Player2 Vs. Playstation @ PGW 2017
Playstation, the manufacturers of the world’s *currently* most successful video games console, had the confidence to stand before the world and declare that E3 was only half of the story they had to tell in 2017, and at their Paris Games Week 2017 press conference, more of the story would be told. Player2’s own Matt Hewson and Paul James consumed all that the makers of the PS4 had to say and deliver their verdict below.
*Note that we’ve not discussed every game on shoe because in the pre-show alone there were 28 of them, we’ve discussed what we consider to be some of the biggest talking points of the conference and pre-show.*
Paul: Kicking off the show in the greatest way possible, Guacamelee 2 was the first announcement from the pre-show and it immediately had me on board. 4-player co-op, new mechanics and more of those amazing visuals make it an instant buy for me. I was a massive fan of the original largely due to its humour and really tight handling. Consider me sold on a sequel
Matt: Look I am just disappointed that it isn’t called Guacamelee 2: Super Happy Turbo Chicken Edition. I am totally down with more undead lucha platforming. The first game was a tight experience with a sense of humour that ticked all the boxes so more of the same (and that is what the sequel appears to be) is fine by me. Hopefully, they skip some of those rage-inducing, controller-throwing portal puzzles from the first game though.
Hong Kong Massacre
Paul: Loved the Max Payne X Hotline Miami vibe of this top-down shooter, it looked fantastic seems to play just as well. The game’s impressive use of colour, and (seemingly) slow-motion has me quite keen to try it out. Dubious about the way the aiming works, but it’s early days so with some hands-on previews I’m sure all will be well.
Matt: Well this is probably as close as I am going to get to a Sleeping Dogs sequel. I am a little wary of new twin-sticks at the moment, simply because we have been flooded with so many high-quality entries in the genre. Can this compete with so many cracking games? I hope so.
The Gardens Between
Paul: Well, we just saw this game at PAXAUS and it was extraordinary. Now we know that it’s coming to PS4 in 2018 and that is awesome news! Check out Stephen’s interview with the team at The Voxel Agents to learn more, but based on what I played this weekend alone I’m sold, the fact that I can play it on PS4 is a bonus!
Matt: I didn’t get time to play it at PAX but it is certainly looking like a cracker. I am getting a real Brothers: Tale of Two Sons vibe from the game and that is more than fine by me. Also, Aussie developed which is awesome.
PS VR Love
Paul: PSVR has some great games on the way, highlighted by the announcements of Megalith and Bow to Blood. Megalith looks like it could be a fantastic first-person brawler while Bow to Blood promises gorgeous flight action. They both are doing cool things for the platform and added to the several other announcements like Moss coming in February and the platform has a rosy future ahead. Also Star Child and Final Fantasy XV Fishing.
Matt: Who is the target market for Final Fantasy Fishing? Honestly. If you are excited by this prospect please comment below. I want to know you exist. But my pick from this VR stuff is Stifled. I managed to have a chat with the developer of Stifled during PAX and this is such a unique use of VR. Really really cool. Stay tuned for my interview soon.
Tennis World Tour
Paul: While I’m not nuts for tennis, it is something that I casually enjoy. I’ve played a few of the Top Spin games over the journey, Mario Tennis games have been enjoyed, Everybody’s Tennis is now quite old despite the fact that it somewhat recently became a PS2 to PS4 Classic addition. We’ve not had a Tennis sim in a long time, Tennis World Tour could give us all that.
Matt: I don’t expect anyone else to care about this one, but I am just happy there is finally a new Tennis game coming. It has been a long time since Top Spin 4. A robust career/story mode would be super cool in a title like this one.
Paul: Never played the original, however, the praise for it was hard to ignore, just as was the excitement from pockets of the internet in the moments following the Spelunky 2 reveals told me to sit up and pay attention. Might have to give this one a look.
Matt: Well I did play the original quite a bit and have fond memories of cave explorations and swearing at spike traps. Spelunky was kind of at the forefront of the Roguelike genre’s push into the mainstream and its simple, yet addictive gameplay loop became almost the blueprint for this style of game. However I have one worry, I don’t think “more of the same” will cut it here. I think the dev’s need to take the game to new places for fear of getting lost in the increasingly crowded gaming space it occupies.
And then the Conference Began
Ghost of Tsushima
Paul: I’d been waiting on news pertaining to the activities of SuckerPunch for quite some time, and had expected their next work (inFAMOUS related or otherwise) to not reach my ears until PSX time. Turns out however that they were ready to go now, and this new IP in the form of Ghost of Tsushima looks exceptional. I cannot imagine that we’re in for a Nioh style Samurai experience, rather a fast action – that is after all the SP bread and butter. Not expecting it anytime soon but it’s gonna be one to watch.
