Sony 2014 Press Conference Impressions

The last conference of the first day, and by far the longest, Sony had a lot to show. Last year they put out what is widely considered to be one of the best conferences to happen at E3. So they had a very tough act to follow. Thankfully, I feel like they did so in excellent fashion.

The show started with a trailer for Bungie’s RPG shooter Destiny. Narrated by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, it sure did look a lot like Halo. That’s not a bad thing, of course. The trailer was neat, and after it Sony came out and announced that when Destiny launches they will also be launching a new white Playstation 4 that comes bundled with Destiny. They then announced that anyone interested could sign up for a Playstation exclusive first-look that would let people play the game in its Alpha starting on Thursday. Finally, they announced that the Destiny beta will come to the Playstation 4 on July 17th.

Next up came The Order: 1886. They showed a gameplay segment that had one of the characters in some kind of dark area looking around with a lantern. He then comes across a person eating a corpse. This person then starts a pretty gruesome transformation process, turning into what I’m pretty sure is a werewolf. There’s a slight chase, the player takes some useless shots at the beast, then it lunges at the player before the gameplay cuts. I’d love it if The Order: 1886 manages to get werewolves right in a video game, it’s one of the monsters that always seems to get the short end of the stick.

The next trailer was for an indie game called Entwined. The guy trying to explain the game had his mic cut out, so I didn’t catch the full thing, but it seems to be about two souls trying to get back together. They fly down a corridor and I guess they have to hit markers. In a bit of a surprise announcement, they revealed that it would be available for purchase right now. Sony also used this chance to note that the development team, Pixelopus, was going to be their new first party studio. They then announced a stand alone expansion pack to Infamous: Second Son called Infamous: First Light. This prequel expansion puts you in the role of Fetch and will probably be retelling her back story. Since it’s stand alone you don’t need to own Second Son to play it, but it seems that doing so will get you some extra stuff. Should be fun if it’s anything like Second Son.

After that was the surprise announcement of LittleBigPlanet 3. They played the game live on stage, and it was refreshing to see as the people playing were awful. Some mic problems, thankfully the last time they would show up, also made hearing the beginning part hard. It seems like Sackboy will be joined by three new characters, each with their own new powers. It looked like a lot of fun, and as usual I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy levels people will build. And speaking of levels, on stage the developers confirmed that all levels built with LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 will be playable in LittleBigPlanet 3, and will also receive a graphical boost.

Following this was a CGI trailer for Bloodborne. Created by the Dark Souls team, and headed by its director, this game featured a Van Helsing type character wandering through a town infested with some kind of virus. His shotgun was pretty noticeable which makes me wonder how the addition of simplistic firearms will be changing the Dark Souls-styled gameplay in the future. All in all it looks like a pretty exciting project. We then got to see the first gameplay of Far Cry 4. The player sneaks around for a bit, similar in style to the last game, before opening fire on a group of soldiers. He then chases, hijacks, and drives a convoy off a cliff before using the wingsuit to reach safety. At this point a second player joins with a gyro copter and the two wreck havoc on an enemy outpost. The combat near the end got pretty crazy, I actually lost track of what was going on once or twice. At the end Sony said that players can invite their friends to play co-op in Far Cry 4 even if the other play did not own the game. I hope that works out as planned, because if so that’s amazing.

Dead Island 2 is the next game to show up, with a funny CGI trailer. I’d complain about the complete shift in tone from the extremely dramatic trailer the first game had, but this is probably for the best. Dead Island’s actual games aren’t that serious. A tongue-in-cheek tone may just be for the best. Also, the trailer’s song has found its way onto my iPod so that’s cool. Sony then begins to talk about a few games having exclusive content on the Playstation. They mention that Diablo III will have an exclusive dungeon full of enemies from The Last of Us, Destiny will get some exclusive content (later noted to be an exclusive raid, multiplayer map, and some guns), and that Hulk will only be available on the Playstation version of Disney Infinity 2. Little bonuses, but nothing major.

Next Sony announced that they made a little deal with Paradox Entertainment to begin getting their games on the Playstation 4. The first one announced is Magicka 2. The live action trailer is pretty hilarious, and if the game is anything like Magicka I’ll be pretty pleased. They then announced that Grim Fandango will be getting a Ps4/Vita exclusive remake published by Disney, something that was a very pleasant surprise. No trailer though. Devolver Digital then showed up and announced that they will be bringing a good chunk of their games to the Playstation 4. They showed quick trailers for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Broforce, Titan Soul, Not a Hero, and The Talos Principal. A list of interesting looking indie games that all looked interesting to me. I’m especially excited for Hotline Miami 2.

