June 25, 2015

The E3 Report: Sony E3 Press Conference Review

After Microsoft had their say, flooring the audience with sheer spectacle, Sony took to the stage to try and reclaim the thunder that their rivals stole. Did the Cool Kids on the Block succeed? Let's head over to the skatepark and find out, broseph? 

The press conference starts off exactly how I thought it would: With rock and roll music blasting away over footage of all the games to come. Cool kids indeed. The intro shows the huge contrast in style between Microsoft and Sony, with the former being a mildly dramatic classical musician and the latter a passive aggressive teenage punk rocking jams on his dad's old electric guitar.

Walking out on-stage amidst a blare of rock music, we're introduced to Shawn Layden, who opens the presentation looking like he doesn't really belong in his classy suit and neat shoes, comparable to the manager at the skatepark who warns the cool kids not to wreck said park.

The first game on show was a "long awaited title", which quickly draw cheers from the back of the auditorium. The footage showed up on screen, slowly revealing that the title in question was in fact, The Last Guardian, the second most famous case of vapourware behind Half-Life 3. Needless to say, this was a genuine surprise to see.

We saw a little of the fabled game, featured a bit of tense platforming followed by a close rescue. The sequence sounds boring on paper, but it was well-delivered and featured smooth, fluid, almost unbelievably well integrated gameplay. Have a look at the footage above. You'll see what we mean.

The trailer also gave us a final release date of 2016. Let's hope that this is indeed "FINAL" and doesn't get delayed again. There's plenty of gamers who would love to get their hands on this title, the author being one of them.

Herman Hurst from Guerilla Games scooted on stage to talk about his studio's cool new IP, Horizon: Zero Dawn, a different take on the "fallen Earth" genre with a new Native American-esque tribe rising up eons after the fall of our present generation. 

Featuring a weird mix of prehistoric creatures with technological elements. The gameplay is simple, with third-person stealth elements mixed with combat a la Tomb Raider, only to reveal it's true colours as the female protagonist takes down a mechanical T-Rex type creature by fastening it with ropes and arrows to the ground.

Have a look at the footage above; it's an interesting and amazingly unique concept which hasn't been done before.

The new Hitman was previewed next, with an impressive announcement trailer which was heavy on spectacle yet light on any gameplay as a result of being a CGI trailer. We did get more detail on the preorder bonus offered by PlayStation, with six unique contracts and a beta invitation if players order the game before release.

We quickly whisk over Hitman to gush over Street Fighter with a short gameplay trailer eliciting thunderous applause from the audience. Not much detail was shown in this title either, save from yet another PlayStation exclusive beta.

Sean Murray skidded on stage to play No Man's Sky in the most to-the-point and downright awkward presentation of the press conference, with Murray simply stating his intention to play the game and doing exactly that. Murray haphazardly stated the short length of time he had on stage, rushing through gameplay at a choppy pace, all whilst acting in a slightly intoxicated manner.

Nonetheless, in spite of his awkwardness, Murray still managed to impress the audience with the sheer size of No Man's Sky, featuring thousands upon thousands of solar systems able to be traversed by the player as seen in the video above. It's mind-bogglingly awesome how much content there appears to be in the game, as the reader can clearly see above.

Murray picks a random galaxy to jump to, but not before breaking the fourth wall and mentioning that everything went well in rehearsal, but he'd not been to the galaxy he selected and wanted to audience to absolve him of any blame if something went wrong. 

As he warped to a new galaxy, once again wowing the audience with the sheer amount of detail he packed into the game, he set his sights on a red beacon, stating yet again how he made sure that there would be a red beacon wherever he warped for the sake of the presentation.

The world-exploring showed off impressive detail, with plenty of creatures, robots and fish (FISH) in the surrounding environments. In spite of the slight awkwardness of the presentation, it was still amazing to see how much content there is in the game.

Alex Evans from Media Molecule, famed creators of LittleBigPlanet, made his way on stage to talk about their newest project, before being interrupted by applause simply for name-dropping Media Molecule, and revealing Dreams, an ambitious title allowing players to create and share lucid dreams.

Evans explained how their newest project broke away from every tradition they previously held to, with strange creator palette allowing players to paint in the game world as seen above. At this point, I was hopelessly lost, but thankfully Evans opted to show gameplay to try and actually explain the game.

Check out the video above. It explains things far better than I ever can.

Changing things up a bit, PlayStation unveiled Firewatch, a semi-humourous indie game about exploration and survival in the wilderness, all whilst trying to find two women who went missing. Your character was the last to see them, as his radio companion tells him, an interesting aspect of the game to make it feel a lot less lonely.

After previewing an update for Destiny, and rushing through the newest Assassin's Creed, Syndicate, Adam Boyes quickly moves on to the world premiere trailer of the newest Final Fantasy: World of Final Fantasy, which features characters and enemies from all previous Final Fantasy games combined into a big adventure, as the trailer promises.

Next, clearly not satisfied with just unveiled ONE Final Fantasy related game, he unveiled a remake for the classic Final Fantasy VII, with a stylish cinematic trailer to make any gamer's blood start pumping.

Through some indie game reveals, we also took a look at the long awaited third entry in the Shenmue franchise, yet another case of vapourware finally being realised...if gamers choose to support the growing Kickstarter. Check it out, contribute if you will...

Sony unveiled new footage for Batman Arkham Knight afterwards, taking place from the perspective of an average policeman at first. From a first-person perspective, the cop confronts a smoking customer, who reveals himself to be a hideous monster, at which point we realise the cop has been affected by Scarecrow gas. He whips out his pistol and takes aim at the monsters around him, who are devouring the innocent customers of a low-key diner. One of the monsters manages to dodge his bullets, and subsequently beats him to death.

The footage ends at this point, leaving us with a huge question mark as to whether or not players will be able to play as other characters from a first-person perspective in the final game, aside from the police officer. Nevertheless, the footage is pretty exciting, and decidedly M-rated.

After a bit of talks about virtual reality, Mark Lamia arrived to talk about the newest instalment in the divisive yet popular COD franchise, Black Ops III. The footage showed off impressive four-player coop gameplay, with fluid movement and plenty of semi-open-world action. The only flaw with the footage is the lack of any story and significant characterisation. 

The gameplay is also rather basic shoot-em-up thus far, as is par for the course with COD. That is, until we see the multiplayer footage. As the reader can see above, the game plays with amazing fluidity in the movements and the combat, taking the futuristic setting to it's fullest potential. While things are still quite rudimentary, our view of the game may improve as time goes on.

Star Wars Battlefront 3 was previewed next, featuring gameplay from the "survival" mode with hordes of Empire goons descending upon two rebel stragglers who proceed to fight them all off. The footage above shows the amazing graphical quality of the game, with excellent detail in just about everything. The gameplay looks fantastic thus far.

Sony closed off their press conference with footage from the newest (and potentially last) Uncharted title, A Thief's End. As Sony chose not use many words to describe the title, I will do likewise and show footage instead:

Pretty epic right? Well, except for some awkwardness near the beginning due to a glitchy controller, the presentation was mostly thrilling and sold Uncharted 4 with style. 

This concluded an epic and exciting press conference, even if it was a little bit awkward at certain parts.

Overall: Great (B+)

+Exciting Games

+Exciting Presentation

+Great Concepts

-Awkward at Times

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