Sony – E3 Roundup

Sony had an amazing, exciting E3 presentation, with tons of game reveals! This was a seriously edge-of-your-seat experience as they bombarded the audience with glimpse after glimpse of awesome-looking games.

They opened with a full orchestra helmed by none other than Bear McCreary of Battlestar Galactica fame! (He’s also doing the soundtrack for the new God of War game.) The sweeping music set the stage for an epic presentation.

There’s a ton of stuff going on, so this will be a Long Post. I want to complain, but I’m happy that Sony had so much to offer!

God of War

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From the new God of War demo revealed at E3

A new entry into the God of War franchise. They demoed what appeared to be the opening level of gameplay. Kratos has a kid now, and they encounter some impressive looking bad guys while on a tense father-son hunting trip. Kratos is older now, and the graphics have grown up as well–they’re positively beautiful. Looks like an intricate environment, cool monster design, and overall a promising release. I’m getting an intense Tomb Raider vibe from the environment and gameplay (the newest TR, not the classic), especially with the bow hunting scene. I haven’t played the previous GoW games, but I’ve been meaning to–maybe now is the time, so I can sink my teeth into the new one. I’m certainly interested after seeing the demo for this installment.

I’ve heard some speculation as to whether you’ll actually play the son for the majority of this game–that would be an interesting twist, and a way to propel the franchise into more games in the future. Kratos was looking pretty old and grizzled, so it wouldn’t be surprising if his days as the star are numbered. Apparently, if you play close attention during the demo, you can see that the son gains XP for feats while Kratos does not.

No release date and no official title (other than presumably temporary God of War 4).

Days Gone

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From the Days Gone trailer revealed at E3

I can’t believe this game even exists. It is very clearly the creator’s self-insert Walking Dead fan fiction. They showed a trailer and gameplay, but failed to demonstrate to me how this game will be unique in any way. Of course it has beautiful graphics and zombie killing action, plus a motorcycle, but it seems like it will be really just for those gamers who can’t bear to wait for the next Last Of Us title and would rather pass the time with a knockoff.

The Last Guardian

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From The Last Guardian footage compilation featured at the Sony E3

At long last, we have a release date! The Last Guardian will bless us on 10/25/2016. This wasn’t a new reveal, since TLG has had videos and art out for a while, but fans are thrilled to finally have an end date for their long wait. Sony showed a brief video with some new footage, probably confident that fans already know what’s going on there, but we didn’t get any gameplay footage this time. Still – people are hooked. I know I’ll be considering the collectors edition. (I’d be considering it more strongly if I hadn’t just dropped a hundred bones on the Horizon Zero Dawn collectors set. Speaking of which…)

Horizon Zero Dawn

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Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay demo from E3

This is not the place for unbiased coverage of this game because I am HYPE for it. They already had a couple of trailers released, and I pre ordered the Collectors Edition for PS4 a couple of days ago (post on that to come). They had me sold at “Skyrim but the dragons are robots and the protag is a young woman on a journey.” Still, it was exciting to see the game in greater depth!

A fairly long gameplay demonstration highlighted elements of the game’s weapon management and combat system, as well as the need for scavenging parts from defeated enemies. The weapons are low tech, including bows with various different types of arrows and slingshots. However, you’re not completely low tech – Aloy has the ability to digitally scan enemies to find out their weak points. You’ll also have the ability to hack the robotic creatures to make them friendly enough for you to ride on them.

The setting is a fascinating marriage of prehistoric human societies with post-apocalyptic robotic creature takeover. I’m so intrigued by the story and what themes they will choose to explore with it. Will it be a cautionary tale about the destructiveness of human society, or the dangers of advanced AI? I’m looking forward to the release, scheduled for 2/28/2017.

Detroit: Become Human

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Dramatic still from the Detroit: Become Human footage shown at E3

Really neat looking game with a branching narrative in which your choices determine the outcome. The demo showed gameplay as an android hostage negotiator trying to talk down a rogue android who’s threatening a young girl on a rooftop. Seems like a game with lots of re-playability, but perhaps also with the frustration of a “choose your own adventure novel,” where you have to keep going back to repair mistakes you’ve made. It certainly seems like a unique new title.

I saw some disappointment surrounding this demonstration due to the fact that Detroit: Become Human had originally been teased with a female protag. However, just because they focused on Connor in this demo (as opposed to Kara, who is still listed [top billed, in fact] as a main character on the game’s Wikipedia page), this doesn’t necessarily mean that Kara has been jettisoned. As we saw with the misleading Prey trailer from Bethesda, just because a demo chooses to focus on a male player (for a mostly male audience at E3, keep in mind), this doesn’t mean they’re taking away the female playable characters for the actual game.

No release date announced.

Resident Evil VII

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TFW when that “VII” turned into “Resident Evil”… my jaw dropped.

Incredible teaser for the latest installment of the classic Resident Evil series. Despite the fact that I’m a big fan, I had no idea it was going to be RE7 during the creeping, sinister intro. It looks completely different – it was in first person with glorious graphics! However, there were some RE overtones: you wake up in a creepy house, and you receive an ominous message that your life is in immediate danger. It actually reminded me a lot of PT (RIP; I’ll yearn for PT until death). When they superimposed the Resident Evil VII logo… Wow. I gasped. There’s a demo available now – I have it downloaded and waiting for me, but I’m waiting until it’s dark out to play it. (Check back for a review of the demo soon!)

