PlayStation Gamescom 2012 Recap

The conference began with Jim Evans talking about history of PlayStation and saying things will focus on the Vita. A trailer for LBP Vita is shown, leading to one for PlayStation All-Stars, which included showing off Dante from DmC. This led to Cross Buy being announced for PSAS, as well as the new Ratchet and Clank and Sly Cooper games – buying one version unlocks the other for free. PS One classics are coming to the Vita on August 28th, and a system/game bundle with a custom pouch will be made available when Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified launches. Media Molecule’s Alex Evans shows off the company’s new IP – Tear Away. It’s a paper-craft game that makes use of the Vita’s back panel to interact with the world and pucture the paper environment. The on-stage play led to a neat trailer showcasing some beautiful-looking weather, the ability to blow on the front screen to cause wind gusts, and is set to a really catchy folksy song. A quick Killzone Mercenary trailer is shown. Looks like it’ll make good use of the Vita’s hardware to let you slice folks with the touch screen with swipes.

PlayStation Mobile will launch soon and work on a variety of devices, including PlayStation-certified Android phones and tablets. The trailer showed some fun shooters and puzzle games, as well as something that reminds me of Irritating Stick. Everything can be downloaded from the PS Store and is playable on the Vita as well, and a game purchased on one platform will instantly work on any other PS-certified device you own.

Sony’s really going all-out with giving people more bang for your buck this year.  A quick run-through of PS3 games coming out for the holiday season, including a bit of hype for the PS3 version of Assassin’s Creed III. PS3 Essentials were announced for the European market, featuring some nice red borders around the cover art that remind me of the original Xbox’s Platinum Hits.  Cross Controller functionality is shown for LBP 2, coming later this year via DLC, including new levels and the ability to make Cross Controller levels yourself. A live playthrough example is shown, and the Vita acts as basically the bottom screen for the DS – showing you vital information and a different view of the level, while also allowing you to interact with objects via the touch screen to then alter the world on the TV screen. Sweet – he’s trying to avoid an electrical wall…much like Irritating Stick! Blast rockets off by pulling down on them like a rubber band – sweet.

PlayStation Plus gets the focus now. Red Dead Redemption will be PS+’s free game of the month. Cloud storage goes up from 125MB to 1GB for saves. PS+ will also be expanding to the Vita. A 25% discount for Plus will be offered in Europe for two weeks. Wonderbook is highlighted. It looked interesting in the second or two of footage shown earlier, so a more thorough showcase should be great. Well, it certainly seems like a fun thing for kids to do and sell more Moves. Diggs Nightcrawler is announced – it’s a noir-styled detective game that looks like something for the older set. The BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs is coming to Wonderbook as well. You can use the Move want as food for the dinosaurs and select dig sizes. Disney’s got some stuff coming to the format as well, but nothing was officially announced from them. Wonderbook seems like something that could be very cool, but isn’t wowing me right now.

PlayStation Move gets to shine more with some FIFA footage. PlayStation Move will add some major innvations to FIFA 13. Move lets you select which player you want to control using the pointer, and you can paint the path you want a player to go in. It also allows you to control the direction of your shots. I’m not big into soccer, but I’ll probably at least give that a rental just to check that out. It seems like it’s worth at least experiencing. Three new titles are coming for the PS3. Until Dawn is a horror thriller. You’ll play as seven characters, and your job is to keep them alive until dawn. Poor teen couple’s makeout session gets interrupted by an unknown entity. I hate it when that happens. Japan Studio has something new to offer. First is a PSN-exclusive – Rain. Pretty watercolor-filled trailer. It’s about a boy only being visible in the rain. Beautiful piano score for the trailer.  That looked really intriguing. Puppeteer is the second Japan Studio game. Gavin Moore’s out to further explain it. The game was created to get his son’s imagination going again. The world in Puppeteer moves around you, and the seemingly complex plot behind it is explained. Thank God, a trailer to visually explain this. Sweet platforming action here, and a giant angry woman. GIVE ME BACK MY SCISSORS declares the Moon Bear King, who has a gigantic metal tiger as an underling. Okay, that ruled. Beyond and The Last of Us are highlighted, with the latter getting a new trailer. I love the voice acting and the super-creepy country song with even creepier guitar licks. The show concludes with a Black Ops Declassified trailer.

That was certainly an exciting hour of announcements. The parts that got me the most hyped were the cross-buy functionality for some PS3/Vita games, the PS Mobile platform giving aspiring developers yet another outlet to create games – having them all playable on the Vita is a nice thing as well. The Vita really came off great today, with a ton of announcements really expanding its library.  You’ve got a system that give you access to every Vita game, will give you access to PS Mobile ones, has a few PS3/PSV games, a bunch of Minis and PSP games, and will soon have a lot of PSOne games as well. Granted, a lot of those expanded platform libraries are fragmented, but there’s still a ton of gaming options for the platform. Of course, given the high cost of storage for the system, I can see that very much being a double-edged sword until it becomes a hot, must-have item, or the prices fall for memory cards.

Game-wise, I loved what was shown of Rain and Puppeteer. Until Dawn looks like something that could be good, but gave me a generic ’90s horror movie vibe as well. They said that’s what they’re going for, but it doesn’t seem to be aiming to do anything more than that. Hopefully it does though, because the idea of an interactive horror movie, done well, should have great appeal. Wonderbook left me feeling somewhat cold, although I think that’s mainly due to the games they showed and not the idea of having a playable book. I hope the PS+ discount expands to North America because it really is a great service despite some flaws, and the expansion of the storage space is good news. RDR being September’s freebie is great news, even if the PS3 version doesn’t fare as well as the 360 version critically, it does allow people to play it who missed it before and if nothing else, serves as something to entice people to buy the GOTY edition. It felt very odd to have Black Ops Declassified’s trailer close the show, but given that it’s a third-party game getting its own system bundle, I do take it as a good sign for the system, and fully expect a massive ad campaign this holiday season trumpeting it.