Matt: No inFamous is a little disappointing but hey I am totally down with Ghost of Tsushima. It looks stunning and that trailer was apparently all in-engine footage. I have always felt that Japanese history and mythology has been largely untapped in the gaming world, especially in a period setting like this one so it is super cool to see. I am expecting an open world, action-adventure and hopefully Ninjas, lots and lots of Ninjas.
Paul: So I distinctly recall the E3 moment when Playstation announced Entwined and the fact that it would be debuting that same day on PSN. The game did some cool things but was ultimately a bit of a disappointment. PixelOpus has taken much of what they learned in Entwined, transferred it into a new genre and loaded a pile of depth and systems on top creating the quite interesting, and visually pleasing, Concrete Genie. No ETA but I’m keen to learn more.
Matt: This game looks, in a word, stunning. The art style is amazing. I have no idea how the game will hold up as an actual interactive experience but boy oh boy am I excited to find out. It looks to be some sort of puzzle experience that encourages some out of the box thinking and if the devs can get the gameplay to the point that it is even half as impressive as the visuals then they are onto a winner.
Paul: Erica is the latest in a line of PlayLink games for PS4, and in this interactive movie/game hybrid you have to make key choices through certain points in the narrative that drive the direction of the story. As Erica’s life begins to collide with that of a killer a powerful dynamic is promised to emerge and provided this ‘game’ is of an appropriate, accessible length, I must say that I’m intrigued by it and would happily consider the future investment based on what Sony showed me here
Matt: Look, FMV games haven’t got the greatest history when it comes to gameplay. That being said there have been some great narrative cinematic games like Until Dawn recently so all is not lost. Combining that Until Dawn style experience with FMV could work and it seems that might actually be what they are going for. I am going to adopt a wait-and-see tactic on this one but I am interested to learn more.
Blood & Truth
Paul: Blood & Truth takes what Sony’s London Studio did with London Heist (a part of Playstation VR Worlds) and blows it right out into a full-length game. Boasting dual wielding, lock-picking, a greater ability to move around in the world, stealth and more, I’m left pretty excited by the prospect. I really did enjoy what little there was to London Heist so this fully fleshed out experience ticks a lot of boxes
Matt: I am still on the fence about the whole FPS on VR thing. I worry that they become little more than shooting galleries. However, this one looks to have more depth than simply shooting bad guys as they pop up on screen. It also has a cool “British Gangster” vibe going for it so it looks like we can play out our Lock Stock dreams in VR.
Destiny 2: The Curse of Osiris
Paul: After finishing the campaign, Nightfall and a bunch of Strikes, I’d dropped off Destiny 2, knowing all too well that this day would come. It has and The Curse of Osiris looks pretty sweet. The Osiris character himself looks and sounds quite ominous, while I’m a fan of the Vex so an expansion that looks fairly centered around that race is also a major plus for me.
Matt: More Destiny. I will buy it, I will play it, I will finish it, I will put it down again. I hope it is a good chunk though like the Taken were in Destiny 1. I will be disappointed if it is only a few levels and a new strike.
Monster Hunter World
Paul: We both went hands-on with Monster Hunter World the other day and enjoyed what we played. This new trailer reinforces my desire to play my first ever MH game, while the PS exclusive addition of Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn) makes my heart all warm and fuzzy inside. The trailer largely showed us much of the same, but I’m happy with that.
Matt: I am in the same boat as you Paul, for the first time ever I am kind of excited about a Monster Hunter game. It looks great and from the PAX demo, plays well. My only worry is sustaining interest in the gameplay loop for what is likely to be a very, very large game.
Call of Duty WWII
Paul: It’s Call of Duty, so it instantly ships millions of units, but I’ve been public with my stance that this is the closest I’ve come to buying a COD game since the original Modern Warfare. The World War II setting scratches all the right itches once again in this trailer, but I cannot help but think that the movement is too fast, something that’s emerged in recent COD titles but doesn’t really fit with the WWII setting. I guess we’ll know in a couple of days.
Matt: I am finding it very hard to care about returning to WWII. Happy to be proven wrong, but I think it is well-worn territory that really doesn’t have anything new to offer to the Call of Duty franchise.
Paul: Paul James and non-Mario Kart racers don’t typically get along, but I must say that On Rush, a new arcade racer from Codemasters looks pretty damn sweet. It’s full of charm and style and that has my interest, now it’s down to how it plays – will it tickle my fancy? That remains to be seen.
Matt: Crazy off-road shenanigans from the Codemasters, arguably the best racing devs on the planet. Yes please. It has been a long while since this sort of game has gotten anything more than the budget treatment so I am keen to get revving.
