After 600 days without a Showcase, expectations were high for Sony to show us what the next year or two is going to look like for Playstation. They’ve been fairly quiet thus far, leaving us very little to look forward to after Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Of course, hype is dangerous because it leads to disappointment, and yet I don’t think it was unfair to be hyped for the Showcase. Many of Sony’s biggest studios haven’t released anything for a few years, so the timing was absolutely ripe for Sony to spend an hour show off exclusive after exclusive. But that isn’t what happened. Buckle up, kids, for nearly 6000 words analysing the whole showcase.
A few notable themes ran through the Showcase that struck me, starting with a lack of gameplay. The vast majority of trailers were CGI affairs and often failed to give any indication of what the game was actually about or what players might expect to be doing. Looking back through all the games announced, there are quite a few of them that I simply don’t understand or have nothing to say about because the trailer was too vague.
Another theme was a lack of solid release dates. Most of the games we got to see were given vague release windows like 2023 or 2024, and it took until about halfway through the Showcase for us to be given a precise release date.
The final theme, and the most disappointing, was the surprising lack of first-party Playstation exclusives. A lot of Playstation’s biggest studios were conspicuously absent, like Naughty Dog, Bend Studios, Sucker Punch and more. In fact, nine of the titles that were shown are going to be multiplatform releases coming to Xbox as well, somewhat undermining Sony’s event.
The opening salvo sets the tone for the rest of the show, so I think Sony’s decision to kick off with a competitive, multiplayer heist game speaks to their publically announced plans to shift 60% of their development budget to multiplayer and live-service projects. Fairgame$ is the debut project from Haven, the team founded by industry veteran Jade Raymond. The trailer was certainly flashy, setting up a world in which an underground group compete to rob the rich. A giant scoreboard displays the wealthiest people in the world, and thus the biggest targets The CGI trailer provides some potential gameplay clues like a player picking up a large piece of glass to use as a shield and numerous fancy gadgets.
Over on the Playstation blog we get a better idea of exactly what Fairgame$ is trying to be. Haven’s creative director describes it as, “Fairgame$ came from a desire to create a new type of PvP game with emergent sandbox gameplay. We want to deliver a fresh multiplayer experience that rewards creativity and mastery and delivers surprising stories each and every time you play.”
This trailer didn’t really manage to capture my imagination like a debut needs to, but I’m still interested in seeing what Haven can produce. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume this will be one of Playstation’s planned live-service games, either.
Dropping in from the sky with a tongue-in-cheek trailer that actually made me think of Starship Troopers (the movie, not the book) was Helldivers 2. This was a pleasant surprise from Arrowhead Game Studio and one that I saw very few people predict heading into the show. The original game was very well received at the time
The sequel appears to have swapped the top-down camera for a 3rd person viewpoint, but a small disclaimer during the trailer says that some camera angles were altered for the video, so it might still be a top-down shooter. The announcement post on the Playstation blog also provides a little glimpse into what else we can expect, like being able to call down a variety of extra firepower from your ship which can be upgraded. Look out for this one in 2023. Very vague.
More shooting came next but this time with a distinctive magical flair. Yup, it’s Ascendant Studios’ new game Immortals of Aveum, a slightly forgettable name for an awesome videogame that looks like someone took DOOM and decided it needed more magic spells. It also gives off strong Dark Messiah of Might & Magic vibes. Kudos if you actually remember that one from Arkane. Immortals of Aveum will be teleporting onto console on July 20th and will be published by EA under their EA Originals label which has been putting out some excellent stuff.
Next up was another nice little surprise: Ghostrunner 2. The first game was a really good first-person cyberpunk adventure where you parkoured around the place and sliced people up with a sword. It was frantic, fun and required a lot of precision because a single hit could kill you. For the sequel the developers are throwing in motorcycle riding, a dedicated home base plus a couple of new moves. Release date is 2023.
