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E3 2017: The PlayStation Showcase
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 09:08pm 13/06/17 | Comments
For the world’s most popular console Sony once again brought the games. Some new, some old. Some based around fishing.

There’s no two ways about it, PlayStation 4 has been killing it of late. Not only in terms of worldwide sales, where it’s on track to become one of, if not the best-selling consoles of all time. But also in terms of games. Thanks in part to this year’s Horizon Zero Dawn, which if it wasn’t for Zelda might just be a shoe-in for game of the year so far. And in terms of the PlayStation E3 conferences and showcases, the Sony mantra over the past couple of years has been just that – games. With an eye toward highlighting the many PlayStation exclusives, thanks to Sony’s large stable of worldwide development studios.

This year was no different and so right after kicking off the show in style, with a great Indian flavoured musical performance, we got a new story trailer for the standalone expansion to Uncharted 4 -- Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Starring Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross, this new adventure looks to feature the same level of detail and sheer spectacle that we saw in Uncharted 4. Two things that by the way, have become Uncharted’s bread and butter over the years. Seriously, is there another developer out there than can create characters and environments with this sort of detail? Well, one that isn’t a different Sony studio.

Anyway, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy isn’t too far away with a release date of August 22.

Speaking of the well-earned critical and commercial success that Horizon Zero Dawn saw a few months ago, came the announcement of the game’s first expansion – the wintry themed Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds. A story driven DLC add-on for the game that adds a layer of snow, and in the process, gives the game quite the evocative new look. The Frozen Wilds will feature a new area to explore filled with brand new dino-bots to deal with and a new cinematic story to experience.

Next up came the first blast from the past -- well a game that made its debut at last year’s showcase -- with the return of Day’s Gone. The post-apocalyptic zombie action game where you take on the role of a bikie. Who just so happens to be Darth Vader’s apprentice. Well, in another life. When we first saw Day’s Gone, what stood out apart from the lush forest and rural setting was the fact that when there was a zombie attack, they swarmed and filled the screen like they just came from the set of 28 Days Later. It looked good, but with a severe case of zombie fatigue hitting the gaming press of late, it failed to impress in the same way that God of War did. So, needless to say this year’s demo showcases basically zero zombie killing. Yeah, instead we get some old-fashioned hog riding, tracking someone through the forest, stealthily avoiding a gang of bad dudes, and then using the zombies to ambush their home base/tree fort.

Capcom’s Monster Hunter World was the show’s first surprise announcement, and the latest entry in the long-running series that recently has become quite the handheld and console phenomenon. Well, in Japan at least. Monster Hunter World updates the look of the game for PlayStation 4 (it’s also getting an Xbox One and PC release), with a visual style that looks and feels more realistic. As realistic as you can get when the main character wields a sword that would make Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife blush. What sort of game is it? I'm not quite sure, but when I asked my brother (who loves the series) he described it thusly – “The best game. Well worth the learning curve”. So, there you have it.

The second surprise announcement came in the form of a re-make with the PlayStation 2 classic Shadow of the Colossus, which is getting a PlayStation 4 make-over in 2018. Coming from the same team that put together the first PlayStation 3 HD re-release, you can clearly see the benefit that modern hardware can give to titles from the PS2-era. As opposed to stuff that came out two years ago. Which is extra impressive when the game in question features nothing but huge impressive creatures, like those found in Shadow of the Colossus.

Also, this is just about perfect news for those that didn’t get to play this first time around.

Next up came the first slice of Marvel action with a new story trailer for Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite with the nice little bonus of coinciding with an exclusive PlayStation 4 demo for the game launching today. Good timing. Now, I’m pretty sure that the trailer showcases a few characters that we haven’t seen yet, but I’m not entirely sure which ones they are. Zero? I wasn’t paying attention in class. Detention? Okay sure.

Anyway, this does look good. And as a fan of the series dating all the way back to the Dreamcast days, this is something to look forward too. And unlike Street Fighter V, it will launch with a proper single-player story mode.

