PlayStation’s Paris Games Week 2017 pre-show, press conference and post-show was hyped up to the extent of being officially billed as E3: Part 2 by PlayStation themselves! However, did the quality of the showcase reflect the anticipation or were reveals and updates reserved for PlayStation Experience 2017? Let’s find out in this step-by-step assessment of PlayStation’s Paris Games Week 2017 showcase.
PlayStation’s E3 2017 press conference was criticised for a lack of indie game announcements other than Undertale during the pre-show, although that was immediately significantly improved upon due to an entire range of indie reveals.
The pre-show began in impressive fashion with an unexpected Guacamelee 2 reveal courtesy of DrinkBox Studios which was easily the standout reveal of the entire pre-show as it displayed the talented developer’s trademark humour and style complimented by amazing combat, gameplay and graphics even to the point of confirming 4 player co-operative multiplayer. Guacamelee 2 looks every bit as brilliant as its prequel and then some! The only negative is the lack of a Vita release.
Further surprise reveals followed including The Hong Kong Massacre which is best summed up as John Woo’s Hotline Miami with modern graphics and action elements resembling Max Payne, while The Gardens Between produces an equally impressive looking time manipulation puzzle adventure platformer with both games set for release on PS4 in 2018, alongside the immediate release after the show of Ico and Journey inspired fantasy adventure Oure. Tennis simulation Tennis World Tour was announced for PS4 to release in spring 2018 including at least 30 licensed tennis players and a career mode.
A pretty good quantity of PlayStation VR games followed including the intriguing Megalith and piloting steampunk airships in a battle arena in Bow to Blood, alongside an arcade flight simulator set on an open island with challenges in the form of Ultrawings; Sprint Vector fuses roller skating and a fluid locomotion system to hopefully prevent VR sickness even at such a high pace; rhythm music game Invector; and League of War VR Arena which utilises social screen for VR vs. television local multiplayer.
There were also a slew of updates for previously announced games including an immediate release of PixelJunk VR: Dead Hungry and Stifled which was complimented by a confirmed release date of December 9th 2017 for LocoRoco 2 Remastered with 4K support on PS4 Pro, while The Sims fans can be happy from a thorough update on The Sims 4 for PS4 such as the post-launch content and user interface, alongside PlayStation VR side-scroller Star Child, Resident Evil 7’s free downloadable content titled Not A Hero and Final Fantasy XV’s standalone fishing VR game Monsters of the Deep. PlayStation VR gamers looking forward to an imminent release for Moss will be disappointed to know that the unique dungeon crawler adventure has been officially delayed into February 2018. Meanwhile, fans of Spelunky may rejoice as the pre-show ended by officially announcing Spelunky 2 for PS4, although there was no gameplay footage.
Overall, it can truly be stated that the pre-show was an exercise in how to deliver an interesting, fun and informative lead-in to the main event as there were many reveals and it never outstayed its welcome when considering its pacing; partly due to the genuine enthusiasm exuding from the as ever professional Sid Shuman as the lead presenter joined by Rob Pearson and Hollie Bennett from the PlayStation Access team and San Diego Studio community manager and game designer Ramone Russell.
The press conference started sensationally with a mysterious game that turned out to be an open-world action adventure set in Feudal Japan titled Ghost of Tsushima as a surprising new direction for Sucker Punch, although only in-engine story focused cutscenes were shown and there was no release window which could mean that gamers still have to wait quite some time before being able to play Sucker Punch’s latest and potentially greatest. Despite the lack of gameplay footage; PlayStation gamers dared to dream of the possible reveals that may take place within the following hour or so, especially considering that many had thought Sucker Punch’s big reveal would have been saved until the end of the show in order to finish on a high note.
As delighted as I was to finally see what Sucker Punch has been up to for over three years; it was actually Entwined developer Pixel Opus’ Concrete Genie that stole the show within the press conference as it hit the ground running with an absolutely superb gameplay reveal. In Concrete Genie, the playable character paints graffiti on the walls of his residing town; in one particular instance he is being unjustly bullied by a gang that pushes him over when one of his works of art picks him up in a show of support and love. Concrete Genie’s gameplay is beautiful and poetic in every way imaginable.
One of the big announcements was actually for a game that should be a PS4 exclusive but is in fact not. The former developer of MotorStorm and Driveclub (formerly known as Evolution Studios) is looking to once again be in top form if the reveal trailer for their arcade racer OnRush is anything to go by. Driveclub game director Paul Rustchynsky reprises his role for OnRush which features multiple race disciplines and is set to release in summer 2018, thankfully courtesy of Codemasters that saved such an amazing pool of talent from dissolving.
A live action PlayLink game titled Erica with high quality acting was announced which would have had my attention more than what it did, but the inherent weakness of the PlayLink series of games is that they refuse to allow gamers to utilise their DualShock 4 controllers or Vita portable consoles to control the game; therefore completely alienating anyone who does not have a smart phone from playing a game that actually looks really interesting.
A PlayStation VR sizzle reel containing some games from the pre-show, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown and cinematic sci-fi adventure Eden Tomorrow which culminated in an announcement of an impressive London Studio PlayStation VR first-person shooter titled Blood and Truth.
Detroit: Become Human, God of War and Spider-Man all received fresh gameplay trailers which once again reinforced their respective high quality productions. However, despite the criticism PlayStation’s E3 press conference received for not stating specific release dates for games announced as far back as E3 2016; PlayStation once again committed the cardinal sin of stating release windows instead of precise release dates, while Days Gone was a no-show. Rather oddly, there was also no release date stated for Bluepoint Games’ amazing Shadow of the Colossus remake which had a wonderful new gameplay trailer; yet had no release date within the trailer, despite being confirmed to release on February 6th 2018 within an hour or so of the post-show having ended.
Third-party partners were embraced perhaps more than anticipated including a new trailer for Capcom’s Monster Hunter World which also served the purpose of revealing Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn will be available as a playable character exclusively on PS4; accompanied by a beta that will be launching on PS4 through PlayStation Plus on December 9th 2017. Meanwhile, the first major Destiny 2 expansion was revealed; Far Cry 5 received a trailer as did Star Wars Battlefront II; and Call of Duty: WWII had a season pass announcement.
The press conference concluded with a never-before-seen story-driven cutscene of The Last of Us: Part II, but there was no new gameplay footage. The performances of the actors and actresses made the scene believable; however it seemed to be violence for the sake of violence in a human vs. human scenario which just did not do it for me personally. I am sure many PlayStation gamers would agree that it is gameplay footage that is anticipated at this point instead of this over-the-top sort of trailer that was full of nothing but brutality.
The post-show was a big letdown as it lasted for all of about 20 minutes and barring a brief post-show intro; it was all clearly pre-recorded interviews which was a far cry from the traditional three day post-show events held at E3 and PlayStation Experience. Therefore, there was no gameplay footage of any games that had only shown story-driven cutscenes during the press conference which was particularly disappointing for gamers hoping to catch a glimpse of gameplay for Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us: Part II.
Overall, despite the amazing announcements; after the press conference ended quite abruptly I found myself reflecting more on what was highly anticipated yet not announced. Rather disappointingly, there was a huge amount of no-shows at PlayStation’s Paris Games Week press conference. Dreams, Wild, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale 2, Bloodborne 2, Syphon Filter, Vicarious Visions’ next Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon remake trilogy and much more besides were all no-shows; despite being very realistic in expectations which was compounded further by the lack of precise release dates for exclusive games. Also, there was not a single mention or even promotional image of the Vita, despite recent PEGI ratings for Papers Please and Assault Android Cactus. On a positive note, congratulations to Pixel Opus for stealing the show with Concrete Genie and Sucker Punch for finally announcing their intriguing Ghost of Tsushima! Let’s look forward to PlayStation Experience 2017 and possibly even The Game Awards 2017 presented by Geoff Keighley were it looks as though a full picture of release dates for the first half of 2018 will surely be announced with precise release dates, alongside lots of incredible announcements.