Looking Ahead to 2016: What I’m Excited For

We’ve spent the last couple days looking back at the past year in gaming. Today though let’s look ahead to 2016. We had a really fantastic year this year, so I fully expect that 2016 will continue that and have some serious heavy hitters. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of what I’m excited about for next year.

No Mans Sky logo

We really don’t need to wait too long for some big names to drop. Uncharted 4 and The Division are both set to drop in the first quarter of the new year. While I’m personally more excited about The Division, I do understand the importance of Uncharted and why this next game is such a big deal. The Division has a beta coming down the pipe soon, so we should be able to get a decent idea about how the multiplayer side of it will work. We’ve also got No Man’s Sky coming out early in the year, which if you have a PS4 should be on your must-buy list. If that game can come anywhere near delivering on its promises, it could be the most important game in years.

Black Ops 3

We also have DLC to think about for the early part of the year. Black Ops III has its first DLC coming to PlayStation in February, and Xbox One in March. I feel confident in saying that Fallout 4 will have something in the first quarter as well, in addition to mods coming to console. We know that there are a couple timed events headed to Destiny – including “bigger events” than we’ve seen since The Taken King launched. I always keep my eyes out for big songs heading to Rock Band, and with Halo having monthly content updates, we know we’re bound to get a couple big additions coming to the game. Depending on timing and actual content quality, that DLC will be what keeps those games fresh until we get new games.

Final Fantasy VII

That’s all stuff that we know about though. When I start looking at the coming year, I always think about some of what we don’t know for sure. Things that we kinda can infer, but haven’t been confirmed. Things like exactly when Kingdom Hearts III and the Final Fantasy VII remake will be coming out. We know Crackdown 3 is coming out too, just not an actual release window yet. We know that Infinity Ward is working on their entry with Call of Duty, but we don’t know exactly what it will be. I think it’s fairly certain to be Ghosts 2, but we don’t know what direction they’ll take it. With Treyarch and Sledgehammer both having pretty sci-fi influenced games, I kinda want Infinity Ward to stick with the near future/modern setting. One thing that I don’t think we’ve seen a ton of talk about is Borderlands – I wouldn’t at all be surprised if we see something about a new main entry to the series announced. I’ve seen a couple rumors about the studio having some financial issues that could be impacting a Borderlands 3, but until I see it actually reported, I’m going to remain hopeful that we get a new one in 2016. One other game that I could very well see make a surprise return would be BioShock – a true next-gen entry, maybe returning to Rapture could be damn good to play. We also know about Mass Effect Andromeda but beyond that, we’re still waiting on some details. I could very well see that being one of the big names at E3 this year – and depending on the release window they’re aiming for, I could see a Next-Gen trilogy collection of the first three games to tide us over.

As great as 2015 has been for gaming, I think 2016 could equal it. We’re finally starting to really feel like we’re in a new console generation. I think we’re going to see games move away from last-gen support (Destiny 2 I’m looking at you) and really start to take advantage of the technology on our hands. Nintendo will be showing off their new console – the N-X – which I think is a very important console for the company. They need something to appeal more to people who focus on graphics and online play, which the Wii and Wii U didn’t really ever have.

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Sony PlayStation Experience Thoughts

PlayStation 4Over the weekend, Sony hosted their second annual PlayStation Experience conference. It’s kind of become a second E3 for Sony, where they’re able to show off their games right before the holiday and keep the buzz high on the coming year’s games. The keynote showed off a good mix of huge exclusives, but what I liked was the real focus on a lot of smaller titles. That said, there was one thing that kinda soured my feelings on the event – and it’s no fault of Sony this time.

Uncharted Nathan Drake Collection

First let’s talk about a few of those games they showed off. Opening the show with Uncharted 4 was a bold move. I wouldn’t say it’s a big stretch to say that game is Sony’s most anticipated exclusive – probably by a pretty clear margin. And while they really didn’t show off a whole lot, they did show a pretty big addition to the game – branching dialogue trees. There’s still plenty about it that we don’t know – including whether the different dialogue choices will have major impact on how the game unfolds. That, however, was pretty much end of the end of that level of game. Sure, Street Fighter V is a PS4 exclusive, and sure they showed some Call of Duty: Black Ops III – a DLC PS4 exclusive; but I think in general most of the games shown were a step down from Uncharted‘s hype level.

