PlayStation Showcase 2021 Review: Here’s What You Missed | Hacker Noon

Sony has been using stream-only events to make announcements regarding their new games and hardware. The last PlayStation Showcase was a 40-ish minute presentation announcing the PlayStation 5, with an unrelenting cadence of game announcements of huge significance. The Knights of the Old Republic Remake project will be much more ambitious than any of these remasters, and the team has been growing in size to compensate. Insomniac announced Spiderman 2 and Wolverine, but no release date was given.

image

Blake Cram Hacker Noon profile picture

@blakeelonBlake Cram

(he/him/his). Recovering English graduate. Avid gamer, reader, and general nerd.

PlayStation Showcase Sets a High Precedent

Ever since shocking the gaming industry by opting out of E3 in 2019, PlayStation has been marching by the beat of its own drum…Patapon style, if you will. 

Sony has been using stream-only events to make announcements regarding their new games and hardware. Rather than compete head to head with the big dogs of gaming at an extravagant and expensive trade show, Sony has opted to risk missing out in these zeitgeist moments in order to have a little more undivided attention, while assuredly saving oodles of cash on marketing. 

Sony has often called their streams PlayStation State of Play, which has brought announcements deserving a middling level of hype from fans. These snippets bring a few big announcements, but typically nothing earth-shattering.

Then, there’s the branded PlayStation Showcase. A seemingly small difference, that is in a completely different class. 

If you remember, the last PlayStation Showcase was a 40-ish minute presentation announcing the PlayStation 5, with an unrelenting cadence of game announcements of huge significance: including Horizon: Forbidden West and a logo for God of War: Ragnorok. There were plenty of intriguing games from some of Sony’s smaller studios, as well as third-party studios to whet the appetite of virtually any gamer. 

With this high bar set for the brand name of a PlayStation Showcase, it was reasonable to get excited for this presentation. Especially Sony’s suspicious silence surrounding the event of E3 this summer. 

Playstation Showcase 2021 Highlights

Knights of the Old Republic Remake Kicks Off the Show With Cinematic Trailer

I practically had to hit pause on PlayStation’s Showcase to sit down on my floor after this announcement. KOTOR has forever been one of my favorite games. After seeing Aspyr’s epic cinematic trailer featuring a sinisterly silhouetted Darth Revan, I could barely focus on the rest of the show. 

Not everyone will match my level of excitement. Sony is doing a huge service to a loyal fanbase who played this cult classic Star Wars game that was released on Xbox back in 2003 and has made its way onto virtually every console (even phones) since. Remakes and remasters have admittedly oversaturated the game market over the past few years, however, KOTOR is well-deserving of a modern take. 

After the presentation, Ryan Treadwell of Aspyr confirmed that this remake will in fact be rebuilding the game from the ground up–alluding to a significant level of change from the original while promising to honor its narrative. Aspyr has helped port and remaster other Lucasfilm titles such as Star Wars: Republic Commando, and the Jedi Academy series to modern consoles. 

The Knights of the Old Republic Remake project will be much more ambitious than any of these remasters, and Treadwell confirmed the team has been growing in size to compensate. This includes industry veterans from the original KOTOR team. 

No release date was given during PlayStation’s Showcase. With this in mind, I would imagine we have a long time to wait to revisit one of the greatest tales in the Star Wars universe. 

I’ll be patient. 

Insomniac Announces Not One, but TWO New Games: Wolverine and Spiderman 2

It was pretty easy to predict that Insomniac would soon announce Spiderman 2 in some form during this presentation. What caught a lot of people off guard was that Insomniac is also working on a full-fledged Wolverine game

These developers are maniacs, and I love them for it.

After knocking Spider Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart out of the proverbial park in PS5’s opening year, Insomniac is apparently laughing at the idea of slowing down. 

Both of the games shown today received beautiful cinematic trailers that both seem ripe with easter eggs for Marvel fans. 