Third-party blockbuster time! With the next item on PlayStation conference menu being the highly anticipated Call of Duty: WWII. And when we say highly anticipated we mean it, because this sees the veteran shooter series go back to its roots – World War II. Plus, this comes from Sledgehammer Games, who created the excellent campaign for Advanced Warfare. Now, in lieu of a gameplay demo we got a cinematic trailer showcasing the game’s multiplayer. Which is a bit of a shame, because a heavily scripted and cinematic Call of Duty gameplay chunk set during World War II could have been awesome.

Which is what I thought we were getting when the “Actual In-Game Footage” thingy popped up. Oh well. Still, it looks good.

Next up was a montage of stuff coming to PlayStation VR. Which, we’ll go through quickly.

First up there was Skyrim VR.

An average looking sci-fi platformer called Star Child.

The rather creepy and great looking The Inpatient.

The emo-goes-fishing adventure of Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV.

And finally, Generic Shooter #456 aka Bravo Team.

We did it! We made it through the VR portion of the show. That’s not a dig at the technology, it’s just that trailers for VR games are especially hard to sell. And often confuse or incorrectly showcase how the game looks and feels. Apart from Final Fantasy Fishing of course, because it’ll definitely be exactly that.

Anyway, God of War! Need we say more? Oh, okay. Well, after stunning audiences at last year’s conference this year audiences were stunned once again. Albeit without the freshness that comes with a brand-new game announcement. This time the presentation was a little different, with the five minutes or so chunk shifting between scenes, locations, and actions, to showcase an overall picture of how the game will play. Or at least, look. And it looks incredible. And with a glimpse at so many different places it definitely looks on track to hit its Early 2018 release window. One thing we do learn, story-wise, it that Kratos’ son has some sort of telepathic ability that lets him speak to giant underwater serpents. Which, as you could imagine, is a handy skill in the world of God of War.

Next up was the return of another highlight from last year, with Detroit: Become Human. The new game from Beyond: Two Souls creator David Cage. Expect a lot of narrative choices to make, and plenty of cutscenes and quick time events to interact with. So even though this is an action-heavy look at the game, don’t expect to find an action game per se. That being said, this looks pretty damn impressive. And it’s take on the whole robots as slaves overpowering their masters is a good one.

The third-party blockbuster returned to the stage with the mandated PlayStation E3 conference showing of Destiny. It happens every year, so we’re lucky that this year means it was another look at Destiny 2. Which the latest trailer confirms, will focus a lot more this time around on, you know, providing an engaging story. It looks intense, and you can see the reason why it’s such a huge property. As a multi-platform release (that is also coming to PCs for the first time), Sony showcased some of the PlayStation 4 exclusive – which kind of looked like a decent slice of the game as it included a Strike, a PvP map, vehicle, multiple weapons, and skins. Fine if you end up playing it on PS4, but a bit of a middle finger from Bungie to the other platforms.

Closing out Sony’s PlayStation showcase was a sizable gameplay chunk from The Last of Us 2 Spider-Man. From developer Insomniac whose recent track record includes Sunset Overdrive and Ratchet & Clank, both great titles, Spider-Man looks to take the Marvel character to new videogame heights by including mechanics and sequences that will allow Spidey to seamlessly switch between interior and exterior. We can see a couple of examples of this in the demo, which unfortunately leans a little too heavily on Quick Time Events to present action. Everything else though looked great, with brilliant web effects and take-down and combat mechanics that remind us of The Batman Arkham games. Which are the gold standard for comic book video games, and by that, I mean Spider-Man could potentially be of the same caliber.

And that was it for another year of PlayStation at E3. Well, not really because the pre-show contained several looks at third-party and indie titles. Plus, some exclusive stuff too. In terms of new stuff this year’s show was a bit light, mainly because Sony has spent that last few years doing just that. Also, an alarming number of games are slated for release in 2018. All in all, a decent showing. Also, one that we hoped we’d get a campaign demo for both Call of Duty: WWII and Star War Battlefront II. For the latter, there wasn’t one at EA Play so we were certain it’d be here.

Anyway, here’s to (one final shout-out) Final Fantasy Fishing.

You can watch the entire showcase, and pre-show, below