The E3 2018 PlayStation Showcase was expectedly quite different from the media briefings we’ve been used to watch and comment over the last few years, and one where Sony tried and pushed the entire focus on its first-party games rather than flooding the Internet with a series of multi-platform announcements you could’ve seen basically anywhere.
That was a bold move and one that looked destined to make a major difference between Sony’s plan for the E3 and Microsoft’s, something that became even clearer once that the dust had settled on the good and yet flooded with multi-platform announcements Xbox media briefing.
In the end, it was that and something more, with the already announced games from the Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios delivering what they were supposed to be delivering – gameplay – and a couple surprise reveals that perhaps had a more lasting impact in comparison with Xbox’s.
As you’ll see below, at the times there was something that felt a bit off in the middle of brutal displays of power, like a few things that weren’t really convincing from the gameplay trailer we’ve watched and appreciated across the conference, and a conference itself that had a big pace issue because of the ambitious location shifts Sony opted for in the first place.
It probably won’t be a press conference you’ll remember for a long time, as it was mainly focused on stuff we’ve already known for a while and wanted to learn release dates – an aspect the platform owner doesn’t feel any rush to focus on at the moment, and they’re right – on top of everything else, but couple titles needed gameplay to be attached with and they have now.
It also says that we won’t see further new intellectual properties from Sony until the next-gen begins, because they’ve already won the current and are going to monetize their efforts in terms of software and technology with the lineup we’ve already been informed with during the last few years.
As a gamer, I think that’ll be enough.
The Last of Us Part II First Gameplay
Let’s start with The Last of Us Part II. It was the title people were anticipating gameplay for the most, and Naughty Dog kept the untold promise to showcase it at the E3 2018, quickly gaining my “best of the show” in terms of proper games.
It was so perfect that in a few times I had, and perhaps still have, the feeling it isn’t true. It felt pre-calculated in a couple situations because it was really, really out of this world (and this generation. So, it was scripted or it was for another generation of hardware.
Or Naughty Dog is really the magician we’ve been told for a decade.
The long gameplay focused on Ellie’s relationship with another female character we’ve never met before, has a “hidden” reference to Joel but we never see him and has the protagonist dancing with that girl during a party.
On the present timeline, they kiss, delivering the sweetest, most romantic and actual moment in the entire E3, while in a flashback or forward, it remains to be seen – Ellie shows all of her struggle to survive against humans doing all they can to catch her.
She does brutal executions, showing a certain mastery in handling fire and melee weapons, but is also required to hide under cars and in the vegetation, acting stealth to progress in the story. A bit of crafting has put in the demo, on top of that, with a UI similar to the original game.
It’s been amazing, and I have faith that the complete The Last of Us Part II will be, too.
Resident Evil 2 Remake Delivers Gameplay And Release Date
One of the few moments that weren’t dedicated to the first-party titles unexpectedly confirmed the existence of the Resident Evil 2 remake, that’s now simply titled Resident Evil 2, and even came complete of the January 25, 2019 release date.
A release date we were definitely never aware of, considering that the game has never been seen before if not in the original announcement that Capcom was actually building it after the conversations it had with the Italian developer of Daymare: 1998.
So, we’ve been given a couple trailers and few screenshots that truly deliver the idea that Capcom has poured a lot of effort into the remaking of the title. Locations and characters have received overhauls not only in terms of textures refresh but also designs appear to be a bit different, something that for Leon and Claire has already sparked controversy among the fans.
Anyway, the game looks a brilliant Resident Evil 4 treatment of the 1998 classic, and it was incredible not only to see it is alive but also that it is coming very, very soon to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. One of the hottest moment in the showcase for sure.
Death Stranding Reveals Gameplay, Is Less Evocative But More Concrete
Hideo Kojima has always been a polarizing game designer and director, so it doesn’t really surprise me to see the video games community go from considering him a God without any flaw to thinking that he actually is a charlatan with no talent at all.