Insomniac’s greatest strength is movement and creating power fantasies–proven in their previous work–making it hard to not get excited about the promise of romping around a (hopefully) more gritty world as Wolverine. Little was revealed in the Wolverine trailer and no release date was given. 

Spiderman 2 however, was given a vague release window of 2023 and tipped its hand a bit more in terms of story. Both Peter Parker and Miles Morales were seen whalloping baddies, which indicates both as playable characters in the upcoming sequel. 

Finally, deep in the shadows, we hear a sinister voice… revealed to be… Venom. 

Come on, HOW MUCH MORE HYPE DO YOU WANT??

God of War: Ragnarok Gameplay Revealed

Sony updating progress for its tentpole franchise during the PlayStation Showcase was another easy prediction. Santa Monica Studios emphatically delivered.

Fans were coaxed back into the complicated relationship of father and son, with the impending doom of Ragnarok approaching. Kratos and Atreus are back and appear to have conflicting interests regarding this Norse doomsday. New characters are introduced, like Thor and Tyr (the Norse God of War) who will likely see significant roles in the narrative. 

Director Eric Williams alluded to the story being a juxtaposition between the “slice-of-life” mundanity of family drama, and epic moments of Norse mythology in order to weave a heartfelt story. However, seeing the gamut of new monsters Kratos fights in this trailer, we assuredly will have our fair share of classic God of War aggro in this game as well. 

Williams confirmed that the actual event of Ragnarok will happen in this game and echoed Chris Judge’s (the voice of Kratos) warning that fans will have to, “prepare yourselves” for a wild ride. 

There was no update on God of War: Ragnarok’s release date here, but is still allegedly slated for 2022. Seeing a small slice of gameplay today made me more hopeful that this is a possibility.

Forspoken Gameplay Revealed

A new game from Square Enix is always a welcome sign. Officially announced back in March, Forspoken will be the debut game from Luminous productions.

The trailer revealed a lengthy look at the game’s narrative with bits of gameplay. Our protagonist Frey is thrown into a magical world of Athia from an unfulfilling life in New York. She gains very cool magical powers and does battle with all kinds of magical riff-raff while nimbly traversing an expansive world.

Forspoken looks intriguing to play. Spells pass the eye test for style and seem unique enough at first glance. There appears to be more involved in the combat system than mere button-mashing. 

As a fantasy fan, this game piqued my interest. Although, I haven’t seen enough to get too excited yet. 

Forspoken is set to be released Spring 2022.

Tchia Announced

Bringing in some serious Disney-Pixar feelgood was Tchia, a game inspired by New Caledonia. Kids play musical instruments, explore a tranquil island full of friendly critters that they can subsequently take control of through magical abilities.  

Tchia’s plot is vague, but feels good-natured and wholesome–which is always a fresh find in a video game. 

And, a game that lets me control AND pet all the animals??

That’s cute as hell. Sign me up. 

No release date was given for Tchia.

Project Eve Announced

I love that there has been an onslaught of unapologetically Japanese games coming out. Project Eve seems to be another quality installment to the substantial list of anime-inspired hack-and-slash action JRPG’s out there. 

While Project Eve wins a ton of style points, foreshadows a dope soundtrack, and boasts a visually stunning world filled with off-the-wall monsters, it is difficult to distinguish this game from many of the comparable games in the genre. A lot of monsters have– what amount to– spiky tires for faces. So, I suppose that’s Project Eve’s niche?

This game is definitely for someone, just maybe not for me unless I see more of it that sets it apart from the overwhelming pack of action games. 

No release date was given for Project Eve.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Release Date and Gameplay Revealed

Wish that Borderlands was more weird? Wish it had more swords, magic, and fantasy? 

Well, here ya go. 

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a new take on the Borderlands franchise from the perspective of titular character Tiny Tina leading a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Players can be more flexible and playful with character classes and have access to spells and swords in addition to firearms. 

