Combat was king on the Sony floor at E3.
From the high-flying, smoking-hot antics of inFamous: Second Son, to the family-friendly, smash-em-up stylings of Knack, and everything in between, Sony’s PlayStation 4 exclusives prove to be both incredibly violence-centric and next-gen beautiful.
It’s rather nice to see Sony put its sexy new hardware to good use. And almost nothing maximized the strength of that hardware than Sucker Punch Production’s open world action-adventure, inFamous: Second Son. This indirect sequel to the first two inFamous games is beautiful, explosive, and just the thing to sway a fence-sitter over to the Sony side. If the $399 price tag doesn’t steal you, this will.
In a world where superheroes fall into two main costumed camps (see: Marvel and DC), inFamous: Second Son shines itself in a unique, and badass light. Set in alternate Seattle — because, hey, wet cities make for better drama — inFamous‘s main character, Delsin Rowe, must figure out how to live in a world that heavily regulates people like him: superheroes. (Though, in this game, he receives the X-Men treatment, often referred to as a “bioterrorist.”)
Delsin can turn into smoke, proving once and for all that yes, smoking does make you cool. But, according to the folks over at Sucker Punch, his real power is in his uncanny ability to copy other superhuman skills (à la Mimic); although, us demo-dwelling-dweebs weren’t able to get a real look at that. Hopefully soon.
Delsin, unlike his predecessor Cole MacGrath, is a proud man. He’s arrogant, he’s funny, and actually enjoys using his powers. He is also, as far as one can tell from the small amount allowed to see, not your typical tortured soul. He’s fun! He’s the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with (though, having a beer with either Superman or Batman wouldn’t be all that bad, either, me thinks..). And, judging by the cavalcade of combat we were treated to, I’m sure Delsin would have no problem showing off a sick bar trick or two, while he’s at it.
Hell, this “Show Off” even puts Dolph Ziggler to shame!
The action in inFamous is entirely unrestrained. This “Saint’s Rowe” consisted of our antihero going smoke though a locked gate, insta-killing a guard; smoke-transporting through vents to escape from some vicious gun-wielding enemies; air-smoking over the battlefield to reach an unsuspecting target (using what looks like the butt of a cigarette as propulsion), assassinating him with a fire-smoke ball; and, finally, using those smoke-fireball powers to drop multiple bridges on the top of his skullcandied opposition. With Second Son, combat was king.
Toss in some hellaciously-addictive combat and superhuman skill progression towards the already smooth-and-vibrant looking graphics, and inFamous: Second Son could shape up to be quite the console killer for PS4 in Q1 of 2014.
The only Playstation game to hold a fairly bright flame to Second Son was The Last of Us, released on Friday. Oh, I hear you, it’s technically a current genii game, but that’s what makes the quality even more impressive — and the future port up more likely. The Last of Us (and I feel somehow comfortable saying this after only 30-minutes of play) will be in the running for Game of the Year. I was blown away by almost every playable aspect of the game, particularly the visuals.
Holy momma, just look at that skin!
The graphics are as real as it gets for the PS3 and the voice animations are near perfect. Now, I can’t really speak too much on the story of The Last of Us, but I can speak to the gameplay. Naughty Dog put together a demo that focused very little on the relationship between our two post apocalyptic survivors, Joel and Ellie — who sorta remind me of a grittier Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth (of Bioshock Infinite), making me oh so giddy. And, despite my half-hour focusing very much on combat and exploration, it was more than enough for The Christian to pass on some powerfully positive judgment. The Last of Us owns!
Melee combat is also responsive and bloody, and the ability to holster a live human-shield makes me giggle (lord forgive me!).
Though, as exhilarating as it was to bludgeon a few of my fellow survivors, I’d suggest a more patient approach. Every time I ran screaming into a room of baddies guns a blazing, I died. I died a lot. The Last of Us punishes stupid choices, and rewards both patience and attention to detail. Keep that in mind when you marathon this prize. Marathon slowly, young Padawan.
- Knack, the quirky, Nintendo-looking game, surprised me. Not “I’ll pay $60 at launch” surprised, but definitely “very good PSN downloadable game” surprised. It’s quirkiness, the same kind that Nintendo used to be so good at, is charming and the gameplay is both basic and addicting. You run around accumulating more “knacks” making you both bigger and stronger and eventually (in the demo at least) Godzilla-sized; tossing cars at large flying machines and destroying buildings, Pacific Rim-style. Fans can Rampage with Knack this November.
- Beyond: Two Souls, the Ellen Page-stargazer made by the developers of Heavy Rain, was easily the most beautifully performed and rendered PS4 game. Watching “Juno” (her name is Jodie Holmes in this game) fight through Somalia with her spirit compatriot, Aiden, was compelling, especially when using Aiden to possess guys and making them murder each other. Each possess-kill felt dry and lifeless, in the very best way possible. My only problem Beyond thus far, is that its story is so epic and expansive that the only way to judge it is to buy and beat it. I guess you can say I’m technically sold for its release on October 8th.
- Let’s talk some Killzone: Shadow Fall for a second. Or let’s not, because the closed-room demo didn’t do very much to convince me whether I want it or not. Sure, it was cool. Guns are beautifully designed and just futuristic enough to feel very new. Killing enemies is fun, as it is in every game. Grenades blow things up, as they do in every game. It, as of now, is just another fun-looking FPS. Nothing special, not at all bad. Now, being the good Christian that I am and all, I’ll take the optimist route. The team behind Killzone may have merely chosen a less exciting mission to display, and it’s likely that there are much more insane missions available during the game’s campaign. For now, the intense lighting and 3D effects are enough to keep a good eye for this shooter, but I wouldn’t pre-order it just yet.
- I got to use the PS4 controller for the duration of E3 on Thursday (until I was ever whimsically kicked out — details coming in the podcast, sadly), and feels almost as good as the Xbox 360 and the plentiful booth babes who visit my chapel. The pad’s handles are comfortable, the joysticks are very responsive, and the rumble packs are specifically intense. I’m looking forward to snatching the PS4 as a whole — if our congregation is smart enough to pass down some donations, of course.