Gaming

PlayStation E3 2017 Conference – Predictably Great Games

Kratos, Spider-Man, and the return of Monster Hunter – Join Screen Critics as they recap and review Sony’s E3 2017 conference.

Following Microsoft’s E3 2017 briefing, Sony’s PlayStation had a lot to prove to keep ahead of the competition. A new console was out of the question, so the key focus for Sony was their games. While this year’s Sony conference wasn’t exactly filled to the brim with exciting reveals and surprises like last year, the amount of interesting gameplay showcases was enough to tide us over. However, this also came as a bit of a blow to the conference too, depending on the expectations of gamers yearning for just a little more magic besides the already expected.

Sony’s PlayStation conference opened with a live musical composition piece like last year to lead into their opener, and while there were some eye-catching waterfall visuals on display, it lacked the epic tone of the prior God of War surprise reveal. The performance lead into Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the standalone expansion to Uncharted 4. Naughty Dog delivered a better look at the story, and teased some of the big action set pieces we might expect in the final game, sticking to the bombastic action that the Uncharted series has become known for. The opener, while admirable, didn’t exactly stick its landing as well as previous openers like The Last Guardian or God of War. Shawn Layden didn’t appear after the reveal, though, as it lead straight into Horizon: Zero Dawn’s first expansion, The Frozen Wilds, building upon the story elements in the core game.

Days Gone premiered another extended slice of gameplay, expanding upon the open-world setting while showcasing the remarkable AI of its undead legions. The gameplay may seem familiar to veteran Naughty Dog fans, but Days Gone seems to draw influence from several sources, including its stealthy segments lifted from Metal Gear Solid and vicious quick-time kills reminiscent of The Last of Us. Shawn Layden welcomed audiences to the show in a bit of an erratic manner, but assured we would get more of the same from Sony; the games. This lead into one of the biggest surprises of the show; the return of Monster Hunter in the form of Monster Hunter World, which highlighted a brief but impressive gameplay piece that feels just at home for the series’ intense monster hunts.

Sony PlayStation tugged on our nostalgic heartstrings again with the unveiling of a Shadow of the Colossus remake, arguably one of the greatest video games of all time. The remake, being helmed by Bluepoint Studios, overhauls the graphics and appears to improve weather physics and maneuverability as well. This masterpiece is set to make its return in 2018, and was one of the biggest surprises of the night. The next game almost sparked an uproar when it transitioned to Dante from Devil May Cry, only to bait and switch us with a story trailer for Marvel v Capcom Infinite – swiftly destroying rumours about any new DMC game present at the show. The story trailer only detailed bits and pieces, but was adequate enough for fans to sink their teeth into, including a hilarious bit at the end involving Rocket Raccoon.

Call of Duty: WWII, as expected, showcased a new trailer that went into a bit more depth with its gameplay. Fans will certainly love the switch into trench combat and the frenetic action on display, but it didn’t exactly stand out or prove to be as effective as Infinite Warfare’s more enticing gameplay demo last year. The conference then entered its VR segment, which briefly showed off upcoming titles like Star Child, a stylish futuristic platformer, Bravo Team, a nifty VR first-person shooter, and Moss, a cute albeit unoriginal medieval fantasy adventure. The Inpatient, a new VR horror title from Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games, looks to deliver another dose of relentless, slow-building horror. However, the most baffling inclusions in the VR library included a reveal of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which surprisingly didn’t grace Bethesda’s conference seeing as how they’ve been pushing the game back into the mainstream spotlight again, and Final Fantasy XV: Monsters of the Deep, which puts players in the role of protagonist Noctis on his fishing journeys with his buddies. We like to think this one didn’t happen at all.

Sony pulled back the curtain again on the highly anticipated God of War, which revealed more gameplay. It’s shaping up to feel more like the original games, although riding on the hopes that gamers will latch onto the emotional crux of the story revolving around his relationship with his son. The gameplay closed with an amazing glimpse of the World Serpent, a massive aquatic snake that Norse Mythology enthusiasts will instantly recognize. Detroit: Become Human followed with a gameplay trailer with The Cabin in the Woods actor Jesse Williams in the leading role, highlighting its multiple choice-based narrative driven gameplay, although the story about imminent uprising might sound all too familiar. Nonetheless, Quantic Dream seem to be in top form for Detroit, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

Destiny 2 dropped The Red Legion trailer, mainly revolving around the PlayStation exclusive content. The gameplay remains largely in tact from its predecessor, whether this can be seen as good or not. The release date was also pushed up a couple of days to September 6, 2017 instead of the originally announced September 8, 2017. To close off the show, Sony gave us a lengthy PlayStation gameplay demonstration of Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man; complete with wise-cracking remarks and the exhilarating fast-paced combat that put Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series on the map. After a small stealth and hand-to-hand action sequence, the demo took to the air as Spidey latched onto a helicopter and caused some unprecedented havoc to the unsuspecting New York. Needless to say, we’re completely sold on Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man as it promises some jaw-dropping action set pieces and the same energetic and flexible gameplay that marked other successful Spider-Man titles.

Final Thoughts: Sony’s PlayStation E3 2017 conference was surprising in its lack of actual surprises. While Monster Hunter World and the Shadow of the Colossus remake announcements ignited plenty of excitement, other trailers were fairly safe, presumably to tighten up the conference to a more manageable size for emphasis on gameplay. Sony has definitely learned from their past mistakes in announcing games that are far off in development, but it also ironically hindered the element of suspense here. We’d rather have them take their time working on and revealing content closer to the actual release, but in a rather unceremonious fashion, Sony’s big E3 2017 conference wasn’t nearly as monumental as we expected it to be – a good or bad thing?

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