Once again, Sony entered E3 this year as the market leader even as the threat of competition appears to be on the rise. Nintendo has proven that its newest console is once again a force to be reckoned with and Microsoft is planning to launch the most powerful household console ever seen with the oddly named Xbox One X.
With a huge install base eagerly waiting to see more on some of its upcoming exclusive titles like God of War, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and Spider-Man, Sony had to come out swinging. We knew some of the big names on display going in, but what else did Sony have up their sleeves for the audience this year?
Here’s what stood out to me.
I mean, Sony kept the talking to a minimum and let the games speak for themselves, which is always a great strategy in my opinion. Leading off the show, Sony opened with a very cool musical number that I’m sure fans picked up on the Uncharted style sound. Of course, the music led directly to Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which has definitely evolved from a simple expansion to something much more. Unfortunately, audio issues plagued the trailer and the very cool reveal of a Horizon: Zero Dawn expansion, which I’m just thrilled about. Any chance to spend more time in that world is worth it.
So of course, the big names came out to play. Fans finally got their first long look at Insomniac’s Spider-Man. Ending the show is always an honor and the game made the most of it showing off Batman: Arkham style combat, dynamic and fluid traversal, and what looks to be a promising open world to explore. The studio nailed Spider-Man’s personality and I’m intrigued by what a lesser known villain like Mr. Negative can bring to the table. Spider-Man has been long overdue for a return to glory and I think this one is going to be it.
God of War also stunned the audience with another new trailer showing off some truly cinematic moments. While it wasn’t a dedicated demo, the trailer revealed a lot more about the game including showing more Norse syle themes and creatures. I’m still massively curious to see more regarding the relationship between Kratos and his son. The trailer hinted a bit more at this but considering where we last saw Kratos (destroying the Greek Gods and Mt. Olympus), I’m wondering how he ended up where he is now and in this current situation. While the game isn’t coming this year, we won’t have to wait too long into 2018.
On a personal level, I was very excited to see Shadow of the Colossus return. While not much was revealed, it appears to be some sort of remaster or remake for the PlayStation 4? Either way, as someone who never got to play the game the first time around, I’m eagerly anticipating getting sucked into this world.
I’ll be honest, I had zero opinion about Detroit: Become Human, but I can’t deny that the trailer they showed was really compelling. I still have no clue how it’ll play and while that will be a big factor for me, the game is now at least on my radar.
Unfortunately, the first five or so minutes were marred by technical hiccups in the stream so the new trailers and gameplay for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the Horizon: Zero Dawn DLC Trailer reveal, and the gameplay segments for most of Days Gone basically had no audio. Needless to say, this wasn’t ideal.
The other big criticism I had is that some of their big upcoming games were left out of the show completely. After being revealed last December at PSX, I think everyone was confident that The Last of Us Part II would be making an appearance. Unfortunately, nothing was shown. Same can be said for Sucker Punch who was once again MIA this year. After three years on a new project, I’m stunned that nothing was at least teased.
While Sony had some great announcements and reveals this year, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the show overall had this rushed feeling to it. It felt less personable than the previous years. I mean, the past couple years, Sony came out swinging, you could see it and feel it. There was this buzz and energy that ignited the show.
This year though? The conference seemed to lack all of that, almost like Sony wasn’t super into it this year or resting on the fact that they continued to have a big market lead over everyone else. Shawn Layden came out, gave a small speech and praised games, and then the show felt like it went on autopilot the rest of the way. It was fine but seemed to lack the excitement of years past.
As it turns out, I was kinda right in thinking this way. Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida came out days later to admit that Sony did indeed hold back and opted to withhold some of its unannounced games. No reason was given as to why Sony came to this decision, but the likely cut from the show was the rumored new IP that Sucker Punch has been cranking away on for a number of years.
Layden also admitted in a post-E3 interview that he intentionally kept the speeches short in an effort to just let the trailers and games speak for themselves.I don’t know how I feel about that. Ubisoft is a great example of a company that comes out to introduce their stuff and I personally don’t feel like any stage personality gets in the way. We’ll get into this later but I felt like Ubisoft had the best presser out of everyone this year. I don’t think seeing a little more of Shawn Layden would have been a bad thing.
Still, the show was fine as fans of the PlayStation 4 console have a ton to look forward to in the next 10 months or so including the previously mentioned God of War which just looks astounding.
Final Score: B-