E3 continues to dominate the gaming landscape, as do the myriad press conferences that accompany the show, and it’s time to look at what Sony’s got for us. Microsoft, frankly, came out swinging this year with the announcement of the Xbox One S slim console and the advent of 4K console gaming with Project Scorpio. Is Sony able to stand up to that kind of pugilism or are they going to go down for the count?
Unlike Microsoft’s big hardware news, Sony didn’t come into this year’s E3 with any earth-shattering surprises. We already knew that there wouldn’t be anything about the PlayStation NEO (or PS4.5 or whatever you want to call it) so that leaves Sony with games, games, and even more VR gaming news. Unsurprisingly that’s what their conference consisted of almost in its entirety. Check out Sony’s official E3 site for all the goodies, but here’s my take on what was shown.
The headlining bits included a release date for The Last Guardian, the eternally-delayed Ico-style adventure game that got tons of love last year when we got some actual gameplay and a nice-looking trailer. It was then promptly destroyed by the announcement of the Final Fantasy 7 remake, so it didn’t have the space it needed to shine. Now…well, it still doesn’t really shine, but it’s not competing against the same magnitude of competition, so the new trailer featuring a griffin-beast silliness made a bit more of an impact. October 25 is listed as the release date, but after this game’s development, well…we’ll see.
Horizon: Zero Dawn was another heavy hitter from last year that ended up being largely overshadowed by the whole FF7 thing. This time we’ve got gameplay footage and it’s looking as excellent as one would expect; it’s a sort of techno-Monster Hunter as a young girl battles hulking biomechanical beasts. I’m a sucker for this kind of far-future caveman thing, so I’ll fully admit to being a little stoked for this one.
Personally, I was pretty excited for the announcement of Resident Evil 7 biohazard. You’ll see from my review of Resident Evil 6 Remastered some time ago that I didn’t exactly hate that game, but I’m well aware of the reception that game got both on release and when the remaster came out, so I’d figured that all we’d be getting from now on would be less-than-impressive cash-ins like Umbrella Corps. Not so, as RE7’s scary bugs show us, and we’ll be seeing a new entry in the main series early next year; you’ll also be able to play in VR if you’re into that kind of thing.
Perhaps the most significant announcement at the Sony conference was the announcement of remastered versions of the first three Crash Bandicoot games. After getting horrifically exploited in games of questionable quality like Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind over Mutant we thought we’d never see the Bandicoot again. His time was up. He was toast. He’d taken a hit and didn’t have a mask. Crash hasg gotten a new lease on life, however, thanks to his well-received appearance in Uncharted 4; along with the remastered platformers, he’s also going to appear as a Sensei character in the new Skylanders Imaginators. The Skylanders games are a guilty pleasure of mine, so I’m not going to complain about that.
And what about everyone’s favorite web-crawling hero? Spider-Man (working title, of course) from frequent Sony collaborate Insomniac Games hopes to break the trend of having crappy Spider-Man games with a dizzying adventure that looks strikingly similar to the Uncharted series. Hmm…
And let’s not forget one of the biggest showers – and growers – at the conference: God of War. Featuring a bigger, beefier, and more bearded Kratos (or some version of Kratos), it looks like Sony’s reboot/remake or whatever it will end up being helped bring the focus back to what we’re really here for: games!
Really, those were the most significant events of an otherwise-unimpressive conference. Sure, it’s difficult to stand up to Microsoft announcing not one, but two new pieces of hardware, but Sony’s offerings seemed a little lackluster even compared to Sony itself. Don’t forget that last year we saw marvels like the revelation of The Last Guardian’s continued existence and, of course, the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 remake. After bombshells like that, it’s not too surprising that Sony was a little limp this time around. None of what was on offer here looked bad, but it certainly wasn’t a knockout.
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