Off the back of Microsoft’s rather underwhelming conference that had its impact compromised by all its big announcements being leaked, Sony had a relatively easy job in comparison to really wow us. Sony’s previous showings tended to have some rather long and drawn out marketing or sales talk that served to kill the momentum of the show but thankfully, this year, Sony ditched that completely and had a refreshingly well-paced conference that was all about gaming. Whilst a couple of announcements were the star of the show however, this year’s show didn’t really have the bombast of last year. Even without comparing it to last year’s rather special show, there were something amiss at this year’s show.
The High Points
God of War- Perhaps the biggest and best part of Sony’s conference, God of War was shown off and the game really took many by surprise. Whilst its appearance itself was not that surprising, as many people have been expecting it to show up at several previous E3’s, it was the change of direction, namely, the over-the-shoulder viewpoint that replaces the fixed camera viewpoint that marked a welcome change. Add to that the fact that Kratos, now looking very elderly, will be working with his son and you now have an intriguing premise combined with what looks like satisfying combat and a lot of potential for greatness.
The Last Guardian- It may have been in development for what seems like an age but just like fine wine, The Last Guardian appears to have improved over time, reminding us of the sheer magical qualities of Ico and Shadow of Colossus. The best part of the trailer was the release date of October 25 2016. We will soon finally get our hands on the title that has taken almost a decade to released.
Horizon Zero Dawn- Guerilla Games are known to make visually astounding games but their gameplay, in our opinion, leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully, having been done with the Killzone series and now with the aid of immensely talented industry veterans such as CD Projekt Red, the studio is looking set to release not only their best ever title but also one of our most anticipated titles of 2017. The E3 showing just intensified our hype for the game.
Death Stranding- Industry legend Hideo Kojima graced the stage to show off his next working title and admittedly we didn’t see much but a naked Norman Reedus clutching a baby, some handcuffs and other bat-shit crazy stuff in typical Kojima style. This is supposed to be an action game but “something different” according to Kojima.
Spiderman- The rumour mill did suggest that a Spidey game was in the works and alas it was true. Developed by Insomniac, who have been on a roll lately with the likes of Sunset Overdrive and Ratchet and Clank, the trailer really nailed what we love about our favourite hero and his web-swinging antics. The game looks like incredible fun and its visually impressive too. Another exclusive in Sony’s war-chest to add to its formidable library.
The Low Points
Weak VR Showings- With the PlayStation VR headset only a few months away from release, we expected a much stronger showing of titles to convince us to part away with our hard-earned cash but that didn’t seem to be the case here. Arguably the biggest VR title at the show was Resident Evil 7 Biohazard but that didn’t really impress us. Final Fantasy XV VR Experience just looked like it was supporting VR for the sake of it and Farpoint looked like a generic FPS with some questionable visual quality. There were some moments where we got really excited such as Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission but then realised it wasn’t a fully fledged title.
No Crash Bandicoot- Shawn Layden entered the stage with the Crash Bandicoot song and background enveloping him and we got excited. Finally, its happening. A new Crash game after years of it missing in action but alas, like a slap in the face with a wet fish, we find out that its just a remaster of the old games and that Crash will be appearing in the Skylanders game. Thanks…
Megaton?- In fairness, living up to last year’s big announcements was never going to be easy. Having Shenmue, The Last Guardian and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake grace the stage was stuff of dreams so it would be a bit unrealistic to expect that kind of showing again. However, there weren’t that many titles that really had us that excited this year. Were it not for God of War, the show be considered relatively tame and really, God of War appears to prop up the entire Sony conference.
Make no mistake, the show was solid but the lack of meaty VR titles and even the lack of mention of the Neo console just made this a somewhat conservative affair. However, the format was incredible with back to back games and the show really slowing down, unlike Microsoft’s sometimes coma-inducing segments showcasing things such as the card game, Gwent and Minecraft. Its also a shame that we didn’t see more of Shenmue of the Final 7 Fantasy remake but maybe these are being reserved for Gamescom. All in all, a decent show but not the strong Sony E3 conference we were expecting.