Where I think the keynote really shined was the last third – where Sony put the spotlight on third party and indie studios. We saw games like 100 Fr. Robot Golf, Ni No Kuni II, Ace Combat 7, and Golem all get announced. Also getting some strong time was the PlayStation VR. I think it’s a cool system, but VR is still so hard to show off on stage to really make it look exciting, plus I still think it’s a little gimmicky. What I think helps the PSVR out is that Sony has really bought in, and has a lot of developers working on games for it – and those games hit a number of different styles. There are more artistic games like Eagle Flight and Golem, very tongue in cheek games like 100 Ft. Robot Golf and Modern Zombie Taxi Company, and serious triple A quality games like Ace Combat 7.

Final Fantasy VII

Now, as cool as I thought the show was, there were two parts where I saw some issues show up. And like I said, they weren’t Sony’s fault at all. One revolves around Final Fantasy VII Remake – which we finally got to see some actual gameplay of. I thought that the Kingdom Hearts influence is perfect and helps bring that 20 year old game forward into the modern RPG world. That content isn’t where the issues showed up though – instead it’s that we got a press release Sunday night that seemed to say that the game will be episodic. Twitter exploded – I saw tons of professional people start complaining about it – and we don’t even have a release date yet! Never mind we don’t officially know that it’s episodic or how it will work. People really need to cool their jets on this and think about it for a second. Detach yourself from the fandom of the original. It’s a 20 year old game. If I want to play that game, I’ll play my copy of the original. I don’t want the exact game with fancy graphics. RPG’s have evolved a ton in those 20 years, and I think what Square Enix is doing could be exactly what the whole franchise needs. Think about what Square could do with an episodic set-up. Each episode could focus around building backstories for the characters. They already have built a universe around the original game with a couple spin-offs. I think that basically is a given now that stuff from those games will show up now. And I saw people worried about the story now. I would remind them that the pacing on the original was pretty damn slow. You have this intense first section in Midgar, then the pacing hits a wall. The story is still great, but streamlining it could actually be the best thing that has happened to FFVII since Advent Children. Focusing an entire episode just around the events in Midgar could help focus that section even more. I just think that people are really overreacting about the episodic announcement. Hell, if it is episodic, it could be coming out next year as opposed to 2017! Relax, enjoy the fact that we’re getting a remake of one of the best games OF ALL TIME, and one that we never even expected to get.

Destiny

The other kinda nasty reaction was, perhaps unsurprisingly, in reaction to Destiny‘s announcement. We expected Bungie to show something off, and they detailed the new holiday event, which will begin tomorrow and run through the rest of December: the Sparrow Racing League. It’s literally content that we, as a whole community, have been asking for since the launch of the game; and I saw tons and tons of people yelling at Bungie: “That’s It?!” Again, relax, step back and think about this for a second. Yes, The Taken King is starting to reach its limits – I do think that Bungie needs to share with us the next content soon. But right now probably isn’t the best time. We’re expecting a massive live-game update this week, with a major rebalance to the weapon meta, along with the first class rebalance in a year. Which you might notice is another thing to we’ve been yelling at Bungie about forever, and can’t be a small undertaking. Add in the fact that this month holds the biggest commercial holiday of the year, at least in the U.S. with Christmas; which always brings with it a pretty sizable increase in players. Finally, after the Festival of the Lost, we kinda got the idea that Bungie was starting to figure out ways to have live-game seasonal events. Going into the weekend, I saw a few posts over on the subreddit wondering about a Christmas event. Instead of a specific one around the holiday, we get a three week long event with the SRL; which again, is something we’ve been asking for since launch. I think when you add those all together, this weekend wasn’t the right time to announce the next DLC. We are definitely getting close to that line though, so I hope Bungie has a good plan ahead for it; but again – chill out a bit folks. Enjoy the racing, enjoy the amazing games out right now, and remember that the point of playing these awesome things we call video games is to have fun.