Paul: We’ve seen a pair of trailers prior to this, that attempted to highlight as much gameplay as possible, but today’s story trailer was the change of promotional direction that I think we all needed. Seeing Peter Parker, Mary Jane, Miles Morales and how they interact with Mr Negative, many other villains and everyone else around them was fantastic and absolutely what I needed ahead of a 2018 release
Matt: Spider-man is fast becoming my most anticipated title for 2018. I have so many fond memories of Spider-man 2 and a huge love for Insomniac games so really this is right in my wheelhouse. I have slight apprehension about quick-time events but I trust Insomniac to get the balance right. Mark me down for day one web-slinging action.
Detroit: Become Human
Paul: Another one that I played this past weekend, and in this newest Detroit trailer we see another Android in another sticky situation and the many combinations and permutations that could play out dependent upon the choices you make. I’m really happy with how the project is progressing but was mighty surprised by the Spring (our Autumn) 2018 release window. That was about 4 months earlier than I had anticipated.
Matt: I am still of the opinion that the idea of a David Cage game is always better than the reality of a David Cage game, a bit like KFC really, and just like a dodgy chicken joint his games give the impression of being satisfying and fulfilling but end up leaving you feeling hollow inside. I hope this isn’t the case with Detroit because the concept is undeniably cool.
God of War
Paul: For a game that’s coming in “Early 2018” I’m a little disappointed that we don’t have a solid God of War release date yet, that said, Sony has had some issues hitting release dates in recent years, so I’m not too upset by their desire to keep their finger hovering above the release date button for a while longer yet. It wasn’t a very long slice of gameplay either but expect PSX to be the home to more and quite likely a final release date.
Matt: I am still surprised that I actually care about a new God of War game. Sony has done an amazing job of ramping the hype for this one and I find myself excited to spend time with Kratos once again. I didn’t think that would ever happen again. The combat looks satisfyingly brutal without all the flash of the older games, a direction I appreciate, and the world itself seems to be highly detailed. I just hope the story lives up to its promise because if it does, this could be a GOTY contender.
Shadow of the Colossus
Paul: There’s a lot of love out there for Shadow of the Colossus, and we’ve received two different pieces of content from PGW – the tone piece trailer as well as the gameplay that was shown during the presentation, both feature incredible attention to detail but how those controls work is still a question that needs to be answered by either Sony or Bluepoint ahead of its release. Post-conference it was revealed that Shadow of the Colossus would be coming to PS4’s on February 6th
Matt: Nope, really not into it. I know that is sacrilege but I just don’t think the gameplay will hold up in modern times. I would have much preferred a sequel that updated the concept and not an all-singing, all-dancing remake of what is now a very old game.
Horizon: Zero Dawn – The Frozen Wilds
Paul: Coming to steal the hype from the Xbox One X’s launch day is the DLC to my favourite game of 2017 (to date). Horizon was exceptional and the Frozen Wilds is more of what I loved, though both Guerrilla and Sony are being cagey about many aspects of this DLC. We’re 7 days away and we still don’t yet know all that much about this DLC. I trust them though and am eager to download it early next week
Matt: Look Paul, we know the real title to beat on the 7th is Hand of Fate 2, but I digress. More Aloy, the coolest lead character in 2017 gaming, is fine by me. More robots, more cool gadgets and more instances of me yelling “run away” like something out of a Monty Python sketch is a-ok with me. Horizon is easily in my top three games of the year and I can’t see why this expansion would change that in anyway.
The Last of Us: Part II
Paul: I was adamant that The Last of Us would be something for PSX, but man was I off the mark. Not a hint of Joel or Ellie was present in this new trailer instead focussing on new characters (one of them voiced by Laura Bailey) but it still carried the same, dark, dangerous atmosphere. The same brutality is present in the world and I’m interested to see where these new characters fit into the picture. I still firmly believe that we won’t be playing TLOU Part II until 2019 at the earliest but I’m lapping up every morsel that Naughty Dog gives me.
Matt: I am really happy to see new characters in this trailer. My biggest worry for TLOU 2 is that its very existence will lessen the impact of the first game. Hopefully, that isn’t the case because I am sure everything else about this game is going to be A+
Paul: Sony had promised that E3 was only half the story, and while I don’t believe this was the entire second half, it was an unreal next third of the 2017 story. I expect a release date for at least God of War at PSX as well as some Days Gone (which was unsighted at the event) and more from almost all of the other first party games out of Playstation. The big question relating to Media Molecule and the fate of Dreams remains – I cannot help but think that the project is now dead. Expect Playstation to also lean quite heavily on their third-party partnerships, the likes of Final Fantasy VII Remake for example. An excellent PGW conference that leaves this Playstation fan very happy.
Matt: What impressed me most about this showing wasn’t so much the AAA but the indies. I was quite critical of Sony for almost skipping indies entirely at E3 so I am glad they have made amends here. The biggest announcement for me is Sucker Punch’s new title and I can’t wait to see more, but there was a lot of high-quality products on show. Good times ahead for Sony fans, of that there is no doubt.