Updated: Feb 19
2020 has been…well it has certainly been something. Real world problems aside, we are living in a post E3 world and while dozens of voices have risen up in an attempt to fill the void, it’s just not the same. What would normally be a slammed two weeks of reveals is a strange mish-mash of announcements, weeks apart. Microsoft went first back in May and it was….OK, Nintendo just whispered “Mario”, giggled then shut the door again and now it’s Sony’s turn and boy did they come swinging out of the gate!
We’re on the cusp of a new generation and while we still don’t have a firm release date for these upcoming consoles(as of this writing), we finally have some raw details. Tangible talking points between the Xbox Series X and now the PlayStation 5 after Sony’s reveal early last week. We here at Casual Game Critic, rather than talking amongst ourselves, felt like throwing our hat in the echo chamber and sharing our impressions. There’s a lot we now know but so much more yet untold so let’s dive right in!
A Launch of Two Halves - James Desmond
What I enjoyed most about the stream was the focus on indie developers. They had some heavy hitters in there with Spiderman: Miles Morales, Ratchet and Clank and Horizon Forbidden West but choosing to highlight the indie scene was a good move. Sony has the market share at the minute, they know they “won” the last generation and can coast nicely on their first party studios to sell the system for them. Showcasing titles that will likely be available on multiple platforms, to me, is Sony saying “You know we have killer first party games, that’s why you’re here, but this is why we are your one stop shop this generation”. Instead of having talking heads gushing about power and speed (there was some sure) it was just trailer after trailer and more importantly game-play trailers.
In terms of the console look, in the grand scheme it doesn’t matter. It’s just a small box for your digital toys at the end of the day but I can’t help but think it looks like someone spilled a glass of milk on their WiFi modem and somehow captured the moment on camera. I don’t like it, but it does stand out and I guess that’s the real point. The controller, I want to get my hands on, looks like they subtly admitted Microsoft got it right two generations ago and caved to a better design. What worries me is what was not said. They showed off a disc-less “all digital” edition as well, which is great, but with no price or release date in sight, I get the distinct feeling Fall 2020 will be an expensive season. Let’s hope we don’t see another PS3 price announcement disaster, they may have beaten Microsoft two times over sales wise but, money talks.
Oddworld: Soulstorm (and I don’t even like Abe’s Odyssey.... There I said it)
Cautiously optimistic - Shane Bowe
The biggest take away for me and what I feel like will be a recurring theme here is games. Much like their last E3 event Sony sat back, kept the chatter to a minimum and let the games do the talking. More import than that however is that almost every trailer came with attached game-play. Yes, some of this game-play was pre-alpha etc but that is not the point. Sony had the “balls” as it were to say we have a ton of games from a ton of developers but we are not all flash here is some substance too. If the event had been the same but instead of game-play we just got pre rendered trailers I honestly would have turned it off and just got a quick synopsis afterwards. All that game-play says “look at us we came to play, we know that most of you don't care about teraflops or processor power but what we do know is you care about games and we got em”.
On the flip side of Sony coming out of the gate swinging is the hope that they are not being too cocky. A pattern can be seen with them over the life of the PlayStation brand. When they are on top they think they can do no wrong and so far they are not doing anything wrong but as James already mentioned they have to set a price. I am scared that after showing all those wonderful games they will turn around and say “well if you want to play all those games it's going to come at a premium”. Let's hope they have learned from past mistakes and that is not the case. One last thing that really got me excited was that cheeky little snippet of the UI. I have always been a sucker for the start up sounds that have accompanied every PlayStation system over the years.
Big Reveals & Big Secrets - Phil Keogh
Wow, when Sony puts on a show they really pull out the stops. Butt-loads of games, gameplay as well as cinematic trailers, CGI interludes to help tie them all together nicely and then the crescendo of the final hardware reveal. Truly top notch stuff. Especially in comparison to the somewhat lackluster Xbox reveal with its questionable game selection. Especially smart to show off a range of family friendly offerings.
