I wouldn’t call Sony’s show the worst outing of the day– not after a tease of Nathan Drake and Big Daddy in Playstation All-Stars, naval combat in Assassin’s Creed 3, and some holy-shit-incredible gameplay from The Last of Us. Despite those things and more, however, it still felt kind of… empty. Especially in the area of Vita exclusives and a more robust peek at upcoming PS3 games. Sony’s Youtube page has a playlist of all their E3 trailers, and it’s kind of amazing what was ignored in favor of, I don’t know, a prolonged tech demo of AR-coded “books” branded around a franchise with drastically overestimated drawing power. (I was watching with two rabid Harry potter fanatics, and even they started rolling their eyes almost immediately.)
Hit the jump to see which trailers Sony left in the lurch this year, all of which were far better candidates for stage/screen time over the embarrassment that was Wonderbooks.
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Maybe this one is just me, but one thing I’ve always felt Little Big Planet could benefit from was a little less freedom. Attaching a defined genre to the tools and aesthetic that have always made this series stand out makes the conceptualization and execution of ideas seem far less daunting, and kart racing seems like a perfect choice in that direction. Sony’s stage show this year lacked some LBP-brand charm, so the exclusion of this title is a mystery. I love kart racers (which should come as no surprise to those familiar with my defense of Sonic All-Stars Racing), and this looks to be a pretty solid one, even without the “build, create, play” principles at its core. Sign me up!
Plus, catchy chiptune music. I love chiptune music, so that was a direct hit for me.
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Not showing “Karting” was a mistake. Not showing LBP’s Vita-exclusive installment is a travesty. This trailer is the first time I’ve batted an eye at this incarnation of the franchise, and it looks great! It actually seems to focus less on level creation and more on an actual narrative adventure, with colorful characters and a ton of dialogue, to boot. With Vita coming up short on exclusive titles, it’s a shock to think they left this one sitting behind the curtain during their press conference. Bizarrre. That music is pretty damn catchy, as well. LBP always has great music.
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…Okay, I say that any/all of these would be better contenders for stage time than Wonderbooks, and while I still believe that’s true with… this thing, it’s only by the slimmest of margins. At least this trailer shows a family actually standing up and doing something instead of a lonely, grown woman sitting on the floor and holding up a book.
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Not going to lie: this looks pretty bland and terrible. You know what it doesn’t look like, though, is a stuttering tech demo of AR technology amid awkward pauses and inappropriate audience laughter.
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Sony ignored a lot of third-party titles this year, excluding Ubisoft’s efforts, and I can understand the thought process behind that decision. It’s Sony’s stage show, they would obviously want to show Sony games first and foremost. But you know what? A dedicated montage of trailers from third parties would have done you a lot of good this year, guys. Too bad you blew that wad in the show opener, hurling so many gameplay screens at us at once that it’s hard to remember what was even shown. That being said, I’ve never played a DMC game and I want this one to be good, but it’s by Ninja Theory and, after Enslaved, I’m more than a little wary. Plus, Dante just seems like a straight-up twat in this reboot, and I’m not sure how long I could stomach his middle finger-waggling petty loitering attitude.
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I’ve never played a Hitman game before, either. And I know that last trailer with the missile launcher-touting nun strippers getting punched in the face so hard their noses break didn’t win this game any favors among the media. But this trailer seems (comparably) more restrained and maybe it’ll tickle the fancy of some long-time fans, I don’t know. I have little interest, but passive dismissal is better than the aggressive mocking that Wonderbooks has rightly earned.
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It’s a Spider-Man game, somebody’s gonna get excited for that, probably. He sure is doing Spider-Man things in there, I guess. Fighting lizard dudes seems cool. Plus that movies is coming out pretty soon, and no one’s had a real exclusive look at the game so far, to my knowledge, so… what was the thought process there, Sony? Still hurting over that whole “Spider-Man font for the original PS3 logo” thing?
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Microsoft didn’t show anything, here. Not even a passing reference. This one was wide open, guys. This game comes out in just a few months and the first one was very well received by critics and gamers alike, so unless Nintendo plans on surprising everyone with a no-holds-barred Darksiders 2 fireworks show later today there is no reason for you to have left this one behind. I don’t know.
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I know, I know. I know. This is probably going to turn out badly, but so far I like the main character and the dialogue his supporting cast has going on. This had the potential to impress a few people, had it been shown onstage in any way. Look, I’m just saying. Fucking Wonderbooks.
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Alright. Okay, Sony, you should be rounding up your staff and having a big, group face-smacking session, because this game looks colorful, charming, and pretty damn challenging. It’s already a critical darling, and it’s the closest thing to an all-new Portal you’ve got coming down your pipe this year. Maybe you could have gotten JK Rowling to write a couple sentences about the fuzzy guy from the trailer, it would have had just as much of an impact as her thoughts on glitchy-wand-waggling tech demos did.
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I hate the Lego series of movie franchise games, no lie. They seem kind of lazy. This, though? I’m genuinely impressed. It’s open-world(ish), it has a variety of playable characters with differing mechanics that actually look unique in ways that matter, and the sheer scope involved here is to be applauded. It’s a third party title, sure, but it’s a family-friendly title that happens to be an actual god damn video game, so it would have fared much, much better onstage.
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This, believe it or not, is a sequel/remake/whatever of Little King’s Story for Wii, a Marvelous-developed joint from ’08 that failed to blow anyone’s doors down and faded into obscurity. Apparently someone thought it had the gameplay legs to go another round, all it needed was the most generic anime art style ever. And cleavage. That instantly guarantees that 80% of the people in Sony’s audience would have immediately stopped paying attention if this had been put onscreen during their show, but that’s still a solid 20% more than Wonderbooks.
Wonderbooks really, really sucked, you guys. I don’t know if that’s coming across, here.
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SEGA and Arkedo are making this one, and I think it looks alright. It certainly looks fast-paced and colorful, and I can get behind that. This isn’t a great trailer, though, and the “edgy” humor they’re shooting for is definitely falling flat on its face, so far. Still better than Wonderbooks.
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This isn’t just a retro throwback game, it’s every retro game. That statement is almost guaranteed to loose more goodwill than it’ll earn, but there’s seriously a passing allusion or direct reference to almost every title from the 80’s and early 90’s, if not a direct gameplay influence. And it’s coming to Vita! Fuck! This looks like it’d be perfect for a handheld. Showing a trailer, if nothing else, probably would have gone over well with the biggest game journalist audience of the day.
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FInally, a game that defies expectations and delivers above and beyo- fuck, okay, never mind. I can’t care about pinball, you guys. I’m sorry. The only case I can make for this game is that complete disinterest is marginally better than active dislike.
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VITA GAME OF THE YEAR, ALL YEARS. STILL BETTER THAN WONDERBOOKS.
GUESS WHICH ONE WAS SARCASM.