Critical Chicken
E3 2016NewsWednesday, 15th June 2016 by

Sony’s conference made me feel all the feels

As expected, Sony’s PlayStation E3 conference was far more subdued than Microsoft’s: No fancy sets, no fake snow, and no dual-console-announcement bookends to round things off (despite being confirmed, the upcoming PlayStation 4K didn’t even get a look in). But, as expected, there was more of a focus on games, with much of the show consisting of back-to-back trailers and announcements.

It was pretty powerful, and combined with Sony’s studios’ penchant for crafting emotional moments and community feeling out of nothing, it meant Microsoft’s Briefing wasn’t necessarily better after all. Just different.

God of War

I must admit, God of War isn’t normally my kind of game (particularly now it’s peppered with RPG elements), but when the PlayStation conference kicked off with a live gameplay demo, scored by a live orchestra, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement. Combine that with the genuinely touching interplay between player character Kratos and his son, and the swell of the orchestra as the pair finished off a deer they’d been hunting, and I’m not ashamed to admit I got a little choked up for a minute there.

Things were off to a good start.

The Last Guardian

Originally announced for the PS3 in 2009, and beset by production setbacks ever since, even just saying “The Last Guardian is still a thing” would’ve satiated the appetites of many members of the PlayStation crowd. So the beautiful new gameplay footage and October 25th release date were just the icing on the cake: I haven’t been following The Last Guardian particularly closely, but the roar that went up from the crowd when the release date appeared on-screen was a genuinely magical, moving thing to behold.

The game looks stunning, if not quite graphically up to par with console games that were conceived more recently than nine years ago, and I can’t wait to see even more of The Last Guardian in the coming months.

Detroit: Become Human

Matthew hates Quantic Dream, the studio behind PS3 classic Heavy Rain and its not-classic-but-still-decent follow-up, Beyond: Two Souls. But I’ve always enjoyed their stuff in spite of its flaws — I think Quantic Dream has tended to be slightly ahead of its time, and interactive drama will certainly always have a place in the gaming sphere.

But with walking simulators and “butterfly effect” games — the likes of The Walking Dead, Until Dawn, Life Is Strange, and Gone Home — becoming all the rage in the last couple of years, it’ll be interesting to see if Quantic Dream has what it takes to stay ahead of the curve.

The studio’s new game, the clumsily-named Detroit: Become Human, is a loose follow-up to their PS3 tech demo and short film Kara, and explores the relationship between humans and androids in an imagined future. The E3 trailer did a great job showing off Detroit’s gameplay — which, in this chapter at least, involves investigating and gathering clues, before entering into hostage negotiations with a rogue android who’s kidnapped a young girl — and the incredible variety of outcomes your decisions can lead to.

I’ll definitely be picking this one up on day one, so you can expect to hear plenty more from Matthew and me as the release edges ever-closer.

Crash Bandicoot Trilogy Remastered

Yep, Crash Bandicoot is finally coming home to PlayStation, after a galling six-year wait. Twelve years, if you only count games that aren’t awful. In October, Crash will appear in Activision’s Skylanders: Imaginators, but the really big news is that Sony, Activision, and Vicarious Visions are teaming up to bring remastered versions of PSone classics Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped to the PS4.

The games are apparently being remade “from the ground up” for Sony’s latest hardware, which should make for a smoother, more consistent experience — especially with Crash 1, which was way harder and more bare-bones than its successors.

These games played such a huge role in my childhood — the original PlayStation was my first ever console and, along with Porsche Challenge, Crash Bandicoot was my first ever console game. I have so many happy memories of all three of Naughty Dog’s Crash titles, so even two days later I’m pretty dumbfounded by this announcement. After years of teasing, the way SIE President Shawn Layden casually announced the new collection still doesn’t feel real. Cue another massive lump in my throat.

Suffice to say, I’m more excited about this than I have been about any other video game for years — and I don’t think I’m alone. Just listen to that crowd.

Death Stranding

Death Stranding, the new game from Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, rounded off Sony’s event with a gorgeous, realtime-rendered trailer (and I’m not just talking about Norman Reedus’s butt). Exactly what the game might be about is anybody’s guess; the trailer felt more like a mood piece than anything, and certainly poses far more questions than it answers. But this is such a departure from Kojima’s past work that I would’ve been insane not to include it here. I’m dying to know more about Death Stranding — I just hope it’s as accessible and thoughtful as its announcement trailer would have me believe.

What’s your favourite E3 game so far? And who do you think won the show? Let us know.

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E3 2016News