The Phantom Blade Zero from S-Game had a stunning debut, dropping us into a mixture of moody samurai and magic that looks like it takes a lot of visual inspiration from Dark Souls and Sekiro. The big talking point here is the ultra-slick combat which was shown off in what appeared to be actual gameplay footage, which is crazy. The level of fluidity in the blocking, parrying and strikes was beautiful to behold and almost looks too good to be true. I’m genuinely worried that’s the case, too, as the developers have mentioned taking their long experience in mobile gaming and letting players execute complex moves with just a button press. Looking back through the trailer, a lot of it could be interpreted as canned animations or even quick-time style events.
The trailer also sets up the interesting narrative concept of having 66 days left to live, asking the protagonist what he would do with the time. “Get my heart back,” he says. If this one is half as good as it looks, it’ll be amazing. Unfortunately, no release date was announced.
S-Game does already have a Phantom Blade game available to play but it’s radically different from what we saw here. Their games have proven popular in China on mobile, but The Phantom Blade Zero marks their first big foray into the wider world.
Here’s a few choice snippets from the official Playstion blog post: “From Louis Cha’s Wuxia stories and Bruce Lee’s films to Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once and Donnie Yen in John Wick: Chapter 4, Phantom Blade Zero draws on a wide range of martial arts icons, but with a twist of its own. What we call “Kung-Fu Punk” instills a heavy dose of punk spirit and our unique visual aesthetic.”
“In Phantom Blade Zero, you play as Soul, an elite assassin serving an elusive but powerful organization known simply as “The Order.” Soul is framed for the murder of The Order’s patriarch, gravely injured in the ensuing manhunt, and, though his life is saved by a mystic healer, the makeshift cure will only last for 66 days. Now, he must fight against powerful foes and inhuman monstrosities, all while seeking out the mastermind behind it all before his time runs out.”
Giant Squid, the devs behind games like Journey and Abzu, are back with Sword of the Sea. The trailer kept things pretty vague, just showing off surfing around sand dunes and other locations on a hoverboard. But the developer’s pedigree is excellent, so I don’t need to see much to be excited. I trust them to deliver something cool. No release date for this one, either.
Matt Nava describes Sword of the Sea: “You are the Wraith – resurrected in a desolate world and tasked with restoring life to it as you explore submerged ruins and the vibrant, varied cultures within. Surf through sinking tombs, mysterious shipwrecks, and petrified battlefields – and bring giant shoals of fish and creatures back in the process. But beware- this land is also home to massive leviathans that will stand in your way.”
The Talos Principle 2 got a trailer revealing it will be out this year. There isn’t much I can talk about because the trailer just showed off a lot of admittedly very beautiful scenery that mixed futuristic technology with massive statues, as if ancient Greece had kept going with its artistic endeavours. Unfortunately, puzzle games like The Talos Principle 2 can be hard to demonstrate well in a trailer, so I think we’ll have to rely on the fact that the first game was very well received by critics and players alike.
Devolver Digital and Gris developer Nomada Studio entered the fray next with Neva, due out in 2024. This was another beautiful but somewhat vague trailer that doesn’t give any clues as to what playing Neva is going to be like. However, what we did get to see was at least interesting, depicting a woman with a sword and her pet/companion, a giant wolf with antlers. A dark cloud rolls in, made up of thousands of shadow-beings and while the two fight valiantly the wolf is killed, leaving the woman mourning the loss. The trailer closes with a wolf pup nuzzling her, seeking comfort. Although no gameplay was shown, the quickest way to my heart is through an animal, and I admit to nearly shedding a tear, so I guess I’m interested in this depressing adventure by default.
Again, the Playstation blog post provides more context for the game. The post describes Neva as a game about the relationship between parents and their children, as well as the environmental impact people have on the world and how that affects nature. “We decided to focus our efforts on creating a game about the relationship we have with our children and parents, and how we emotionally relate to them in often complicated contexts.” writes Adrian Cuevas, Co-Founder of Nomada Studio, “We were interested in exploring how these relationships change over time. At the beginning, children need protection and education, but as teenagers, they can become rebellious and challenge authority figures. As they grow into adulthood, they become more responsible and begin to think about living their own lives, which their parents need to accept.”
