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June 28, 2012
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By Matthew Scott Hunter

E3 2012

Sony Press Conference

If this year’s E3 made anything clear, it’s that game consoles are no longer focused on video games. Nowadays, they’re meant to be multimedia hubs, cross compatible with all of your other electronic devices. This attitude can leave those who bought their game console for its original purpose feeling somewhat neglected. So Sony’s game trailer-heavy press event came as a breath of fresh air to that increasingly marginalized segment of video game console owners: the gamers. Even so, there were still a handful of announcements about multimedia integration. PlayStation Mobile (formerly known as PlayStation Suite) will now allow access to the PlayStation Network via smart phones and tablets. The network will be home to 200 new game titles in 2013, as well as music, movies, sports and television. Sony also highlighted the cross-platform compatibility between PS3 and Vita, revealing that new downloadable content for “LittleBigPlanet2” will allow players to use the Vita as an enhanced PS3 controller with a screen of its own, which sounds suspiciously like the Wii U’s whole gimmick.

But for the most part, Sony’s media briefing was all about the games. Developer Ubisoft showed off the naval combat component of “Assassin’s Creed III,” sinking ships full of redcoats off the coast of the colonial U.S. A number of exclusive first-party titles were shown off as well, including a predictably bloody demo for “God of War: Ascension,” a moody, cinematic trailer for “Beyond: Two Souls” from “Heavy Rain” developer Quantic Dream and a “Smash Bros.”-style free-for-all brawler for longtime PlayStation fans called “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.” Sony also unveiled a new piece of hardware called Wonderbook, which works in conjunction with the Move controller and the Eyetoy camera to turn books into interactive experiences. The demo, featuring the “Harry Potter”-themed “Book of Spells,” was a little rough, but if the kinks can be worked out, the concept shows promise. Either way, Sony’s software lineup has plenty to offer PS3 owners who just want to play.

‘The Last of Us’

If Cormac McCarthy’s gritty novel “The Road” were made into a meticulously detailed and brutally violent video game, the result would look a lot like “The Last of Us.” Set after some vague apocalyptic event, this game from “Uncharted” developer Naughty Dog follows a world-weary man and a young girl as they wander through ruined cityscapes, scavenging for supplies and fighting for their lives. If the trailer is any indication, players are in for an intense, cinematic gameplay experience.

‘Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale’

Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s own “Smash Bros.,” “Battle Royale” features characters like Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Nathan Drake and Big Daddy beating each other senseless in front of backdrops inspired by everything from “Ratchet & Clank” to “Patapon.” The chaotic melee fuels each players Super meter, which, when filled, can activate player-specific special attacks, like Sweet Tooth’s hulking mech from the new “Twisted Metal.”

‘Beyond: Two Souls’

Academy Award nominated actress Ellen Page (“Juno”) portrays the main character of “Beyond” —a supernatural thriller that follows a woman through fifteen years of her life. Like David Cage’s previous games, “Indigo Prophecy” and “Heavy Rain,” “Beyond” looks to feature emotional, story-driven gameplay that focuses as much on the mundane details of day-to-day life as the big quicktime event action sequences.

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