We’ve got a bumper edition of PS4A PlayTime for you today, as we share not only what we’ve been playing over the last couple of weeks, but also our thoughts on the craziness of E3 2015. (The Last Guardian! Final Fantasy VII Remake!! Shenmue III!!! You get the idea.)
Before I get to what I played this week, you’re going to need a little background. Rewind to the Sony press conference at E3. It started in the strongest way possible – The Last Guardian exists, and is coming next year. I loved the gameplay demo, of course, but I expected it to be perfect after all this time. There were glitches, and that dulled the moment slightly for me. It is still a day one purchase, but it needs to look as perfect as the last game they showed that night (early morning in the UK) – Uncharted 4. Drake has never looked this good; whether it was the lack of sleep or the body shock of having adrenaline running through my veins at 3 a.m., my eyes bulged with anticipation.
Horizon captured my full attention too. One of my favourite developers has done it again, and I can’t wait to get my teeth into the mechasaur hordes. Yeah – mechasaurs; I’m coining that. You’re welcome. In fact, Sony’s conference was hit after hit. New Hitman. Check. Street Fighter V. Check. Media Molecule showing us what real magic looks like. Check. Final Fantasy VII Remake; auditorium explodes (for the sixth time). Check. And then they hit us with Shenmue III, and I back it on Kickstarter to the tune of $160 within minutes; I’m a sucker for that series. Morpheus even made an appearance; RIGS looks gloriously awesome, and I’ll be first in line to grab a consumer unit when it launches. While VR may not live as long as AR, it’ll be the tech to have for the first few years of the flat-screenless revolution, for sure.
But – outside of all the above – the one title that I’m super-excited for is No Man’s Sky. While some may disagree with me, I believe this is the game Elite could have been in the 21st century; an almost limitless universe, with exploration, space travel, fighting, trading, and more. Put it that way, and you’re describing what Elite was for all of us back in the 80s. While Elite Dangerous is bringing that feeling back for those that want to relive the old days, No Man’s Sky for me has the potential to take the genre forward.
So what did I play this week? Despite playing the beta, I didn’t pick up Destiny at launch. It was more a timing issue than anything. But the trailer for the next chapter in the Destiny story captured my interest. On Saturday, I picked up a pre-loved copy of the game and had two solid sessions – together, around seven hours of gaming. In that time, I went from Noob Guardian to Level 15, and I haven’t even scratched the surface (or got into the social aspects of the game at all). Destiny is quick, slick, and feels superb. It looks great, sounds awesome, and I’m loving my time in the universe so far. Friends say that it doesn’t really get started until Level 20 – based on current progress, I expect to start the real game soon.
This was one of the best E3 showcases I’ve seen in years, coming from nearly every major studio. Sony definitely took the show for me as they essentially announced everything everyone has been wanting for years. Between The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue III and Uncharted 4, they put on an amazing conference! Like DolphGB already said, Horizon looks fantastic and I can’t wait to see something other than Killzone from Guerrilla Games.
I was also pleased to see another gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III from Square Enix. While their press conference was somewhat boring compared to the others, they still had a strong games presence. I’m also excited to see that Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi is making its way to North America, even if it is just a mobile game.
It’s been a while since I played anything of substance recently, mainly due to time constraints, but E3 has really got me excited about games again. My drought will likely come to an end soon, however, as Batman: Arkham Knight launches tomorrow, so expect my next PlayTime to be nothing but Batman related.
I’ve been playing a lot of J-Stars Victory VS+ (that name always trips me up!) which I’m absolutely loving. I’m so glad that, not one, but three crossover anime and manga fighting games are making their way West this year! I also finished off Costume Quest 2 which was a lot of fun, and have been playing Ultra Street Fighter IV on PS4 quite a lot – the recent patches have done wonders. Hyperdimension Neptunia is back with Re;Birth3 and, as usual, it’s a fun JRPG to have on Vita. Resident Evil: Revelations 2’s Raid Mode is going strong and, again, I’m so glad I finally picked it up and regret not doing so sooner.
I might’ve not played a lot, but I did watch every single E3 conference (bar the last one which was aimed at PC gamers); in particular, Sony and Square Enix announced amazing title after amazing title. I squealed. A lot. I’m most excited for the Final Fantasy VII Remake and World of Final Fantasy but the big steal for me was the announcement of a NieR sequel – who would’ve guessed that would ever happen?! The first game is in my top ten of all time, so if you haven’t played it, you should give it a go! It starts off a bit slow but it has outstanding characters, story and soundtrack, and the gameplay isn’t too shabby either. It’s a weird way to put it, but NieR is beautifully depressing and I’ve actually got it back out for my third playthrough; my NieR hype cannot be contained! PlatinumGames is known for its brilliant combat; something I can vouch for, being a big fan of both Bayonetta and MGS Rising. I’m excited to see how the studio’s gameplay complements Yoko Taro’s directing (so glad that he and the original composer both returned for new NieR!)
I was really pleased with E3 this year, and it’s evident that Sony and Square Enix both listened to their fans; the future of PS4 is looking better than ever before. If you haven’t bought one yet then it’s definitely time to. My preference might be for Japanese games (I know, stop the presses and all that) but a few Western games at E3 also grabbed my attention, including Mirror’s Edge 2 (which I’ve been waiting ages for), Horizon, Fallout 4 (loved 3, not a big fan of New Vegas) and a few others. I’m also very excited to see Cammy return for Street Fighter V, as she’s my main in IV. To sum it up, it’s a good time to be a PlayStation fan.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting to grips with recently released The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited on PS4. Although there’s no getting away from the fact it’s an MMO, it actually feels a lot more like traditional TES than I expected, which is very welcome. However, I do have one major gripe, which is its general lack of polish, including several unfortunate bugs. As an MMO player who is used to the ridiculously refined Final Fantasy XIV, TESO’s launch issues are a little jarring.
Speaking of which, since Friday, TESO has taken a backseat while I focus on Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. I’ve made no secret of the fact that FFXIV is my favourite game on PS4, and my initial impressions of its first full expansion is that it will likely remain so for a long time to come! I’ve only ventured into a couple of the new wilderness areas so far, which are as beautiful as they are enormous. Take, for example, the Sea of Clouds; it’s a group of lush, floating islands, and reminds me a lot of Avatar (take a look at the above screenshot to see what I mean).
At first I was dismayed to hear returning characters with new voices; however, now that I’m used to it, I have to admit that the quality of the English voice acting has definitely improved. The story is also fantastic, with a number of intriguing plot lines. I’ve already participated in a trial by combat and been lured into an enemy ambush. Add in the shocking cliffhanger that the Heavensward story picks up from, and FFXIV is becoming more like Game of Thrones by the day – which is fine by me!
As for E3, if I wrote about everything that interested me then I’d be here all day, so I’ll only mention a few highlights. It was amazing to finally see The Last Guardian again, while Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is looking better than ever; similarly, I have high hopes for Dreams and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue III were both awesome surprises, and World of Final Fantasy looks great too. Away from Sony’s conference, the Fallout 4 demo was particularly impressive, and it looks like Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst will almost certainly be worth the wait.