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Round-up of Sony's/PlayStation's E3 2011 Highlights

Here's the report card for the PlayStation's performance at E3 2011

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Sony 24

Sony 24" PlayStation 3D TV

© Sony
Sony had a lot to prove at this year's E3. The hacking of the PlayStation Network (PSN) and the month it took to fix it was made even more embarrassing by the revelation that it may have cost the company as much as 170 million US dollars.

Looking to redeem itself Sony not only started off its press conference directly addressing the PSN hack and subsequent outage, but it set the pace for E3 2011 with an amazing set of games, a new console, and a broader lineup than either Microsoft or Nintendo. This year for PlayStation it was all about the games. Without further delay, here are the Sony PlayStation E3 2011 highlights.

PlayStation Vita
The only thing missing from the PS Vita seems to be 3D. How Nintendo ended up with a 3D DS and Sony didn't release a 3D PSP is beyond me, but that aside Sony nailed it with the PlayStation Vita.

First, the PS Vita is priced right. At $249 for a WiFi edition and $299 for a cellular wireless version, you get a ton of tech for your buck. With a large, gorgeous touch screen on the front and touch controls on the back, the PS Vita is poised perfectly for new types of games. Throw in an accelerometer for tilt control alongside traditional PlayStation controls and you've got a handheld that not only looks great, but has more input options than anything out there. "Uncharted: Golden Abyss" and the other early games look nearly as good as top tier PS3 games and better than some of the more average "next-gen" console games.

PlayStation TV
This one was a bit of a welcome surprise. As Sony continues to push the 3D TV barrier, this time with price. For $499 (the same price as the low-end iPad 2) you get a Sony PlayStation-branded 24" 3DTV, a six-foot HDMI cable, a pair of 3D TV glasses, and a copy of the 3D first person shooter "Resistance 3." That's a ton of tech and a brand-new AAA game for $499. While not big enough for the living room, I'd bet Sony is banking on the notion that this is not only perfect for dorm rooms, but kid's rooms and offices/man caves.

Even more compelling than the price is the new application for 3D Sony has developed. In many games, when two people play on one TV the screen is split in two. Well, say goodbye to split-screen. With two pairs of 3D glasses each player sees a full-screen version of the game they are playing. This means from racing to fps, you'd each see the whole TV from your perspective at the same time. While it was announced with the PlayStation TV, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Sony roll this out to all 3D TVs.

Exclusive Games
More than any other year we are seeing absolutely incredible games that will only be available on the PlayStation systems. "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" has to top the list. The popular action adventure title looks better than ever Eat, Sleep, Play has resurrected "Twisted Metal," and perhaps the car-combat genre with it. Gorgeous graphics only enhance the wildly violent experience as you unleash mayhem with missles, guns, and other forms of auto-brutality. It's everything you wish the original game could have been.

"Infamous 2" is now out and you can play Cole's latest and greatest adventure on the PS3. Most interesting is that gamers can create new levels to share with others, and you can have them, for the first time, incorporated directly into your single player experience. This means the story is the same, but the levels you encounter could be made by your peers.

"Resistance 3" not only continues my personal favorite shooter franchise with more WWII-inspired alien repelling gameplay, but it also got a ton of love for its upcoming release. In addition to be bundled with the PlayStation TV, it's getting a special edition. The "Resistance 3 Doomsday Edition" launches on September 6th for $150 and includes the 3D game, a PlayStation Eye, a PlayStation Move wand and separate navigation controller as well as the PlayStation Move Sharpshooter accessory, which turns your Move controllers into a high-tech machine gun. Pretty good deal for those of you who don't already have a PlayStation Move bundle.

Adults are going to be pleased with the hyper-fast paced shooter action of "Starhawk" while the young and young at heart are treated to the other side of the third person coin with "Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time"

For those of you without a PSP, or who missed the games, fret not. Kratos leaps from the small screen to HD with the remastered "God of War Origins Collection" bringing the PSP games to the PS3. PlayStation 3 owners are also being treated to HD remastered versions of two of the greatest PlayStation games of all time with the "ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection." Also, the spiritual successor to "ICO" is another PS3 exclusive. "The Last Guardian" is a gripping tail of a boy and his gigantic monster. The griffin-esque creature magically tugs at your heartstrings. This is a can't-miss game.

"Wipeout 2048" brings futuristic racing back to the PS3 and introduces it to the PlayStation Vita. In an interesting twist up to eight players will be able to play a combination of PS3 and Vita games together and race head to head.

Finally, "Dust 514" is a MMOFPS exclusive to the PS3. This first person shooter will have you interacting with thousands in a microtransaction based-environment that somehow ties in with the PC game "EVE Online." There are a lot of details missing, but this looks like a huge, unique game that will bring PS3 and PC gamers together in interesting ways.

The Sony E3 booth was gorgeous, as usual. We saw a ton more games with Move support, 3D support, and creative uses of both. It was an epic year for Sony, and they came back strong after a brutal blow when the PSN was hacked.

E3 2011 Final Grade: A-. A new handheld, a new TV, new ways of using 3D, touch, and motion control combined with great exclusives set Sony apart from Microsoft and Nintendo. Sony's only real problem was confusing customers with the PS Vita and the PlayStation Phone, the Xperia Play, being totally disparate platforms, and the brand getting slightly fractured. With Sony many PlayStation devices out there, Sony needs to make sure it's a coherent vision that we all understand. Also, consumers may not see how the PS Vita/PS3 combo may pretty much do everything the Wii U does and more.

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