Sony isn’t letting 2014 fizzle out just because November is over.
It’s the second and final day of the PlayStation Experience (PSX) fan event in Las Vegas. We’ve seen Sony’s keynote, and I walked the floor. Now, it’s time to figure out if this event has any games worth getting excited about.
You would think that December isn’t the greatest time for new game announcements. And you’re partially right. PlayStation Experience is a huge event with dozens of developers on the floor, but a lot of that space belongs to games that are already out like Disney Infinity 2.0, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, and Destiny.
That doesn’t mean the show floor is devoid of new stuff due out in 2015. Let’s take a look and see what’s worth getting excited for.
The big new surprise
Drawn to Death
Sony held this for the very end of its keynote address to kick off the PlayStation Experience. It’s the latest from God of War and Twisted Metal director David Jaffe, and it’s as violent and “extreme” as those games were in their time.
Drawn to Death is a four-player free-for-all shooter with a unique visual style that is supposed to look like a 13-year-old’s art-filled notebook. It’s definitely one of the most eye-grabbing titles at the show, but is it fun?
Drawn to Death was the first thing I went hands-on with on the floor, and I can tell you that it is still very early in production. How early? Well, Jaffe is waiting to ask players a bunch of questions about what they think of the game after trying it. The action already feels good — although many players let Jaffe know about their troubles with understanding the power-ups and melee combat.
The third-person shooter is chaotic and reminiscent of games like Team Fortress 2 or Nintendo’s upcoming shooter Splatoon.
Right now, Jaffe and his team of developers at The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency aren’t sure when the game will debut, but it is going into an early-access trial soon.
The known quantities
Dark Souls fans are getting amped for this one. Due out in March, Bloodborne is one of the big releases that you knew would have a presence at PSX.
Sony brought the game director from developer From Software Hidetaka Miyazaki — who is also the mastermind behind Dark Souls — on stage to introduce some new gameplay. Lines to play Bloodborne are among the longest on the floor.
Miyazaki also held a panel to talk about some new features of the title. That includes the procedural dungeons that are unique for every player. He once again promised a high difficulty and tons of player customization.
Developer Supermassive Games is mashing up the quick-decision gameplay of titles like Indigo Prophecy and Beyond: Two Souls with the horror genre. The studio’s upcoming Until Dawn has you playing as a woman in a towel who must evade a serial killer in a mask.
Sony showed off gameplay on its stage, and it also has Until Dawn playable on the show floor. Fans seem to really like the idea and have also formed a long line to play. People seem to find the game exciting, as a handful of fans told me that they can’t wait to check out more after trying the snippet that’s available now.
Until Dawn is due out in the summer.
The Order: 1886
This is Sony’s next big release for PlayStation 4.
Coming in February, The Order: 1886 is drawing crowds thanks to its realistic visuals and cool setting. It plays a lot like Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s Gears of War shooter. It’s an action game where your best chance for survival is to get behind cover during firefights.
But developer Ready At Dawn, probably best known for the excellent God of War titles on the PlayStation Portable, is breaking up that action with hand-to-hand sequences that might pit you against enemies like a werewolf.
The excitement for The Order was already high, and nothing is damaging that hype at PSX.
Not on the floor
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
While the PlayStation Experience has a huge floor filled with games, many of the biggest titles Sony talked about this weekend are not playable. That includes Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which is possibly the PS4’s most anticipated release.
Developer Naughty Dog showed its action game during a stage presentation, and it’s one of the things many fans cannot stop talking about.
Street Fighter V
We now know that Street Fighter V is coming in 2015 for PlayStation 4 and PC. It’s skipping the Xbox One, which is a big get for Sony. But the title is not playable yet. That isn’t keeping fans from crowding Capcom’s booth to try out the PS4 version of Ultra Street Fighter IV.
Capcom has definitely done a great job of resurrecting its top fighting-game franchise, and Sony is making its console the must-have hardware for fans of the genre.
No Man’s Sky
Sony clearly knows that fans are very interested in what developer Hello Games is working on. No Man’s Sky broke out during the Video Game Awards show last year, and now it’s continuing to generate buzz at PSX.
While the game is supposedly due out sometime next year, it’s still not available for fans to try. Despite that, Sony capitalized on the sci-fi exploration adventure, which has a virtually endless number of planets to explore, by holding a concert at the end of Saturday night during the fan event.
Instrumental rock band 65 Days of Static took the stage and played some of their older songs while footage from No Man’s Sky played in the background. It drew a large number of PSX attendees and thousands of viewers online. And it’s a name that gets thrown around a lot when you talk to PlayStation fans at the event about the game they’re most looking forward to.
Worthy of getting hyped
This is the first PlayStation Experience, and fans clearly love it. But it’s hard not to wonder “if that’s it,” when you hit the show floor. A lot of that is probably due to the timing.
Many publishers spent November barely getting their biggest offerings out to customers, so it’s not surprising that a company like Ubisoft stuck with showing off Assassin’s Creed: Rogue.
Some of the upcoming games that are playable are exciting to fans. Especially, The Order and Bloodborne.
Games like Drawn to Kill or Until Dawn are still question marks, but that makes sense. One is in very early production and the other is trying to remix some older genres into something new.
For an event in December, with a very early look at 2015, PSX is actually a pretty amazing event. And none of that touches on the wall of indie developers showing off their PlayStation projects, which is something we’ll get into in another post.