Talk about switching tone, though, because the next game shown was Cat Quest: Pirates of the Purribean, a cutesy adventure game due out in 2024. This looks like some nice dumb fun.
“The whole crew has been busy putting their efforts into taking Cat Quest to the next level, adding ship sailing, an evolved combat system, and a new freely explorable world and story in this latest instalment.” writes Desmond Wong while also firing off cat puns like an absolute madlad.
The Square Enix logo popped up next. What could they be bringing to the showcase? Final Fantasy was the obvious answer but that turned up later. Instead, we got Foamstars, a multiplayer shooter that looks suspiciously like Splatoon without the charm. The CGI trailer showed off what looked like unique hero characters battling it out to cover arenas in their colour of foam, while a frankly annoying song played in the background.
Okay, it’s not entirely a ripoff of Splatoon. Square Enix describes the idea in their blog post: “Foam isn’t used for just attacking; shoot foam on the ground and it will build up, altering the terrain. A key feature of this title is that the uses of foam are creative and versatile. For instance, players can build up foam fortresses and shoot enemies from the top, surf on suds to traverse the battlefield, or even use foam to defend from enemy attacks.”
This one was a complete flop for me.
The Plucky Squire, though, looks a lot more interesting. This storybook adventure starring cute kids characters who somehow venture out from their book into the “real world” of a child’s bedroom is bursting with charm. And I really like the idea of combing the 2D side-scrolling of the storybook with 3D adventuring out in the real world. This could be a really fun time with your kids, and it’ll be out this year.
Teardown hit the screen next to announce that it’s coming to console. This mental voxel-style game about wrecking stuff has done very well for itself over on Steam so it’s nice to see it coming to console, but it’s hardly the kind of announcement you’d expect to see at a big Showcase event. Especially since it’s coming to Xbox as well.
The reveal of Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater was undoubtedly hurt by the multiple reports over the last week or so asserting that it was in development and probably going to get shown off at the Showcase. Still, for anybody who doesn’t keep up with all the rumours, it should have been a stellar surprise, and the moody trailer’s slow reveal of Snake emerging from the shadowy jungle waters was pretty cool.
And Konami did manage to keep one thing secret: Metal Gear Solid Classic Collection Vol.1 which bundles the first three games together in one package. The big selling point is that they are going to be the original versions of the games, untouched and untampered with. The fact that it’s labelled as volume one also means Metal Gear Solid 4 might finally get rescued from isolation on PS3.
It’s a tad strange that the collection was announced by a static image that only hung around for a few seconds, though. This should of been a bigger deal. The collection is due out in Autumn.
Towers of Aghasba popped up next to offer a glimpse at its open-world building shenanigans. There seems to be a strong focus on rebuilding a lost paradise and interacting with the local wildlife, assuming it doesn’t want to just eat you. It looks solid but nothing about it really leapt out at me, but that’s probably because it just isn’t my type of game.
I find the game’s history more interesting, actually. It first popped up four years in a video on Youtube showing a rough prototype. It’s really cool to see developer Dreamlit manage to get their vision off the ground and appear in a Playstation Showcase. Hats off to them.
Final Fantasy XVI was up next and I’m not going to say anything about it. Not because it isn’t a big deal for Sony (it is) but because I’m just not a Final Fantasy person, so most of this trailer involved me staring at it in quiet bewilderment. At least we got a release date: June 22nd.
Remedy and 505 Games must be cursing voice actor Matthew Porretta for accidentally revealing Alan Wake 2’s release date the other day on a Podcast. Alan Wake 2 will officially be launching on 17th October 2023, a perfect time for a spooky game to come out. But while that snippet of info was already known, the trailer we got had plenty of awesomeness to make up for it. Notably, it looks like we’ll get to play as an FBI agent by the name of Saga Anderson tasked with finding Alan Wake, as well as playing as the titular writer himself.
The official blog post mentions that the team have focused on ensuring you don’t need to have played the first game to follow along, which is probably smart considering the original was something of a cult classic.
