Last week, SONY did another PS5 presentation and let’s be honest about a few things off the bat. The presentation looked great for the most part, gave some very important information, announced some new highly anticipated titles, and provided more information about some already announced titles. That being said, there was also a fair amount of trash content in that presentation. I define trash content as content that wasn’t needed because it didn’t actually affect sales of hardware or software in a meaningful way. For instance, they “announced” that Fortnite will be on the PS5 at launch. Let’s be very clear and admit that we already knew that, no one is buying a PS5 because it can run Fortnite, and that if the game you play on your PS5 on launch day is Fortnite then you’re just doing it wrong. All that being said, I think it was a fairly effective presentation. Let’s go over the specifics.
Final Fantasy XVI
If you’re going to do a presentation about a new console, opening with a never before seen game announcement is the way to go. Making that game part of a longstanding franchise that prints money is even better. And that game having console exclusivity (temporary), though annoying, is absolutely effective. I have to hand it to SONY for this one, because that is simply how you do it. The only thing that hurt them here was the disclaimer that you were seeing PC footage. I didn’t have a problem with that personally, but I know many people did and I can understand why.
As for the trailer itself, I was very impressed with a lot of what I saw. The gameplay looks great with more fast action combat that reminded me a lot of DMCV. The British style fantasy setting, though not very original, is a fine setting for a Final Fantasy game. I was also happy to see Ifrit and Evrae as the focus magical beasts because that’s a throwback to my favorite game in the franchise, FFX. I also thought the white chocobo was cool. I’ve actually got two FF titles in my backlog to complete so I probably won’t get to this one for a while but it was a really solid announcement that will definitely sell PS5s.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
We got some legitimate gameplay footage of Miles Morales and it looks great. The new powers show that the gameplay, though similar, is considerably different and will require you to change up your play style. That’s a good thing in my book. I absolutely don’t want to play a game where it’s just Peter Parker in Blackface. There were also plot details given that I think were really useful to fans such as the timeline placing the game a year after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man, the introduction of Miles’ guy in the chair, the/a villain (The Tinkerer), and what seems like a much more down to earth Spider-Man story. One of the aspects of Spider-Man as a character that I didn’t feel was played up enough in the first game was that it’s not actually supposed to be fun to be Spider-Man. It’s supposed to be hard. You save some people in the first game, but it’s mostly just kicking ass and taking names. This trailer showed a large portion of the game being about rescuing people. That’s what Spider-Man is actually about. The struggle to save lives in impossible circumstances. It may not be as sexy, but it’s a more authentic depiction of what Spider-Man is supposed to be. I’m of course assuming that this will be a larger part of the game and not just a one off sequence.
The $70 price tag was met with a lot of criticism, but I think this is a bad example of a larger issue. PS5 games will be $70 at launch and that’s not great for consumers. Barring a number of meaningful changes to the industry, such as a complete and total removal of paid DLC, raising the price of games is irritable. Sensible from a business perspective but irritable. Hopefully this will cause more people to vote with their wallets, stop preordering games, and wait for price drops like a responsible, change minded consumer. I doubt it, but one can hope. At the same time, I don’t really have an issue with Spider-Man: Miles Morales costing $70 because what you’re getting is more than worth that. This $70 price tag includes a remastered version of the original game for PS5, all the DLC for the original game, and the Miles Morales game that Insomniac Games has stated to be a full length standalone experience. Even if it’s only half as long as Marvel’s Spider-Man, that’s a lot of content for $70. Of course I won’t be playing that remaster or DLC, since I’ve already played it, but the value included on paper is certainly worth $70.
I don’t actually know why people are still into this franchise. It was never more than mediocre fantasy to begin with. Like the fact that J.K. Rowling being a terf is the deal breaker for a lot of people irritates me because it means that if not for her having political views you find disagreeable, you’d still be shoveling your hard earned money towards an IP that should already have been lost to history. But fair is fair. Let’s actually analyze the trailer for what it is.
This game is set in the late 1800’s as a Harry Potter universe themed open world RPG. You can create your own character and use those super uncool looking wands to fight fantasy monsters and I presume solve puzzles. The graphics don’t look terrible and there’s probably a quidditch mini-game that people will praise even as they continue to mock Blitzball which is arguably the greatest sports mini-game of all time. I’m sure some people will buy a PS5 to play this game, but I still can’t understand why.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
I had a lot of issues with this trailer. The graphics was not one of them. The game looks great. The voice acting and sound effects were fine. The setting and realism were my main complaints. First of all, setting a firefight focused FPS game in the Cold War seems odd. Like literally it’s called the Cold War. There’s a reason for that. It wasn’t a war fought on the front lines of war zones. It was fought with spy craft, espionage, and countless martinis that were shaken, not stirred. Turning it into a WWII style warfront scenario is revisionist history at its worst. But they take it even further by adding technology that absolutely didn’t exist. Like an RC car that can hit like 70 or more miles per an hour while loaded with enough explosives to take out a plane. Just no. I cannot suspend my disbelief that much for a game set in a historically well documented time period.
