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This weekend is the second Playstation Experience hosted by Sony themselves, this time at San Francisco. Last year’s keynote has it’s highlights and lowlights, but is this year the same case? The keynote did start off with some showstoppers, but also surprises that we didn’t expect. Let’s run down most of what happened with this morning’s keynote below.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End started things off with a beautiful cutscene reuniting Nathan Drake with his brother Sam. The cutscene also introduced a franchise first: dialogue options straight up from RPGs like Mass Effect and The Witcher III. Once again, superb voice acting by Nolan North and Troy Baker. Uncharted 4’s multiplayer beta started a couple days ago for those that bought The Nathan Drake Collection if you want to play it right now. Shaun Layden then introduced us to the keynote wearing a Crash Bandicoot shirt, which led to nothing from that at all (way to get people’s hopes up again Shaun!).
Next up was new footage and gameplay of Final Fantasy VII Remake, still coming first to Playstation 4. The remake continues to look great and what’s surprising to me is that the gameplay is not the same as the original. This time, the combat is more like Final Fantasy XV being more action-oriented, which I think is the better approach to this than standard Active Time Battle stuff. Still no release window yet announced for Final Fantasy VII Remake, but the PS4 port of the original that was announced at last year’s keynote is out now for purchase on the Playstation Store.
After the showstoppers out of the way, Call of Duty: Black Ops III gets some time with the announcement for the first DLC map pack that is out on PS4 first for a month. In addition, Playstation is sponsoring the Call of Duty World League for next year, yay for you e-sports guys I guess. Star Wars Battlefront also gets mentioned for a bit with the Battle of Jakku playable at the show floor before it’s release to everybody on Tuesday. I’ve been playing it the past week and the new content is fine so far, but hopefully matchmaking with the new stuff gets improved once everyone has it on Tuesday. Randy Pitchford from Gearbox was next showing off Battleborn, still slated for May 2016. From what I heard, the closed beta has been shaky, but there’s still time for the game to get better.
It was then Capcom’s turn with just Street Fighter V, out on February 16th for PS4 and PC. Ono was there to finally show off the last character of the initial sixteen, called F.AN.G. He’s a weird newcomer with some unique moves, but good thing he’s playable at the show floor this weekend. Along with F.A.N.G. that was surprisingly not leaked, they officially announced the first batch of DLC characters for release within the first year of it’s launch. If you guessed right in the silhouette at the Paris Games Week conference, the characters are, Alex, Ibuki, Guile, Balrog, Juri & Urien. Glad Capcom was able to officially confirm this now than later especially with all the leaks. That’s not if for Street Fighter fans at the Playstation Experience as the Capcom Cup finals are all day tomorrow over there and I’ll be watching it.
Tons of indie game support unsurprisingly was at Playstation Experience in full force. From Invisible Inc., Don’t Starve Together, Dead Star’s Capital Ship Escape Run, Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey and Adult Swim Games, indie games are still going strong on PS4 and Vita. Double Fine’s Tim Schafer was also there to show off the latest trailer for Day of the Tentacle Remastered as well as announce Full Throttle Remastered. Lastly, fresh off the Psychonauts 2 announcement at The Game Awards, Psychonauts VR gets announced subtitled The Rhombus of Ruin. Hitman Go and Brawhalla also got announced for PS4 and Vita during this segment.
One of the most requested series to brought be over stateside via Sony’s #BuildingTheList movement is Yakuza and Sega is finally bringing Yakuza 5 to the PS3 this Tuesday as well as Yakuza Zero next year for PS4. On the SNK Playmore side of things, Last Blade 2 is coming to PS4 and Vita sometime soon and the latest trailer for King of Fighters XIV was shown off. Since it’s initial reveal at Tokyo Game Show, the game has marginally getting better graphically, but still looks like a uprezzed PS3 game. It is playable at the show floor this weekend. Speaking of TGS, Koei Tecmo’s Ni-Oh was also at the PSX keynote with new footage and still one of the best looking PS4 games I seen so far.
We then return to more indie game announcements with Bastion out now for just three bucks on Vita, also cross buy on PS4. Nuclear Throne and Bit.Trip Collection are also out on PS4/Vita now (both free for PSX attendees). Stormcloud’s Brutal is coming soon, but free to play Guns Up! is out now along with Fat Princess Adventures.
Insomiac Games’ Ted Price was on stage showing off Ratchet & Clank for the PS4, which looks amazing and the game based the movie based on the game is out in April two weeks before the movie is out. MLB The Show ’16 was also announced to no surprise. I assume both of these are playable at the show floor this weekend.
It was now Playstation VR’s turn and there’s plenty of it, but first I have to talk about Rez Infinite. Rez/Rez HD is arguably on my top 3 favorite games of all-time and now this VR announcement alone is making me wanna get PSVR. It was later confirmed that it is not VR exclusive, so purists that didn’t get HD on 360 can get it on PS4 next year. Despite live demos not going as expected, other Playstation VR games shown were Eagle Flight, The Modern Zombie Taxi Co. by Sony Santa Monica, Job Simulator, the insane 100ft Robot Golf, Golem by Highwire Games & Ace Combat 7.
It wouldn’t be a Sony keynote/presser without some Destiny talk and a limited time event is starting this Tuesday for three weeks for Taken King owners. Obvious podracing references out of the way, yes Sparrow Racing in Destiny looks like podracing in Star Wars: Episode I. We’ll have hands-on impressions of it in the coming week.
Another big surprise from the keynote is Bandai Namco and Level-5 announcing Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom for PS4. The first game was a sleeper hit JRPG last generation despite how long it is and I’m happy a sequel is happening because it still looks gorgeous. Usually something like this would be announced at Tokyo Game Show back in September, but I’m glad it got saved for this as JRPG fans have another big one to look forward to next year.
The last game at Sony’s keynote this morning was Paragon, a new MOBA by Epic Games. Closing out the show with a MOBA is not the greatest idea, but with Epic’s take on the genre a little similar to Smite and early access beta periods throughout next year, Paragon could be interesting. Of course it’s too early to say if it has what to makes to be as good as League of Legends and Dota 2, but console fans have been clamoring for a MOBA that is meant just for consoles, so we’ll see if Paragon is it.
That’s it from the Playstation Experience 2015 Keynote. The only big no shows were The Last Guardian (of course) and Horizon: Zero Dawn, which I hoped a new area got shown off besides from what we saw at E3 and Paris Games Week. Also, lack of details about PS2 emulation to PS4 with the Grand Theft Auto games and others out now on the Playstation Store with trophies support. Besides all of those, I thought was a fun show to watch with fan pleasing announcements, VR stuff & tons of indie games out now on PS4 and Vita. Let us know in the comments below what was your highlight of this year’s Playstation Experience.