“A string of ritualistic murders threatens Bright Falls, a small-town community surrounded by the Pacific Northwest wilderness. Anderson, an accomplished FBI agent with a reputation for solving impossible cases, arrives to investigate the murders. Soon the events spiral into a nightmare when she discovers pages of a horror story that start to come true around her. Somehow the events seem to lead to Alan Wake, the horror writer who went missing 13 years ago.”
I’m really excited for this one, especially now Alan Wake and Control are known to exist in the same universe. Now Remedy, go stick Matthew Porretta in a cupboard somewhere until the game is actually out.
Hey, look! It’s another Assassin’s Creed game! Okay, honestly, Assassin’s Creed: Mirage actually looks quite interesting, mostly because it’s ditching the overblown design of the past few games in favour of a much more streamlined experience that harkens back to classic Ass Creed experiences. This one stars Basim who appeared in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (AKA the one I didn’t review because it was broken) and his outfit and the setting immediately made me think of the very first game. Kudos for showing actual gameplay, too, giving us an idea of what to expect on October 12th.
The Glory Society debuted their first-ever game titled Revenant Hill and it’s a…er, I have no idea. The cutesy trailer showed a cat jogging through several lovely-looking scenes before joining a couple of folk on a hill. I have no idea what kind of game it is. None. Zilch. Nada. Not even a release date.
Back to the Playstion Blog for some actual information, then. “The year is 1919. After the barn he was living in burns down, Twigs the cat takes up residence in a wet log near an abandoned graveyard. When the owl from the next hill over starts demanding rent, Twigs must find a way to make ends meet, and things just get more complicated from there.” says Coby West.
“Grow crops to sell at the secret market or use for your own purposes. Put down roots. Run through the fields and the trees. Watch the seasons pass. Make friends who become neighbors who become family. Also make enemies. That’s unavoidable sometimes. Figure out what the ghosts want. Host increasingly ambitious parties for witches and demons and other things that don’t have proper names. Get tangled up in a world in the midst of violent change. Build a community by accident. Square dance with a possum. Eat mice.”
Cygames’ action RPG Granblue Fantasy: Relink is going to launch this winter, marking a jump from fighting game to co-op action adventure. It is certainly visually spectacular but just isn’t my kettle of anime fish. Sorry!
But Street Fighter 6 is certainly my kettle of incredibly muscular fish. The new trailer focused on World Tour mode, the singleplayer campaign where you take a custom character on a grand tour to meet up with or beat up various classic Street Fighter characters. Can it compete with the gloriously insane campaigns Netherealm has gifted us with lately? Find out on…wait, June 2nd? It’s that close? Bloody hell. The beta has seen been getting a lot of praise from the fighting game community.
Ultros captured my interest thanks to its psychedelic art style that makes it look like someone dropped some acid and then grabbed a pack of crayons. Not only was the trailer visually captivating but it also provided a little glimpse of the 2D gameplay. I’m going to hazard a guess at this one being a Metroidvania style game from what was shown, especially as the blog post says: “The opening of the game exemplifies mystery – our protagonist, Ouji wakes up after seemingly crashing her ship on a giant cosmic sarcophagus, carrying an ancient evil entity known as Ultros (we’ve all been there, right?). Caught in the eternal loop of a black hole, anyone unlucky enough to be trapped in the sarcophagus will have their psyche undergo scrutinizing attacks. Ouji feels the need to venture across the time-loops and break this eternal cycle.”
Ultros glorious art style made it stand out from the crowd, so hopefully developer Hadoque can capitalise on that initial interest with something special. It’ll release in 2024, so sadly we have some time to wait. Maybe go find some acid until then.
Up next was Tower of Fantasy showing off its console launch trailer. It’s already out on PC and mobile and is a free-to-play open-world RPG. Honestly, I don’t have a clue about this one and the trailer immediately made me zone out. But it’s good that Playstation is trying to show off a wide array of games.
