Pretty and predictable: the highs and lows of PS4’s Paris Games Week reveals
Like most of you I sat through 90 minutes of PlayStation 4 reveals last night, as Sony kicked off Paris Games Week by showing new games, old favourites, a handful of imminent releases and a few little oddities for 2016 and beyond.
Maybe I’m still hungover from Sony’s E3 showing, where it kicked the face off the competition with Shenmue, Final Fantasy, The Last Guardian and Uncharted 4, but what I saw last night was solid – very solid – not spectacular. That might seem a little harsh, but once you’ve gone big you can’t go back.
Still, there are reasons to be cheerful for the future direction of the PS4. There might not have been bombshells dropping on Paris, but there were certainly a few explosions of excitement. Let’s take a look at the big games.
The third-party hugs
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Star Wars: Battlefront and Street Fighter 5 are all looking bloody tasty. There’s no doubt about that. But rolling them out at the beginning of the show felt more like an obligation to third-party partners more than a final push for excitement from the players. SF5 was the strongest of the three, not just because we got to see Dhalsim in action, but also because Yoshinori Ono was wearing a pair of deely boppers like the goddamn hero he is.
Photo credit: Arnaud H.
New games! Boundless, Matterfall and Vector
Sony revealed three brand new games last night in rapid succession – Boundless, Matterfall and Vector. Boundless seems to be a cross-platform mash-up of Minecraft in space and was previously known as Oort Online. If you want to sample it today, you can get it on Steam Early Access for £27. Matterfall was only teased but as it’s from the minds behind Resogun we’re interested. And Vector looks to carry on the tradition of music/racing games for a new generation who know who AVICII is. New games that you didn’t know were coming to PS4? That’s what it’s all about.
Rutger Hauer in No Man’s Sky
How do you up the interest levels of No Man’s Sky? Add a voiceover from Blade Runner’s Roy Batty and let everyone already excited by the prospect of space exploration nerd the fuck out. so it’s not releasing imminently, but you know what, June doesn’t seem that far away now.
That Driveclub surprise
Okay, it would have been more of a surprise if it hadn’t already leaked, but shit happens. Some of us will look at Driveclub Bikes with it’s uninspiring name and shrug. We didn’t like Driveclub, we’re not likely to get excited over the addition of superbikes. But those that like Driveclub really like it, so this no doubt is a bullseye announcement for fans of the PS4’s exclusive racing series.
And to be honest, I’m still impressed when someone says on stage “it’s available right now” and it is. That shit never gets old.
Uncharted 4’s multiplayer has gone all mystical
Uncharted’s combination of shooting and relentless banter seems to be just fine in multiplayer, now with added mysticism, mates and ziplines. Whether you’re a single-player or multiplayer fan (or gosh, both) you can’t deny the detail and work that’s going in to U4’s online shooter modes. It’s 60 frames per second, will have 8 maps at launch, is adding vehicles at a later date and looks top ranking in the visual department. Another reason to get excited for the big release next year.
Is Dreams Media Molecule’s vanity project?
How far does Media Molecule take the “create your own game” mantra before it becomes unrealistic? I’m a player, not a designer. I find it hard to get excited by these games, no matter how beautiful it looks (and it does look beautiful). Part of me thinks it’s great that Sony gives Media Molecule the freedom to do what it wants, and part of me thinks it’s only the team in its enclosed studio that understands what it’s creating and how to get the most out of it. I’ll never be part of that because someone else will always make something better than I could imagine.
I’ve watched this demo a few times now and it looks really interesting if you want to play around with bears and cakes and stuff. I don’t know how to feel about it other than confused but I’ll remain open-minded until release because I still don’t get exactly what it is.
WTF: Until Dawn becomes an arcade shooting gallery
Balls. I mean, we all wanted some more Until Dawn. It’s just that we liked the original because it was about storytelling, life-threatening decisions, subverting a few horror genre cliches and some gloriously gory deaths. But Until Dawn: Rush of Blood sounds like a glorified light gun shooter for PlayStation VR. Yuck. I’ll remain optimistic but let’s hope Super Massive are working on other Until Dawn horror experiences.
Gran Turismo is back!
It’s always good to see an iconic series return to the PlayStation. The big surprise here is not that a new Gran Turismo has been announced – in this case, GT Sport, a competitive online racer with real-world recognition for winners – but that there’s a beta due in early 2016. Notorious for years of delay, has Polyphony Digital finally got around to releasing projects on schedule? If the beta does come out in early 2016, that would be a genuine surprise.
Crytek’s Robinson Crusoe in space VR thing
Watch this video. It’s that exact same scene from Peter Jackson’s King Kong, right? Or it’s Crossy Road with dinosaurs and Destiny’s Ghost. As you would expect from Crytek it’s gloriously pretty, but that’s about all we know for now. Interesting, but difficult to get excited about at this stage.
The big reveal
Sony’s big reveal was the return of Quantic Dream and its new game Detroit. The trailer is lovely and cinematic, with all the talk of love and philosophy that we’d expect from the French studio behind Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain. It even opens with a semi-naked woman, a David Cage hallmark.
The story seems like familiar sci-fi – what does it mean to be artificial life, how do human’s live with robots that have taken their roles in society – but that’s not a reason to dismiss it. It’s clearly in early stages, and we’re yet to learn more about the actual gameplay. But something felt a little flat with this reveal. It wasn’t the show-closer we were expecting – maybe becuase it seems a little too like a Quantic Dream cliche?
Rayman creator goes Wild
Who doesn’t love a presentation by an eccentric French man? We’re in Paris, and at this event we got two.
Rayman creator Michel Ancel finally talked in detail about Wild, where every tattoo on your character represents an experience, where you can ride a bear and take it for a swim, and control animals using shamanistic skills and other madness. Okay, so that might not sound like back-of-the-box bullet points, but watch this video and see how Ancel’s eyes bulge when he talks about his game. That’s passion. Tell me this isn’t going to be a big game for the PS4 in the future and I won’t believe you. Wild should have been the PS4’s showcase closer, becuase it’s one of the most exciting projects in development for the PS4 right now.