E3
Day 3
Part 1 – Sony

By Malcolm Inglis - June 19th, 2014

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Malcolm’s last day at E3 was just as eventful as the previous days. In this post, he recounts his experience at the Sony booth. -ed.

I was on the home stretch of E3; so far it had been an exhausting, but fun trip. Work hard and play hard – late nights with publisher and media parties and early mornings with a fully-packed schedule for the day. On the last day, I had a solid block set aside to spend time at the Sony booth to check out all of the great things that I had heard about from their press briefing.

Destiny

I lined up early for Destiny (which already had a long queue), to get some play time with the new FPS from Bungie that will be coming first to PS4 and will include some exclusive content for that platform. By now I’m sure that everyone has heard of Destiny; it was first revealed at last year’s E3 where it stole the show. Now, after waiting for over an hour, it was finally my turn to grab a controller and see if it lived up to the hype.

The demo featured two multi-player rounds on two different maps (I was given a pre-selected character build). In this case my character had an assault rifle as the primary weapon, a shotgun as the secondary and the Super-Charge power, which gave me the ability to smash the ground with a plasma blast, eliminating all enemies in a particular radius. The match began and I found it immediately familiar, as it looked and controlled very much like the Halo series. The objective of the match required each team to capture and control the three points on the map.

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The maps were nicely varied with lots of high and low areas (great for long-range attacks) and buildings with tight corridors (for close quarters combat – where the shotgun came in handy). The first map was set in a moon-like environment with an outpost – you could see far off into space. This was a larger map and even had vehicles (called Sparrows) with boosters for quick transport to the control points and canons to take out the enemy on arrival. The second map looked similar to a ruined Earth, complete with destroyed buildings and a cloudy blue sky (it was a tighter map and didn’t have vehicles). The game looked amazing and was smooth and fluid running at full 1080p and 30fps – even with all of the action on the screen. After getting a taste of this game I have already got my pre-order in and I can’t wait for it to drop in September of this year.

Killzone DLC

For FPS fans who can’t wait the three months for Destiny to arrive, they can get their fix from the latest DLC offering for Killzone: Shadowfall, which is out this week. Instead of just a few new multi-player maps again, this DLC (called Intercept) is a completely new game mode, with up to 4-player coop against waves of increasingly difficult enemies. The demo that I played required our team to capture and defend two beacons on a new map against the Helghast, using the four different classes from multi-player mode (assault, medic, tactician and marksman). I was surprised at how aggressive the enemy AI was; it required a lot of tactical maneuvering and teamwork to stay alive (running out into the open with guns blazing resulted in a quick death).

During the game-play you earn points for kills and captures, and you must run back to a designated base area to deposit the points in a bank. The points are used to earn re-spawns, bonuses (including jet packs!) and ultimately to win the match once your team has accumulated the designated amount. I was really impressed with this game mode and I believe it will breathe new life into the PS4 launch title.

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Indies

I got to try out a few indie titles on the PS4, which were a lot of fun. One of the indie games that I played was N++ by Toronto’s Metanet Software. N++ is a puzzle-like platformer with a very minimalist graphic style and packed with lots of challenges. This title will have hundreds of levels in total but only the very dedicated and skilled players will likely see it all the way through. N++ will also include a coop, race and deathmatch multi-player modes when it arrives later this year.

Another game that I tried, called Hidden Ponchos (by Vancouver developer Switchblade Monkeys), is a top down PvP battle-arena shooter game in a Western setting. It has a great cartoon look with a variety of interesting characters to choose from. I went with “The Deserter” in the demo: a large, slow, mustachioed Civil War militant with a bayonet rifle. In the match, I ran around a small town (complete with a central saloon), hiding behind cover (which makes your character invisible to the other players) while trading volleys of gunfire with my opponents. This one looks promising and if you can’t wait for it to drop later on PS4, you can get in on the Early Access through Steam for Windows right now.

Vita

Sony also had a large offering of new titles for the PS Vita set up at the show. It’s good news for us owners of this portable device to see growing support by both indie and major developers this year. Some of the titles include: Gravity Crash Ultra, To Leave, Rogue Legacy and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. I gave this last one a try. I was a fan of the original Hotline Miami by Dennaton Games on the PS3, and I found that this new iteration controlled very naturally on the Vita. The game offers more of the punishing, blood-soaked action from the original – all put to an awesome soundtrack.

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Summing Up

Overall I was really impressed with the lineup offered by Sony. It’s nice to see that even with their current lead in the console market, they are still going strong this year with triple-A exclusives and first-to-console releases, as well as continuing support for indie developers to bring great titles to the PS4 and Vita.

To read more from our E3 coverage, click here.

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