Paris Games Week – Sony Pre-Show Announcements

What a day! Sony’s (sometimes) annual Paris Games Week Showcase has just concluded, and as has become the standard with the company’s marque press conferences as of later (we’ll ignore the travesty that was the PS4 Pro announcement on this occasion), it was a bountiful cornucopia of delicious new videogame announcements, trailers, and reveals. In fact, the show was so jam-packed with juicy-fresh gaming announcements that it is impossible to squeeze them all into a single article. As such, rather than haphazardly attempting to squash the multitude of spellbinding announcements into a solitary news item, and thus potentially overlook several of the more minor, yet equally as thrilling reveals, I’m instead going to split them into two separate articles – one covering the games that graced the stage of the main press conference, and those that were shown off during the pre-show build-up, starting, of course, with the latter.

As of late, Sony have elected to deviate away from showcasing independent titles during their major industry press briefings, instead opting to focus upon their first and second-party studios, upon which the continuing success of the company’s meal ticket, the PlayStation 4, has hinged upon over the last couple of years. As such, it is thoroughly refreshing to see Sony embrace the eclectic indie development landscape once more, albeit in an abridged format preceding the main event.

The pre-show kicked off with a trio of delightfully diverse titles, the most notable of course being Guacamelee 2, a sequel promises to once more entice audiences with its electrifying Lucha libre-esque melee system and gorgeously vibrant visuals. The Hong Kong Massacre, a gritty twin-stick extravaganza that fuses the dynamic top-down brutality of Hotline Miami with the bullet-time acrobatics of Max Payne, followed hotly on its heels, with The Gardens Between, a bizarre yet thoroughly intriguing adventure-puzzler, marking the end of a vigorous opening for Sony’s pre-show demonstration.

The announcement of Loco Roco 2’s release date – December 9, 2017 – was up next, followed by a somewhat mundane series of trailers half-heartedly heralding a spring 2018 release-window for Tennis World Tour and which of the PC expansions will be coming to the console rendition of EA’s popular life-simulation, The Sims 4, namely City Living, Vampires, Vintage Glamour, and Perfect Patio Stuff. A damp squib, it must be said, yet thankfully things soon picked up as the pre-show shifted direction to focus upon what is starting to become a very alluring platform indeed, PlayStation VR.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan when PSVR was initially released over a year ago. The launch line-up, while containing a few notable diamonds in the rough, was riddled with gimmick-ridden bargain-bucket titles that did nothing but remind me of the catastrophic failure that was the PlayStation Move. However, if this pre-show was anything to go by, PSVR might just have a chance to prevent history from repeating itself once again. While the pre-show’s VR showing lacked the blockbuster experiences, there were more than enough intriguing titles on offer to ignite the fires of interest deep within the economic reasoning section of my frontal lobe. Bow to Blood and Ultrawings VR were notable standouts, with the former demonstrating a gameplay experience akin to a mashup between Assassin’s Creed 4’s excellent ship combat and Gun of Icarus Online set within a procedurally generated world where you can both make and break alliances.

Megalith, an apparent hero-shooter where you take control of pre-historic creatures called Titans, was another prominent title thanks to its beautiful trailer that was unfortunately lacking in gameplay details of footage, a circumstance that was shared by cinematic-platformer Star Child, which, while interesting, did little to excite but the nonexistence of any gameplay demonstrations. Thankfully, Sprint Vector, a fast-paced foot racing game, ended the drought of gameplay footage with a bedazzling trailer that’s way too radical to be allowed anywhere but a 90s-themed party.

Rounding out the indie VR segment was Moss, a game that features a delightfully charming mouse at the helm of an experience that conjures up the image of an enchanting fairy-tale story that couldn’t be any more Disney if it tried. It’s scheduled to launch for PSVR this coming February.

Following on from the indie VR showcase, it was the turn of the big boys with both Resident Evil 7 and Final Fantasy XV showing off their VR experiences. Resi 7 showed off its upcoming free DLC, Not a Hero, which features Mr Muscles himself, Chris Redfield, as well as a Gold Edition of the game that features all of the game’s previous DLC experiences. It’s important to note that, just like with the base game, the Not a Hero DLC will be entirely playable in both traditional and VR modes. The same cannot be said, however, for Final Fantasy XV’s VR experience Monster of the Deep, which will only be available in VR when it releases on November 21. Unlike in the main game, players will not play as Noctis, instead creating and customising their own avatar as they join the gang as they journey to capture the legendary aquatic creatures that inhabit the dark waters of Lucis. League of War, a table-top strategy title and Invector, a colourful rhythm game, wrapped up the VR portion of the pre-show alongside Dead Hungry VR and Stifled, two chalk-and-cheese horror titles that are set to release tomorrow (or today as you are reading this) October 31 to coincide with Halloween.

Wrapping up the pre-show, Final Fantasy XV made yet another appearance with Episode Ignis, which looks to fill in the gaps during (spoilers) the climactic battle for Altissia, offering a storytelling experience that hopefully improves upon the lacklustre attempts of the base game. The episode is scheduled to release on December 13, which, while close, maybe be a little too far for some. Thankfully, Sony has you covered thanks to Oure, a Shadow of the Colossus-esque game featuring a child that can shapeshift into a magical dragon, that is available now on the PlayStation Store. Spelunky 2 bookended proceedings, offering us a tantalising story trailer brimming with joy, sadness, and hope as the series ushers in a new fresh-faced protagonist.

And with that, so ends our summary of Sony’s Paris Games Week pre-show. Check back tomorrow (I badly need so rest before continuing on) to see the rundown of Sony’s main press briefing, as well as a best of show comment piece summarising by personal favourites.

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