I look forward to these online events because I don’t keep a close eye on gaming.
Unless a particular news story catches fire and escapes the boundaries of the gaming community, it will pass me by. So, events like the PlayStation Showcase are always a pleasant surprise, highlighting future releases for me. Although, Showcase 2023 was a bit of a snoozefest.
First up was ‘Fair Games’ from Haven Studios, a flashy trailer that told a newbie like me next to nothing about the game.
‘HellDivers 2’ was unexpected. Every second they showed worked, from that quirky Starship Troopers-inspired promo at the start to the diverse landscapes and dynamic, fast-paced action.
I have never heard of this franchise, but I am tempted to give ‘Helldivers 1’ a go. ‘Ghostrunner 2’ was dull. Don’t get me wrong. The first-person action platformer looks good. The protagonist is a cybernetic ninja tearing through robotic hordes in a cyberpunk setting.
But excluding traditional shooters, first-person action is off-putting. In fact, with my motion sickness, it would probably nauseate me. This is why ‘Immortals of Aveum’ lost me. The first-person magic shooter follows Jak, an elite battlemage fighting to save the world.
I know people that would drool over this game. But it felt like fairly generic sci-fi/fantasy to me. ‘Phantom Blade 0’, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air. I love the grim, somewhat oppressive atmosphere, reminiscent of a Souls game, and the fast-paced, sword-based, wuxia-inspired action.
But I’ve seen many online comments questioning whether we saw an exquisite CGI trailer or actual gameplay. If we saw gameplay, ‘Phantom Blade 0’ just shot to the top of my list of most anticipated games.
‘Sword of the Sea’ looks beautiful. But that’s hardly a surprise. The same developer made the relaxing and highly cathartic ‘Journey’.
‘The Talos Principe 2’ was mostly nonsense to me. I don’t understand what the developer expected me to take from the footage they showed. Some gameplay would have cleared up the confusion. But alas, the developer thought a morose monologue would suffice.
‘Neva’ looks incredible. Once again, I don’t know what I saw. It looked like some version of little red riding hood joined forces with a white wolf with antlers to fight some nefarious evil. Or, at least, that was my interpretation. She had a red cloak and a cool sword. Either way, the visuals were gorgeous.
I was instantly intrigued. See, this is how you tease your audience without showing them anything substantial.
‘Foamstars’ was...I don’t know what that was. I suppose it appeals to someone somewhere, just not me. The same goes for ‘The Plucky Squire.’ It has a clever storybook style that I enjoy looking at. But I would not play it.
‘Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’ has my attention. While I’m aware of this franchise, I have never played any of the games.
I would not mind making this remake the first. The ‘Final Fantasy 16’ trailer was gibberish. I’ve heard enough positive reviews to know I want to play it. But this trailer was too long and poorly executed.
‘Alan Wake 2’ looks tempting. I need to backtrack to its predecessor. ‘Assassin’s Creed Mirage’ looks just as good, mainly because it feels like a return to the basics. I abandoned the franchise years ago. But I would not mind rediscovering the series once ‘Mirage’ comes out.
‘Revenant Hill’ left me scratching my head. Again, I don’t know what I saw. ‘Spiderman 2’ looks fantastic. And it showed gameplay. You can switch between Miles and Peter Parker, which is brilliant. Also, the aerial traversal looks sensational.
All in all, it was not the worst showcase, but nothing left my jaw on the floor; although, ‘Phantom Blade 0’ came close.