E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is arguably the biggest and boldest annual video gaming convention ever to grace the planet. Held in sun-drenched Los Angeles; the big guns of the gaming industry including Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony showcasing brand new hardware and games. The event is a pantomime of lights, music, noises and good old’ fashioned video games. Held exclusively to the press and industry members, the entire convention is streamed online for all us norms to watch at home. And that’s exactly what we did. People from all around the globe watched with bated breath waiting for what the next big announcements were coming to PC’s and home consoles over the next few months and beyond. This is a list some of the notable games and software that hooked us to spend all our hard earned money on the most expansive and by far best consumable media there is.
Once upon a time, Sony was unknown as a games console manufacturer. They fought off the likes of Sega’s Saturn and they tussled with Nintendo’s cartridge based N64. And this suit followed in the next console generation. With the release of the original Xbox and the Gamecube, Sony went from strength to strength. Even with more recent efforts when the Wii and the 360 started to catch up, Sony still went hell for leather and provided some amazing experiences. The PlayStation, PS2, PS3 and now PS4 has allowed Sony to keep Nintendo and Microsoft in check as it never fails to deliver. Last E3, Sony alleviated themselves above the rest and although this E3’s contributions weren’t on the same scale as before, they still know how us gamers tick and they feed off that to create something a bit different and a wholly satisfying.
Ah, LittleBig Planet; cute, simple and full of joy. The first instalment was and still is impressive. Whilst the main story was great, the game was used as tool for community gamers to create their own unusual levels and share them amongst the world. With number 3 coming out soon boasting the same levels of limitless creativity and three extra characters – named Oddsock, Swoop and Toggle no less – Sackboy’s crazy adventures will surely continue in the zany way the series is known for. Media Molecule, the brains behind the franchise, has added multiple new abilities and items to capture more stickers, bubbles and to solve puzzles in interesting ways. ‘LittleBig Planet 3’ apparently includes all the previous games levels, letting you play through great moments again in glorious hi-definition or merely, if you never got the chance to before.
A heavily block coloured and simply stylized ‘No Man’s Sky’ was shown. A part first person adventure part flight sim with phenomenal visuals and apparent continuous exploration, No Man’s Sky has players dog-fighting spaceships amongst asteroids, delving to underwater realms and walking through luscious landscapes teeming with life. The timed exclusive also features real time dives to planet with mountain peaks and crevasses seamlessly coming into view as the spaceship barrel-rolls through the chasms and ravines before blasting back into space. Each planet will seemingly be procedurally-generated; a common theme that is running with new games. Each world would be different and it’s up to you to make the choice of flying past it or cautiously explore it. It evokes a similar style to the independent game called ‘Eufloria’ but on a much larger scale and an increased colour-pallet. Again, like ‘Eufloria,’ this massive game isn’t made by a huge developer. It’s made by Hello Games; a group of about ten people in Guildford. This proves that no matter how much money or man-power is needed, something special can still be created out of something small and can compete with the heavyweights.
Batman returns in ‘Arkham Knight’. Some information has been known for while on the caped crusader’s upcoming game that was up until recently delayed to 2015. So Sony whetted our appetite and showed us gameplay footage. After Batman elegantly dives and swoops through the Gotham cityscape he firmly lands only to be greeted by an all-new Batmobile that can not only powerslide through the streets but also crab sideways while using some reckless bravado and insane firepower. Gotham is recreated spectacularly and the vibrant neon highlights the structures and landmarks. With an array of gadgets as his disposal, he successfully clears his way through armoured vehicles and escapes by ejecting out of the Batmobile and gliding into a brutal fist fight. The footage shows a lot of atmosphere as Batman plans his approach and attacks before the game glitches. Scarecrow takes over and announces his intentions of bring Gotham down… ‘Arkham Knight’ is not only a game that appeals to the hard-core comic book fans but also those who want to get into the Batman franchise. I for one am incredibly interested in this and I haven’t had much experience with past Batman games. Maybe it’s time to get started.
