E3 Expo 2012 Sony Press Conference Wrap Up

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(CBS NEWS) Sony continued to add to its ever-growing lineup of exclusive titles at its Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference. Its latest addition may be another head-turner. From the studio that crafted the critical darling Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream is creating another story-driven, PS3 exclusive dubbed Beyond Two Souls. Starring Academy Award nominee Ellen Page, Beyond is a tale about a young girl with the ability to speak to ghosts.

The brief demo showed a police officer asking Page's character, Jody Holmes, about an accident. Holmes didn't answer any of the questions, maintaining a blank look on her face. As the questions persisted, suddenly a cup on the cop's desk began to levitate and then slammed into a wall. The camera then cut to a Swat team entering the police station, preparing to pour into the cop's office, where Holmes was being held. The demo ended shortly after Swat opened the door.

David Cage, the director of Heavy Rain, said Beyond will follow Holmes for 15 years of her life. The choices you make in the game will heavily affect the story, and ultimately may reveal why Holmes has this supernatural ability.

Sony then switched gears and showed off PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a free-for-all PS3-exclusive fighting game that seems heavily influenced by Nintendo's Super Smash Brothers. Some of Sony's most iconic characters -- Kratos from God of War, Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal and Sly Cooper just to name a few -- square off in four-player matches. The onscreen action was hectic and sometimes difficult to follow as points were awarded not for overall damage inflicted but the punishment dealt from super attacks.

Sony also revealed that Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series and Big Daddy from the Bioshock franchise will also be playable characters in Battle Royale, which is scheduled for release later this holiday season. The game will offer cross play with Sony's handheld gaming device -- PlayStation Vita -- allowing gamers to continue their battles on the go and then transfer their progress back to their PS3.

PlayStation Plus, Sony's subscription service that offers game discounts and other perks for $50 a year, will undergo an upgrade. Sony is planning to offer bigger titles -- Infamous 2, Saints Row 2 and Little Big Planet 2 -- to be included for free with the yearly subscription. Sony is also preparing to offer more discounts and additional big-name titles to subscribers for free.

Sony then turned its attention to the Vita, which has had lukewarm sales since its world-wide release earlier this year. Activision will bring its record-breaking Call of Duty series to the Vita with Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified, which will launch this holiday season.

Another hit series -- Assassins Creed -- will release an exclusive title for the Vita. Assassins Creed Liberation will mark the first time the main protagonist from the critically acclaimed series will be female. The game will also take advantage of the Vita's touchscreen and rear touchpad capabilities. There will also be a bundle, which will include a white PS Vita, Liberation and a 4 gigabyte memory card for an undisclosed price. The game and bundle are scheduled to be released Oct. 30.

PlayStation One classics, such as Final Fantasy VII and Tomb Raider, also will be making their way to the Vita. Additional applications -- YouTube, Hulu Plus and Crackle -- are also scheduled to beef up the handheld's multimedia offerings.

Sony's push for motion controls continued to be a focus. Wonderbook, a new motion-based peripheral, will implement the Eye Toy camera and PlayStation Move to deliver an interactive reading experience. The first title for Wonderbook, called Book of Spells, is based on stories by Harry Potter author JK Rawling. Players will place the physical book in front of the Eye Toy and then watch as the story unfolds during interactive sequences on the TV. The player becomes an active participant in the story, changing the outcome depending on the choices that are made.

To wrap of the conference, Sony brought out its two most highly anticipated titles -- God of War Ascension and The Last of Us.

God of War Ascension takes place before any of the previous God of War entries. But don't think because it's a prequel that this is a kinder, gentler Kratos. The brutal, visceral gameplay that God of War fans have come to know was on display in full force. Kratos ripped through foes, literally, tearing apart enemies with his bare hands and then chopping off an adversary's legs before finishing him. Another gruesome encounter culminated in Kratos ripping open the skull of an elephant-like creature, exposing its brain. God of War Ascension is scheduled to hit only the PlayStation 3 on March 12, 2013.

The closing act of Sony's conference was its new exclusive title The Last of Us. From the makers of the critically acclaimed Uncharted series, The Last of Us follows Ellie, a 14-year-old girl and Joel, a middle-aged man, who are trying to persevere during a post-apocalyptic world that is being overrun by a virus that has turned humans into The Infected. Their struggle for survival against other desperate humans and The Infected has left the duo in a virtual no-win situation. No release date was given for this highly anticipated title.

Sony's press conference had its moments. The reveal of Beyond Two Souls, and the gameplay footage of God of War Ascension and The Last of Us were definite highlights. But as innovative as Wonderbook might become, the demonstration seemed to last too long and killed the momentum Sony was trying to build. Not announcing a price drop for the Vita was also a letdown. Shaving $50 dollars off or bundling an 8 GB memory card might invigorate sales. Sony's games-first approach should be applauded, but its attempt to drum up interest in its handheld might have fallen short of the mark.
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