Sony kicked off its E3 presentation in a brilliantly subversive way, with audience members being seated in church pews, fairy lighting dangling from the roof and a smaller venue than E3 goers are used to. The stripped back nature of the show was furthered when composer Gustavo Santaolalla took the stage with acoustic guitar in hand; it wasn’t hard to see where things were going. Though as Santaolalla finished up, Sony’s plan came into focus, as we load in on a Last of Us Part II scene identical to that of the venue the audiences were sat in. It was a brilliant moment only furthered by the incredible demo that followed it.
The Last of Us Part II
Our first look at The Last of Us Part II’s gameplay shows a gritty, harrowing and, more importantly, human apocalypse where the player’s actions and moment-to-moment gameplay actively contribute to the game’s feeling of desperation. It says something in a gaming landscape in which shooting enemies is the norm that every shot fired in the gameplay demo made me wince.
Ghost of Tsushima
With Sony’s interactive experience underway, the audience was moved to a more conventional venue for the second trailer. Similar minimalism was used as a flute player serenaded the audience before Ghost of Tsushima was shown. Sucker Punch’s new open-world samurai game looks to be everything gamers have wanted and missed in an authentic samurai experience since the genre died off last generation. The graphics are stunning, gameplay looks like the right kind of Arkham inspired and overall the game looks to be an evolution of all the lessons Sucker Punch have learned from their years with Infamous.
Control, Resident Evil 2 Remake and Kingdom Hearts III
Straight after Ghost of Tsushima, audiences were treated to the surprise announcement of Control, the new game by Max Payne developers Remedy following the Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break. The reveal that Remedy were behind Control received more of a response from the crowd than the actual trailer; however, it’s still one to look out for.
Following that came a trailer that has been long awaited (and long overdue), the first look at Resident Evil 2 Remake. The trailer showed the true extent of the remake with stunning current gen graphics and redesigned gameplay in the over-the-shoulder style made famous in Resident Evil 4, however, now rendered using the RE Engine which was used to create the more recent Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
We also got yet another look at Kingdom Hearts III (it’s finally starting to feel real) revealing yet another world to the audience, this time the return of Pirates of the Caribbean. The demo showed off some stunning graphics on the more realistic characters of the franchise, as well as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag-style ship combat.
So we got an eight-minute long gameplay demo for Death Stranding. Finally, a chance to understand what the hell this game is about, right? Of course not. Is it a stealth game, survival game or delivery service simulator? No clue, but none of that seemed to matter when everything happening was so captivating. Legendary developer Hideo Kojima’s new game is an overload of style, Hollywood level cinematics and classic Kojima weirdness. Few things mix genuine intensity with the goofiness of Norman Reedus taping a baby in a jar to get its attention.
Unfortunately, Sony weren’t lying when they were adamant that they only had the four exclusives to show, luckily it was hard to be disappointed when the four delivered so well, and what a way to end on a high with Marvel’s Spider-Man. Insomniac’s take on the veteran franchise feels like a true love letter to the character’s glory days, and the E3 2018 demo shows it to be an ambitious take at that. We see Spidey take on a total of five of his classic adversaries among a sensory overload of explosions, slick combat and, of course, stellar looking web slinging.
Further on, the game’s floor demo shown after the event gave us an extensive and encouraging look at the game’s free-flowing combat system that will instantly invite memories of the Spider-Man 2 glory days.