So there we have it, E3 is done and dusted for another year and we now know what we can expect from our platform of choice for the next 12-18 months.
Before I begin this round-up I just want to say that while this year’s conference was nowhere near as exciting as last year’s it did focus on what will release between now and E3 2018. That is something to be applauded because far too often we deride those announcement of announcements – if we are too quick to criticise and too slow to applaud then we are lost.
Another thing I want to get it out of the way here and now – I will not be crowning a “winner” because that is bloody stupid and it is not something I want to encourage in the comment section or on any of my social media outlets.
Let’s start with Sony!
The Sony show was not as explosive as it has been the last two years but it was still a very good show – they showed lots of games and did very little talking; which is to be applauded.
Their first party stuff looks incredible as we were afforded quite long and detailed gameplay of them all; and whilst ‘God of War 4’, ‘Days Gone’, ‘Detroit: Become Human’ and ‘Spiderman’ all got shown again they did surprise us with ‘Shadow of the Colossus Remastered’ which looks beautiful and brilliant (which is no mean feat; I bloody hated SOTC when I played it on PS3). The best thing here is that all these games will launch before the end of 2018 – but Sony had much, much more to show us.
They highlighted some high profile and excellent looking DLC (and standalone DLC) for ‘Uncharted 4’ with ‘The Lost Legacy’ DLC they announced at last year’s conference; it is looking damned good though and don’t forget, if you pre-order this you get ‘Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy’ for free on PS4. And they dropped a little surprise of DLC for ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ called ‘The Frozen Wilds’ – again this looked excellent and looks to add some more meat on to the already laden bones of the base game.
Even the PSVR got its very own section of the conference and Sony took the time to highlight new (potential) franchises and some new experiences that will continue to validate that massive outlay we put into the headset. All of the games featured here were news to me but the most impressive thing that Sony highlighted here was the sheer variety in experiences that our PSVR will afford us over the next twelve months. While hardly exciting and fresh, ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR’ got announced for the PSVR which is a pleasant surprise for the 6 people who have yet to play the (now 6 year old) RPG from Bethesda. ‘Star Child’ looked far more interesting; it’s a 2.5D side scrolling platformer with a massive mech as a companion, ‘The Inpatient’ from Supermassive games is a horror-prequel to ‘Until Dawn’ and it looks appropriately unnerving, ‘Final Fantasy 15: Monster of the Deep’ is a strange fishing game that could be…fun? Team based shooter ‘Bravo Team’ looked somewhat generic but it’s hard to tell without a headset on… The Final game shown though was ‘Moss’ and it looked beautiful and seems really interesting, you are helping Moss a Mouse make his way safely through a ruin by manipulating the environment to make a clear path; it was crisp, clean and all sort of cute. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Interestingly though is that Sony took no time in their conference to highlight their new, somewhat innovative, PlayLink system – which is the evolution of Singstar on PS4, in that players use their smartphone and companion app to turn their mobile into a PS4 peripheral. The real standout game here was ‘Hidden Agenda’ in which up to 5 players can make choices on their smartphones and watch the story unfold before their eyes. While it sounds dull it’s actually incredibly interesting because it’s made by SuperMassive Games who have obviously seen their ‘Until Dawn’ get played this way on Twitch; their games are brilliant as spectator sports and this looks tense, taut and brilliant. ‘That’s You’ looked completely different as it seems to have been influenced by Jackbox and seems to be a comedy game based around selfies – hardly deep but it looked like harmless fun; there was also a playlink port of ‘Undertale’ this summer, which should need no introduction here.
Of course Sony made time for their marketing deal partners and they showed off ‘Marvel VS Capcom: Infinite’, ‘FIFA’, ‘Call of Duty: World War II’ and ‘Destiny 2’ which all look exactly as you would expect them to. Most interesting of their third-party line-up was the announcement of ‘Monster Hunter World’ a current gen update in the hugely popular series that looks truly brilliant, from robust and purposeful animations of the avatars to the brilliant, frightening and beautiful creature design – this looks very promising indeed.
My closing thoughts
Initially I was disappointed by Sony’s output this E3 I felt that it lacked that megaton announcement at the end but as time has passed and I have taken in everything they threw at us (and it was a hell of a lot) I realise that Sony was just much more pragmatic and they focused on immediate games.
There were a lot of games here that looked top quality; Spiderman, Inpatient, Hidden Agenda and both the big DLCs looked brilliant and while there were a few misses, they were few and far between. Sony succeeded were Microsoft failed; they showed a bunch of games that offered true variety and breadth which also encompassed a number of different demographics but ostracised none of them. They literally had something for everybody and alleviated people’s worries about VR.
This was a strong showing from Sony and it was not as bad as popular internet opinion may suggest.