My Thoughts on Sony’s E3 2016 Press Conference

e3-2016

The time has finally come to discuss the biggest video game event of the year once again: the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2016. I’m humbled by the fact that this is the second E3 I’ll be spending with you all. This wouldn’t be as fun if I was simply taking in these announcements by myself with no outlet to express that information. So, hopefully this is as fun for you as it is for me.

There have been E3 conferences and events the past couple of days, but my sights as always were set on the Big 3 companies: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Monday saw the release of possibly the only two major showings of E3, so today I would like to share my thoughts of the show with you all, continuing this time with Sony.

Again, my apologies for the delay of this post. The early days of E3 were incredibly busy for me, which made posting my reactions difficult. With Microsoft I had to see the event in bits and pieces, but I was lucky enough to see Sony’s live via my PS4. So, this time I have the benefit of a full reaction having seen everything in one shot with the only limit being occasional lag.

Keep in mind before we continue that this post won’t cover every announcement at the show; only the things I can comment on.

Similar to Sony’s last conference, the show starts with a couple minutes of a live orchestra. This not only served to entertain/wow the audience, but also gave mercy to people like me who were frantically trying to launch the live stream in vain. Anyone else had to update their PS4 Events app before seeing the conference? I feel your pain.

The music leads into a mysterious gameplay trailer where a little boy is talking to his father. The camera begins on the boy, and you wonder whether this is a new IP or a fake-out leading to the reveal of a sequel. The latter ended up being true when there he is: Kratos. The fans scream for God of War 4 the new God of War. The game does differ in the fact that it’s camera view is closer to Kratos’ back, but soon becomes very much the same as Kratos takes down a giant Norse thing. Along with the interaction between Kratos and the boy being endearing and funny, the demo was an awesome piece of work. I’m only starting God of War recently, but I’ll work feverishly to prepare for this game.

Our head of the show this year is Shawn Layden, who began the conference by saying a few words of the recent Orlando shooting. Similar to that of Phil Spenser at the Microsoft conference, it was an eloquent, respectful and heartfelt gesture on their part to mention the tragedy. Respect to both Microsoft and Sony.

Following God of War was a brand new IP. It’s funny, but when the trailer for Days Gone was shown I was getting a little excited. It turns out I wasn’t the only one thinking it was going to be The Last of Us 2. Though even when the title was being shown and all was said and done, I still thought it was really cool. That, of course, was before I saw the gameplay demo at the end of the show. Suddenly it went from looking pretty cool to damn cool. In a world where zombies are on the brink of being a tired concept, the best way to counteract that is with a hoard of them swarming at you like floodwater spilling out of an open door. Oh, and motorcycles help, too.

Pop quiz! What was the E3 to feature The Last Guardian. Look away at the screen and guess for a minute. Give up?

The answer is E3 2009. Since then The Last Guardian has attended at least 3 E3 conventions including this year, but this may be its final appearance. Ladies and gentlemen we have ourselves an official release date of (ready?) October 25, 2016! This 7 year wait will soon be over in just a mere 4 months.

All jokes aside, I will gladly tip my hat to genDesign and Sony for inadvertently creating the best advertising campaign for a game ever. You have made even me, who has never played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, wanting to play your game. At this point, it doesn’t have anything to do with the gameplay footage, which does look good. It’s like buying a piece of gaming history. All I ask for now is that I be allowed to play this game and not be forced to sit through a single patch. Not one! Your patch privileges were revoked in 2014.

Next up was Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game that looks better and better each time I see it. I do remember being mildly impressed with it last year, but this year I’m stoked for it. I’ve heard some people say the demo didn’t impress them like they wanted it to. I didn’t feel that way, but that’s probably because I’m into third-person action games. It’s basically right up my alley. And do I even have to mention how beautiful this game is?

Quantic Dream is back with their newest interactive movie, Detroit: Become Human. This is a futuristic crime thriller about an android federal agent where the story relies on player choice. The trailer showed our protagonist negotiating with another android who has a little girl as a hostage. After playing out the scenario for the audience, they show every possible outcome of that scene, some where the girl lives, some where the girl dies and even some where you die. Sure this is par for the course with Quantic Dream games. There’s nothing fundamentally different here from Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls, but it did seem interesting. I like how this time they showed us the scenario changes instead of having some guy explain this concept that we already get. It might be worth a shot. Who knows?

Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: PlayStation VR. There are about 6 VR games shown throughout the conference one after the other. However, Sony dropped the bombshell that there will be a total of 50 VR games released before year’s end. Yes, 50 games between October and December. A very impressive number.

Among the games shown were Final Fantasy XV, which will have some form of VR within the game, though I don’t know how much or how little. There’s Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission, which I believe is a separate game from Battlefront itself. Probably the most surprising of the bunch was Batman Arkham VR, though it was also the most vague. All of these announcements were really cool, but I take slight issue with how vague these trailers came across. You have Star Wars which is pretty self-explanatory, Final Fantasy XV which leaves you with at least a few questions and Batman Arkham which has absolutely no gameplay. We don’t know too much about any of them, which makes me a bit skeptical.