E3 2015 – Sony PlayStation Press Conference Wrap-Up

PlayStation 4

Last night, rounding out a really busy Day 0 of E3 2015, was the Sony PlayStation conference. The day had already been a really busy day, with all kinds of big announcements across the board, so Sony had to really have a strong show. And good lord did they ever.

Sony started off huge – finally showing new info on The Last Guardian, a game that a lot of people thought was lost to the ether. We got a new video, that admittedly looked a little bit more like a PS3 game, but really did get the excitement going early. We do have to wait a bit longer – at least until 2016, but at this point, that’s cake. We then got a confirmation on what Guerrilla Games has been working on. They’ll be bringing Horizon: Zero Dawn to the PS4, most likely next year. The trailer showed gameplay, with some pretty cool visuals – giant robot monsters, being fought with really low-tech weapons. In an age with a lack of dinosaur hunting (Turok in other words) this is a pretty cool sight. Rounding out the first batch of games we got a look at a CG trailer for Hitman – the latest entry in the long running franchise. While it’s going to be multiplatform, the beta for the game will be on the PS4 first, and the game will also feature 6 exclusive contracts on the PS4.

No Mans Sky logo

Sticking with the theme of exclusives, we got another look at Street Fighter V, which is console exclusive for PS4 – along with the announcement of two new fighters. Really though, the first huge highlight for me was that we next got a gameplay look at No Man’s Sky. I have been super, super high on this game, ever since last year – it has been the game most driving my desire for a PlayStation. Seeing it in action was insane – I cannot imagine what the code is for that game, now that we’ve seen the scale and scope of it in action. Sony has a really strong exclusive lineup – continuing with the new game from Media Molecule – Dreams. It, while looking really cool, really didn’t seem like something that I’m particularly interested in. It looks neat – creating anything you want, based around dreams – but just didn’t really grab me. Maybe I have to play it to get it, we’ll see. Rounding out the indie lineup here we found out that Firewatch will be making its console debut on the PS4. I hadn’t heard about this game, not really being an indie PC gamer anymore, but it really grabbed me right away. The art style looks cool, the premise is unique and engaging and it looks like the writing and acting is strong.

Destiny Taken King Collectors Edition

Then we get to the heavy hitters. And oh man, did we get some heavy hitters. First, Destiny is getting The Taken King, this September, focusing around Oryx – Crota’s father. A lot of those details we kinda new from speculation – but seeing it in action in trailer form was fantastic. The new subclasses were announced, and look awesome; but perhaps most impressive was that the DLC looks like the story content will actually be pretty strong. I’m curious about the transition from Year One to Year Two, but that’s a question for not E3 week. After Destiny showed off new DLC, we got a different look at Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate than we did at the Ubisoft show (wrap up for that later). This bit was all about showing off Evie Frye, the twin sister of Jacob. It looked pretty cool, and also announced some PS4 exclusive missions, the Dreadful Crimes.

This first section already had some serious players. But nothing compared to what we got next. Square Enix came out to talk about Final Fantasy. First was World of Final Fantasy – a chibi styled FF game with some monster battling in it due out next year only on Sony consoles. That’s great, but again, nothing else in the show compared with the next announcement (to me). After the biggest dick move ever with the fake Final Fantasy VII update at PSX, Sony finally – FINALLY – stopped messing around. Yes, there is a real remake of Final Fantasy VII in the works. It’s real, and that means I have to put my money where my mouth is. I said way back in 2006, when they had the PS3 tech demo showing the intro cutscene that if they ever did remake it, I’d buy that Sony console. So I’m in the market for a PS4 for really two games – No Man’s Sky and FFVII.

It’s hard to really stay at that same high level, but Sony did have a few more games to show. We got a four pack from Devolver Digital. The Kickstarter for Shenmue 3 was announced – and it’s already been met. That’s $2Million in less than 24 hours. We got a glimpse at the PS4 content for Arkham Knight, due out next week. Then the one part that Sony always seems to put in their show – hardware. It always seems to pop up, and never really gets any reaction from the internet which bugs me. When Microsoft talks Kinect or Live stuff, they get killed. Sony talks Project Morpheus and PlayStation Vue and nothing. I don’t get it. Both companies need to talk those things – maybe E3 isn’t the best place – but it should go both ways.