Some heavy hitter reveals here, such as Resident Evil: Village, Horizon: Forbidden West, Demon Souls Remastered, Oddworld: Soulstorm and so much more. Each beautifully cinematically rendered and perfect for a showcase such as this. However, games such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart really showed what Sony is driving at when they message that they are all about the next generation of gaming. Seeing our favorite Lombax jump through dimensions and show off the environments and renders possible on this new machine was something to behold. Keeping in mind that this stream was put out in 1080p 30fps so expect major graphical upgrades when in hand. No game suffered more from this production decision than Gran Turismo which I'm sure will look gob smacking in person but definitely came across sub par by comparison.
An awful lot of interesting titles too such as Death Loop and Little Devil inside seem to be right up my alley, along with multi player entries such as Godfall which seems like a multiplayer God of War 2018 which looks pretty sweet. However it was very much what Sony did not say that worries me. First of all the obvious thing being the price. I have been saying for the past few years that i'm more than willing to pay more at console launch in order to guarantee the long term investment along with the quality of components used.
That said we are on the cusp of an expected worldwide economic downturn, so maybe this was the wrong year to up the ante. Lets just hope the all digital edition indicates Sony is expecting the bulk of their revenue to come from online software sales, in order to pass the hardware savings to the consumer. The silence on these console prices sure feels like to armies in the trenches waiting for one to show their hand and take the first shot. Additionally there was zero talk about what their backwards compatibility plan is going to look like. This is something I commend Microsoft for. With their back compat program and GamePass offerings I’m still team Xbox for day one, but hey maybe Sony can change my mind in the coming months.
Oh and that console design is awful. Who let David Cage and the Detroit team take the lead on hardware design? I’m praying for a black variant so it can sink into the background of my entertainment unit and I’m seriously considering sanding off those dumb popped collars.
Relax a Small Bit - Paul Mason
So finally we got to see some of the games that we can expect to play on the PlayStation 5 and the design of the console. Let’s get one thing out of the way - The design of the PS5. While I was unsure at first, I can happily say I’m pleased with the design. It’s been given some grief for looking like a router, not blending in with people’s setups etc, but I commend Sony for not going with another black rectangle. How DARE they do something slightly different. Sarcasm aside, I can understand this isn’t for everyone but the hyperbolic reactions are more than a bit tiring at this stage. No one will care in 6 months, no one is going to buy it just to look at it.
Games-wise, everything looked really good. Spider-Man: Miles Morales was a great twist on the expected Spider-Man sequel announcement, and it was great to see more from Deathloop. I don’t have a terrible amount to add outside of what has already been said. Good looking games, some exclusive, can’t complain. There were only two games I didn’t care too much for - Godfall and Destruction AllStars. Godfall looks bland to me and Destruction AllStars looks like the neurotic lovechild of Fortnite and Burnout, raised by Rocket League in a home where the only entertainment are YouTubers with videos titled “Why P$5 Will Fail Lol”. Keep it away from me. They have games, they have exclusive games and most of them look good. That’s a win for everyone.
Some details as of yet are yet to be revealed, most notably the price points for both versions of the console. I can’t expect either is going to cost an insane amount and there seems to be an awful lot of conjecture going around about it as well. This isn’t a case like the PS3 where Blu-Ray players were new and incredibly expensive, thus shooting up the price, for me there is little reason to expect it to be overly pricey but you’d never know.
I for one am delighted the lines are clearer than ever before between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Sony have their exclusives, Microsoft have done an amazing job with GamePass and Nintendo as always continue making excellent iterations in their enduring series. Everyone wins now and the war is over, there are options for everything you want. For me at the moment, I am absolutely getting the PS5 over anything else, because I am more interested in playing new and exclusive games at the moment than playing older games, and it’s as simple as that.
You Got All That?
So, there you have it, a few hot takes from right here at CGC. Shocking revelations we know but hey, we aim to please! There's a lot to be excited about in the coming weeks and months and you can be sure we'll be keeping a watchful eye on how all this unfolds. But, what do you guys think? Feel free to sound off in the comments below or join the conversation over at our community page on Facebook.
Image taken from PlayStation's official website here
All trailers taken from the official Playstation Youtube channel
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