Sony brought out its big guns this year during its E3 press conference and did so with confidence. Following a strong showing last year with the crowd on their side after bad decisions from Microsoft, Sony had to keep people on their side this year and make people feel like they were smart for believing in them the year before. PS4s have sold much more quickly than Xbox Ones, but does the software coming justify those early purchases? All signs from the press conference point to yes… though they aren’t necessarily coming soon.
Sony started off its conference this year by showing footage of DESTINY. While DESTINY looks like it will be a huge game this fall, I found it kind of odd to start the conference off with a game that is multi-platform and that we have all seen multiple times already. The footage was more of the same. We got some backstory and then were shown some of the shooting action that Bungie is famous for. The game itself looks interesting but it was an extremely safe way to start the show for Sony.
Sony went on to explain that they showed off DESTINY first because it embodies the Sony philosophy of being connected with others. For the most part Sony dropped this notion after this point and just showed game footage, which is what we all care about anyway.
Next up was some great looking gameplay for THE ORDER 1886 on PS4. Previous footage seemed to show the game being just an average third person shooter but the footage they showed off during the press conference stood in contrast to this previous footage a lot. It was dark and moody as usual but had much more of a horror vibe than I had seen before. The werewolf enemy design shown was really cool as well and reminded me a lot of the design from the HARRY POTTER films. Overall it was a very interesting glimpse of the game but it was very short. We got a release date set for February 20th so hopefully we will see much more of the game in the near future.
After the short THE ORDER 1886 demo we were treated to a strange demo and reveal for a game called ENTWINED. It is a twin-stick game where you control two characters at the same time and your mission is to unite them in love. The cool reveal for this part was that the game was released right then on PS4 so you could download it immediately. They did this with FINAL FANTASY VII on PSN years ago and it is still a cool idea now.
Next up was the first paid DLC for INFAMOUS: SECOND SON. The DLC is called INFAMOUS: FIRST LIGHT and looks to be a prequel starring Fetch which is interesting. It’ll be fun to play as someone other than Delsin even though we have already used the Neon power set all throughout SECOND SON.
After that there was the surprise announcement of LITTLE BIG PLANET 3 for the PS4. Instead of just releasing a new game with added customization abilities (which it does have) they are focusing on making the game more about diversified co-op. Three new character types have been added to the game in addition to Sackboy including a creepy dog type character that can wall-jump, a character that is strong and can weigh things down, and a character that can fly around. This helps justify more LBP without just making a sequel that is the exact same. You will be able to play any of the levels created in LBP and LBP2 in LBP3 when it releases this November.
The new Playstation exclusive game from Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creator of Dark Souls, BLOODBORNE was shown off next. It featured a gothic style city and an oppressive atmosphere similar to DEMON’S SOULS and DARK SOULS but is said to have faster gameplay than either of those games. Little was shown from it but if it is anything like his previous games then it should be fantastic.
Sony showed off FAR CRY 4 gameplay next and all I could think about the entire time was how cool the elephants were. The visuals were nice and the soundtrack sounded awesome as well I guess. Instead of having to use hang gliders like in FAR CRY 3 your character now has a wing suit that can carry you from any ledge in the game. The distance covered in the Himalayas was huge compared to what you could cover in the islands of FAR CRY 3. During an attack on a fortress the player and a co-op partner got elephants to attack it with them and it was glorious. Elephants killing bad guys, elephants knocking over cars, elephants surviving explosions. I just want to play as the elephant honestly. Sony then announced that if you buy the game on PS3 or PS4 your friends can play with you on Playstation Network even if they don’t buy a copy for free. This is a great move and will be interesting to see how well it works.
Next up was a trailer for DEAD ISLAND 2 which was pretty funny but also not as cool as the trailer for the original DEAD ISLAND. PS4 will have an exclusive 30 day beta and an exclusive character class. Not much else was shown for this game.
After that a trailer for BATTLEFIELD: HARDLINE with lots of gameplay was shown off. It had lots of shooting and lots of destruction and basically everything you’ve come to associate with modern shooters. There wasn’t much to excite me here but if you’re a fan of this type of game then you will probably be right at home.
Then a hilarious trailer for MAGICKA 2 was shown off. The hilarious part was all live action but the game itself did look pretty fun. Four player co-op with wizards that probably won’t be funny but the trailer did pique my interest.
