PlayStation E3 Conference
by Oliver Layco
After a lengthy delay, the PlayStation Conference kicked off with updates to their current gen consoles. The first of which was the PS Vita in an attempt to drum up sales and hype for the system. Meanwhile, the PS3 had a better showing with the upcoming release of The Last Of Us and Beyond Two Souls; the former of which comes out this Friday. Beyond looks to help close out the PS3 in style. Made by the acclaimed studio, Quantic Dream, behind Heavy Rain it stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe as the two biggest stars attached. Then they touted Gran Turismo 6 to rival the reveal of Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport 5. Neither bit looked particular interesting to me simply because realistic racing games aren’t my type. Those, mixed in with some indie games, appear to be the exclusives set for the PS3 in the near future. They also had more details about Batman Arkham Origins. While this game is multiplatform, there will be exclusive DLC in the form of Adam West era batman costume and an Azrael costume. Grand Theft Auto V was also talked about with an exclusive bundle coming to the system; again, for whatever reason, I was never big into the GTA series.
Finally, on to the PlayStation 4. The system itself looks…. Okay. It looks eerily similar to the Xbox One with a slight slant to it. I didn’t have an issue with the Xbox One like many others and I just wasn’t a big fan of it. With this, the aesthetics aren’t horrible but it lacks the pop that the PS3 has for me; but as long as it performs and does the job it’s supposed to then I won’t have any issue. Besides, the inevitable redesign will hopefully make it look more appealing. They then went on to ramble about the entertainment divisions of Sony. They went through a laundry list of their services from music, to movies, to TV; none of which the audience paying attention to E3 particularly cares about. The first game to actually be displayed was The Order: 1886. While intriguing, it is another multiplatform game so right now it’s nothing to get excited for from a Sony fan’s standpoint. They tried to recover and they showed off footage from the next iteration in the KillZone franchise. While this also looks good, it’s something fans were expecting and nothing that I’m attached to. Another expected appearance was that of Infamous Second Son. This is something that is more of my type of game and this one looks promising. They then went the route of showing off new Indie games that look like good time wasters. While I could see myself playing these, it will probably be along the lines of the PS+ program if they get released for free there. The first big surprise was the reveal of two new Final Fantasy titles. This ongoing series still surprises people and the trailer didn’t disappoint. The real surprise came when another trailer from Square Enix revealed that Kingdom Hearts III is finally in the works. This would please many fans of the old series and it looks to add to the franchise’s legacy. Especially with the addition of Marvel and other companies to Disney, the number of characters they could add into the story is exciting! However, if rumors are true, then it is also being ported to the Xbox One. This doesn’t take away from the experience of the game, but it loses appeal if it’s going to be a multiplatform game. This is also the case with Metal Gear Solid V. Both series have been longtime PlayStation exclusives and now they want to spread to the Xbox as well; in other words, they want more money. Assassin’s Creed IV and WatchDogs are both coming out for the current gen so while the gameplay was nice to see more of, again, I wanted to see more next gen games. The biggest blow came when they took direct shots at Microsoft. They will not have any policy on used games and we as the consumer can continue to buy and trade games as we please. They also state that there’s no need for checking in online every 24 hours like the Xbox One states it needs. Then they came out with their concept for cloud gaming which will allow gamers to play older games as part of PlayStation through the cloud. Amid all the relief of the used game policy and the lack of internet requirement, they quietly announced that PS+ will basically become the equivalent of Xbox Gold. I’m already a member so it won’t change anything for me and it only comes out to $5/month. One big difference between PS+ and Gold is that for PS+ you won’t need to have it if you don’t want it; by this I mean you can use Netflix and other entertainment services without PS+ which is in sharp contrast to what Gold offers. They closed with gameplay footage of Destiny, which is a combination of Bungie and Activision; Two of the biggest FPS developers from the past decade. The final knockout from Sony came with the price announcement of $399; a cool $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. With that price point, it’s hard to differentiate between the two systems so consumers are probably better off saving the extra cash. While yes, every Xbox comes with a Kinect and that makes up most of the difference, that’s Microsoft’s way of forcing the issue on users. One plus side to always being connected for the Xbox is the ease of updates and the potential that way, but it leans far too much in the negative direction for me personally to overlook that. Despite the lack of exclusives, Sony still delivered an overall better conference; and that is mostly due to addressing the issues that many have with the Xbox One. We really won’t be able to tell which company has the better plan until a few years from now, but it appears that Sony has the early lead.