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PlayStation State of Play highlights – Dingodiles and games with no microtransactions?!

Did we say no microtransactions already?
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In the almost 45-minute State of Play presentation, a slew of third-party and expected launch titles for PS5 games have been announced with in-depth looks into some of them. Surely some of us expected a few surprises here and there, and maybe some PSN and PS Now updates in between, but alas Sony did stay true to their word about games, games, and just games.

The showcase had a bit of everything for everyone, but a few titles got our hearts racing, starting with…

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Possibly the most exciting news of the lot, State of Play started off with an in-depth look at Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. While it’s a direct sequel from the previous N-Sane trilogy, the new entry is a reintroduction to the Crash Bandicoot world while expanding on its already rich lore. You can play the entire game as Crash or Coco while you explore new mechanics such as wall running, rope swinging, rail grind and zipline. Cosmetic skins can be earned by completing challenges and new elements such as masks change the physics of the game granting special bonuses. In short, there are no microtransactions.

Besides Crash and Coco, you can also take control of former Crash villains such as Neo Cortex and the new playable character in Dingodile with their own unique moves and narrative perspective. Aside from the typical story mode and time trials, a new mode of play is available called N.verted Mode. It’s a mirror mode that changes the dimensions of play but also the look and feel of the experience. When unlocked, every level can have a new perspective such as the paintball mode where you can add color in a black and white rendered level. Therefore, the gaming experience can be elevated for completionists hoping to score valuable skill trophies.

They Said VR, right?

Every advertising pertaining to the new State of Play suggested that they will announce exciting new third party releases and VR releases. While I’m not a VR user nor do I plan to own a set, announcing two games for the VR, Hitman having VR capability and Star Wars VR Series: Vader Immortal, sold itself a wee bit short. I almost expected the announcement for Control’s new expansion pack AWE would come with VR capabilities, but alas it did not. It’s a minor gripe, but they kept talking about VR releases and at the very least I expected some VR eye candy to drop. Maybe Minecraft VR eventually?

PS4’s Last Stand

A whole gamut of games including Crash Bandicoot 4 will be dropping into PS4 for the holiday season signifying a late console release for users who are maximizing their PS4s before picking up their next-gen console of choice. From the releases, they had an in-depth look at Braid: Anniversary Edition and Spelunky 2. While Braid focused on marketing to would-be game designers with their Director’s Commentary mode, Spelunky 2 appealed to the fans of the game to check out their online multiplayer with the intention of community building.

Among the rest of the games to be revealed: Genshin Impact, Aeon Must Die, Anno Mutationem, Autochess and The Pedestrianeach game has their own unique take on how to elevate their genre with their trailers also serving as gameplay videos. Some standouts would be Aeon Must Die’s interesting visual look showing it as a lovechild of Hyper Light Drifter and Rise of the Robots, but I was confused if it’s an action platformer or a RPG. The Pedestrian is a quirky unique platformer that seems to be created from a Media Molecule module where not only does the player control the movements of the eponymous stick figure, you also control how the stages will play out.

Lackluster’ Launch Syndrome

Throughout the State of Play announcements, there were mentions of PS5 games coming out this Holiday 2020, presumably at launch, spearheaded by The Pathless. It’s described as an open-world mythic adventure where you take control of The Hunter and his eagle companion. Movement in the game is heavily based on the timing of your archery skills, shooting crystals that build your dash meter and your bond with your eagle. The bond with your eagle allows you to utilize its flying mechanics such as gliding and flapping.

In this archaic world filled with a vast world to explore and archaic ruins marked with puzzles to solve, The Pathless attempts to differentiate itself with the countless open world genres with its unique features. Maps are done away with and are replaced by the “spirit vision” function, which shows your progress throughout the world. You are tasked with restoring light to the darkness and defeating the cursed spirits that hinder you on your quest. You rely on stealth to bypass these formidable foes until you’ve returned light to the obelisk and from there you can vanquish them as they’re made vulnerable. It’s an interesting title, but I would like to see more narrative or detailed gameplay mechanics to convince me to pick it up at launch.

Other games that were mentioned were Bugsnax, Hood: Outlaws and Legends, and Temtem. I wish I could say anything else about these games but they feel like launch titles that exist to provide us with variety, I wish more was dedicated to them to engage us with their playability.

Godfall

State of Play concluded with looter-slasher Godfall also announced at the PS5 reveal event. It is set in a high fantasy world where you play as a Valorian Knight able to equip Valor Plates to challenge the gods. There are promises of becoming an unstoppable melee god collecting such armor sets unlockable by skill challenges included in its complete Day One release without any microtransactions whatsoever. Isn’t it sad that devs now have to mark this as a feature or a highlight?

Innovating their genre by combining Action-RPG loot progression and 3D Slasher games, Godfall focuses on combining gear collect-a-thon with player skill. Looting is highly encouraged to compliment fluid gameplay to master the combat skill tree to give the player a sense of accomplishment. It’s action-based and more focused on offensive maneuvers as you face against endless waves of enemies.

A heavy focus is placed on the weapon classes in Godfall falling under the following: longswords, dual blades, polearm, two-handed warhammer, and the two-handed greatsword. Each weapon class changes playstyle with use. The dual blades and longswords will be focused on fast and balanced combos and the two-handed weapons being more strategic block and counterattack power blows. As one collects loot in the game, each weapon would have their primary and secondary traits based on rarity. The most interesting mechanic introduced is the Shield where you can switch up defense into offense through parries, shield strikes, and shield throws, thus making every aspect of the game rewarding for aggressive DPS players.

I wasn’t completely disappointed with the announcements, many of the featured games were interesting and fun eye candy to say the least. I hope to get more information on said games announced and hopefully get answers to even more important questions of pricing and pre-order dates to finalize our decisions for our ultimate purchase.

We’ve been teased and we already like what we see. Now Sony and Microsoft, kindly make us an offer soon.

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

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