I watched Sony’s Playstation Showcase and liked it. Does this make me a traitor?
Look, I make no excuses for it: I know that I’m a huge Xbox fan. From its big, bulky beginnings through the objectively horrible Xbox One launch woes and on into this new generation of spurious naming conventions (‘Series S’, ‘Series X’ AND ‘Xbox One S ‘ and ‘X’, guys? Really?), I’ve been a UNSC assault rifle-waving, Locust-slaying fan boy from the get-go.
That doesn’t mean I discount what the competition’s doing, however. You see, here at Gaming Instincts, we’re not big fans of console wars and blind rage directed at our second-favorite gaming companies. Instead, we aim to cover all angles and peer into the neighbor’s yard, as it were, to see what gaming goodness might be taking root across from our own digital home turf. With that in mind, here’s my take on everything Sony on offer today at Sony’s Playstation Showcase, and spoiler warning: much of it looked pretty darn good!
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake
Honestly, as one of the biggest Star Wars nerds ever, they could have ended the show right here. Though it apparently won’t be a Playstation exclusive forever, instead going the timed exclusive route (which is scummy enough, in my opinion), this is a HUGE win for Sony fans. As a lifelong member of the Xbox faithful who was fortunate enough to play the original release on the first of Microsoft’s consoles nearly twenty (!) years ago, I’m thrilled for KOTOR to be coming for the first time to Sony’s systems. When? Who knows, as we weren’t given a release date – but whenever it comes, it will be worth it. Jedi everywhere, rejoice!
‘Girls in hot pants killing things’. That’s how I would describe several 3rd-person action games, particularly from Asian studios, that have made their appearance on Sony’s various iterations of Playstation consoles over the years. Now, I’m not saying that I have anything particularly against – or for – girls in hot pants killing things. It’s just, as someone who tends more towards the more Western-style ‘dudes in military outfits shooting things’ gaming genres, games like Project Eve are, well, foreign to me. This one, however, piqued my interest, if for the amazing visuals alone. It appeared from the trailer that Earth has been severely messed up by Cthulhu-esque horrors, and apparently the heroine (the eponymous Eve) shown today is the only one who can save us… or, at least, she might be the only one fit enough to wear the skin tight suit she battles in. I have two questions: 1.) when is this coming out, and 2.) where does she keep all those weapons? As of now, Eve’s not telling on either account.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Oh, Borderlands. How I’ve loved you. How I wish I still did. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands looks like much of the same from Gearbox’s long-running series of cell-shaded looter shooters, with the apparent addition of spells and other elements of ‘knights-and-dragons’ type RPG titles. Will it work? Probably not for me, as I’ve got plenty of (and honestly, probably too many) shooters on my system of choice – but for Playstation-only players, who knows? It’s certainly colorful enough. In my experience gamers either find the over-the-top nature of Borderlands’ characters either grating or endearing. I suppose time will tell if this one lands with Sony fans or not when Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands arrives late next March.
Now, here’s a different one. Instead of a girl in hot pants killing things, Forspoken showcases a girl in regular pants killing things with the help of a magic bracelet. All kidding aside, this title looked incredible – nothing that my beloved Series X couldn’t do technically, but in style and presentation something that I wish Microsoft’s studios would attempt more of. If I wasn’t fortunate enough to have both systems, I would be pre-jealous of Playstation gamers who will get to experience this action RPG when it comes out for PS5 in Spring 2022.
Alan Wake Remastered
Another big get for Sony ponies. As an Xbox player primarily, especially during the Xbox 360 era, Alan Wake was one of the titles that enflamed the console war. With Remedy now bringing their classic action horror tale to Playstation for the first time this October, those of us in the Xbox camp will have to share the love with our Playstation compatriots. Personally, I couldn’t be happier for them. Alan Wake is truly a title worth experiencing, and with upgraded visuals and gameplay, Bright Falls is going to be that much more inviting real soon!
Grand Theft Auto V
Ugh, we get it. Grand Theft Auto, also known as the world’s largest one-way ATM, will continue to print money for Rockstar Games as it releases – again – on next-generation systems this upcoming March. And most of us (including me) will buy it. Again. I’m so ashamed.
Another banger-in-the-making from Tango Gameworks, this title looks incredible. The trailer was trippy as all hell, and featured people half-vanishing, a scary girl wielding huge scissors, and a whole bunch of combat with Slenderman look-alikes. I’m here for all of it – and I truly feel for my fellow Xbox fans who for whatever reason won’t have access to a Playstation 5 to play this when it releases. The only consolation? Even Playstation owners will have to wait an excruciatingly long time to experience Ghostwire, as it’s not planned to make its appearance (and, I suppose, disappearance) until next spring.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
A big pass for me. I was far too burned by Square Enix’s recent Avengers game, and in my view the time for a snarky Guardians of the Galaxy title was closer to when the movies released. But hey, what do I know – if everything with Marvel’s name on it didn’t make millions of dollars, they’d probably stop making them, right?
