Monday, June 13, 2016

E3 2016: Sony

For the last press conference of E3, Sony makes me more conflicted than I've ever been before.

So... that happened.

In all honesty, I don't really know how to react to Sony at this year's E3. Nothing really wowed me and the games that were shown off just seemed to be odd choices, or odd versions of classic games. Everything just seemed slightly off in the littlest of ways, but it was enough to make me lose my opinion on this conference.

Here's the thing with Sony; even though they're the heads of the industry right now, there's this feeling that they're lazy and content with the title. They're acting like they've already won this generation, and now their products are becoming lazy. The games still look great and some games have generated an insane amount of hype behind them, but this conference just seemed so egotistical. A swelling orchestra, only CG trailers for games with one demo, and just a rapid fire pace of announcements that made sure none of them left an impact on me except for a handful of titles. When it's revealed that Insomniac is making a Spider-Man game, or that there's going to be a Crash Bandicoot HD collection, or even a new God of War game, it should leave a greater impact than "okay".

God of War opened the press conference, confirming that the game would feature Norse mythology, but that the gameplay is now completely different. It's a third person, over-the-shoulder action game alla The Last of Us, bearded Kratos and child included. When I saw the trailer, all I could think about was my heart sinking and how none of this was God of War. This was THE hack-and-slash game series with intense action, oodles of blood, gore, and crazy magical powers with huge set piece moments. This new game seems so tamed by comparison and looks... well... generic. It doesn't FEEL like God of War to me, and that should never happen. Hell, God of War: Ascension feels like a more authentic game than this one.

Personal gripes aside, we also got a reveal for Detroit: Become Human and Days Gone, two new games that look promising. Detroit is a Quantic Dream game about a cyborg hostage negotiator, while Days Gone is a biker post apocalypse survival game. Again, like The Last of Us. Both games seem cool and have great tech behind them, so I'm looking forward to seeing more of them. Horizon Zero Dawn also showed up with a release date, and like I said last year, the game commanded my attention and makes me ravenous for more.

Then came the VR.

Look, I know that the industry is trying really, really hard to make VR the next thing, and it may potentially be the next thing, but the experience of having VR will always be inferior to a simple controller and TV. Why would I want to buy a $400 head set to play a game tat I can already play on my TV just so I can be "immersed" into the game better. Sony spent a good portion of its time showing VR games, most of which were first person shooters. Even Final Fantasy XV has a VR version where you play as one of the main characters whose job is to just warp around battlefields shooting enemies. So a glorified rail shooter. Resident Evil VII was even unveiled, and while I'm really curious to know a lot more about the game, it was revealed as a VR game first and had a lot of callbacks to P.T. I can't tell if that was just Capcom trying to be cool and fill the gap in our hearts from last year's devastating cancellation, but it just seem like the most underwhelming way to reveal Resident Evil VII.

Speaking of which, Hideo Kojima came to show off his Norman Reedus game Death Stranding, which looks fantastic, but I have no idea what the hell was going on there. It was a beautiful CGI Norman Reedus looking at a grey beach... and that's it! As a tech demo, it looked great, but as a game, I don't know what it's going to be about.

So in short, Sony had bizarre renditions of classic games, a big push for VR that I'm still not convinced on, and a few actually decent showings of games that I'm legitimately interested in. I feel like this conference was still good, but it's not the second coming of Christ that many were expecting it to be. Honestly, Microsoft made a much more compelling case for the Xbox One than Sony's half hearted press conference. Still good, but what a shame.


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