thief and Assassins’ Creed all wrapped up in a lucious steampunk veneer, Dishonoured looks to be a intriguing creature indeed with a unique setting and stealthily ultraviolent gameplay.

To see that i’m not just pulling platitudes out of my ass for no good reason, have a look for yourself:

Dishonoured is due to be released on 360, PC & PS3 platforms on October 12th, 2012.

Written by bitsnark

June 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

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