It’s a sexy vampire battle royale set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe. ‘Nuff said. Get me my black leather pants, teach me some spells and sign me up. This is already out in early access for PC, and it wasn’t clear if this will also come out for Xbox at some point – but if it doesn’t, I’ll be sad.
One of the few games shown during the presentation that is actually launching soon, Deathloop will bring its particular blend of assassin action (say that 5 times fast) to the Playstation 5 in a few days on September 14th. As it’s a Bethesda game and Bethesda is now owned by Microsoft, we’ll all get to play this at some point, but Playstation gamers get first dibs. We’ll see how it goes come next week!
Kid A Mnesia Exhibition
This is… um… I really don’t know, except it has something to do with the band Radiohead, and it looks appropriately strange. Not exactly a system-seller, but then again, I couldn’t even tell if this is a game, or a concert experience, or just a fever dream. Time will tell, I suppose – it’s out in November.
This looked to me like Sony trying to out-Nintendo their major Japanese rival. It also looked like ‘Anti-capitalism, the Game’, which struck me as ironic, coming from a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company like Sony. (And no, I’m not saying Microsoft is any better!)
On a serious note, though, Tchia’s graphics are approachable and colorful, and it looks like the title will be a fun, family-friendly adventure. Not for me, necessarily, but it was nice to see the variety of game genres on display during the Showcase. And this one features a ukulele you can jam on, so that counts for something!
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
Sony’s on-again, off-again romance with PC players continues, as Uncharted: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy are both being remastered for PS5 and also coming to the mouse and keyboard population. The Uncharted series has always been and will likely always be one of the crown jewels in the Playstation crown, so this seems to be a no-brainer. I tell fellow Xbox fanboys all the time – find a friend who owns Uncharted and borrow it!
Didn’t see this one coming – and as both an Xbox fan and a collector of 1990s Wolverine comics, this one stings like two adamantium claws to the gut. Insomniac Games, after making the best Spiderman game ever, is on to our favorite Canadian malcontent and mass murdering mutant, and if there was ever a reason to bend to the scalper’s will and shell out the fortune necessary to procure a Playstation 5, this might be it. We don’t know when it will be out, but when it is, we will all be playing it.
Gran Turismo 7
Like pretty cars? You’re in luck. The next iteration in the vaunted auto franchise will be coming out – but, again, not until next March. We on the Xbox side of things will have the next Forza title before then, which will inevitably lead to comparisons once Gran Turismo is again tearing up the virtual asphalt this upcoming spring. Personally, I think they’re both great franchises better at different things, but we’ll see what gamers’ consensus ends up being once they’re both on the road in a few months.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Okay, now this just isn’t fair. Insomniac, not content with already setting the internet ablaze with their Wolverine announcement, is ALSO officially developing Spider-Man 2. It’s got Peter Parker and Miles Morales in what appears to be tandem protagonist roles, and Venom filling in as the head baddie. Give. Me. This.
I’m certain they’re already paid quite well, but if I were Sony, I would simply back up a truck of money to Insomniac’s doorstep and dump it out for them, each and every day.
God of War: Ragnarok
And finally, we come to the daddy of them all (see what I did there?). Santa Monica Studio absolutely killed it with the PS4 God of War reboot, and it appears as though we’re getting more of that sweet, sweet father-son-troll action next year. Seriously, all they need to deliver is more of the same, but from the trailer shown today, it looks like all that and a bag of crisp, smooth-running, 4K chips. I can’t wait.
Not Bad, Sony. Not Bad at All.
If I was going to grade Sony’s Showcase, I would give it a solid 8 out of 10. A few too many 3rd-person action titles and a few incredibly strange looks at …whatever that Radiohead thing is, but the titles that landed well really showed the power of the Playstation 5 and set up a promising future for Sony fans.
Would I have liked to see Naughty Dog’s Factions title based in the Last of Us universe? Sure. Was I hoping to see Sony announce a GamePass-esque subscription service for their legions of supporters? Absolutely, if only because I want those gamers to experience the type of library and experiences that Microsoft’s service has provided me over the past year. Still, all in all I think Sony did a great job, and I’m looking forward to several of the titles shown today.
…See? I admitted it. Sony’s Showcase was really quite good. The world didn’t end. There’s hope, gamers – we can coexist!
(You might have noticed that I didn’t mention Rainbow Six: Extraction’s new trailer. That’s because Rainbow Six: Extraction isn’t worth mentioning. Zing!)