Regardless, Sony knows that talking hardware like that does really drop the energy. So they had the perfect announcement to pick it back up. This is one of the bigger news bits of the show, that isn’t a direct game announcement. We knew Black Ops III was coming. It was absent from the Xbox Show – which was noticeable. We now know it’s because Activision is doubling down on Sony. The DLC early access is now a Sony Exclusive, flipping from Xbox for the first time. That also extends to the MP beta this August – first on PS4. I think this is probably partially due to the success of their partnership with Destiny. It’s a big deal, especially when we get to the next franchise – Star Wars. EA has been pretty up front saying that the footage they’ve shown of Battlefront has been recorded on the PlayStation 4. They haven’t said anything about exclusives, yet, but that honestly wouldn’t really surprise me at this point. Now, Battlefront isn’t the only Star Wars game – the franchise is also coming to Disney Infinity 3.0, with an exclusive early access campaign.

To close out the show, there really was only one choice for Sony. Uncharted 4 is by far their most anticipated exclusive. We already know it got pushed back to next year. So instead of just retreading what we’ve already seen, Sony gave us an actual live gameplay demo. And it was clear to see that it was live – the game looked like it crashed on stage – not a bad thing necessarily, it is still really early. The gameplay we saw was pretty exciting for sure – driving is new for the series of course. Not being particularly vested in the series, I was still impressed with it. Sony had an all around great show – some serious big announcements across the board. I hate declaring a “winner” of the show – I always say that we are the winners at E3 – but Sony might have had the better show this year. Microsoft has a great 2015 lineup; but Sony has great games this year, and a crazy lineup for next year.

Weekly News Recap: Week of March 9, 2015

Couple pieces of news this week worth looking at as we head into the weekend. We could potentially have a few more big stories break this weekend too, since it’s South by Southwest’s Gaming weekend in Austin. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for anything that looks interesting.

UNCHARTED 4 PUSHED BACK TO NEXT YEAR
Probably the story that I saw get the most discussion this week was the delay of Uncharted 4. While it was originally slated for this fall, it’s now been pushed back into 2016. Now, the initial reactions were mixed – obviously people are upset to see it pushed back at all, but I think in the end it’s for the best. It gives Naughty Dog extra time to really get it perfect. Of course I did see plenty of Xbox fanboys claiming this fall for Microsoft – but as an Xbox gamer, I have to say that I still think the PS4’s lineup this year is still crazy strong. The Xbox One can definitely make up some ground, but will still have a long way to go.

XBOX ONE MARCH UPDATE IS LIVE
I went over a couple of the new features in the March update for the Xbox One earlier this week. It’s now been pushed live to everyone – as long as you’ve connected online this week, you have the March update. There are a couple things I really don’t plan on using too much – the transparency setting for the tiles for instance, but I really am excited for the screenshot function. It will make sharing progress on Mega Man Land a bit easier. No more long clips showing still images.

Battlefield Hardline

BATTLEFIELD HARDLINE EARLY ACCESS
EA tried something a little new this week with Battlefield: Hardline. The game doesn’t actually launch until Tuesday of next week. But subscribers of EA Access on the Xbox One were able to install the game this week and start playing it right away – almost a full week early. I haven’t really watched a ton of the streams – mainly because I prefer to go into games as blind as possible these days – so I don’t know if the multiplayer is live or not. I would hope it isn’t, or that they plan on resetting the levels on Day One, but either way, it’s a good experiment for early access on consoles.

One last little bit of news I saw yesterday was that EA also confirmed that there’s more Titanfall on the way, and that it’s likely to appear on multiple consoles. That really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – after all, Titanfall was a brand new IP that sold really well on two platforms. Bringing more is a no-brainer, and expanding the market is even less of one.

Weekend News Wrap Up

This past weekend was probably the busiest news weekend we’ve seen in December in ages. Between the Video Game Awards on Friday night, and the weekend’s PlayStation Experience; there was plenty of stuff to talk about. A couple big new games got announced, some nice new trailers and gameplay footage for upcoming blockbusters and quite possibly the most evil, diabolical troll ever. Let’s hit some highlights.