I also had issues with the actual events in the trailer. Like there’s a moment where the player is supposed to take out a target with a sniper rifle. The shot seems easy enough but he misses by accidentally hitting a different person standing in front of the target. It wasn’t clear to me if this was a scripted miss or a dynamic one. If it was scripted, then that’s just super irritating because it means the game tasks the player with hitting a target and then has you believe you just suck at your job. If it was a dynamic miss then it means that fire fight didn’t need to happen. If that’s the case then that’s really cool and I’d like to see that alternative outcome. A Cold War game like that where you can get into fire fights but don’t have to would be quite interesting as an FPS title.
While it’s now over, I thought it was nice that the trailer was the lead-in to a free multiplayer open alpha. Again though, was anyone particularly moved by this trailer? Were the people planning to buy Cold War not already planning to buy it before the trailer? If anything, the alpha did way more for sales than that trailer did. That’s the kind of trash content in presentations I’d like to see removed/replaced.
Resident Evil 8
This trailer was basically the same trailers we’ve seen before for this game with an overly long focus on the fairytale backstory that I’m not even sure is playable. All I can really say is that it looks like a Resident Evil game and if you’re a Resident Evil fan then you were already planning to buy it after the first announcement. I haven’t seen anything in any of the trailers that appeals to me as someone who hasn’t played any of the previous games.
I have been unsure about Deathloop since the second trailer. The initial announcement was cool but too vague to make a statement about. I actually concocted an entire game in my head that ended up being nothing close to what it is, which depressed me a great deal. The trailer in this showcase actually did a lot to inform us about what the game actually is and how it works. It has a grindhouse art style that reminds me of the game WET (2009), which honestly wasn’t good. The powers seem really interesting and it’s cool that enemies have them too. Up until now that wasn’t confirmed so it seemed like the player was special but there was no explanation for why. In a world where powers are commonly occurring, it’s less of an issue. I also really like that bosses appear to die like regular enemies.
The more I hear about Deathloop, the more turned off by it I am. Not because of the concept or gameplay but because of the expectations implied. This game sounds unrealistically hard for anyone who isn’t a high level FPS player, which I am absolutely not and have no interest in being. Killing eight targets sprawled around a map within a time limit with no continues sounds stressful, untenably difficult, and irritating. Especially when you consider that another player can invade your game and screw everything up for you. And I actually like the invasion mechanic here. And there actually are good ideas here. Like this trailer showed that you can manipulate events by sabotaging plans so a target will change their plans. That’s awesome. I just think the game as a whole has too many mechanics working against each other. I’m sure some people will beat it but from what I’ve seen so far, I think most will be put off by it. The average gamer doesn’t actually like mandated perfect run scenarios.
Devil May Cry V Special Edition
I didn’t like this presentation because it was built around the idea of marketing to people who already played Devil May Cry V in attempt to make them rebuy Devil May Cry V while concurrently ignoring people who haven’t played the game yet. This was a gameplay trailer that told outsiders literally nothing. It was basically just a presentation of what DMCV looks like on PS5. Having not played the game yet, I was very confused about what made it a “special edition”. Later I was told that Vergil wasn’t playable in the launch version and that was the difference. That should have been stated in the presentation. Especially since it’s one of the only real additions to this edition. People who haven’t already played the game could not just look at the footage shown and understand that was the selling point. In general, I don’t know if I even want to call one additional playable character enough to justify a whole new edition of a game, but that’s beside the point. It was a great looking game, that will presumably run better on the PS5, presented badly.
This trailer didn’t really do any more to sell the game than the past trailers have. The gameplay looks fairly standard with lots of comedic violence and some funny dialog, which has been shown in the previous trailers. Again, who’s opinion on the game changed with this trailer? Nothing particularly special was shown in this trailer that made anyone more likely to buy it than previous trailers have. I get that they want to keep pushing the game for marketing purposes, but there are ways to do that without taking prime time from a formal presentation for the second or third time.
Five Night’s at Freddy’s Security Breach
This was just an announcement trailer with no gameplay shown, but it was definitely well made. I didn’t even realize it was a Five Nights at Freddy’s trailer till towards the end. The GLaDOS vibes were strong with this one. I don’t really play this franchise because I got stuck in the first game and never figured out how to beat it but this was a good announcement trailer.
