E3, the gaming event of the year. Conference after conference of the biggest and brightest to come. The event of all events as far as gamers are concerned. The year 2013 promised to be a great year for gamers and today, the industry has only proven that feeling right. While Microsoft, Ubisoft and EA Games had great conferences, I think everyone can agree that the belle of the ball was Sony’s Press release. Don’t get me wrong, the exclusives from the Xbox One were awesome and great but all in all the promise and message from Sony just took the cake for me.
While the event started late and began with things that are currently out, like the Playstation 3 and the Vita, it still finished strongly. The show started with a bombardment of present generation trailers, games all set to be released this year. One new title after another, at a blistering pace that left us little time to breathe. The high volume of games was a nice little tidbit but it did nothing to address the elephant in the room, the PS4. I mean, when it comes down to it, that’s what everyone has been anticipating since the console’s announcement a few months ago.
Playstation 4 Unveiling
Luckily, the momentum picked up steam with the unveiling of the console. It was sleek and screamed futuristic, not to mention compact, at least to my eyes. It got the ball rolling, but everything seemed to go downhill from there.
With the company following with media information, and what kind of services the new console would have in store for its users. Topics like movies, tv-shows and other like-minded things that were partly boring and seemed to go on forever but nonetheless, things that still needed saying. The inclusion of plenty of third party apps on the PS4; like Netflix, Amazon and even Hulu plus wasn’t a bit of a surprise, and I think it could have been skipped because it’s what a gamer can expect from a console these days. Still, no matter how relevant that bit of information was, the air of anticipation slowly dissipated and turned into despair. All through this portion of the presentation I couldn’t help but think that I wanted to see video games rather than the capabilities of the machine, something that we’ve already heard about.
PS4 – Dream Machine Details
As it turned out, I was merely impatient. It was like Sony was playing that sly magic trick, where you think you see something but see something entirely different. I was glad because I was horrified at the thought Sony had dropped the ball, like they’ve done so often in the past. I could never have been so wrong in my life, they were merely getting stuff out of the way so they could get to the main course. They accomplished it well as I felt it turned all my anticipation into frenzied excitement, I was howling in my seat as one game after another was shown and when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was proven wrong again, and again.
Sony knew exactly what they were doing when they started with all new footage of the previous exclusives, the one that were previously announced. From Killzone to Driver-club, the games proved that the graphics on the new machine were top notch, in fact they often left me in wonder – if I wasn’t seeing some live-action trailer instead. Yet for all the artistic beauty and intriguing gameplay, those were already known qualities and while I was already excited for them it did little to quell the beast inside me that was hungry for more information. It was like an appetizer in a seven course meal, and it did exactly what it was intended for – it wet my appetite.
A Feast of New Games or the PS4
All throughout the show there were a number of new video games being showcased for the very first time. Titles like the iconic Mad Max and the completely new 1866 (looks like a steampunk shooter) gave us trailers and perhaps a hint of the console’s future. The Dark Sorcerer on the other hand was showing off the machine’s sheer power, with mind boggling graphics and a rather funny scene. Then much later Ubisoft came in to tech demo some of their games, namely Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. All were gorgeous and interesting in their own way. The sheer number of games made me feel that we were lucky enough that the trailers were spaced apart, everything was so new and shiny that if all those new games were shown back to back, I think my head would have exploded as the result of all the dazzling videos.
Square Enix made their appearance, in support of the console. Showcasing two big names that sent me reeling in my seat. One was Final Fantasy VS 13 which is now officially called FF 15, the trailer involved a lot of storytelling but also included some gameplay. As a fan of Japanese role playing games it made me just a bit excited. The story elements were highly polished, almost as it was a CGI movie, the gameplay on the other hand didn’t look like anything new but still seemed fun. When that finally finished, it was a huge surprise when they said there was one more video. Kingdom Hearts 3, it seemed to be old footage from the franchise, rehashed with some new aspects and it finished with the KH logo and with the little detail that it was now in development. If nothing else it was certainly something to look forward too.
What followed was a segment about independent developers. The kind of games that you could buy in the Playstation store. While none of them were groundbreaking or truly spectacular, all six (or was it seven?), but number aside, they all looked like loads of fun. The old side-scrollers that we played as kids, only reimagined for the modern gamer. As far as the show and tempo was concerned, it felt like a prelude to something, bigger. The small rock that would cause the massive rock slide to tumble down, and boy did it ever.
Playstation 4 Vs. Xbox One
The revelations that followed, were huge. I won’t bother trying to tell the story in chronological order as I was too busy trying to pick up my jaw from the floor to take note of what came first. Still, one of the most memorable quips of the whole show was when Sony threw down the proverbial gauntlet. Taking pot shots at their competitor. Confirming to everyone that the new Playstation didn’t require an online connection of any kind, and if that weren’t enough they took it one step further, sticking up for their consumers in the best way possible; confirming for everyone that they had the best sort of DRM anyone could hope for, none.
If that wasn’t enough, we got to see a live demo of Bungee’s new game, Destiny. I know everyone is all about graphics, but Destiny was in a league of its own. Breathtaking depth and surroundings that made me glad that I was alive. Still looks are nothing without the gameplay to back it and as a shooter, I was interested in what this new shooter had to offer. After watching countless minutes of gameplay, I came to the conclusion that the game seemed like a serious version of Borderlands. That’s definitely not a bad thing, but I was hoping for some new kind of innovation, but it’s still too early to judge.
Sony Gives Gamers a Dream Machine at a Fair Price
At the very end, Sony came out with the knockout blow. Its pricing. The PS4 comes out as cheaper than the Xbox One and that’s all that needs to be said about that. To sum up everything, the Playstation 4 seems like a promise to gamers. That was certainly the message I got during the whole conference, that the company wanted a console for its fan base that would deliver where it mattered most and at least for now Sony seems to be doing everything right.