At 6PM PDT (or stupid o’clock in my GMT) Sony took to the stage to make big revelations about the upcoming Playstation 4. I watched from the comfort of my office chair, and here is how I felt it unfolded.
It’s not dull. It’s not ugly. Sony haven’t gone overboard with fashionable design as you might from Apple. It’s quite a big black box, but it’s hardly a monster. I think it’s a good design, but I don’t think that it quite got the cheer that Sony were expecting, which caused a slightly awkward moment, something that was repeated throughout, as speakers waited for applause.
I will just get the nasty bits out of the way first. As fantastic as most of the conference was, it wasn’t without a few flaws, most notably the demonstration of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The game itself looks fantastic, and I was particularly wowed by the ship battle. But then… the game froze. This was a major blow, and probably a bigger embarrassment that the failure of Microsoft’s Battlefield 4 trailer, as it showed gameplay failing. If Playstation 4 eventually falls short of promises, this could be the seminal example for gamers to tease with.
The conference didn’t begin particularly brilliantly either. While the speed of Vita sales is escalating, it isn’t really in the public’s interest. Things didn’t improve as Sony chose to show footage of the upcoming hit The Last of Us out in just three days. Sure, they wanted to boast about the acclaim, but it was totally unnecessary. It looked as though there wouldn’t be much to report, though obviously that didn’t turn out to be the case. And I also can’t resist giving one thing outside of the games and consoles. Jack Tretton is boring as hell.
Beyond: Two Souls looks pretty good, but there is still too much focus on the cinematic side. We get it. Ellen Page and Willem Defoe are still in it. Some trailers were remarkably vague, such as Rain, Knack and Puppeteer, which was a bit of a pity. However, there were moments that Sony were correct in keeping short, such as a demonstration of the graphics in NBA 2K14. They look good, but it didn’t need to be dwelled upon for long.
The list of exclusive titles for the PS4 was more impressive than that of the Xbox One, such as Killzone 4: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son and the intriguing The Order: 1886 from the makers of the God of War series, looked good too. The Dark Sorcerer looked great fun too, and definitely achieved humour better that The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot at Microsoft’s conference.
Though Square Enix’s input was some of most impressive. Final Fantasy XV looks absolutely sensational, and the return of Kingdom Hearts (although they admit that it will be quite some time before it is released, choosing to announce the release date as ‘when it’s ready’. Hopefully it won’t follow the same fate at Duke Nukem Forever) is great news. However, the exclusive content of other games, such the 1960s Batman costume in the great looking Batman: Arkham Origins were painful moments.
While it will be available on Xbox One, Sony were lucky enough to be the ones to present the gameplay premiere of Destiny, which as is normally the case with Bungie games, looks like a great FPS.
Grand Theft Auto V got a brief mention, but no video coverage. I think that this was a very good idea. I think that gamers are already well aware of what to expect, and considering just how eagerly awaited it is, an extra promotional push would be unnecessary. Similarly, the Call of Duty franchise got a mention, but little more. Great news for the many, many gamers who ridicule the series.
Another blow for Microsoft came with a brief segment on multimedia, discuss Sony’s TV and film services. It could even be said that the Xbox One conferences helped Sony, as after what seemed to be an eternity of discussing multimedia capabilities, Sony were able to give the subject a few minutes to say ‘we can do that too’.
Yesterday I decided that Sony had to pull out something very special. While Microsoft’s coverage of the Xbox One wasn’t that incredible, I imagined that it would be very difficult to beat. Sony had been beaten to coverage of Battlefield 4, and one of what was previously one of their few flagship titles – Metal Gear Solid. Also, after the demonstrations of Forza, Gran Turismo 6 was destined not to be much better. On the other hand, they could have simply matched Microsoft. Microsoft had some good-looking exclusives, but not a lot that blew me away. With very little that they could pull out of the bag, there was very little that they could do to blow Microsoft out of the water.
That’s unless they broke the news that they would not follow Microsoft’s controversial online schemes and used game charges. Much to attendees joy, that’s exactly what they did. I don’t think that gamers have ever been so happy about an announcement that something being kept the same. “And it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours.” As direct a stab as they could give without uttering the words ‘Microsoft’ or ‘Xbox’.
Though that’s not to say there wasn’t any revolutionary news, such as the ability for indie developers to self-publish their games (the section showing off eight upcoming indie games across genres was one of my favourite segments), and that (albeit after the conference) the PS4 will be region-free.
Congratulations Sony. Aside from technical hitches, it couldn’t have gone much better.
– The cheapest of the two upcoming consoles.
– None of Microsoft’s controversial schemes
– Outstanding exclusives.
– Region free.
– The best support of indie gaming so far.
– Even a good multimedia tool to rival the Xbox One.
– A few trailers were bit vague and mysterious, without being that intriguing.
– Vita coverage was very disappointing.
– The porting of Diablo III probably wasn’t even worth a mention.