Sony – 9.2/10
The conference started off quite awkwardly, with some weird creatures on screen doing silly things while we waited. After that, Jack Layton emerged and had his usual spiel about how important it is to let their developers do their thing. It was nice, but kinda generic. Then, once he was gone, he let some dude play a banjo for what seemed like an eternity as I just sat there wondering what the heck was going on. This happened twice, once with a banjo, once with a flute. Both times it was terrible, but once I realized what we were getting out of these awkward builds, it was all worth it. The first was The Last of Us Part II, and thus began the strongest lineup of E3 so far.
The Last of Us Part II – 10/10 – Barring the weird and overlong introduction with the old dude playing the guitar, the actual story and gameplay reveal of The Last of Us part II was outstanding. It started by playing a video of Ellie at a party, where she ends up dancing with another woman. It's sweet, it's heartfelt, and it's touching, but as soon as they kiss the scene changes to a gameplay demo wherein Ellie is hugging an enemy close, brutally slicing his throat before making her way through the underbrush and on a bit of a chase through a lightly populated ruin. Lots of brutality, lots of subtle nuance, and a whole lot of style before another slick transition brings us back to her kiss with the other woman in the tent, sort of telling a story of dichotomy in the process. Looks to be a great game, and this was a great reveal of the production values and gameplay that Naughty Dog is known for.
The Interlude – 2/10 – Then, for some reason after The Last of Us Part II was shown, we went on a strange interlude where some announcers revealed some information about some other games and promotions that were happening. Apparently if you pre-order Black Ops 4, you get added multiplayer maps in Black Ops 3, which...whatever. It's Call of Duty. I know it's popular and I understand why, but it's an example of lowest common denominator catering. Beyond that we got brisk 10-30 second trailers for a few games that were all shown in the week leading up to E3 including Tetris Effect, Days Gone, Twin Mirror, Ghost Giant, and Beat Saber. Honestly, the only one that looked like a full game was Days gone, which I'm sort of shocked wasn't shown at the conference given it's relatively soon release date. Overall, really dumb, odd waste of time while people moved from one auditorium.
Destiny 2: Forsaken – 4/10 – I have no problem admitting that Destiny is not my thing, and while Destiny 2 played a lot better it still couldn't keep my interest. This DLC looks to have an interesting spin, but I just don't see myself caring. Big old pass.
Ghost of Tsushima – 10/10 – The conference leading up to this was another oriental flute solo, and while that was weird and out of place, the gameplay itself was outstanding! What we've got here appears to be assassin's creed meets bushido blade, and that is not a problem. Visceral, brutal combat mixed with stealth and sneak attacks is a combo I'm interested in. After the show Sucker Punch (The developer) Clarified that they wanted to go with a realistic combat system, and that could be seen in the gameplay demo as proper swipes would sever limbs or penetrate armor. Then, it all ended with quite possibly the most gorgeous looking swordfight I've ever seen in a game. The art direction to this game is on point and I'm desperately eager to see more. Yes, please deliver this to me now!
Control – 7/10 – Cool little psi-power based shooting game by Remedy. Looks good, but I'm not sure if I know enough to pass any sort of judgment on it. Keep up the good work, but I don't have much to say.
Resident Evil 2 Remake – 8/10 – This one made me wet, as in I pissed myself. I kind of expected Resident Evil 2 to get the remake treatment as Resident Evil did way back when, but I wasn't prepared for a complete shift in perspective. I don't personally care much for old resident Evil, but the over-the-shoulder view on this one mixed with arguably the best story makes me interested. Plus, this is a huge win and a great reveal!
Trover Saves the Universe – 6/10 – I love Rick and Morty. I love platform games. I do not, however, see how these things blend. I'm willing to give it a shot and am tentatively optimistic, though.
Kingdom Hearts III – 10/10 – Holy hell, why didn't Square Enix show this trailer? After the damn fine trailer at the Microsoft conference, I was on board and eager to see more. Then Square-Enix did the same damn trailer that showed nothing new and it angered me; so why did they give Sony easily the best Kingdom Hearts III trailer yet? Pirates? Yes please! The gameplay was best shown here, we got pirate ship battles, everything looked so good, and it reinvigorated my love once more! Seriously, this was what I wanted out of a Kingdom Hearts III Trailer. Plus, PS4 is getting a special limited edition KHIII console with ALL of Kingdom Hearts on it! (1.5 HD collection, 2.5 HD Collection, and 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue).
Death Stranding – 8/10 – This is one of those things that I'm not sure what to make of. On one hand, I think it's absolutely amazing that we have Kojima making something as weird and out-there as this, but on the other hand it might be a little TOO out there for me, personally. That, and we still don't know much about the gameplay. I mean, it's a huge win and I'm curious as possible, but I'm not sold on it yet. That said, hell of a trailer for what might be one of the better PS4 games, if Kojima continues to deliver on the level we've come to expect from him.
Nioh 2 – 9/10 – Not much shown here, but the sheer fact that it was shown and proven to be a real thing that is coming (And is apparently PS4 exclusive? Jury's out on that as of the time of writing). Nioh is basically 'what if Dark Souls but samurai', and considering how much I love Dark Souls and Bloodborne, that's a great thing. Only thing keeping me from having beat the first Nioh is that Horizon: Zero Dawn and Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out around the same time. Great game, eager for the sequel.
Spider-Man – 9/10 – Honestly, I was prepared to roll my eyes for this but ended up greatly enjoying it! Combat looks fluid and fun, the story is intriguing from what I saw, the graphics and performance both appear to be pristine, and I do love Spiderman! Plus, the banter was on point. Honestly not a lot to say about this since it's not surprising or anything, but I can say that based on what we saw it's the best version of what it promises, and I'm genuinely excited for it! Great way to end the show!
So yeah, one hell of a show! I confess that I was apprehensive going in due to the fact that I was certain we'd be deprived of big surprises (Sony had basically announced that they were gonna show The Last of Us, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and Spider-Man), but they actually ended up doing very well and showing some new things I'm super eager to play! Resident Evil 2, Nioh 2, and Control all hold my interest. Plus, it turns out Spider-Man is far more interesting than I expected, The Last of Us Part II is as good as hoped, Death stranding is as kooky and messed up as one might expect, and Ghost of Tsushima may be the single best looking game of the whole conference so far.
Sony really took a “Nintendo 2016” Approach, in that they went for quality over quantity and I think it paid off. Sure, the interlude and musical intros to The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima were both awkward and out of place, but the more I look back the more I love this conference.
I still think Microsoft had the marginally better presentation due to the many world premieres and game reveals, but when it comes to exclusives, Sony knocked it out of the park.