Street Fighter V

STREET FIGHTER V, DRAWN TO DEATH, DAY OF THE TENTACLE ANNOUNCED
Some of the big new games that we hadn’t yet known of from the weekend to get confirmed included the newest entry in the long running Street Fighter franchise. There had been some leaks and rumors last week indicating that we’d see it – and they turned out to be right. The biggest shocker in the announcement had to be that Street Fighter V will be PS4 and PC exclusive – through it’s entire lifespan. That’s a major win for Sony – Street Fighter still holds a high place in the fighting game world. Sony also announced David Jaffe’s new game, Drawn to Death, which looks…interesting. An arena shooter that’s set in a high schooler’s notebook almost seems like it was purposefully created for controversy. But that’s kind of how Jaffe has always done things – see Twisted Metal Black‘s stories and God of War‘s nudity and violence. It could work out and be awesome, but we have to see more. The other side of announcements was that we’ll be seeing a bunch of remastered versions of old classics. Grim Fandango will be showing up on PS4 in January, and they announced an HD update of Day of the Tentacle – a classic old adventure game.

Final Fantasy VII

SQUARE-ENIX PROVES THEY’RE EVIL WITH EPIC TROLL
Going off that idea, Square-Enix took the stage at PlayStation Experience in what might possibly be the most evil, diabolical troll I’ve ever seen. As they took the stage, the screen behind simply had a giant logo for Final Fantasy VII – prompting everyone to think a true HD remake was on the way; which would fulfill their tease from when they debuted the PS3 way back in the day. Of course, Square-Enix would go on to dash all those hopes and dreams by saying that it’s only the PC release of FFVII, with no real updates coming to the PS4. This continues to boggle my mind, because I just think that if Square-Enix did release a true HD update, they would have a console seller on their hands. I know I would pick up a PS4 just for it. I suppose we’ll just have to make due with the upcoming Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III.

No Mans Sky logo

NO MAN’S SKY, UNCHARTED 4 SHINE ON PS4
Speaking of console movers, Sony had new footage of two of their spotlight games, both showcasing the gameplay we can expect. Uncharted 4 had a live stage demo, which had a pretty interesting hiccup, but can be forgiven since it’s still so far out. One thing was sure though – that game looks incredible, and looks like it’s taking the series in a fresh direction while remaining true to form. Could be a major winner next year, we’ll see. And on a somewhat other level, No Man’s Sky took the stage and showed off an impressive demo of just what that game will entail. No Man’s Sky blew me away at E3, and every bit of news I see just continues to make me want to pick up a PS4 for it; and also fully impresses me with just the sheer scale of the game. Add in some non-exclusive games in next year and I think we have a bonkers year ahead of us.

E3 Looking Ahead to Next Year

As is always the case, E3 brought with it this year a few cases of games that are well away from their release dates, lots that might not even be ready until late next year. So with that in mind, I thought it might be fun to spin all this E3 talk ahead and start thinking a little bit about next year’s show. What games will we definitely see, what games will surprise us, what other news might we expect to see – questions like that I think are not totally out of line to think about already.

In terms of games we saw this year that I think we know we will see next year, I think one of the biggest games of next year’s show will be DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront. The very little we saw at the EA press show looked unbelievable, but was easily picked out as being super early in development. I think by next year though we’ll see a real fleshed out build, probably even playable on the show floor. It really wouldn’t surprise me to maybe see something along the lines of Battlefield: Hardline with a beta announced at the show.

I also really think that Rainbow Six: Siege will have a great showing, probably the last tune up before it’s release. It already emerged this year as a show stealer, so by next year’s show I really expect it to be one of the bigger games of the show.

Also I would bet that Rise of the Tomb Raider will have a real strong show next year, probably a great trailer and playable demo on the show floor. It’s another game that I think had a great announcement trailer, but is so far away from release it’s hard to really get a feel on the game.

The Division

Tom Clancy’s The Division is another game that depending on it’s release date, could end up being another show stealer next year – probably with a demo on the floor, plus something for non-attendees.

Finally, there are two more that we saw this year that I think will be the big two next year – Mass Effect and Uncharted 4. Both are still super early in development, so we really didn’t see anything to really judge them on, but both will definitely have great builds to show next year.

