E3 2012 — Sony Press Conference Recap with Instant Reactions to Beyond: Two Souls, God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us and Much More!

Well folks, E3 2012 is officially upon us! Are you one of those people unfortunate enough have a job and/or responsibilities that might keep you from watching video game press conferences in the middle of the workday? Don’t worry! I’ll be recapping the “Big 3” console makers’ press conferences right here on GammaSquad.

In addition to relaying the facts, I’ll be blasting you with my instant, off-the-cuff, totally knee-jerky reactions to all the reveals. Will I make some statements I live to regret? Oh, most definitely, but I think it’ll be more fun this way.

Hit the jump for all the fun from Sony’s E3 press conference…

videos via IGN, full length press conference video via Gamespot

Here’s the whole darn Sony press conference if you’re feeling up to it…

…but wouldn’t you rather read my witticisms instead? Of course you would.

– The Sony stage has a very neat multiple screens within a larger screen set-up. Cool video package utilizing all the screens showing off a ton of Sony stuff. This press conference is already beating the pants of the Microsoft one.

– Jack Tretton, President and CEO of SCEA is out. Hey, this guy actually has some charisma and speaking ability unlike the Microsoft presenters.

Instant Reaction – He also kind of sounds like Larry from the Three Stooges.

– Jack points out Sony President Kaz Hirai in the audience and professes his love for him.

Instant Reaction – That’s nice. I’m feelin’ upbeat, let’s get this party started.


Beyond: Two Souls

– Out comes David Cage of Quantic Dream to appropriately ominous music. Death is the biggest mystery of mankind. Deep man. Beyond: Two Souls will star a girl named Jody Holmes who is based on, and voiced by Ellen Page.

Instant Reaction – Yikes, someone at Sony has a boner for Ellen Page. Just keep some space between her and Kaz is all I’m saying.

– Jody Holmes is linked with some sort of ghost. You’ll follow her life over a period of 15-years and help shape who she is.

– Okay, trailer time. Cop is talking to a girl with a shaved head — hey look, she’s got Ellen Page face. I dunno, I think I like The Last of Us’ version better. She was found by the side of the road, and nobody knows where she came from. Oh my, a MYSTERY!

Instant Reaction – Perhaps a MURDER MYSTERY. Now we just need to break out the tits to make this a real Quantic Dream game.

– Jody remains emotionless. Cop notices a scar on the girl’s head. Something makes the cop’s coffee cup go flying. “I know, they’re coming” says Jody as a SWAT team storms in, slowly approaches the interrogation room, annnnd…Jody is gone.

Instant Reaction – Nice tension in this bit, but the ending was a bit of a letdown…

– Whoa wait — explosions, killer dogs, running in the forest, super powers, cussing! Oh, and the ghost is called Ivan.

Instant Reaction – That’s more like it. Looks like this game might not be one long Quick Time Event. I’m interested to see how it actually plays.

– “If you make the right decisions, maybe you will find out what lies — beyond.”

Instant Reaction – Well played Cage.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

– Four people play the game for just a little bit too long while some guy awkwardly narrates the action.

Instant Reaction – Okay, let’s stop futzing around and make with the new characters.

– Two new characters — Nathan Drake and Big Daddy from Bioshock, so it seems 3rd party characters are fair game.

Instant Reaction – Ah, there we go. Us nerds aren’t hard to please.

– The game will be available on both PS3 and Vita with cross-play capabilities.

Instant Reaction – So that’s why it’s graphics are so unimpressive. Has to work on both machines.


Assorted Bragging and Minor Announcements

– A new patch is coming that will let you use your Vita as a controller for LittleBigPlanet 2, allowing some interesting dual-screen stuff.

– Hey, wasn’t Journey good? More good downloadable stuff to come!

– Everyone in the audience gets free Playstation Plus!

Instant Reaction – Loudest cheer of E3 so far. Again, us nerds aren’t hard to please.

– Playstation classics like Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy VII are coming to the Vita.

Instant Reaction – Hopefully they add more moaning to Tomb Raider to bring it up to modern standards.

– Amazon, HuluPlus, Netflix, Youtube, Crackle and million other things with silly names that let you watch videos are coming to the PS3 and/or Vita.

Instant Reaction – I swear I’ll stop constantly comparing Sony’s press conference to Microsoft’s, but this is how you do a “our machines can stream video” announcement. Short, simple, to the point. F–k you Yusuf Medhi, f——ck you.

– Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified is going to be on the Vita and that’s all we hear about that.

Instant Reaction – A Call of Duty game that’s actually exclusive and we don’t get an hour-long demo? Okay okay, seriously, I’m going to stop comparing Sony and Microsoft, riiiight NOW.

Oooo, “Declassified”. Sounds exotic and espionagey. 


Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation

– We’re in New Orleans. A dude in a tricorner hat is leaping about, there are flaming carriages, and wait a minute — dude looks like a lady! Whoa, it is a lady. First female Assassin’s Creed protagonist!

Instant Reaction – Right now I’m totally more interested in this game than the main Assassin’s Creed III title.

– Connecting this game to the main Assassin’s Creed III title will grand you a bunch of unlockables.

Instant Reaction – Miyamoto’s gotta be feeling so vindicated about the whole connectivity thing right about now.

Assassin’s Creed III

We’re on the Caribbean Sea. Holy s–t, you get to play pirate! Can actually stroll around the ship — walk up to the wheel to take charge of the boat. Sail around and blow up other ships for lookin’ at you cock-eyed.

Instant Reaction – Okay, I’m no longer more interested is the Vita Assassin’s Creed.

– The seas are getting choppy as a full-scale naval battle rages. Nice, you even get to board other ships!

Instant Reaction – I’m not always a big Ubisoft supporter, but I can’t help applaud a company that decides “what they hell, let’s just throw some full-scale pirate battles in this game”.

– There will be a new PS3 Assassin’s Creed III bundle and Sony-exclusive DLC.

Far Cry 3

– Manliest dude to every participate in video game development is on stage talking about Far Cry 3. Says they secretly built two games — single player, and a 4-player co-op game.

Instant Reaction – A FPS with a multiplayer mode? Get outta town! You didn’t really need to keep that a secret guys.

– Four people get on stage to play the co-op and yell at each other just a little bit too much.

Instant Reaction – Visuals look kind of rough. Shadows are flickering and drawing in and the ragdoll physics on the bad guys are pretty goofy. Otherwise, I dunno, looks like a multiplayer shooter.

– “Nice.” “Nice.” “Niiiice.” “Nice.”

Instant Reaction – Nice.

– PS3 is getting exclusive DLC for this game too.

Instant Reaction – I know I said I’d stop the comparisons, but man, do these exclusive DLC deals where the DLC is actually exclusive make Microsoft’s “timed-exclusive” DLC announcements look like a bag of garbage or what?


– Hey, Move still exists! “Moves gives you more choices than anything out there.”

Instant Reaction – Really? More motion control choices than anything out there? More than the Wii, which ships with motion controls and has been around for six years? You thought you could just slip this little nugget of bulls–t into the middle of an otherwise pretty damn good press conference and I wouldn’t notice, didn’t you Sony?


– Sony’s going to be selling augmented reality books that work with the PS Eye.

Instant Reaction – There’s going to be plenty of grumbling about this, but it’s actually kind of a cool idea, assuming it works. Speaking of which…

– An appropriately British-ey guy comes out to announce Book of Spells, created in association with J. K. Rowling. Various people are on stage sitting on carpets in front of small TVs playing with the book. The effects are pretty cheesy, and the AR stuff isn’t working very well, with one woman trying and failing about 10-times to get a fire spell to work.

Instant Reaction – To be fair, the lady is way too old for Hogwarts.

– Mini-game where you kill bugs with fire spells.

Instant Reaction – “Hey kids, yucky bugs in the house? The best solution is FIRE.”

– “I’ve loved working with Sony’s creative team to bring my spells, and some of the history behind them, to life. This is an extraordinary device that offers a reading experience like no other.” – J.K. Rowling

Instant Reaction – “I particularly liked the AR check they wrote me. All those zeroes leaping right up off the check and dancing about — so whimsical!”

“Hey mom! This book with no words in it is my favorite book of all!”


God of War: Ascension

Kratos is hanging out on some dock. Gasp! Somebody’s been stabbed! Kratos doesn’t abide any non-Kratos perpetrated stabbings! Some evil goat guys show up. Those evil goat guys are now very dead.

Instant Reaction – Looking like pretty standard God of War fare so far.

– Ruh oh! Sea monster! It destroys part of the dock. Kratos can now magically repair wrecked scenery and use it for platforming purposes. Some guy with a big hammer shows up. That guy with the big hammer is now very dead. Giant elephant man shows up. That’s a new one. Giant elephant man is now very dead. After the sea monster we go as the trailer ends. Available March 12, 2013.

Instant Reaction – Still looking pretty standard. Guess that’s the danger of a series as over-the-top as God of War — eventually there’s just no topping yourself. Still looked fun though. The ability to temporarily repair stuff should make for some interesting gameplay.

The Last of Us

– We’re seeing actual gameplay here. Joel (the game’s male character) and Sony Computer Entertainment’s precious chosen one Ellen Page have barricaded themselves in a room. They escape out a window into a partially flooded outdoor environment. Gameplay is 3rd person, Uncharted-esque.

Instant Reaction – Holy s–t, these graphics…

– Now they’re in a crumbling fancy hotel.

Instant Reaction – So much color! I love it!

– They’re on the roof now. We hear voices. Joel grabs a dude and chokes him out. The bad guys talk to each other and seem to still have their wits about them, but they look like they’re infected with something. Uh oh, Joel and Ellen have been discovered.

Instant Reaction – Ohhhh, s–t!

– Shooting. Melee fighting. Joel holds a guy hostage and pistol-whips him to death when he’s done with him. Ellen Page throws something at a bad guy and the audience cheers. Oh hey, there’s an inventory system. Joel and a guy wrestle over a shotgun — the fighting in the game is incredibly cinematic, I really want to know how it controls.

Instant Reaction – No snark here — this game looks incredible. Next-gen without a new machine.

Overall Thoughts

A good show that never lost forward momentum (with the exception the overlong bit about Sony’s new electronic pop-up books). Sony’s first party offerings are varied and a welcome relief from the non-stop brown-and-grey FPSes being churned out by 3rd parties. Sony’s two games featuring new hit video game character Ellen Page look particularly promising. No mega announcements, but thankfully there were no mildly interesting technological gimmicks ginned up as mega announcements either. So far Sony’s winning this thing — we await Nintendo.