PlayStation Experience 2014 Reaction

Sony’s first PlayStation Experience (PSX) event is going on this weekend, Dec. 6th and 7th, showing off trailers and gameplay for some of the biggest releases coming to Sony consoles in the next year. (UPDATE: The full PSX Keynote can be watched here.) Here’s a recap of some of the biggest news:

No Man’s Sky – One of my most anticipated titles is No Man’s Sky, and the new gameplay trailer reinforced that anticipation. Previous trailers had shown a small variety of worlds, but this is the first time we’ve seen a snow-covered planet in the game. Later in the trailer, the player visits a planet in a completely different corner of the universe, this one a desert planet with some truly alien-looking creatures, and the contrast between the two sites confirms the seemingly endless possibilities. The most important feature of the trailer is how the player traverses from galaxy to galaxy, something which hadn’t been shown before. It seems fairly straight-forward in the trailer (zoom out, search around the universe for a planet to visit, press Square to warp) but I wonder if the massiveness of the universe, wonderfully illustrated in the trailer, will make it difficult to pinpoint the precise planet you’re looking for. And as impressive as the trailer was, there was quite a bit of object pop-in throughout, showing there’s still some polish that needs to take place. Overall, however, No Man’s Sky is still a game which has my attention. The PSX trailer is below; a separate trailer from The Game Awards is here.

Street Fighter V – Not too many details about the next installment of the Street Fighter franchise were announced at PSX, but the few are important. First, Street Fighter V is a console exclusive on the PS4. It is coming to PC as well but will not be released on the Xbox One. SF has a long history in competitive gaming so this is a big win for Sony. The second point was that SFV will support cross-platform play, meaning PC and PS4 players can compete directly against each other, resulting in a less-splintered player base. Cool stuff. A gameplay trailer is available here.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – The first Uncharted 4 gameplay was debuted and it looked fantastic. As is, Uncharted 4 is one of the best looking games on the PS4, and there’s still several months of polish ahead of it. From the fluid climbing animations to the lighting effects to the way plants move around Drake as sneaks through them, Naughty Dog is showing why they are considered such a great studio. But it’s one thing to create a visually impressive game, and another to create a game that people want to play. Here, Uncharted 4 also doesn’t disappoint. The gameplay looks to be fairly linear, but with enough environmental variety so that even if you are guided along a certain path, you control how you traverse it. The gunfights seem frenetic, but the game also seems to reward stealth, so that if you are feeling overwhelmed or outnumbered you can hide in the foliage or move around obstacles to cut off your enemies’ lines of sight and give yourself a little breathing room. That being said, there were numerous points in the footage where quick reactions were a must, so the game certainly won’t be easy. The 15-minute gameplay video is below.

Yakuza 5 – Yakuza 5 has been available in Japan since December 2012, so by this point not many people had hope that the game would ever get a western release. So, when Sega announced that the game would be coming to the PS3 in North America and Europe in 2015, it was a big announcement. There hasn’t been any news about whether the new release will have any new features, but for fans of the Yakuza series, I think the announcement is enough for now. The announcement trailer is here.

Tearaway Unfolded – Media Molecule is one of the most creative studios out there, and they showed off their next title at PSX, titled Tearaway Unfolded. The original Tearaway was a great game that took advantage of the Vita’s unique touch controls, and Unfolded is looking to do the same with the touch pad on the Dualshock 4. Unfolded has been previously announced, but Media Molecule debuted a new trailer, available here. The trailer illustrates how the Tearaway formula has been adapted to the Dualshock 4, and I’m excited that the experience is coming to the PS4.

Shovel Knight – Shovel Knight was met with acclaim when it launched earlier this year on the PC, and on Dec. 6, developer Yacht Club Games announced that the title will be coming to the PS4, PS3, and Vita in 2015. For those who don’t know, Shovel Knight is a side-scrolling platformer with a retro 8-bit style. New to the PS versions is that Kratos will be making an appearance, which is a neat Sony-specific addition. A teaser trailer for the game can be found here.

Drawn to Death – Drawn to Death is David Jaffe’s new PS4 title, a multiplayer arena shooter that takes place in a high schooler’s notebook. Jaffe is known for the Twisted Metal and God of War series, so DtD’s sadistic, high-school-punk aesthetic is nothing out of the ordinary for him. It is, however, unique in the genre; I’ve never seen a game that looks quite like this. Whether it’s a style you’ll like will differ from person to person, but it’s smart that the game will be constantly adapting to the high schooler’s drawings; the changes he makes are reflected in the arenas, and he himself can even be controlled to smash enemies, for example. From the trailer shown, I’m a little concerned that some of the characters don’t have enough distinction from the environments and blend into the background, but there’s still time to improve that. The debut trailer for Drawn to Death is below.

Fat Princess Adventures – The followup to the original Fat Princess has been announced for the PS4. This one is a bit different though. Whereas the first was a purely competitive multiplayer, this FPA will be a co-op RPG. And while you can switch back and forth between the classes as you could before, now the princess will actually fight alongside you. These changes make FPA not so much a sequel as a separate title just set in the same universe, so I’m curious to see how these changes will play out. The announce trailer, showing the game in action, can be found here.

UPDATE: Sony has posted all of the PSX panels on Youtube. The full list is here. Some recommended panels are Storytelling in Video Games: An Ever-Changing Model, The Art of Creating Surprise and Discovery in Games, Good vs. Evil in F2P Game Design, and How to Become a Game Designer (Or How to Consider It).

Any big news we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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