In terms of surprise games, or games that we didn’t see this year, I really expect that we’ll see Kingdom Hearts 3 next year in a real meaningful capacity. Same deal with Final Fantasy XV, seeing as Square-Enix really didn’t have a strong show this year. I expect Nintendo to bring the thunder too next year – definitely Zelda, but probably a new Mario and Metroid as well. I also wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Fallout 4 finally get shown, with an aggressive release date.

This is always a fun time of the year for gaming, even though there aren’t a ton of new games coming out, but the news just keeps flowing, keeping the hype high for us players.

E3 2014 Sony PlayStation Conference Impressions

E3 LogoSony held their press conference last night, after a busy day zero of E3 2014, and had a pretty big job to follow a really strong Microsoft showing. Overall, I think the show may have dragged on a little long, especially hitting a snag midway through, but there were definitely some really strong games shown. Just like I did with Xbox, here’s a quick rundown of the show and my thoughts.

Destiny
I figured they would open with new Destiny footage, and they did indeed. This trailer gave us a little bit more story background, told to us by Peter Dinklage. My only negative with the trailer, and this might be more to do with my stream having some issues, but the gameplay looked closer to a PS3/360 than the PS4/Xbox One that I would expect them to show. Not a major issue really, still hyped for it big time.

The Order: 1886
We got a new trailer for The Order: 1886, a game I’m admittedly not that knowledgeable about. But the trailer looked interesting, with what appeared to be a zombie/werewolf thing chasing a human. Could be a pretty cool game.

Entwined
Showing a bit of indie love, Sony brought out Entwined, a game which immediately had me thinking of Beyond: Two Souls based on the art style. It’s a twin stick puzzle/action game that looks like a lot of fun actually, with a pretty serious story behind it. The coolest part was that it is available on the PS4 now, with PS3 and Vita coming later.

Infamous: Second Son
Another series that, since I’ve not owned a PlayStation since the PS2, I’m woefully out of the loop on. From what I have been able to tell this year, Second Son has been doing quite well, and they announced new stand-alone DLC for it, Infamous: First Light which will be out August 3.

LittleBigPlanet 3
Another PlayStation exclusive that I’m familiar with, but haven’t really sat down with and played a lot of. The new trailer for the third installment showed off three new characters that join Sackboy in his adventure. The demo had such character and cuteness it was really refreshing to see. Also cool was that the levels created in the first two games will be able to be played on LPB3 when it comes out on PS4 in November.

Bloodborne
One of the big questions coming in was whether Sony would talk about Project Beast – the next game from Dark Souls creator From Software. We got our answer in the form of Bloodborne, a new IP from them, with a pretty gruesome trailer that really just served to get the name and game out there – it was pretty tough to glean any real story or character info from it. But it looked pretty damn dark and brutal and gruesome, just what Dark Souls fans want.

Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4
Ubisoft might have a real winner on their hands with Far Cry 4 if the pressers are anything to go by. It was shown not only at Ubisoft’s show, but had a much longer gameplay segment at Sony’s. Gameplay looked very similar to the previous entry, which was a really fun game. The big scoop comes with the announcement that there is drop-in/drop-out co-op, and that with the PS4, you can actually invite people without the game to play, and they can still hop right in. That’s a pretty damn big win for Sony right there.

Dead Island 2
Talk about a shift in tone between games – the reveal trailer for the original Dead Island was one of the most intense trailers from that year. Not so much with this one – much more irreverent tone to the trailer, but we have to wait to see if that translates over to the game too.

Magicka 2
We got a pretty clever trailer to introduce Magicka 2, an isometric hack-and-slash game. Looked pretty interesting, but nothing super extraordinary.

Grim Fandango
In one of the biggest surprises of the show, we got the announcement that Tim Schafer will be revisiting one of the best adventure games from the turn of the millennium – Grim Fandango. It’s first out on PS4 and Vita, with others to follow – that’s a huge win for Sony as not only is this a really beloved game, but it was probably the biggest surprise thus far.

Indie Support
Sony then showed off a number of Indie games coming to the PS4 in the coming months/year, including Broforce, Titan Souls, Not a Hero, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, and The Talos Principle. It’s always good to see indie games getting some good love on the big stage like that.

