Thoughts on the 2011 PlayStation Holiday Event – Toronto

It’s that time of year! Everyone is gearing up for the holiday season and there’s plenty to talk about. Sony has quite a line-up in store for gamers young and old! Blair Hicks and Will Anderson got a chance to meet up with the Sony team at the 2011 PlayStation Holiday Event, held in Toronto’s lavish Liberty Grand venue, and saw some of the hottest games coming out for Holiday 2011. Let’s see what they’ve got to say!


Will: This year’s 2011 PlayStation Holiday Event was truly remarkable. Not only was Sony well represented, but they made sure that their third party partners had a large presence as well. Activision, Electronic Arts, Konami, Capcom and more were available and showing off their wares for the holiday season. Of particular note for me was Street Fighter X Tekken and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which are both at the top of my list for games to pick up, with Disney Interactive Media’s Disney Universe and Activision’s Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure both coming in close seconds.

Blair: The holiday preview event was one of those days that made you feel like a king.  After a short wait outside, Will and I were brought in and got our delightfully designed passes.  We were each given a beautiful leather case containing a pencil, a note pad, and a deck of custom Sony playing cards. From there we took our first steps inside…

What a sight it was! TVs covered the walls, techno music blared, and wait staff walked around offering food – not your typical hors d’oeuvres, but an assortment of gourmet pub-fare which included mini-burgers, quesadillas, and individual boxes of delicious poutine! There was even an open bar, which we just couldn’t pass up.

Attempting to take it all in, I was at a loss where to begin. Then I saw Rocksmith and ran right over, as I had questions galore for Ubisoft about their upcoming guitar game. After a good 20 minutes, I had answers, and I was as happy as could be with how the game was looking.

Will: In the meantime, while Blair was strumming away, I managed to get some sit down time with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Single Player Demo (which looks phenomenal!), as well as Sony’s new 3D Personal Viewer (which was absolutely mind blowing!).  If you’re curious, check out my previews here: Hands on with Uncharted: Drake’s Deception Single Player and Hands on with Sony’s 3D Personal Viewer.

Once Blair satisfied his innate thirst for music, we went over to get a personal look at the PlayStation Vita, which is simply a gorgeous piece of technology. From the multitouch-sensitive screen on the front, to the dual analog sticks, and the touchpad on the back, it is simply a sight to behold.

Blair: After a short wait in line, we got our hands on the device, and my immediate reaction was one of great joy.  I played a level of LittleBigPlanet which showed off just how innovative the device is.  Will and I then had a quick, yet neck-to-neck, match of air-hockey (a LBP mini-game) from which I emerged victorious!

Will: While Blair was playing LittleBigPlanet on the Vita, I took a minute to speak with one of Sony’s Marketing Managers about the Vita. In particular, I asked him what his initial thoughts were when he saw Vita for the first time.

“Honestly? How much?” he said with a very serious tone, and then smiled, “But I think they really came through on the price.”

I most definitely agree. With a price point at the same level as the 3DS when it launched, and with arguably more features than the 3DS, I would say that the $249 and $299 price points are bang on.

Blair: After a quick chat with the representative on hand, Will and I each went off to check out different things.  Not before hitting the bar again for a top-up, that is.

I, of course, went straight for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.  I got settled in for a multiplayer Animus session, and upon the start of the match it was clear that the gameplay had been improved from its predecessors. With many more incentives for staying hidden, instead of running around the rooftops like a fool, I found myself reaching much higher scores, while looking classy at the same time.  Once I had played a few rounds, I decided to move around some more and give other people a turn.  This proved to be a great idea, as I was offered poutine shortly after standing from my seat!

My next several stops saw me playing titles like Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One, Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker, Twisted Metal, and Rage – just to name a few.  I even sat down to play Resistance 3 with Sony’s new 3D Visor, which was quite the experience!  Everything on offer was looking and playing very well, making the upcoming holiday season look all the better.  I was a little disappointed that Final Fantasy XIII-2 was not on show, but hey, I can hardly complain with all of the other goodies available!

Will: While Blair took a tour of his select games, I visited the Disney Booth, where they were letting people play in the Aladdin world of Disney Universe. I spoke with one of the Disney reps, who showed off the many costumes that the DU avatars can wear, their unique weapons, and discussed some of the hexes that can plague your characters.

Another shoe-in as a family favourite was showcased at the Activision booth, where they were demoing the new Spyro game, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, with a selection of the character toys that I hadn’t seen first-hand up until that point. Both of these games are sure to win the hearts of children and adults alike!

Before we knew it, our four hours had flown by…and it was time to leave.

Blair: Come four o’clock, it was time to go, and sadness drop-kicked me in the face. All in all, the party was a wonderful and fun event, where every rep, be they from Sony or not, was kind and informative. With many of the blockbuster titles that we previewed, this winter looks to be a promising one!

Will: Our thanks to the people at Sony for inviting us, and letting us play their upcoming and newly released games.  Blair and I both had a blast!  Needless to say, there are many things to look forward to these next few months!

Keep an eye out for more hands-on articles in the coming weeks!  Until then, take a look at our photostream below for pics from the event!


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Editor’s note: This article was a collaborative effort of Will Anderson and Blair Hicks.


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