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Thoughts on the PlayStation Experience 2015 Keynote

{GAMING}

Thoughts on the PlayStation Experience 2015 Keynote

Shaun Cordingley

It is the second annual 'PlayStation Experience' aka PSX in San Francisco this weekend (December 5 & 6) where Sony gets to talk directly to their gamers and show off some of the smaller, or more niche titles that would get lost in the the shuffle at the larger, industry trade shows. Kicking off the show in earnest with a Keynote Conference, which allowed developers and people from SCEA to present some of the games that are coming to PS4/Vita in the future.

As an avid PlayStation fan, which is pretty well evidenced in the rest of our {GAMING} section, I have some thoughts and takeaways on the Keynote overall, as well as some of the game announcements:



 

My PSX 2015 Highlights:

-Starting off the Keynote with Uncharted: A Thief's End was nice, and I did not feel like they have shown me too much--I for one did not need to see another action set-piece trailer. It looks great, it sounds great, and apparently we now have dialogue options to give us a bit of control during conversational interaction.

All of them were pretty great times PHOTO: SCEA

All of them were pretty great times

PHOTO: SCEA

-Final Fantasy VII Remake still exists, still looks gorgeous, and still probably won't come out until 2020, BUT CLOUD'S SWORD LOOKS SO COOL IN HD.

-An interesting looking swarm of Indie games, which I look forward to hearing more about, including Headlander, Ray's the Dead, Invisible Inc, and a whole slough of things from Double Fine. While indie game announcements never particularly blow my mind at Keynotes or Conferences, I do have to say I play an awful lot of them, and really can't wait to try a few of these (and there are probably some that I didn't list above that will be just great).

-Yakuza 5 and Yakuca Zero looked neat. I have not played a Yakuza in a long time, but Zero looked like a good time.

-I have no idea what Nioh is...it seems like it's a sort of Bloodborne/Dark Souls or Onimushacross, or...look I have no idea from this debut trailer, but it looks fun and stabby:

It looked like you get a soulfire dog. I'm always in for demon-y fire dogs.

My PSX 2015 Lowlights:

- I appreciate how people can be excited about it, but Call of Duty: Black Ops III league, or whatever? Followed by an uber-short highlight real of things people have done while playing Star Wars Battlefront? Meh. Although the bold claim of "December is going to be a good month for Star Wars" is sure to shake up the entertainment industry. I appreciate the enthusiasm (and I'm not a multiplayer shooter guy), and the presentation was fine, but hoooo.

-How do you end a Keynote on a MOBA? Nothing against Epic Games (I played tonnes of Unreal Tournament growing up), and sure, Paragon looked neat, but a CG trailer for a genre of game that is very much PC centric, immediately after what ended up being my highlight of the entire Keynote (more on that later), and then having the conference just sorta end without a 'oh and one more thing' moment really flattened the impact overall, and frankly left me a little underwhelmed.

But let's be honest here, there is one major problem, again:

- Biggest Non-Shock: PSVR is still hard to sell on a stage

Look, I'm not going to dwell on this for too long, as I already kinda did after Paris Games Week in this article here, but I think it is starting to be a little bit silly--there must be a way to sell this technology better than having people on stage try and show it to you, because as of now, PSVR still seems to be something that emphasizes people with hats waving glowing sticks around and exclaiming they're having fun:

I used to DJ...so I know what that's about. PHOTO: http://www.flickr.com/photos/60723528@N00/4028074924

I used to DJ...so I know what that's about.

PHOTO: http://www.flickr.com/photos/60723528@N00/4028074924

No matter how many games you have called 100ft Robot Golf or Modern Zombie Taxi Co. (literally seems like it's a VR game where you drive an English style cab around for zombies...) there is nothing Sony has been able to do to sell me on this tech, and I cannot imagine I am alone.

And this is a problem they are going to have to deal with before it launches next year.

Now perhaps PSX is the place to start getting to it: get a bunch of your hardcore fans in a room with a pile of PSVR sets, and some neat games and get them to convince the rest of us to at least demo it when it's in a store...but man, as cool as Eagle Flight (a game where you are an eagle...flying around Paris) sounds, there is still nothing that is making me think that I will want to shell out money for this thing that is looking more and more like a 'neat experience' machine.

I am sure Sony is going to be happy they have VR tech, and that could very well be a future here, but so far, so *yawn* for me.

-Biggest Surprise of PSX 2015:

This is a surprise via absences: No Sony Santa Monica, No Sony Bend, No Shuhei Yoshida....there were zero (NONE) first-party studio announcements at the Keynote...unless we're counting Uncharted 4 having dialogue trees...which we are not.

I am not a 'AAA Game or Nothing' guy, and as evidenced above, nor did I think that PlayStation did not "show us anything"; there were games that I am intrigued by, or even so far as looking forward to, but this seemed like the perfect time to start showing PlayStation Nation what the first-parties are working on. Again, this is that idea of ending with Paragon, and not having something to really showcase a new, or exciting franchise from one of the smaller first-parties.

I wouldn't call the Keynote a misstep. as it had a lot of interesting things, and they did release some cool sounding indies then and there, but it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.

However....

Most Exciting Moment: Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingom Announced

This is the one game announcement that really move the excitement needle for me...a very handy installation you can ask your doctor for...Ni No Kuni was one of the absolute best JRPG's of the last generation, and easily one of the best on PlayStation period. The announcement that Level 5 and Bandai Namco are making another one, and that it still looks like the amazing Studio Ghibli artwork is back (these literally look like you are playing some of the best anime ever made) was just awesome.

I won't get too far into it, but one of my saddest video game moments (which in perspective, is really not that sad, but this is the internet) is that my PS3 corrupted my Ni No Kuni save file when I was 50 hours in, and I never got back to restart it (because I literally got my PS4 about two days later), so I am very much looking forward to getting back into the series with a new title on the PS4.



 

What did you think about the PSX Keynote (or PSX as a whole)? Let me know in the comments below, or you can always yell at me on twitter.

-S (@Shauncord)