Playstation Preview Event – EB Expo 2016
Getting hands on with unreleased titles is pretty much the prime reason to come to a convention such as EB Expo. Playing with games that aren’t on store shelves yet is, without doubt, an enjoyable experience. Sometimes though the lines, masses of people and bad convention food make it a little trying and can take some of the shine of the day. Thanks to Sony’s preview event however, I was able to avoid those nasty pitfalls and concentrate on the new and exciting. In the couple of hours, I had at the PS booth before the official show opens I was able to get some good time with a wide range of games so I thought the friendly thing to do would be to share these experiences with you all.
Gravity Rush 2
I actually thought it was a little sad that this game only had one little monitor tucked away in a corner of the booth. I loved the original game so GR2 was the first game I went for. I must say it looks stunning, the development team clearly used all of the extra power of the PS4 because Kat and her surrounds were wonderfully detailed. The small demo played pretty much like the first game but the camera, gravity controls and most importantly, combat all felt like they had received an upgrade. This looks to be more of the same at this stage, just a better, prettier same and I am ok with that.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Possibly the biggest game at the Playstation booth, Horizon grabbed me immediately. The demo was a very small slice of what the game has to offer but I was struck with how natural everything felt. There are a lot of complex systems at play but it all came to me with ease. Crafting, hunting, combat, movement all became second nature after a very short amount of time. The developers have quite obviously put a lot of refinement into this control system. The gameplay on offer seemed very simple in the demo though so I am still holding off on singing its praises unreservedly but I am certainly keen to see how the final product turns out.
Resident Evil 7
I played this one without VR and I must say I am not sold on the game. Sure it was atmospheric and creepy but it seemed to be lacking a solid gameplay hook that would pull me in. Of course playing a horror game on a show floor in a small section is probably the worst way to experience something such as this so I am keeping an open mind but at this point in time, I think I like my Resident Evil games with more shooting zombies and less annoying old grannies. For full impressions check out our preview of the VR build.
This was the big draw for almost everyone at the event, with good reason. Playstation VR is about to hit and many people, including myself, were keen to see how it holds up against the much more expensive PC VR options. The first game I played was EVE Valkyrie, a space shooter set in the EVE universe. Let me tell you right here and now that space combat and VR go together like Princess Peach and a kidnapping insurance policy. It was wonderful to be able to look around my cockpit, turn my head to see the starfighters coming up beside me and duck and weave through some intense dogfights. It is making me ache for a proper X-wing v Tie Fighter game in VR (not the upcoming DLC for Battlefront, though by all accounts that is a lot of fun). I am not sure how much meat is on Valkyrie’s bones but I had a blast while my mission lasted that is for sure.
The second game I played was Until Dawn: Rush of Blood which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the original Until Dawn game. This is an on-rails shooter that screams tech demo but there was still some fun to be had. Basically, the game saw me on a mine cart careening through levels populated with zombie pigs, creepy clowns and various traps that I had to dodge by moving my head or shoot using two PS move controllers. I could easily see this sort of game being popular at a Timezone or something similar but as a home experience it would wear out its welcome very, very quickly.
Sadly after my VR demo was over it was time to head back to my hotel room and get ready for a big day checking out the rest of what EB Expo has to offer. Stay tuned for more from EB Expo over the next few days and if you are heading to the show keep and eye out for our P2 t-shirts and come and say hi.