Sony came into this conference from a position of strength and the confidence tonight was palpable. The comfort they have in their market position throughout was evident and indicative of a company fully in their stride. If Microsoft were going for big, bombastic and powerful, Sony this year shot for low-key atmospherics, and appeared secure in themselves and what they had to show.
The most remarkable part of this conference was undoubtedly the opening. Taking a new approach to their E3 presentation, Sony opened in what seemed to be a church tent, promising a ‘deeper’ look at games tonight and boy did they deliver.
The Last of Us Part 2
Watching the slow and methodical coverage of this game during the lead up to release, nobody would argue that The Last of Us Part 2 has made an impression each time it has taken to the stage and things are certainly no different here. Wasting no time, they jump straight into a gameplay presentation and if the final package looks and feels anything like this trailer, then we are all in for a treat.
Call of Duty
They actually managed to save this moment for me. Announcing and showing a trailer for ‘Call of Duty’, Treyarch showed off some old maps and then immediately tried to sell us a pre-order bonus. Just as I was about to shake my head and say “Typical Activision”, Sony announced that Black Ops 3 would be free to PS Plus subscribers today. For anyone who has fallen from the Call of Duty bandwagon in recent years, this is a great way to test the waters again and see if it’s time for you to jump back in. A lovely little treat.
We didn’t really see much here, but ‘Get Hype’ I guess?
Ghost of Tsushima
Wow, what a ride. We didn’t know a huge amount about this game coming into the conference, but if anyone was unsure about this game before the show, they will have left feeling like there’s every chance we have a blockbuster on our hands. The combat looks fantastic. It looked methodical and considered. Obviously we can’t say for sure, but it looks very unlikely that we will be sprinting around smashing the square button here.
This was one of the let downs of the show. I’ve no idea what this is or why I should be excited. See for yourself.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Boom. Resi 2, 25th of January 2019 and it looks great. What more do you want?
Trover Saves The Universe
I really want to sit here and say how funny and how great this looks… but it just doesn’t do anything interesting. A real swing and a miss from the ‘Rick and Morty’ lot. What a shame.
Kingdom Hearts III
I can’t pretend to know a whole lot about this series, but fans of Disney will love this trailer. Plenty of gameplay and a good look at some of the environments. 2018 really is the year of the pirate and Square Enix has done a fantastic job of recreating the world of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ for players to explore.
This is easily the best look at Death Stranding that we have ever had. I don’t want to tempt fate and scare it off, but there are moments in this trailer that could easily be mistaken for gameplay footage. It looks like this game is still early on, and the lack of any kind of HUD might mean that we are being premature, but Death Stranding is oozing with atmosphere… plus, what would be a Death Stranding teaser without naked Norman Redus?
Microsoft had Sekio: Shadows Die Twice for your ancient Asian style souls gaming fix and Sony, shockingly had the reveal for Nioh 2. We didn’t see much, but great announcement, and presumably it’s yet another PS4 exclusive.
Opening things up, Sony promised a closer, more intimate look at their titles this year and this is no more true, than what we got to see of Spider-Man. A good solid few minutes of gameplay anyone? Yes please. Based entirely on this trailer it looks like we have a new and exciting game to fill the slightly stale hole that the Arkham games have left behind them.
I stumbled out of this absolutely dazzled. Sony had a few key points they needed to hit and they smashed every single one of them, even managing to sprinkle in some surprises.
The Last of Us Part 2 looked absolutely fantastic and their new IPs like Ghost of Tsushima really impressed. It’s a fantastic time to be a fan of games and an equally fantastic time to be a fan of Sony. The company feels like they have really hit their stride and although the conference structurally felt a little disjointed at times, the gaming content was fantastic.
As great as it was, there were a couple of bits and pieces that tempered the excitement. As we have mentioned, the flow of the conference itself felt like it missed the mark. The idea to build a real life venue to look like the opening gameplay trailer was an extremely effective moment, but you could feel the gears clanking into place as they moved the audience to the next theatre and opened The Ghost of Tsushima trailer in the same way as The Last of Us. There was also a shocking and glaring lack of dates on nearly everything we saw. Just about every trailer in this event looked insane and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final products, but when exactly we will be playing these games, we can only guess and with a proper look at Dreams and Days Gone missing in action again, we can only speculate that confidence in these games has drastically slipped.
With that said, all in all, this was another strong strong outing for Sony. They have a fantastic array of games on the march to our consoles… at some nebulous point in the future at least.
It looks like the shrieks announcing the end of the PS4 in time for the PS5 were very much premature.
- David Smillie