Next up was my second favorite announcement of the show which was that GRIM FANDANGO is coming to Playstation 4 and PS Vita. They didn’t show off any footage but getting a legal, working copy of GRIM FANDANGO now is nearly impossible. Playing it on consoles and handhelds will be incredible and something I greatly look forward to.
Afterwards Sony began showing off a lot of smaller indie titles that they are bringing to the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita. A lot of them are rereleases from other platforms such as BROFORCE but these releases are usually the ones that keep the PS4 and Vita rolling between major releases at this point. Most of these games looked solid and all of them looked interesting in some way.
The next game shown was a really interesting game called ABZU. Little is known about it at this point but it showed a diver going around the ocean and strange machinations in the background. It definitely looks like one to watch out for and will be a PS4 exclusive.
Sony went on to show off my favorite footage from the press conference which was NO MAN’S SKY. This game continues to wow every time footage is shown for it and the scope is still absolutely amazing. The game is coming from the studio that made JOE DANGER. Every player starts on a different planet in the galaxy, they can get in a space ship, fly directly from the planet into space with no load times, fight space battles, and land on any other planet with no load times. It is absolutely incredible that a small studio is able to make something this ambitious while larger studios still don’t fill the want. It looked as amazing as any game on display and keeps me wanting more every time it comes up.
Sony then started talking about Sharing on the PS4 and how it has worked out great. They then announced that sharing will soon become enabled for Youtube and that you will be able to archive your videos there to keep track of them all. Also they went on and announced that Playstation Now will be available on PS4 in open beta starting on July 31. There will be over 100 games available at launch including DEAD SPACE 3, METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES, and ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV. You will be able to use it on Sony Televisions later this year and all you will need to do so is a Duelshock 3.
Little bits were talked about for the Vita but there were no announcements at all. This bodes ill for the great little handheld that is underappreciated. They did announce that TALES OF HEARTS R, CHILD OF LIGHT, and TALES FROM BORDERLANDS are all coming but these are all games that were already announced.
Playstation TV was then discussed and it will be coming to the US this fall. You will be able to play PS4 games through remote play, PS3 games through PS Now, most Vita titles, and PSP and PS1 games. It will be available for 99.00.
Next up was MORTAL KOMBAT X gameplay which looked fantastic. Visually it was much better than the last MORTAL KOMBAT game and looks to mix story with fighting again like the last game. The X-Ray attacks are back and as brutal as ever. No release date was given but I expect a fall 2015 release.
Then Sony made a few smaller announcements in a row. They showed off the RATCHET AND CLANK movie coming soon, announced the original RATCHET AND CLANK is coming to PS4 as a remake, THE LAST OF US remastered is out on July 29, and a new METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN trailer was shown off that was chilling as always. GRAND THEFT AUTO V is coming to PS4 this fall and you can transfer your progress and characters from the PS3 and 360 which is a nice addition.
Next up was gameplay footage of BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT. I played through both ARKHAM ASYLUM and ARKHAM CITY but I felt like I might be finished with the series at this point. After watching that gameplay I can safely say that my feelings have changed completely. ARKHAM KNIGHT looks incredibly large in comparison with previous games and visually impressive. The batmobile gameplay changes things up considerably and impressed me how it didn’t get caught up on geometry in the world but instead drove right through it, destroying things under its weight and speed. Exclusive Scarecrow parts will be available on Playstation and was how they ended the presentation.
To end the conference Sony showed off UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END. They built this reveal up quite a bit which didn’t really work too well for me since we already knew a new Uncharted was coming. The reveal that Nate is much older now was interesting and it looked visually fantastic for being in-engine, but it wasn’t the surprise that it should have been. Ending with just a CG trailer for an already announced game felt weak on Sony’s part, especially when everyone felt pretty good about seeing THE LAST GUARDIAN this year after all the talk about it just a few days earlier. The odds were always low but Sony’s confidence in stating so quickly that THE LAST GUARDIAN is not cancelled raised too many hopes in a lot of people and led to feeling a bit disappointed on my part.
Overall Sony put on a good show but it just couldn’t live up to what they did last year. It felt like any old E3 press conference of years past, while last year’s felt like a thrilling ride that Sony took hand-in-hand with gamers. They revealed a handful of interesting new games and showed off footage of already announced games that blew me away again but none of it made the show feel exciting. Up against the competition, Sony felt very confident and next year looks like it will be fantastic for them.
Check out the lengthy (1 hour 45 min.) presentation below if you dare:
And if you missed it: