Today, June the eleventh, Playstation hosted their annual media conference at the largest annual gaming event, E3. Before the conference, Playstation hosted several announcements and updates from new releases and known releases, including Days Gone. This move sent fans into a frenzy as we assumed that the conference must have been as packed as that of their iconic 2016 conference if they are showing off content for games as big as Days Gone before the conference itself. However, upon finishing the conference’s meager length of one hour, it was clear that the conference was a disappointment. The conference bore shockingly low production values and the idea of switching venues felt undervalued and a gimmick rather than a meaningful addition to the show. Also, in the conference itself, not even ten games were shown, including known releases and third-party games, and in addition, only four games really stood out: The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and of course, Insomniac’s Spider-Man. However, these four games ultimately make the conference worthwhile and meaningful with their unique creative storytelling, gameplay design, and astounding graphics.
Playstation has grown a reputation for having excellent production value in their conferences, being able to transform a meagerly interesting conference into an entertaining show that kept gamers on the edge of their seats. However, this year, that reputation may have been sunk. Instead of returning to the impressive venue they have been using for the past two conferences in 2016 and 2017, the conference takes place in two venues, one in a meager tent and the other in a small theater. As expected, the transition between the two venues is slow. And in order to fill the twenty minutes worth of transition, Playstation implements an intermission involving marketing leads and several third-party announcements, none of which being more than DLC announcements. This new idea held some potential, but it feels underplayed and more of a gimmick than a proper show tactic. In addition, the live music performances that have become a tradition since 2016 make a return and are in their largest form here. There are two performances one involving the composer of The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II soundtrack and another on a flute for Ghost of Tsushima. Both of these perfomances were disappointing particularly the Last of Us performance. I was bored during both and even frustrated during the latter as it followed the annoying intermission. But ultimately, these disappointingly poor production values are overshadowed by an astounding line-up of first-party exclusives.
The first of these exclusives is none other than The Last of Us: Part II. Ultimately, I found the gameplay reveal mildly disappointing. The gameplay looked identical to that of the original; no additional story details were revealed, and finally, no release window was given. But as a Naughty Dog game, I am confident in the excellence that this game will bear. I haven’t disliked any of the studio’s games although I am slightly worried that this might be the first. The next major exclusive shown was Ghost of Tsushima developed by Sucker Punch. This exclusive was the most impressive game out of the four games. The game looked beautiful and felt unique as an ancient samurai game set in Japan. The gameplay looked unique involving horseback riding and swordplay combat. To be perfectly honest, this game excited me with each aspect shown in the gameplay demo. The next game shown was Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. Following several mysterious trailers, this latest trailer involving some gameplay keeps the mystification up while answering a few questions. The game excites me and I am confident that Kojima will deliver a game that is special and like none other on the market. Finally, we have Insomniac’s Spider-Man. This has been my most anticipated game since its reveal in E3 2016, and it still bears that title. I can’t deny how excited I became with the reveal of so many iconic Spider-Man villains, including Electro, Green Goblin, Mr. Negative, Rhino, etc. I am so hyped for its launch on September 7, 2018 and I think it has the potential to be one of the greatest superhero games of all time, standing shoulder to shoulder with Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham trilogy. Ultimately, all of these games I will play and review. But upon further thought after the conference I realized that the showcase really only consisted of four eight-minute gameplay demos. And none of these exclusives had any release windows other than Insomniac’s Spider-Man which was previously confirmed to launch in September of this year. There were no major third-party announcements other than Resident Evil 2, and very little support for Playstation VR was shown.
Ultimately, the conference disappointed me as a major Playstation fan. Effectively only four games were shown, and while those games are potentially system-sellers, it does not excuse the lack of content shown at this conference. In addition, poor production costs plague the conference and makes it the worst Playstation E3 conference in a long time.
Score: 6.8 out of 10