Announced at E3 this year, the PlayStation Showcase gave us a look into what this game actually is. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands blends a fresh fantasy persona with all the expected Borderlands maniacal harmony. Or dissonance. Probably dissonance. 

Loot aplenty is promised, and players can traverse the new world from a D&D table-top map, likely giving new options for missions and fast travel. 

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is coming March 25, 2021

A Lot of Fluff…

As per any showcase, there will eventually be trailers that make you think, “yeah, I know…but what’s next?”. Meaning, companies love reminding us of games that are coming or are being updated so that we are encouraged to throw our money at them, but ultimately are nothing new.

Guardians of the Galaxy Gameplay Trailer

I’m a very lukewarm Marvel fan. I know I won’t make many friends saying that, but I am way more excited about Spiderman and X-men in terms of narrative universes. This Guardians of the Galaxy game looks entertaining as hell, but I know jack about the story and am not too invested. Guardians of the Galaxy is coming out October 26th. 

Rainbow 6: Extraction Gameplay Trailer

Still slated for January 2022, I didn’t notice anything in this trailer that wasn’t shown at E3 this summer. I have no idea why this was included.

Ghostwire Tokyo

The new trailer that looks more polished than previously seen. I still have no idea what’s really going on with this story, or what you’ll be doing besides smashing ghosts with cool spells… but I’m excited about this unnerving version of Tokyo.

However, showing similar gameplay with no update on release was a head-scratching move by PlayStation, and took a little air out of my anticipation.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Lost Legacy Remasters

This announcement makes sense for Sony, but seemed more fitting for a smaller announcement rather than taking space in this PlayStation Showcase. Although, I’m glad that both of these games will be even more accessible to people who want to experience them on PS5.

image

Alan Wake: Remastered Gameplay Trailer

Recently, Alan Wake Remaster was announced for October 5, but today we got to see what the game actually looks like. Originally released in 2010 as an Xbox exclusive, PlayStation owners will finally have access to the classic, and after tie-ins to Control, Alan Wake Remaster will be especially worth revisiting.

Vampire: The Masquerade- Bloodhunt

Has too long of a title. However, this is one of the few Battle Royal games that has any appeal to me, solely based on the fact that Nosferatu is a character class.

Gran Turismo 7 Gameplay Trailer and Release Date Revealed

It wouldn’t be a new console generation without a crisp new car sim. If there aren’t rockets on the cars, or I can’t throw bananas and shells over my shoulder…not interested. Gran Turismo 7 is coming out March 4, 2022.

Radiohead: Kid A Mnesia Experience Revealed

Announced for November of this year. Looks like an interactive musical experience.

Uhm, thanks Thom Yorke?

What is this?

Why is this?

I’m excited… I think?

Deathloop Trailer

It wouldn’t be a presentation without it. This game has permeated trade shows for the last year. Even though this will be in consumer’s hands next week, I suppose Sony thought it wouldn’t hurt to show it off–just one more time.

GTA V Ps5 is Delayed to March 2022…

What f*cking year is it?

image

PlayStation Showcase 2021 Grades:

PlayStation lived up to its Showcase brand today….mostly

It wasn’t quite as epic as last year’s showcase, but still, Sony delivered an efficient show: tons of games and minimal talking.

Even though there was plenty of fluff in the show, the PlayStation Showcase graciously kept it short on each of their repeat announcements. I didn’t feel the slow moments stayed slow for long. 

The finale in particular was best-in-class for a presentation like this. Sony ended the show with a comical onslaught of huge games. There was a good mix of actual gameplay with semi-reasonable release windows, and cinematic trailers that open a 3-4 year window, promising a lush future for the PlayStation 5. 

That future may be further than many of us would like, and 2022 may be another slow one, but good things are on the horizon. 

And my, it feels good to be a PlayStation fan. 

Blake’s Grade:8.5/10

Tags

Join Hacker Noon