RE7 will be released January 24, 2017, and it’s going to be fully playable in VR, so if you’re willing to put yourself through that kind of nightmare, this is super exciting! Sony transitioned right from this announcement to its big one:

PlayStation VR

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Picture from the official PlayStation VR website

PlayStation will be releasing its first bid into the VR phenomenon with its PlayStation VR, available 10/13/16 for $399. (However, the VR bundle will be $499, and I can only imagine that that’s the bundle I [and everyone else] will actually need.) At that time, 50 games are expected be available to play in VR. (Not all of them will be fully VR compatible, like RE7 is.) It will not be a separate system – it will be an add-on to the PS4. There are more VR games announced than what I’ll be covering here, but I’m focusing on what we saw at the E3 demonstration.

Farpoint

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(Okay but do we really need to experience giant spiders in VR?) This is from the E3 reveal trailer.

This is a truly cool looking sci fi game from Impulse Gear with a demo that featured huge alien spiders and otherworldly planetscapes. Not a ton of details on it at this point, but it has been designed exclusively for play in PlayStation VR.

I’m a total sucker for space games, space exploration games, you name it–so needless to say I am beyond intrigued. If I’m going to get into VR, this is exactly the type of game I want to play.

Farpoint is a flagship VR game that will utilize the brand new PS VR Aim Controller, a stylized gun-like controller that doesn’t look much like a gun, but will apparently work much better due to its 1:1 direct tracking and aiming. See picture below! I’m thrilled by the choice to de-gun-ify the design by so much. Even the friendly, bubblegum coloring serves to make it feel less like a deadly weapon and more like a controller. The white color scheme calls to mind original Wii remotes.

sony vr aim

Star Wars Battlefront: An X-Wing Mission

This was the one VR title that looked specifically to me like one of those pod games you play at Dave & Busters. Which is not to say it won’t be cool – those are really fun! It just stood out to me as one of the more gimmicky VR releases that Sony announced. However, I’m a big Star Wars fan, so if I wind up getting into VR, I’m sure I’ll be checking this out. It’s just not the type of game that would make me get a VR headset.

Batman: Arkham VR

Available October 2016 exclusively on PS VR from Rocksteady. Not a lot revealed about this for now, just fleeting glimpses in a short sneak peek.

Final Fantasy XV VR Experience

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Yes this is a real still from a real thing they seriously showed at E3

Now this was a surprise! FFXV is due out soon, but I didn’t know that it would have a VR released as well! Fans will be able to experience the world of Final Fantasy XV in VR. I’m not sure at this point what a “VR Experience” will entail, but I’m assuming it’s not going to be the full game.

I haven’t personally played any of the Final Fantasy series other than Final Fantasy Explorers, but My Better Half is huge into it, so I’ve observed and appreciated a lot of this beautiful franchise. We’ve pre-ordered the Deluxe Edition which includes a steelbook featuring Yoshitaka Amano’s art as well as a Blu-ray movie and some in-game DLC items. The game will be released on 9/30/2016. It looks fun and beautiful!

Back to Non VR News…

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

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Do I have to keep saying these pictures are stills from the E3 reveal trailers? That’s what this is from, too

Sony debuted a very (some might say ‘excessively’) long gameplay presentation, with no intro, which turned out to be the next Call of Duty installment. War in space! Remember what I said about the Battlefront X-Wing demo seeming gimmicky for VR? I was shocked that this wasn’t a VR teaser, since the sole purpose of the demo seemed to scream, “Imagine how cool flying this spaceship would be in VR!” This also felt exactly like a Dave & Busters pod game.

I’ve only dabbled briefly in COD, but as I said earlier, in a sucker for space games. So this looked really cool to me! Looks like some free form outer space battles and a grappling hook to help you move around.

In addition to Infinite Warfare, they announced a Modern Warfare 2 remaster.

Crash Bandicoot Remaster

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The first three Crash Bandicoot games are coming to PS4! Great news for those of us who loved this old classic, and who like to occasionally dip back into our old favorites. I gasped for this almost as loud as I gasped for RE7.

They also announced Crash Bandicoot for Skylanders, but I didn’t pay attention to that, and I’m assuming that if I wrote about it here you wouldn’t pay attention to it either.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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The Lego games are always amazing! A demo is available right now, and the full game will be available in just 2 short weeks.

Death Stranding

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I chose this still for Reasons

They announce a special guest – dubstep starts – my heart is in my throat…

It’s Kojima!

Not to say that I’m not still bitter and mourning over the death of Silent Hills (I am), but seeing Kojima put those butterflies in my stomach that whispered, “This is gonna be insane…” And boy, was it ever insane. Kojima introduced a bizarre, conceptual, beautiful, creepy cinematic trailer for a game called Death Stranding, featuring CGI Norman Reedus (my heart weeps for Silent Hills), haunting music, and a multitude of decaying cetaceans. The video defies description, so you might as well just watch it for yourselves. I have no idea what this game is going to be about or what it will be like.

They haven’t even chosen a game engine yet, so it’s in very early stages and will be a long way off.

Spider-Man

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Why couldn’t we have stopped at the Tobey Maguire masterpieces? Sorry, this presentation was pretty long, and by the time they got to Spider-Man I was too exhausted from Death Stranding to process much. This will probably be cool? Spider-Man in VR would probably be cooler than Batman in VR, so it’s a shame they got that backwards.

So there you have it, folks! Sony’s amazing E3 appearance. I’m so happy to be a PS4 loyalist after this impressive showing. Tune in later this year to see if I actually follow through on my sudden conviction to buy into PS VR… Even if I don’t, we still have a lot of amazing games to look forward to in the near and distant future.

 

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