E3 2012: Sony Media Briefing

Sony's presentations usually run longer than I'd like to sit still for, so I'm quite glad that I wasn't spacing out about halfway like I did last year!

The show definitely started with a bang, for me anyway, since I'm a fan of their previous work. Quantic Dream (Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain) announced their upcoming title, Beyond: Two Souls. The game tells the tale of Jodie Holmes (literally, a virtual Ellen Page, since she lends her voice and likeness to the main character) as she grows up with a paranormal entity in her life. Unlike Heavy Rain, the story spans for 15 years, so we will be making decisions that will affect the future for Jodie. It will be an emotional, mature, unique, breathtaking, epic, spectacular adventure, and something gamers will remember for a long time. And if you make the right decisions, maybe ou will discover what lies beyond death.

Moving on to a not-so-dark subject, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale had six people on stage: four playing on PS3, two others on PS Vita. The game allows for seamless cross-platform gameplay, and features familiar characters such as Fat Princess, Sweet Tooth, Kratos and Sly Cooper. The biggest announcement was the appearance of two new playable characters: Bioshock's Big Daddy and Nathan Drake.

Cross-play was also announced for Little Big Planet 2 via DLC.

PlayStation Plus details were revealed, with the addition of 12 more games in the upcoming month, including Infamous 2, Little Big Planet 2 and Saints Row 2. It was then announced that all attendees present in the media briefing this year would be receiving a voucher for free year access to the subscription service. Doesn't top getting a brand new Xbox 360, but damn, I sure wish I was there in person. It's a pretty good way to spread the word about this particular service though, make the press try it out.

PSone Classics were then announced for the PS Vita (the first being Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy), as well as a series of entertainment options: Youtube, Hulu Plus and Sony's own free movie service, Crackle. Finishing up the PS Vita revelations was the confirmation for this holiday season of Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified.

Now returning to the lineup of games, we were told how Ubisoft and Sony are becoming close partners and working together to bring Assassin's Creed III exclusive content to PS3 and PS Vita. Yes, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation is coming out for Sony's latest handheld, featuring a different story that takes place in a different time frame and on another setting. Liberation stars a female assassin in New Orleans 1765. Aveline seems to take some hints from Sam Fisher in terms of marking enemies for executions by using the touch screen.

We then had another look at Assassin's Creed III and some Caribbean Sea naval action. Connor takes control of a ship's wheel, navigating in real time to avoid enemy ships and ordering cannons to shoot.

The Assassin's Creed III bundle consists of a black PS3 Slim, the game and exclusive DLC. TheAssassin's Creed III: LIberation bundle includes a white WiFi edition PS Vita, 4GB memory card and the game. Those who own both games will be able to link them together to unlock some extras for their game.

While we had already seen the FarCry 3 reveal, more details were announced. Four player co-op was demonstrated on four separate screens, and a map editor was also revealed along with PS3-exclusive DLC (don't you hate when certain DLC is exclusive to only one system? So unfair!).

Announcing that they are creating transformative experiences that redefine expectations, Wonderbook was revealed. This is basically a library of augmented reality storybooks, which will provide recreational, educational and scientific experiences. Book of Spells by J.K. Rowling, comes to life as your read, allowing you to cast spells with PS Move acting as your magic wand. Using the world of Harry Potter as source of content, your book will teach you the spells that any Hogwarts student would learn. As you cast, the spells and the book come to life on the TV screen. A fire spell was used to summon a dragon, which then set the book on fire, which the player had to put out by tapping it down. Blowing the ashes away reveals a diorama and the story and lesson progress. Book of Spells lseems to be an upcoming best-seller!

From magic back to real life technology, with the Playstation Suite Playstation Experience coming to Android phones and tablets. HTC becomes the first provider of PlayStation-Certified Android devices and Playstation Suite changes its name to Playstation Mobile.

With the words "I have paid the price for my ambition", Kratos appears for our demo of God of War: Ascension fighting something like a creepy minotaur. The movements are fast and fluid, the orange glow cast by sunset makes the landscape absolutely gorgeous. After the horned creature is defeated, Kratos climbs some wreckage up to the next stage. A fight with kraken tentacles begins, followed almost instantly by a giant animated armored suit. With this one out of the way, Kratos finds himself in a cave facing what looked like Ganesh (the elephant god). One again, the kraken attacks, and the demo ends with Kratos rushing towards it. God of War: Ascension is definitely action packed, and coming March 12, 2013.

As the show neared the end, one last game was shown. Joel and Ellie take the screen in The Last of Us, exploring a city covered in overgrown vegetation. They enter a hotel, and we can only imagine how long it's been without upkeep or use. Voices are heard. Joel uses stealth to take down a guard, but the other sees him. Cover plays its part in the gunfight. Moving into the next room, another guard drops Joel and we switch to melee combat. Ellie lands a hand by throwing a brick, which gives Joel the opportunity to strike. Now here's a female companion who can be of use instead of cowering in a corner!

Sony ended the briefing with "Never stop playing". I don't really intend to, and I know I don't play a lot of games on the PS3. However, there are a few exclusives here that I am looking forward to check out when the time comes!