E3 2017: 12 highlights from the Sony conference

Sony may have played it safe for its E3 2017 conference, but there was still some big exclusives on show.

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E3 2017: 12 highlights from the Sony conference

I’m so used to Sony dominating every E3 conference, at least for the last few years, that it felt strange when Team PlayStation didn’t pull out all the stops for its E3 2017. That’s not to say Sony had a bad conference, and it certainly wasn’t as underwhelming as Bethesda’s. Still, Sony had a punchy offering that was devoid of on-stage devs and heavy on gameplay for some titles we already knew about, and a smattering of surprises. Here’s 12 highlights from Sony’s E3 2017 conference.

TV, TV, TV!
Considering all the shit Microsoft copped when it unveiled the Xbox One many E3s ago, it’s surprising that Sony had the gumption to lead its conference with a plug for PlayStation Vue. Google tells me that’s a live streaming service, but it’s not available in Australia, so moving right along.

The sound of silence
The audio was frustratingly bugged out for the first two and a half games, so it’s a good thing they were easy on the eye. Unsurprisingly, Sony led its E3 conference proper with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which has all of the eye candy you’d expect from the series, minus any clue as to what was happening because of the buggy audio on the stream. It also means people watching the stream online missed out on what was being said in The Frozen Wilds DLC reveal for Horizon Zero Dawn, so be sure to check out the trailer wrap-up when I post it later today.

Days Gone is more than just the peaks of 28 Days Later
Last year Sony unveiled a new exclusive post-apocalyptic game called Days Gone. It impressed with fast-moving zombie-like foes (and oodles of them) as well as impressive visuals. This year, Sony showcased a bit more depth to Days Gone, and revealed that Sam “The Secret Apprentice” Witwer is playing the main character. There’s a stealth component and the hordes of undead can be used to clear out camps of baddies. The gameplay ended with what appeared to be a zombie bear, and somehow I think playing dead isn’t the best way to defeat it.

Monster Hunter World looks equal parts crazy and cool
I’ve never played a Monster Hunter game and, depending on who you talk to, the series is either renowned as a grind-fest or an awesome and unmissable experience. Monster Hunter World looks gorgeous on PS4, and the good news is it’s coming to PC (albeit, apparently after the early 2018 console release). Monster Hunter World is a Capcom game, so it blurs the weird with the wonderful. For instance, players can use homemade ghillie suits to sneak past a T-rex-spliced-with-a-bat creature. But the ensuing chase is a thing of beauty, with pre-planned traps, on-the-fly attacks, environmental destruction, and luring bigger monsters to fight each other.

Shadow of the Colossus is getting remastered
One of those beloved PlayStation 2 titles, Shadow of the Colossus, is getting the remaster treatment. If you’re like me and you never played the original, and have friends who won’t shut up about what you missed out on, this 2018 version promises to be a whole lot easier on the eye than playing an upscaled PS2 port.

Capcom wants you to care about the story of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
I’m all for fighting games having stories, but it’s a bit strange to watch a story trailer for one with so few fisticuffs. Case in point, Capcom’s showing of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite at the Sony E3 2017 conference. Aside from framing the story, it also acted as a way of revealing a whole mess of Marvel and Capcom characters. You can download the story demo today… as long as you’re willing to play it on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. There’s no word of a PC demo, sadly.

I’m well on board with Call of Duty: WWII
It’s been too long since I’ve played a truly great World War II game, and it looks like Sledgehammer Games will scratch that itch later this year with Call of Duty: WWII. I didn’t realise it until afterwards, but what was shown was an in-game multiplayer trailer, albeit without any HUD elements and the heavy use of some fancy camera angles. This is the first time that CoD has looked truly gorgeous, and the multiplayer looks intense, with what appears to be a bigger emphasis on teamwork, army-specific weapons (fingers crossed), and some clever maps, which includes a ship battle.

The PS VR titles were a bit meh
But that’s bound to happen when Final Fantasy XV is in there with an odd VR mode that seems to be mostly about fishing. Skyrim VR is coming to PS4, which is cool for those who are still plumbing the depths of that game on console. There was also a sidescroller called Star Child, and while it wasn’t complemented with a Kiss soundtrack, it appears to be a side-scrolling platformer, which is an interesting perspective choice for VR. The Inpatient teased a creepy VR offering, and there was a military shooter called Bravo Team that looks decent and hopefully takes advantage of the Aim Controller. There was also another VR title that appeared to not be in first-person perspective called Moss, which stars a mouse protagonist who players guide through diminutive adventures.

God of War continues to look suitably epic
The Batman: Arkham series has had a positive impact on third-person action games since the fluid combat mechanics of the original Arkham Asylum. It looks like God of War has tapped into some of that fluidity, albeit with a greater emphasis on gory takedowns and a moody Norse setting. It appears there are some narrative links between the new Norse Kratos and his Greek predecessor, and it’ll be a nice touch if this reboot is of the soft variety, instead of a hard one. There was a moment of awkward comedy relief, but apart from that, it was all about the father/son dynamic first revealed at last year’s E3, and more epic battles. God of War is coming early 2018.

Detroit: Become Human sure looks interesting
But it’s a David Cage game, so it’s hard to not curb expectations. Personally, I’ve been a fan of Cage’s ideas over his execution since Heavy Rain which, despite some true moments of greatness, turned out to be a whole lot of smoke and mirrors when it came to player choices and supposedly linked consequences. Detroit: Become Human looks and sounds interesting, with a futuristic setting about an android revolution, which the player can choose to lead passively or violently (or, assumedly, somewhere in between). I hope that Quantic Dream can deliver some compelling gameplay this time around, without sacrificing everything at the altar of storytelling.

Destiny 2’s PS4 exclusive content is thankfully timed
When one of the biggest criticisms of the original Destiny was a lack of content, the last thing Bungie wants to do is say that Destiny 2 will have permanently exclusive content on one platform. Thankfully, the exclusive gear, ship, weapon, PvP map, and Strike are all timed exclusives (confirmed in trailer fine print). Destiny 2 continues to be one to keep an eye on, but even this new trailer seems more targeted at fans and newcomers than lapsed fans like me. I want to believe, Bungie, but you have to show me more to win back my faith in your sci-fi franchise. Activision has announced a PC release date for Destiny 2: 24 October.

Spider-Man looks like a fun Batman: Arkham sequel
No, really. It’s clear that Insomniac Games has borrowed a lot of the great work that Rocksteady did with the Batman: Arkham series (in terms of both stealth and combat) and used it as a solid foundation for what it’s building with Spider-Man. Even as someone who’s not a fan of teenage superheroes, the game looks like heaps of fun, with fluid combat, environmental takedowns, and plenty of combat possibilities. The most concerning addition was the presence of slow-time events that didn’t look particularly challenging, but the seamless movement from cinematics to gameplay between interior environments and the open New York City game world makes for exciting possibilities. It’s coming in 2018.

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