PlayStation Experience 2016 recap


Over the weekend, PlayStation held their annual PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, California. It seems like gaming companies are no longer content to just dominate the headlines over E3; instead they’re getting their own big events one by one. First we had BlizzCon, then Nintendo Direct, now the PlayStation Experience. It’s only a matter of time before we get the Microsoft Direct ExperienceCon.

Rambling aside, the whole show was big, loud, and flashy, with many cool games on display. Hit the jump for a recap of all the highlights.

The show kicked off with a cold opening for Uncharted 4: The Lost Legacy, standalone DLC which follows Chloe Frazer, one of the recurring characters. The trailer was mostly cinematic, showing the protagonist navigating a war-torn Indian city, dodging patrols, and eventually kicking butt.

Shawn Layden appeared on stage, acting as a sort of MC for the event. After hyping up the crowd, he quickly introduced the next game: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. The crossover fighting game is coming out in 2017, and gameplay footage debuted later. He also announced Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, remastered and available now on PS4.

Next up: WipEout is back! After years of settling for similar-but-not-quite spiritual successors, PlayStation’s king of zero-gravity racing returns. Demoed briefly on stage was the WipEout: Omega Bundle, which features complete HD remakes the first title, as well as Fury, and 2048.

Destiny: Rise of Iron is receiving some Holiday-themed content, called The Dawning. It’s got quests, gifts, snow-angels, more Sparrow races, that kind of thing.

We then finally got a look at the Crash Bandicoot remaster, first announced at E3 2016. Much like WipEout, it’s an HD remake of the original PS1 titles, all bundled in what’s called the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, which launches some time in 2017.

There was a brief bit about the Call of Duty: World League, but all it did was announce a prize pool of over four million dollars. More exciting was the new trailer for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, which showed a little of the story. It looks terrific, and is definitely taking a few cues from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 

Next up was a trailer for Ace Combat 7, the next entry in a series I keep forgetting exists. It looks gorgeous, and is also playable with PSVR, feel free to insert whatever Top Gun reference you feel like.

Continuing with Capcom fighting games, a short trailer was shown for Street Fighter V, announcing the next character pass DLC. The pass will include series-regular Akuma, as well as five all new characters.

Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, then took to the stage and was greeted by a standing ovation. He introduced another hauntingly beautiful The Last Guardian trailer, which I can still barely believe is actually coming out.

Next, Yoshida announced PS4 remakes for LocoRoco, Patapon, and Parappa the Rapper Remastered. The first two were formerly PSP exclusives, and the latter was a rhythm-based PS1 title, and also has a demo available.

Remember Knack? It was a PS4 launch title that got mixed reviews, but clearly performed well enough to be getting a sequel. Creatively named Knack 2, the game was announced on stage, and will also be playable in co-op.

DLC for Gravity Rush 2 was then showed off, letting gamers play as Raven. The content will be free, and is called Another Story: The Ark of Time – Raven’s Choice. I’m not making that up.

Gran Turismo Sport got its turn on the stage, although it was more a showcase of how damn pretty the game looks on PS4 Pro. I’m not into cars, but if you are then maybe this is your kind of game.

The next trailer was Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom, which may have some of the worst English voice acting I’ve ever heard. The first title was a charming fan-favourite, and the sequel looks promising.

Gio Corsi, of PlayStation’s Third Party Productions and Developer Relations, then walked on stage with a PS Vita in his hand. I’ve never heard of Gio before, but he was one of the highlights of the show: he’s just really funny, and has a great stage presence. He had a lot to announce, starting with Western releases of Yakuza: Kiwami and Yakuza 6 in 2017 and 2018 respectively. For interest’s sake, Kiwami is a ground-up remake of the first Yakuza.

Pyre, the next title from Supergiant Games, was shown off. The trailer showed off the newly announced competitive multiplayer mode. Just like Bastion and Transistor before it, the graphics and soundtrack are spectacular.

Next up was Let it Die, the new title from Grasshopper Manufacture. It’s basically a goofy Dark Souls, and describes itself as “probably the best game ever made”. It’s free to play, and available now, so give it a try on PS4.

Some more titles that have just launched for the PS4 include Mother Russia Bleeds, Surgeon Simulator: ER, and the console version of Tomb Raider:GO. Gio’s last announcement was for… Windjammers? It’s a retro-styled sports game that looks like a combination of Pong and extreme Frisbee.

Next, Asad Qizilbash (I had to check the spelling of his name four times) took to the stage to showcase some PS VR games. Before kicking off a sizzle reel of titles, he announced Starblood Arena, a team-based competitive flight game. It looks quirky, but I got motion sickness just thinking about it.

And then there was a new Nioh trailer, and I get more excited for this game every time I see it in action. The trailer briefly showed off some characters, enemy demons, and new weapons, which include European swords, kusarigama, and new firearms.

The last trailer Asad showed off was for Horizon: Zero Dawn. It revealed some new robo-beasts and locations, while also shedding light on some story elements. Asad called the game “PlayStation’s next big franchise”, and it certainly looks the part.

Shawn Layden returned to the stage for one more announcement, and it was a really big one. The PlayStaton Experience saved its most exciting announcement for last: a cinematic trailer for The Last of Us: Part II. As soon as the audience realised what it was, they went nuts with excitement. According to a panel held later, the story takes place a few years after the first, and Ellie will be the main playable character. You should check it out, it’s worth it to see the voice actors interact, and to see the impressive motion-capture technology.

A lot of other titles were briefly shown off throughout the Experience, but they were mostly short and didn’t have too much context. In the interest of brevity, follow the links to watch trailers for DreadnoughtAbsolver, NieR Automata, Nex Machima, Ys Origin, STRAFE, What Remains of Edith Finch, Vane, Danganropa V3 and MLB The Show 17.

All in all, the PlayStation Experience 2016 was fun to watch. There was a terrific energy between the crowd and the presenters, and there was some great stuff shown off. There were remakes and sequels gamers have been clamouring for, and plenty of new and weird offerings. All in all, it’s a good time to be a PlayStation fan.