It's often the biggest show of the day -- Sony traditionally close out E3 press conference day with a leviathan of an event, and this year's case was no different. But after Microsoft seriously raised the bar earlier, could Sony deliver and put uncertainty over its PS4 games line up to bed?
Once again Sony managed to stretch 75 minutes of content into more than two hours of bloated padding. Instead of learning about The Last Guardian and God Of War, we got to watch a bald bloke talk about a TV series called 'Powers' that's only coming to the States. Good use of time there. When Microsoft comes across as more focused on games than you are, things have clearly gone very wrong indeed.
Despite all the pomp and circumstance of Sony's event, a few British devs working out of a Guildford lockup stole the show. No Man's Sky looks incredible, boasting scale from the tiniest atom to the limits of the galaxy, procedurally generating an entire universe to explore forever. Oh, ambassador. You are really spoiling us. It's just the tip of an indie iceberg, too, a cavalcade of boutique loveliness coming to Sony's machine including Entwined and Broforce.
It's fantastic. Wonderful. Varied. Beautiful. But... none of it makes me want to buy a PS4. I already have a PC for that.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is the sort of game that'll make me take the plunge, but not until I know whether those new characters aren't just a gimmick shoved in by a new developer. The platforming mechanics still look ridiculously cumbersome. But I can't resist Sackboy's charms, not to mention all that lovely content. Bloodborne will also shift units and delight our inner gothic masochist.
I'm excited about PlayStation TV even though the Vita received short shrift, beyond more Remote Play functionality. That device is gorgeous and deserves more exclusives, so naturally I'll be keen to get on Tales Of Graces R as soon as possible.
Uncharted's brief teaser was fun -- and bereft of meaningful gameplay -- but what about God Of War? Or Guerrilla's RPG project? Or The Last Guardian? I mean, I enjoyed GTA V and The Last Of Us, but "enjoyed" is the operative world in the past tense. Where are the big exclusives -- and the Christmas games to boot?
Gamescom, hopefully. I'm desperate for an excuse to buy a PS4 this year... and to be perfectly honest, I don't feel that Sony have delivered.
Still, I'll drift off to sleep dreaming of No Man's Sky.
I'll be honest...I went into this, as a Sony fan with a PS3, PS Vita, and a PS4, looking for the company to roll out their biggest and brightest guns. In parts we got that. The official unveiling of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was the perfect way to end the show, even if it was a tease for something that had already been teased. I predicted that we'd see a showing from LittleBigPlanet 3 and I absolutely adored that reveal. The PS4 absolutely needs that game and it's wonderful that we're getting that this year.
The star of the show, though, was No Man's Sky. How Hello Games have managed to build this procedurally-generated universe -- the scale is absolutely staggering -- with the tiny team that they have is beyond belief. The game immediately looks inviting and intriguing, and I know it'll come to other platforms later on, but impatience counts for a lot in this industry, and being first can so often prove key. The indie showcase,as it was last year, again proved to be one of the joyous highlights.
Bloodborne looks very interesting indeed, but given that we know very little about it, and given that I can't stand Dark Souls, it wasn't necessarily one of my highlights even if I can recognise that it might be for others. A Grim Fandango remake, however, now that I can fully get behind. It's one of my favourite games of all time, it doesn't run on modern machines, and it's stubbornly refused to show up on Steam or GOG. And now none of that matters.
But I find myself somewhat disappointed. Microsoft's show was far more taut, better paced, didn't wander from the path of games into needless stats and media commitments. Sony might have the edge perhaps in terms of games for some, but few of the titles I was expecting to be sold on arrived. No Last Guardian, no Sony Santa Monica, no real showing for Sony Japan, absentees in the form of Guerilla and Polyphony and Bend. Truthfully I couldn't give a flying proverbial about playing games I already own, and have completed and that only came out a year ago, again on PS4. GTA V on PS4? I genuinely don't understand why that's a wooo-worthy thing aside from the absence of anything else to play, and it's also coming to Xbox One and (this is noteworthy) PC.
Still, that PlayStation TV looks pretty nifty. Shame the Vita was once again sidelined like a plague-ridden bastard child, mind.
Sony had the longest conference of the day, but it certainly won't take long to get through the highlights. Far Cry 4's gameplay looks like an incredible experience and possibly the only single-player game to get genuinely excited about this year on PS4. Diving through a mountain range with a wingsuit before attacking a base on a gyrocopter and looking on as an elephant finishes off a jeep for you would usually reek of scripted concept videos. But you've played Far Cry 3, Ubisoft are going to deliver.
Seeing the Batmobile in a prolonged action sequence in Batman: Arkham Knight was well worth the wait and just watching it smash through those concrete barriers assures me it's going to be the most fun we'll have had with Bats yet. No Man's Sky is a gorgeous-looking prospect, but aside from exploration and space combat, I'm still a little reserved about what we're actually going to do with it.
Let's face it though; this presentation was a series of disappointments. No gameplay for Uncharted 4, the blink and you'll miss it gameplay from The Order, the awkward delivery from most of the Sony bosses (come back Tretton!), the still obviously shit jumping mechanics in LittleBigPlanet 3, the huge amount of time dedicated to old games, the lack of original exclusive games for the Vita and the just plain sad parading of the likes of Dead Island 2 or anything from Suda 51 being on the stage instead of attractive triple A titles. It's after 4am now in the UK and I'm hitting the hay, would someone do me a favour and wake me in 2015?
Well, that definitely wasn't the best presser Sony have done in recent years, but it was far from awful. If you ignore the multiplatform titles, including the indie ones, it was actually fairly bare, but what exclusives were announced had impact. LittleBigPlanet 3 was a massive surprise, as was its release date of this year. If one game can shift PS4s at Christmas, it'll be Media Molecule's creative platformer.
Of course, seeing Uncharted 4 at the end was a welcome if unsurprising closer, but there were really only 3 unique things to take away from the show. Firstly, Project Beast has become Bloodborne and appears to have borrowed inspiration from The Order (which looked a little too "on-rails" to me.) Secondly, PS Vita TV making its way to the west is great news, and hopefully it will see a price point of £69 (I'm being realistic.) Thirdly, the suckerpunch that was the return of Grim Fandango - my jaw was floored for a good few minutes due to that announcement, so thanks Mr Schafer.
Otherwise, seeing No Man's Sky's space combat was awesome, but the rest was first looks at timed exclusives which, while impressive looking (Batman and Far Cry 4, for example), didn't really hit the mark that Sony needed to - that the PS4 is worth buying now if you've yet to buy a current-gen console.
That said, I did laugh at how they tried to poach Xbox 360 owners with the PS4 version of GTA V. Say what you want about whether is should have been made, but there have been plenty of requests for it, and now we have it.
The biggest issue with Sony presser we're the none-gaming parts - they just went on far, far too long, a and that will hurt them in the popularity stakes. It's a shame, because what they announce was pretty good stuff, but it didn't need anywhere near the time it was allocated. Part of me wonders if it was purposefully, perhaps to fill the gap for titles that will no be shown at Gamescom? It's all theory of course, but it doesn't change the fact that Sony lost the momentum it badly needed as a result.
At the end of the day, Sony didn't screw the pooch, but it wasn't the he run they probably should have gone for. One thing's for sure though - whoever was operating the sound desk is going to be fired, because DAMN.
@Dealspwn The presentation had interesting reveals but there was enough filler with exec-speak at full throttle again. Lots of dates though.
— Patrick (@Realhoneyman) June 10, 2014
@Dealspwn Some great games but way too long, waffling on about pointless stuff
— Brad (@Bread_is_good) June 10, 2014