Time for a complete surprise: Dragon’s Dogma 2 popped up with a pretty wicked trailer. I really didn’t see this one coming, although I did see a few people speculating it could appear. The original game had a great idea where you would create a companion who would then learn about the world and level up, and could then be sent to other player’s games. Likewise, you could get someone else’s companion and they might point out things in the world that they experienced in their past life. A sequel, then, is most welcome, and the trailer showed off some cool combat against big beasts and, yes, a dragon.
No release date yet, though.
The dedicated PS VR 2 section came about halfway through the show and was Sony’s chance to really sell people on their new headset which has been selling steadily but slowly. Something big was needed to grab attention with some people even speculating Sony might get the amazing Half-Life: Alyx from Valve, while I thought Insomniac might show off a VR project. Neither turned out to be true and instead, we got a couple of decent-looking games.
Capcom led the VR charge by introducing us to Resident Evil 4’s VR mode so that you can get the shit scared out of you in extra immersive virtual reality. The quality of Resident Evil 4 is already a known quantity, and considering how incredible Resident Evil 7’s VR mode was I think we can safely assume this will be nothing short of greatness. I think it might also be the best example of how VR games can grow as a medium, with hybrid games that can be enjoyed with or without a headset. That might help virtual reality achieve more mainstream success, and once people have the tech available they might be more willing to try bespoke experiences.
Five Nights at Freddy’s Help Wanted 2 was revealed as coming later this year for PS VR and I continue to be baffled by the series’ success. This isn’t to say that plenty of people won’t be excited by another entry in the popular franchise, though.
“Help Wanted 2 will feel familiar to players who experienced the first game, but with all new games, locations, story, and animatronics.” writes Ray McCaffrey, Executive Producer at Steel Wool Studios. “Do your best to complete your work as fast and as diligently as you can, but be careful. One wrong move at this job can lead to… unexpected consequences. Utilizing the enhanced power and fidelity of PS VR2, this title will be the most immersive, heart-racing Five Nights at Freddy’s title ever. PS VR2 sense controller and headset haptics let players feel every step, rumble, and shake as you race to complete your tasks on time. VR brings players even closer to the animatronics than ever before, just not too close, they have been known to bite.”
Every Showcase needs a healthy supply of zombies and Arizona Sunshine 2 is more than happy to provide them. The first game was rough around the edges but was also a lot of daft fun thanks to its more comedic tone. The sequel seems to be more of the same, but with amped-up interactions including turning a severed zombie head into a meat puppet. But the big news is that you now have a dog called Buddy tagging alone. I swear to God if I can’t play fetch with Buddy using a zombie’s arm I will be pissed. You can enjoy this gory fun sometime in 2023.
The Crossfire brand continues to spread across the gaming landscape, this time in the form of Crossfire: Sierra Squad. This one looks like a fairly straightforward multiplayer shooter, but that’s perfectly okay because that’s what PS VR2 needs: a nice, solid multiplayer game. The big question is whether they can figure out using two-handed weapons in virtual reality, something which I’ve struggled with in other games.
“If you like co-op, we have you covered. In addition to 13 single-player campaign missions, you can recruit a friend for 2-player co-op and conquer 50 squad missions. Or grab a few friends to take on Horde Mode as a fireteam of up to 4 players. I’ll tell you, the campaigns are really fun, but the multiplayer co-op is where the game really shines. There’s something about coordinating an attack with your friend(s) to take down a battalion against seemingly insurmountable odds in VR that feels just so – chef’s kiss – gratifying.” reads the blog post.
On July 4th Synapse will launch for PS VR2, a really cool-looking shooter where you enter someone’s mind in a bid to reach the core of their brain and avert a massive disaster. Guns and psychic powers will be at your disposal, creating some awesome dual-wielding gameplay. The Playstation blog post is also eager to point out that the legendary David Hayter will be lending his iconic voice to the action.
Predictably, Beat Saber has made the jump to the PS VR2 and is already available, along with a new Queen song pack.