This is basically what’s happening with Death Stranding, that was only asked to deliver some proper gameplay and did it at the E3 2018 PlayStation Showcase. Now that we know it exists, someone says that the gameplay wasn’t really displayed as the trailer just had Norman Reedus’ character Sam walk around empty locations and talk to other characters just as it happened with the previous trailers.
In comparison with the previous trailer, the one we’ve seen at The Game Awards 2017, I agree that the E3 2018 8-minute clip wasn’t as evocative and thought stimulating, but that was something Kojima had to deal with since he was “imposed” to show some proper gameplay in the end. It was more concrete both on the story (Timefall rain is mentioned for the first time in a trailer, Sam has now a mention as a “porter”) and core mechanics.
While two female characters were showcased (one who could even have a similar role to Metal Gear Solid’s Eva, having given birth to a baby and having appeared in a family photo with Sam; the other looked like an ally or one of the Bridges/of the people who give us orders), it was nice to take note of the fact that the game allows you to climb rocks and swim, on top of traveling across spectacular locations inspired to Iceland.
Kojima said later that certain angles were edited at the computer and won’t be a part of the title, anyway, while UI wasn’t a part of the montage at all. We’ve seen again the baby, worms that get eaten in order to give some more power or health, the enormous fingerprints, the silence, the fog and the enemies floating like they were Skulls from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
There was a lot of the main game in this trailer, a lot more in comparison with what we had seen before the PlayStation Showcase, so we’ll comment even further on this in a dedicated analysis in the short future.
Ghost of Tsushima Debuts Gameplay, And Looks Familiarly Great
Ghost of Tsushima also had a place in the press conference, as it was anticipated, and it was full on gameplay, too. The title had been revealed only back at the Paris Games Week 2017, so it was a bit surprising to see it so deep in the development process, to a certain extent.
The gameplay we’ve watched at the PlayStation Showcase looked awesome in terms of graphics, even though it was very, very familiar for what matters the colors and the core mechanics of walking together with another character, while talking to him/her, just to name a couple examples.
It was nice to hear that the entire sequence was cut from a side quest, so this clearly gives the idea that even secondary stuff will be handcrafted and will have meaningful story content for the players to enjoy in an open world environment.
We’ve been also given an idea of how the combat works, as it looks rather precise and rather punitive when it comes to using the blade to fight an enemy. There will be a fair share of honorability and choreography in it, too, as you would expect from a video game about Japan and samurais.
In this case, too, Ghost of Tsushima wasn’t given a release date but it looks rather polished and not so distant as one would think from a launch. The second half of 2019 seems to be handy.
Remedy Reveals P7 Is Quantum Break clone Control
Another of the very few third party surprises we were given was Control, the next intellectual property from Remedy, the now fully independent developer of Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break, one of my favorite video game makers ever.
Even with premises, I found the reveal was a bit disappointing. Said that we’ll have time to watch it again in action, and learn more details about how it works and what it truly is, since it is releasing in 2019, it really felt like it is a Quantum Break clone.
Of course, Northlight was the engine of the Xbox One and Windows 10 action adventure game, and is still being used on the former P7, so that’s the main reason behind the similitude. Anyway, it looked clear the Finnish studio is reusing assets from the previous project, seeking basically the same gameplay loops (powers to move stuff around the location, for example) and adopting a way too similar artistic style.
In the story, which it’s deployed across sandbox locations, we play as Jesse Faden, the chief of a secret New York agency which has been infiltrated by a supernatural menace. We’ll have to master powers that are out of this world to unravel the mystery behind this force, manipulating the environment and upgrading our equipment.
Again, we’ll have time to see and judge how the title works and how it fully looks like, but looking at how much anticipation there was on a new game from Remedy and how they said they were closing their relationship with Microsoft to pursue a major leap in creative freedom… it felt like a lot of promises were not fulfilled.
I’m totally happy they’ve materialized their next project and made a statement it is coming in 2019, but also wish it was something more courageous and up to the expectation their previous moves built in the community. They have a bit more to prove now.