If I do get VR I will definitely want to try Star Wars, inevitably purchase Batman since I love the Arkham games, and never use the VR functionality for Final Fantasy XV. With Final Fantasy, it looked kinda shoehorned into the game and made me wish that I was playing it third person. At least then I could see everything. Though I’m glad its there for those who wanted it.

There a few I want to go a bit further on, like Far Point. This is a action/exploration shooter set on Mars. It’s a pretty cool looking trailer, though the trailer itself suffers from the fact that whoever was playing the game seems to have had his head tilted. It’s like the entire game is at a Dutch angle. The game itself, though, thumbs up!

One of the biggest announcements of the conference was of Resident Evil VII. I have a bit of a story with this. I saw the live demo no problem, and it was pretty creepy and atmospheric. There was a part of the game where you walk into a room with a couch and a static TV, at which point I said to myself, “Is this Silent Hill 2?” Tell me that didn’t look like Silent Hill 2 for a second. Anyway, the trailer part of the segment started lagging for me, and by the time it caught up, it jumped to literally a couple seconds after the logo reveal. Which means I didn’t know what this game was until the next morning when everyone was talking about a supposed Resident Evil VII. Took me a small bit to put two and two together.

Anyway, I definitely liked what I saw. I’m glad Capcom has made a huge turnaround with Resident Evil since RE6. Since then they’ve released Revelations and the RE1 remake, making up for the mistakes of the series since RE5. There’s a chance I’ll give this game a try, but I’m just happy that so many people are happy for this announcement.

Now there have been a lot of talk of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare demo and how so many people were tricked into thinking this was a new IP. Well I…was one of those people. Yes, I admit it. Though, this was exactly how Activision should have handled it. After creating the second most disliked video in YouTube history, you have to trick some folks to rid yourself of the stigma. It was sneaky, but at least I’m actually willing to play the game now…you know, after I deal with the fact that I suck at FPS games.

Then…Sony granted one of the three wishes. I’m serious. The list goes 1) world peace, 2) the ability to fly, 3) another Crash Bandicoot game. Well I ain’t flying, and the world still sucks, so guess what Sony did for me. Crash Bandicoot is back with “from the ground up” remasters of the PS1 trilogy, which for those who saw my Crash Bandicoot post from 2 years ago, is exactly what I suggested Activision to do. Yeah it may not be a brand new game, but I don’t care. This is far and away my favorite announcement of all E3…Oh, and apparently he’s in Skylanders: Imaginators, too. Yippee or something. I just hope Crash doesn’t look like that in the remaster.

I’ll have a separate post up about Crash Bandicoot soon to go a bit more in detail.

What follows was the single most epic introduction for any human being ever in E3. Behold! Hideo Kojima himself approaches with full orchestra and better production value than last year’s Fantastic Four movie. (Zing!)

Leave it to Kojmia to not just have an epic entrance or get the entire audience screaming, but to also show off the trailer for Death Stranding. With or without context, this is the most weird and uncomfortable trailer of the entire show. Yet, you can’t look away and your somehow very excited despite having no gameplay. It’s hard for me to be too excited for this game without knowing what it is first, but I’m definitely intrigued. I’ll spare you an explanation if you somehow haven’t seen the trailer yet. Just go see it.

The show ends with gameplay of the previously mentioned Days Gone, but before that came one more announcement that to me rivals the Crash Bandicoot announcement. In an age where Batman games are considered epic, the world is now ready for another hero to get his dues: Spider-Man. I ain’t talking about your Friend or Foes or your Atari/NES games. This time, Spidey is being handled by revered Sony developer, Insomniac. Insomniac is a great choice for a Spider-Man game in my eyes. Maybe Sucker Punch would’ve been a good choice, too, since I can see Infamous like gameplay coming from this. However, I trust Insomniac on the basis that they know how to make quality products. And by the looks of this trailer, this is most certainly quality.

Thus concludes the Sony E3 2016 press conference. This was a fantastic outing from Sony. It had everything you wanted to see like PS VR, Horizon and The Last Guardian. At the same time, they had a crap ton of surprises. A conference that announces God of War, Resident Evil VII and Crash Bandicoot complements a show like last year, where they showed Shenmue III and FF VII remake. These conferences have the common “We Heard You” theme, which is what E3 is all about.

The only complaints I have were the vagueness of some of the VR trailers and the lack of PS Neo. Had they shown that off in response to Microsoft’s Scorpio, it would’ve been a perfect fit. Also, Shenmue wouldn’t have hurt, either. However, these are mere nitpicks. Those things didn’t have to be there, because what we got was already great.

I’m calling it. Sony gets an A- this year and wins E3 as far as I’m concerned.

What did you think of Sony’s E3 2016 press conference? Did it give you all that you wanted. Were there things missing? What was your favorite game at the show? Mine were the Crash Bandicoot remasters and Spider-Man. Let me know in the comments so we can discuss it together.

With Microsoft already covered and Sony’s now completed, that just leaves little old Nintendo, who still had a couple things to share. Stay tuned for my thoughts on Nintendo’s presence at E3 this year. (It’ll be brief).

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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