By Jeremiah Salonga
Sony hosted its 3rd annual Playstation Experience at the Anaheim Convention Center this year. A time where fans can play and preview some of the games coming up for the next year, while developers show off their stunning booths filled with playable demos, stickers, posters, and the variety of swag to please the fans. This was my first time getting to attend this event, so expectations were about mid range. A group of friends happened to have flown in from Nevada for the event, so it made my experience more fun.
I’m not sure what previous attendance was like, but the lines for the Day 1 just to get into the convention were wild. The line snaked around food trucks positioned to make their business for the day, a long line of lunch tables were provided for those that attended to enjoy a nice meal between the show. You received your first Playstation trading card (gathering more as you played the various games on the show floor) upon entering the arena where the keynote or showcase was held. With the Playstation Experience app, you could complete achievements that rewarded you with more swag (collecting milestones at the “Giveaway” Booth, and also discounts to future Playstation Gear store purchases.
I was seated a few rows back from the front, bleachers surrounded the arena and chairs covered the entire floor. Once the room was filled, the show started. Rumors of various reveals had been circulating the net that were going to happen at the showcase, I was excited and hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed. The lights dimmed, and after a brief introduction to the show, some noteworthy trailers were aired.
Among the group was Naughty Dog’s Uncharted The Lost Legacy, highlighting the sneaky tactics like lock picking and action packed fighting. Following that was Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite (scheduled 2017), the crowd went wild opening with a picture of Ryu and Mega Man, and then Iron Man. Many people have said that Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is dead, but in my eyes, the viewership on live streams through tournaments have said otherwise. The announcement of the PS4 release of Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 had the audience in applause as it had been long awaited. For Destiny fans, The Dawning update has reintroduced the Sparrow Racing League, after the event, this mode will continue to be available on private matches, so LFG a group or race with friends in the two new courses and two past courses to your hearts content (scheduled for December 13).
New guns, shaders, and emblems are also coming for those that are running out of things to do in the game. Ace Combat 7 will be a PSVR compatible game, so if you like high flying, hard banking, missile firing, dog fighting games; this may be one for the books. For classics lovers, PaRappa The Rapper, Patapon, and Loco Roco will be making their way back to the PS4 remastered and with native 4K support for PS4 Pro owners. Speaking of classics, Crash Bandicoot will also be making its remastered appearance on the PS4, the graphics look well adapted into the current gen console. Racing fans will be pleased that Gran Turismo is coming back with their title GT Sport, showcasing a variety of racing modes, including so rally, NASCAR type tracks, and their live demo in booth was Indy car racing. One PS4 exclusive on the horizon is Dreadnought, a battle ship game where you are pitted 5v5 in a team deathmatch choosing between very large spacecraft and the more maneuverable smaller fighters. I was able to try the demo out with my team and though we lost, you learn that not everyone can be the same ship and expect to win. One game that caught my eye was Housemarque’s Nex Machina, this is a fast paced 3rd person overhead shoot-em-up game with amazing detail, fast movement and plenty of enemies to shoot. Guerilla Games, Horizon Zero Dawn, what can I say? A human hunter in a jungle like environment, but instead of those wild animals like bears, tigers, and crocodiles, everything is robotic. You are the hunter until you become the hunted, the world is extremely detailed, the trailer showed the main character riding one of the robotic animals whilst getting chased by a pack of the robotic creatures. The epic ending of the showcase erupted the room once again, starting with a girl panting before picking a song to a guitar. As the song is played, everyone begins to recognize it was Ellie cheering in excitement. It truly was the best way to end the showcase.
On the show floor, I was able to get hands on with one game that blew my mind; it was the Korean Dev Joycity Corp., who gave me a walkthrough of their latest game, 3v3 Freestyle. Powered by Unreal Engine, it’s a basketball game on the outside, but a higher level competitive game at its core. I had mentioned after playing the game that it felt like basketball meets League of Legends. I was countered with its more like basketball meets Overwatch. Each character in the game has unique backstories (written by Evan Skolnick, former Marvel Comics editor), special talents, and team synergy. The ability to change players on the fly during the match creates the lane for adaptability to counter your opponent’s strengths. You start off with 5 characters, leveling each one up by playing with them by drinking cans. Unlocking other characters happens by completing a list of achievements. When asked what the main goal of making the game was, they responded that they wanted to bring couch gaming back into style. You and 2 friends hanging out and playing with each other on the local multiplayer feature to test your skills against other trios. When I was in place to play the game, I didn’t think it would be fun to play with two strangers against another 3 man team on the other end of the booth, but man was I wrong. If I was able to have that much with strangers, I could see this game going far for trios of friends around the world. What I hope for the most is that this game does hit its stride and enters the competitive levels, with unique characters in their special positions; it is a runner for that type of play.
Towards the end of night 1, I scurried along the show floor in hopes to catch some short lines and play a few games. I was able to catch Drawn To Death, I played a pencil sketched free for all battle mode where you and 3 other players can pick up a variety of weapons situated around the map. After killing an opposing player, their red heart drops to the floor, but the only way for that captured heart counts is to jump into a red zone on the map without getting killed for an allotted time. I had a lot of fun with this one; the lock on rocket launcher was probably the most powerful gun I used.
One of the VR titles I visited was from dev Schell Games who created the title “I Expect You To Die”. You play a secret agent who possesses telekinetic abilities to grab objects from around you. The goal is that of an Escape the Room genre, figure out how to get out of the tricky situation your agent is placed in. There is more than one way in each instance to solve the puzzle, so get your critical thinking cap on and use those abilities to help achieve success.
I was so busy shooting pictures of the show floor that I had very few moments where I was actually playing the games offered. The experience was definitely one to remember, and now that I know what to expect, coverage in future events will be bigger and better. With such a large clip of big name titles coming, with many diamonds in the rough, 2017 is bound to be another year of hits. A tip to those that do attend PSX in the future, hit the biggest titles first, or the games that you have your eyes on, then hit that alley of smaller developers, you’ll thank me later. I would like to thank the Playstation Experience for having me attend the event, there was definitely plenty to do in such little time, and I hope it continues to grow year after year.