We’re currently taking a look back over 2012, not only at delivery foods we’ve ordered and personal mistakes we’ve made, but also what the major gaming companies have been up to. What have they pulled off? What did they bungle? We already ran down the list for Microsoft, and today it’s good ol’ Sony’s turn.
Despite the fact that they released a new handheld system, Sony definitely felt like the most absent of the big three in 2012. While their system is not the oldest, Sony does feel like somewhat of a passive elder statesman right now, with none of their major franchises having games released this year or anytime soon. The Last of Us, while cool, still feels far away. They released a newer, smaller PS3 but hey: we’ve seen that magic trick before.
Then of course there’s that aforementioned handheld, the accursed PlayStation Vita. With all the promise in the world, the fine folks at Sony found a way to not only miss the mark, but essentially make its big move in 2012 feel irrelevant. Don’t worry though, there was definitely some good to be found from the juggernaut this year as well.
Indie Games on PSN
While their lineup of new in-house games could definitely be considered weak, Sony tried to make up for it by scoring exclusives for some amazing indie games, including games that are being bandied about as Game of The Year candidates. If trips to GameStop were disappointing, great experiences were just a PSN login away. With the dreamy and sad autobiographical platformer Papo & Yo, the wondrous living painting The Unfinished Swan, and of course thatgamecompany’s newest game-as-tone-poem Journey, you had a triptych of titles that truly left a mark on 2012.
PlayStation Plus’ Instant Games
Speaking of its great roster of downloadable titles, how about Sony’s generous and fun updates to its premium service Playstation Plus, which now has features that make the choice between it and Xbox Live Gold simple. Not only do they offer a bunch of new games for download on launch day, they also offered their Plus subscribers access to a pretty wild amount of FREE games, including The Walking Dead Ep. 1 & 2, Infamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2 and much more — with presumably even more to come. Thanks Sony!
Oh Vita, how frustrating you are. As has been said at length on this site, the Vita itself has potential to be a great handheld system. It looks great and has the guts to deliver “console quality” gaming, or at least a worthy approximation of it. What it doesn’t have is good games. It’s quickly become a refuge for cast offs and unsettlingly poor adaptations of Sony’s major franchises. Attempts at Uncharted and Resistance games were mediocre at best, and the “port” of Black Ops II is being widely ridiculed. Sony has also saddled Vita users with cruel hidden costs for things like memory cards. With a functionally empty schedule for the immediate future, the Vita is not in a good place.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
Super Sony Smash Brothers Fun-Time FanFic Hour is not necessarily a bad game — you’ll notice that we gave it a “YES” in our review. But considering that it was Sony’s one really big in-house game of the year, it is definitely a disappointment. And if you even begin to compare it to the rival series that everyone always compares it to — either in sales or critical reaction — the difference becomes very, very clear. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is an OK game. It should have been a great one. There’s also no Crash Bandicoot.
All games were published, distributed or developed by Sony Computer Entertainment
Jak and Daxter Collection – February 7
Twisted Metal – February 14
Uncharted: Golden Abyss – February 15
Escape Plan – February 22
ModNation Racers: Road Trip – February 22
MLB 12: The Show – March 6
Journey – March 13
Starhawk – May 8
Datura – May 8
PixelJunk 4am – May 15
Sorcery – May 22
Resistance: Burning Skies – May 29
Sound Shapes – August 7
Papo & Yo – August 14
Ratchet & Clank Collection – August 28
LittleBigPlanet Vita – September 25
Tokyo Jungle – September 25
The Unfinished Swan – October 23
LittleBigPlanet Karting – November 6
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale – November 20
Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault – November 22
Uncharted: Fight For Fortune – December 4
For these Year In Review segments, we’ll be taking a look at what major gaming companies did in 2012, with summaries of their biggest news and releases, best and worst decisions, and complete lists of the games they were a part of. Check back later in the week for another company. If you check on your phone too then you’ll be checking on two screens.