We got another live action trailer from Suda 51 for an exclusive game called Let It Die. It looks like what you’d expect from a Suda 51 game: super weird. There wasn’t much gameplay, but we saw lots of people walking around with their weapons and armor being rated, so I’d guess this is an RPG of some sort. Guess we’ll have to wait to see more though. We then got a trailer for another exclusive called Abzu. It’s made by a new company headed by Journey’s art director. Appropriately enough, Abzu looks to be like an underwater version of Journey. The fact that Journey’s composer is working on it also helps that comparison.

Hello Games then took the stage and showed off No Man’s Sky. The demo was pretty cool, and showed a character wandering around a planet before jumping into his spaceship and taking off. Seamlessly he was in space and ran into a squadron of ships. After a brief fight he enters and lands on another planet. It made the game look lovely, but didn’t give too much of an impression of what the game play would be. At the very least I can tell that there will be space battles, so that’s cool. Hopefully there will be more to it as well.

About here Sony begins to lose steam and the excellent stream of game announcements slows down. It wouldn’t be a Sony conference without a jab at Microsoft, and sure enough they make fun of the recent removal of the Kinect camera. They then mention Project Morpheus and announce that there will be two completely new games available to play along with a demo of EVE: Valkyrie. They then announce that 25 free to play games will be coming to the Playstation 4 and Vita sometime soon. Among the list I noticed Planetside 2, Kingdom Under Fire II, and Loadout for the Playstation 4. On the other hand, I saw Fat Princess: Piece of Cake, Big Fest, and Destiny of Spirits for the Vita. Nothing really mind blowing here.

They then announced that the Playstation Now streaming program will begin an open beta on the Playstation 4 on July 31st, with Playstation 3 and Vita versions to follow. They then followed by saying that the Playstation Vita TV will be making its way to the states. It will either cost $100 on its own, or be bundled with a Duelshock 3 controller, an 8gb memory card, and a copy of The Lego Movie Videogame for $140. Sony also announced their first original TV series made for Playstation in the form of an animated show called Powers. They said that the first episode will be free to anyone who owns a Playstation 4, and that the entire first season will be free for anyone with a Playstation Plus subscription, so that was a nice surprise.

We finally get back to games with a gameplay trailer of Mortal Kombat X. Fans of the 2011 reboot and Injustice: Gods Among Us should feel right at home here as the game looked as if it played similar to them. Of course, we couldn’t go a fighting game without a character with an annoying Tara Strong voice over, so don’t worry. That’s here too. Sadly we move back to not-games as Sony shows a trailer of the upcoming Ratchet & Clank movie. They also announce that Insomniac is working on a remake of the original Ratchet & Clank, but say little more than that about it.

The rest of the show was thankfully all games related, starting with a trailer for The Last of Us Remastered. It looks like the same game with better graphics, which is a good thing of course. Weird how they fully admit they put spoilers in the trailer. We also got a trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I’m going to admit that by this point the show was running way too long and so I began to conk out a little here. It was a good trailer, but I honestly can’t remember too much else about it. Just that it was a good trailer. I also don’t remember too much about the next trailer which was for a Ps4 port of Grand Theft Auto V. I haven’t actually played Grand Theft Auto V so I was kind of happy that I would finally get the chance. I also heard a lot about how the Playstation 3/Xbox 360 version felt held back, so getting it on more powerful hardware can only be a good thing.

We then got game play from Batman: Arkham Knight. It featured Batman suiting up and taking out some thugs with a sweet looking slow motion ability. After this he hopped into the Batmobile and turned it into a hover tank, which then proceeded to take out some APCs in a very third person shooter like fashion. After this Batman launched himself out of it and glided over to a building. Upon entry the trailer glitched out and stuttered before suddenly Scarecrow showed up to taunt Batman and promise to ruin Gotham. The next, and finally last, trailer came from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. It looks dark and makes me worried for Nathan’s future. It’s promised to be the last Uncharted game, and that has me even more worried.

Overall, Sony gave an excellent show. While they probably didn’t need two whole hours to do everything, I feel like they brought out the big guns and really showed what they had here. That said, the could have probably dropped the whole non-games section from the presentation.

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