And that concludes the VR portion of the Showcase. 4 games and one VR mode don’t demonstrate the commitment to the platform that fans were probably hoping to see, and none of them were really big-triple A experiences that are likely draw customers in. Still, Synapse shows some promise, I think, and I’m sure that Resident Evil 4 will be excellent.
The next announcement was a pleasant surprise. A highly stylised trailer shows someone with a countdown on their back running through a beautiful landscape full of stark white walls and flashes of colour. They exit a building into a bright, open area only to be gunned down by a sniper, mixing a cloud of blue into the puddle their corpse has fallen in. This is Marathon from Bungie, a new entry in a series they worked on before Halo. My initial excitement was tempered, though, by the revelation that this new Marathon won’t have a singleplayer campaign, focusing solely on PvP. Given that Sony bought Bungie to help craft multiplayer games and live-service titles, I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume Marathon will be just that. Still, it’s impossible not to be excited by Bungie’s first new project in a decade.
Jumping back to the Playstation Blog, Christopher Barrett of Bungie addresses the question of this new version of Marathon being so different: “Finding the right balance is one of the most fun parts of development! We have a tremendous amount of respect for the original Marathon games and, from the very start, we’ve wanted to honor that, especially the mythology, story, and themes of the world. At the same time, our vision for this game is something new. It’s not a direct sequel to the originals, but something that certainly belongs in the same universe and that feels like a Bungie game. Finding those opportunities to nod to the universe’s lore, while also getting to build something different and new has been one of the best parts of developing this game so far.
It’s our aim to create something incredible both for players who are completely new to the Marathon world and for those that have been waiting years for more stories in the Marathon universe. You don’t need to know anything about Marathon to understand or play this game, but if you do, we’re making the experience with references and deep cuts you’ll recognize. “
A little more Bungie news followed with a brief teaser for Destiny 2: The Final Shape which brings back fan-favourite character Cayde-6, as voiced by Nathan Fillion. How and why Cayde-6 is back is a mystery that the new expansion will certainly be looking to answer. After all, he was killed off before. But then, nobody stays dead for long, do they? The trailer ends by telling us to tune in on 22/08/2023 to learn more.
Firewalk Studios got their moment in the spotlight, introducing the world to Concord, a PvP shooter. The CGI trailer doesn’t give us much to go on, featuring a spaceship travelling faster than light to a “contract destination.” A glimpse of lockers, living quarters, a kitchen and a little garden hint at some sort of persistent space to hang out in, and that’s really it.
Even the Playstation Blog doesn’t offer much more detail: “Concord is a bringing together of peoples. It’s the power of games to build connections and inspire social play. The Firewalk team is driven by the type of exciting, unexpected moments and shared experiences that multiplayer games create. Every time you log on is the beginning of a new adventure and every match is an opportunity for a new story. It’s these ideals that define Concord, its unique universe of vibrant worlds, and its rich cast of colorful characters.“
It’ll be out in 2024.
Jim Ryan returned to our screens to introduce two new pieces of Playstation hardware. No, it’s not a PS5 Pro or a new Vita, it’s Project Q, the handheld streaming device that was leaked earlier this year. It looks like a cut-in-half Dualsense controller with a tablet taped between the two halves, and Sony is pitching as a dedicated device for streaming games from your PS5 over your home Wi-Fi using the existing Remote Play service. I have no idea who this is meant to be for. I’m sure there will be some people who find the idea of a dedicated piece of streaming hardware tempting, especially if they like to play games in bed or maybe while chilling in the garden, but I don’t think the majority of of people want that. If they do, they can just use their phone and one of the many options for turning said phone into a controller, like the Playstation Backbone. There’s no mention of being able to stream outside of your Wi-fi, though I’m sure you could by leaving connecting to a hotspot or other Wi-Fi network. No word on the price or release date.
They followed that announcement with some Playstation-branded earbuds that are presumably intended to be paired with Project Q. Exciting stuff, I say sarcastically.
Sony closed the show on a high though, choosing Insomniac as their champion to go out and let the audience leave with a grin. Yup, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was the closing act and it really delivered, giving us 12 beautiful minutes of gameplay to admire and pick apart. Which is exactly what I’m going to do.
