Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sony @ E3 2014

Missed the Sony E3 conference? Want to check out the highlights without watching the whole thing? Don't worry, CeX has you covered!

Last year Sony won E3, plain and simple. While the Xbox One failed under the weight of Kinect shenanigans and its massive price tag, the PS4 quite literally wowed gamers. I remember coming away from their presentation with the feeling that Sony got me, they understood what I wanted. That's a rarity in this business, and Sony nailed it. However, following the success of last year, it was always going to be tough this year. But while the Sony press conference has it boring moments of tech chatter, focused on Project Morpheus for barely 2 minutes, and seemed to have little direction compared to last year, it all came together well. Here's the rundown...

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Multi-platform)

Though it's multi-platform, Sony managed to snag this for their presentation. Nice! After the release of the fantastic Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which serves as a prologue for the Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Solid series creator Hideo Kojima kept us on the edge of our seats during the latest trailer. While the notion of revenge has been the focus of The Phantom Pain since its initial reveal, this is the trailer in which we finally get to see Big Boss veer onto the path from hero to maniac. Though we've been expecting it for quite some time, this is the Metal Gear Solid title that shows how Big Boss became the “villain” in Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. Judging from Ground Zeroes' gameplay, The Phantom Pain will deliver in almost every way, I have no doubt.

No Man's Sky (PS4 Timed Exclusive)

If there were one PS4 exclusive I'm looking forward to the most it would be No Man's Sky. Developed by the team who brought us the Joe Danger series come No Man's Sky, a game truly like no other. From land, ocean, air and space, No Man's Sky lets the player explore at will. However, while 90% of games already do this, No Man's Sky sets itself apart by the fact that everything is randomly generated. Everything! From unique creatures roaming throughout worlds with real working ecosystems, to delving into the deep, wondrous depths of an unexplored ocean, No Man's Sky looks pretty damn impressive. In fact, once into the game the player is given his or her own, unique world to explore. I can't think of any other game that has attempted such a daring idea, so lets hope Hello Games can pull it off. Count me in.

Little Big Planet 3 (PS4, PS3)

I loved Little Big Planet 1 & 2, but for some reason this did nothing for me at E3. Perhaps it was the sound problems Sony were having during their presentation, or the fact that they just harped on about it for too long, but I didn't get the sense of love and appreciation I had for the previous games. Adding three characters to the mix to change up gameplay, all I could think of was the episode of The Simpsons where in an attempt to spice up The Itchy & Scratchy Show, the creators added a dog named Poochie. I completely expected the new Little Big Adventure 3 characters Toggle, Oddsock and Swoop to turn to the camera and hear the dull voice over, "I have to go now. My planet needs me." only for them to be deleted from the screen. Of course, only after the reveal did I find out the real reason behind why it didn't do anything for me; it turns out series creator Media Molecule is not developing it. Instead, Sumo Digital is helming it, developers of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. I'm sure Little Big Planet 3 will be good, but it'll have to do more than add three Poochies to the mix to warrant a day one purchase.

Grim Fandango (PS4, PS Vita, Unannounced platforms)

No one saw this coming. In a surprise announcement from Sony at E3, they revealed that a remake of the classic PC point-and-click adventure Grim Fandango is on the way. While this might not mean much to younger gamers, to others it was possibly the moment where Sony once again won E3. Released in 1998 and helmed by gaming guru Tim Schafer, Grim Fandango followed a cast of dead people living in the aptly named Land of the Dead. Taking the role of Manuel "Manny" Calavera, Grim Fandango wasn't just a great game in its own right, but also possibly the funniest game ever made, perhaps only second to Sam and Max Hit the Road. It's good to see that Sony are willing to bring some classics to the PS4 and PS Vita.

The Order: 1886 (PS4 Exclusive)

From the creators of the acclaimed God of War series comes The Order: 1886, a third-person shooter that is quickly becoming the PS4 game to look forward to. While I'm not too impressed by the fact that it seems to cut to scripted scenes quite a lot during gameplay, the deliciously dark, Gothic and bleak visuals seen here are simply astounding. The game takes place in an alternate history London in the year, you guessed it, 1886. You are part on an ancient order of Knights that seek out creatures that are part human, part animal. Boasting visuals that are possibly only topped by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, The Order: 1886 looks like a heavenly mash-up of The Last of Us, Amnesia and Nightmare Creatures, with a dash of The X-Files and Supernatural for that extra, almost otherworldly bite. Sony may be onto another great franchise here.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4 Exclusive)

The Uncharted series has always been a master-class of design, innovation and character driven narrative. And while many gamers are still focusing on Naughty Dog's previous masterpiece, The Last of Us, it's about time Nathan Drake is given another adventure. Very little is known about Uncharted 4: A Thief's End as of now, but the plot will follow Drake as he tries to uncover a conspiracy surrounding an ancient pirate treasure. Going by the trailer, this entry might end up being a little dark. I'm OK with that, but please, please don't turn the Uncharted series into a grimdark, edgy 15 year olds fantasy. Keep it light, adventurous and colourful! 

Overall Sony did a great job at E3. Though it didn't have the determined focus as last years show, they still delivered the goods by the bucket load.

I'd give it an A.

Denis Murphy

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