‘Uncharted’ developer Naughty Dog brought the epic ‘The Last of Us’ to consoles last year and it received global success. The Uncharted franchise has also created the type akin to a summer blockbuster movie. With epic chase sequences and ferocious gunfights, Uncharted has been a main staple of PlayStation since 2007. As the trailer opens we see the main protagonist, Nathan Drake in a spot of bother face down on a riverbank. Looking older and hard done by, a battered Nate eventually stumbles to his feet with a scratched face and an unloaded pistol. He’s been ‘out of the game’ for a while and needs to get back in. The camera pans to reveal he’s on some creepy, doomed island full of gibbets and rotting skeletons as Nate goes off on his next expedition one last time This is only the beginning of ‘Uncharted 4’ but ultimately, A Thief’s End…
Bungie-made (who are responsible for ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’) ‘Destiny’ was shown as an alternative shooter to Halo for the PS4 with exclusive access to alpha and beta gameplay. A new white PS4 with a copy of Destiny included is also available.
More gameplay footage of Ubisoft’s epic ‘Far Cry 4’ showed off an infiltration of a basecamp, a tuk-tuk escape, a truck plummeting off a cliff, flying-squirrel type jumpsuits, elephants, a co-op buddy joining the assault, gyrocopters, machine-guns, explosions, grapple-hooks, drive-by shootings, carjacking whilst in motion and exploding elephants… But something that set it apart from the rest was the fact that anyone can join. As long as someone owns a PS3 or PS4, anyone can join. They don’t even have to own the game itself. I am curious to how that works but it sounds incredible.
Big news! ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ is coming to PlayStation 4, as well as Xbox One and PC. Yep. Finally, you can experience Los Santos and Blaine County on new home consoles. Many petition signers will be happy.
Sony announced a plethora of hardware news too including information on their camera and VR headset, project Morpheus; they announced a partnership with YouTube for unified uploads from the PS4; streaming service PSNow was also mentioned with many gaming and film/TV titles becoming available for ‘renting’ over the course of the next year or so, and, providing you have a dualshock 3 and a Sony Smart TV, PSNow can also be linked up without the need of any PlayStation console; games can be played through the TV.
‘Mortal Kombat X’, ‘Let it Die’ and ‘Bloodborne’ were probably the goriest of the showing. Broken jaws, huge wounds and much slicing and dicing were all present; enough to turn even the strongest of stomachs to jelly.
Who Was Not Mentioned?
Much to the frustration of press and gamers, ‘The Last Guardian’ never showed light. Announced at E3 back in 2009, the Sony Computer Entertainment exclusive action-adventure game – originally planned for the PS3, no less – is currently still in development. Whether it will be announced at a later games conference or not at all is still a complete mystery. All we know about ‘The Last Guardian’ is it is still a loose cannon. We just don’t know when Sony will take it upon them to spill the beans on this hotly anticipated. Also the Vita’s back-catalogue wasn’t really improved upon. Although selections of games were shown in a montage, there wasn’t anything stand-alone amazing that said ‘this is what the Vita can do’ that has blown minds.
Sony had a huge conference; it was almost two hours long. This meant they showed a lot of games but it was also hard to pick a definite unique selling point. With the giants of ‘Destiny’, ‘Grand Theft Auto’, ‘Mortal Kombat’ and Far Cry sharing the limelight with ‘LittleBig Planet’ and ‘No Man’s Sky’, each with something new and brilliant, whittling them down was a difficult objective. Far Cry 4 appears to be a vast open world where, as the trailer says ‘each second is a story.’ ‘LittleBig Planet 3’ adds more cheeky characters to design and build and play away to your hearts content. Batman’s stunning visuals took centre stage with that of an indie developer’s exploration simulator. And for once these games that Sony showed us, no matter how gory, simple, complex, explody or elephanty, felt like they all fitted together for the Players.
Words by Jimmi