I appreciate the slight curveball at the start too, throwing us into a dense jungle with a muscled goon. For a brief second, I was left wondering what the hell this game was, and then Kraven the Hunter steps forward and breaks the goon’s neck. This was so cool because Kraven has been largely ignored in both games and movies despite being a fairly big part of the comics. He’s headed to New York City to hunt some big game, which in this case turns out to be Curt Connors, AKA the Lizard. I can’t wait to see more of Kraven.
The trailer quickly reveals why this brings Kraven into conflict with our boy Peter Parker; Pete needs Curt Connors to help cure a dying Harry Osborne, but Connors is a little busy being a drooling monster. Understandable.
And that’s when things get interesting. Kraven rolls up to Queens where he discovers a pissed-off Peter Parker decked out in the classic black symbiote suit. We swap over to gameplay where we get to witness Pete busting out his new symbiote powers, adding a whole new suite of tools to his arsenal and thereby also letting him keep up with Miles Morales’ extra spider powers. There are some really awesome moves here, the symbiote throwing out tentacle slaps and slams. The pace of the combat seems faster, too. It’s pretty clear from actor Yuri Lowenthal’s performance, though, that Pete is being influenced by the symbiote: he sounds aggressive, and angry and is dishing out threats rather than quips. We never get a full look at Venom, but the hints are there.
Then we hot-swap over to Miles, confirming what Insomniac said about the game not featuring multiplayer. He’s chasing down the Lizard with the help of best friend Ganke which winds up in a high-speed chase with some of Kraven’s goons. This is a really fun sequence that captures what the previous two games have done so well by combining fun cinematic moments with actual gameplay. I also noted that the swinging speed seems to be faster, which makes sense because we learned previously that webslinging was limited by the PS4 hardware, so the sequel being exclusive to PS5 means Insomniac has a lot more power to work with.
The lengthy demo concluded with Kraven’s mob getting away and the Lizard disappearing. Pete saves a civilian but barely gives him a second glance in his anger at his target escaping. He swings away, leaving Miles behind who voices his concern about Peter’s behaviour to Ganke. I foresee a boss fight at some point with Miles vs Peter, and I can’t freaking wait.
This was a hell of a way to close out the show, giving us a proper look at Playstation’s biggest game of the year which is due out in the Fall.
The Final Verdict on the Playstation Showcase
While Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 left me grinning from ear to ear, the Showcase as a whole felt pretty lacklustre. Perhaps that’s my fault for expecting the wrong things. Plenty of cool games were shown off, but after so long without a Showcase I was expecting so much more from Sony. They only featured a couple of big exclusives, and many of the major announcements, like MGS3, were multiplatform titles.
Sony’s planned shift toward multiplayer and live service wasn’t shown in a very good light, either. Fairgame$ could be good but the CGI trailer didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, and Concorde’s trailer really didn’t give us anything to go on. Bungie’s Marathon is more promising, simply because of the developer’s legendary status within the industry and their success with Destiny 2. If anyone can pull it off, it’s going to be Bungie.
And the PS VR2 section didn’t offer much to wow anybody that has been considering spending a lot of money on the headset. PS VR2 really needs something that can shift units because as amazing as Beat Saber is, it’s not worth spending over £500 to play it.
Ultimately, the lack of gameplay is what did the most damage. Many of the games shown are coming out within the next 6 months and yet we didn’t get to see the majority of them in action. Perhaps Sony wants to save the gameplay for future State of Play events and decided to pack the showcase with trailer after trailer, but I’d argue actually seeing the game in action does a lot more to snag people’s attention than CGI which doesn’t provide any real information. Hell, I had to go read through the Playstation Blog to figure out what most of the games shown were actually about.
It wasn’t a terrible event, by any means. But after so long, I think it was understandable for us to expect a little more from Sony, especially in terms of first-party games.
Ultimately, then, I think the 2023 Playstation Showcase was okay. And that’s it.