Let It Die
Another nice surprise was the announcement of a new Suda-51 game coming out. The PS4 exclusive Let It Die got a pretty crazy trailer, in typical Suda fashion. From what the trailer showed, it looks like it’s going to be Suda’s take on a zombie shooter/rpg – should be pretty crazy.

Abzu
Following the somewhat over-the-top nature of Let It Die it was nice to get a little refresher in the form of the new game from the creator of Journey. The same feel and emotion that Journey has seem to be present in Abzu, which reminded me of Journey just set underwater.

No Man’s Sky
In my opinion, No Man’s Sky really stole the first part of Sony’s show – the trailer looked absolutely incredible, and the scale and scope of the game look like it’s going to be a great example of what “next-gen” can be. The fact it’s an infinitely generating universe, with each player starting on different planets with totally different experiences blew me away. And it’s another win for Sony, as it’s going to make its console debut on the PS4

Now we run into the main issue I had with Sony’s presser – after this really great high from No Man’s Sky, they ran straight into talking about hardware. Project Morpheus (VR), PSN news, YouTube – nothing wrong with them, but after Xbox having 90 straight minutes of games, this just felt like hitting a wall. And you could tell online – twitter reactions were not pleased they had this big block of time set for talking about hardware and PlayStation TV, while only briefly talking about the Vita.

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X
Following a pretty noticeable lull, they kicked right back in with gameplay footage of Mortal Kombat X, which we now know is pronounced as an “ex”, not 10. The gameplay footage showed two fights – the classic duo of Scorpion and Sub Zero going at it again, and two new characters, a bee-controlling lady, and a Master Blaster-esque giant. The actual fighting looks as brutal as ever, with the X-Ray attacks returning and fatalities as over-the-top as always. One other thing I thought looked really cool was the stages seem much more interactive in the actual fighting this time around.

Powers
After a really brutal trailer for Mortal Kombat X, the show took another hard turn into talking about TV and Film available on the PS4. The only real highlight I took away was the show Powers coming later this year, based on the comic of the same name. Nothing wrong with the announcement, but I don’t know that this was the time or place for it.

The Last of Us
The PS3 exclusive is getting an updated version coming to the PS4, and we got a trailer that really had me scratching my head. All the opinions were that this was one of the best games of last year, and the story was a big part of why – and yet this trailer started with a spoiler warning. It really just felt a little off, but the trailer was still strong.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Oh boy, where to start here. I’m way out of the loop with MGS games, having only played a little bit of the first one, so story-wise, I had no clue what’s going on in the new trailer. But that having been said, the trailer looked really really gorgeous. I think it’s one of those trailers that as an outsider I just have no chance of really “getting it,” but I’m sure that fans of the series really appreciated it.

Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar did a solid for Sony by showing off the PS4/Xbox One updates for GTAV on the PS4. GTA got it’s start on the Sony consoles, so it’s really only fair that the PS4 got the reveal I think. It was already a good looking game on the 360, but seeing it on the current-gen platforms was really eye opening – the game looks incredible.

Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight
Easily my most anticipated game for 2015 at this moment, I was a little curious what we’d see of it this year, especially considering that the date was just recently pushed back, so I figured it’s probably at a pretty playable state. Turns out we got an absolutely incredible looking bit of gameplay footage that blew me away. The scale and scope of this game look absolutely insane, not to mention the actual gameplay that they showed. I am absolutely on board the hype train for this one – it’s gonna be a major player next year.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Sony may have hit a wall in the middle of their show, but they definitely closed strong with Batman and then Uncharted 4. The trailer was showing PS4 captured footage, and looked absolutely gorgeous. Again, I’m a little behind with the series, but I do understand the importance to PlayStation the series has. I think this was definitely the trailer to end the show with, it was a great cap for the evening.

All in all, I think Sony had a strong conference, but to me it was just a little bit weaker than Microsoft’s. I’m not saying that as an Xbox fan, I just think that the middle section talking hardware dragged on a little long, not to mention the whole show felt long. Had they gone the same route as Xbox with nothing but games, I think it might have been the stronger showing, but really, the ultimate winners of the whole day were us gamers. There are a ton of incredible games coming our way soon – it’s a great time to play games.