Demon’s Souls Remake
While I personally won’t play a Demon’s Souls remake, having already beaten the original, wow does this game look pretty. It runs smoothly, the enemies look way more detailed, and the landscapes look beautiful. There were some things I was unclear about, having not played the game in over a decade. It seemed like the player was getting one hit kills every time. I don’t remember Demon’s Souls being that easy. I was also super impressed/stressed out about him/her playing with no UI on. That would give me anxiety for this particular game. I won’t be buying this but I hope many people who haven’t played it do so they can learn about what true difficulty is. Dark Souls has always been an easier experience. I hope they haven’t nerfed this game for a modern audience. I’d absolutely play a Demon’s Souls 2.
Fortnite will be on PS5 at launch. That is all.
God of War: Ragnarok
They gave us nothing save for an image and an announcement but hot damn was it the announcement to beat all announcements. Can’t wait for another adventure with Kratos!
PlayStation Plus Collection
This is a decent enough idea for people that didn’t own a PS4, but, and this seems to happen way too often, it doesn’t do much for loyal customers. It’s a collection of PS4 games, hopefully upgraded, to play on your PS5 at launch if you have a PlayStation Plus subscription. The problem is that it’s a bunch of games any PS4 owner has most likely already beaten. Using myself as the example, of the 18 games already announced for the collection, I’ve already beaten 10 of them and own four of the 8 I haven’t played yet. Of the remaining four games, I have basically no interest in playing 3 of them and only the slightest interest in playing 1 of them if I had absolutely nothing better to play. Obviously I’m backlogged since I am a gamer in 2020, so literally I get nothing from this collection as a loyal subscriber since the PS3 era. There’s not a single game being offered that I actively want to play because I’ve played all of them. They could have at least included Mortal Kombat 11 rather than X.
I don’t think this collection is a bad idea. I just hope that this is the beginning of something better. I’m reminded of the PS3 PlayStation Plus days where you had access to a large collection of games that rotated titles in and out on a monthly basis with most of the titles being AAAs. This is something that I could get behind. And over time it needs to transition into including PS5 games as well. If that’s what this ends up being then I’m all for it. But if we’re just talking about a standing collection of popular PS4 titles, then it adds almost no value to most PS4 users because you should have already beaten these games anyway. And since the PS5 is backwards compatible, you should already own most of these games on your own. Like what PS4 owner hasn’t played The Last of Us? You’ve had that available for two gens. The price has been as low as $10 on multiple occasions over the years. If you wanted to play it, you would have by now and honestly you probably already did. If this is just a service for people new to PlayStation with the PS5 then one needs to ask what’s in it for us loyal customers coming from PS4?
Pricing and Release Date
This is the information you’ve all been waiting for. After months of whining that SONY wasn’t being fair by keeping the pricing a secret, they finally announced that the PS5 will be $499.99 and the Digital Edition will be $399.99. Personally I wasn’t surprised by these prices, but I was angry by the predictably high value being placed on a disc drive. A disc drive isn’t worth $100. I’d love to see the BOM cost on that. I would have happily accepted a gap of $50 but $100 is robbery. And yes I know the story is that SONY loses money on consoles, but that’s been the story since the PS3. Everyone except Nintendo claims to lose money on consoles. Including the consumers. The profit comes from software and it always has.
While I haven’t gotten an official word on it, I’m fairly confident SONY is going to screw up and do their broken region locked DLC system again. This is disappointing for me because it means I will probably have to go mostly if not full digital for the PS5. I still may invest in the disc drive though because there are many instances where physical games fall into my lap for a number of reasons.
We also got a set in stone release date. NA, ANZ, Japan, and Korea will get the PS5 on November 12th and for whatever reason the rest of the world has to wait a week for launch on November 19th, ruining any chance of someone outside of those four countries of getting the first platinum on PS5. Hooray for equal opportunities in the gaming industry, he said sarcastically.
I’ve been very clear that I was going to wait for the PS5 PRO before upgrading, since you know it’s coming, and I’m sticking to that. Especially with the $70 price tag on PS5 games. By the time I’m ready to upgrade, games I actually want will have dropped in price and I’ll walk in with a large library of great titles to choose from. Hopefully PS5 games will have made their way into the PlayStation Plus freebies list and I’ll also be collecting titles that I don’t already own and won’t have buyer’s remorse for once.
Ultimately I think this presentation was solid. It had multiple AAA titles of note, ensured the user base that their PS4s weren’t dead in the water, and announced some new games to look forward to. It also gave us the key details people needed to finalize their purchasing plans. I still think most people are rushing into day one purchases halfcocked though. The smarter decision is to wait for official storage expansion options from third party vendors and buy a 2TB M.2 SSD when available. This is one of the main reasons I’m waiting for the PRO. But the presentation was effective and accomplished the goal of making sure PS5 preorders were sold out within hours, which happened to basically everyone’s dismay.