Astro Bot steals show at PlayStation preview

Sony has revealed a host of upcoming games to a mixed response.
The console-maker’s State of Play broadcasts are a short collection of trailers and gameplay footage of forthcoming games.
There’s been criticism that the company’s PS5 release calendar has been lacking the blockbuster exclusives that PlayStation built its name on.

It doesn’t normally show bigger games at State of Play – those reveals are usually saved for its “Showcase” branded events.
And that proved to be the case again. But there was one exclusive title that did steal the show…

Sony dedicated most of the presentation to its upcoming online team shooter Concord.
That’s not entirely surprising. The company has bet big on “live-service” games that receive regular updates to keep fans playing, and one of the company’s breakout successes this year has been Helldivers 2.

The Starship Troopers-inspired multiplayer game has sold more than 12 million copies since its February release, and its success has been put down to Sony’s strategy of making the game available on PC and PS5 upon launch.

It plans to do the same with Concord, but there was some doubt over whether it could capture gamers’ attention in the same way as Helldivers 2.
The detailed first look at cinematics from the game, along with gameplay footage, led fans to dub it “Overwatch meets Guardians of the Galaxy”.
Speaking of which, State of Play also featured preview footage of Marvel Rivals – another team-based online game that could provide some competition to Concord.

Keeping with the PC side of things, Sony revealed that its port of 2022 smash God of War Ragnarök is coming out in September.
It made a big deal of PC-exclusive features including unlocked frame rates, upscaling tech and support for ultrawide displays seen as an advantage of souped-up gaming rigs.
But buried in the small print on one screen of the trailer was a note saying that players wanting to experience hero Kratos’ most recent adventure on computers will need to sign up for a PlayStation Network account.

There was huge backlash earlier this month when Sony attempted to force Helldivers 2 players who’d already bought the game to register in order to stay logged on.
It eventually backed down, but there were still murmurs of discontent from those who spotted the warning.

Sony’s under-used robot mascot is usually reserved for tech demos and if you bought a PS5 it would have come with Astro’s Playroom pre-installed.
The colorful platformer starring the shiny hero was primarily a showcase for the console’s DualSense controller.
But he’s now been given his own game.

The trailer showed Astro soaring through desert, snow and mountain environments, and taking on a string of quirky enemies.
Just like the PS5 pack-in title, it also featured lots of references to PlayStation classics, with nods in the trailer to Uncharted hero Nathan Drake and OG rhthym action star Parappa the Rapper getting the most attention.
Judging by the many, many excited responses to this one, Astro’s Playroom is going to have to make room for this follow-up on many PS5 owners’ hard drives.

While there were no new instalments in any major Sony franchises on show, there was a further glimpse of the visually revamped horror adventure Until Dawn.
The 2015 “playable slasher movie” from British studio Supermassive Games was a sleeper hit on the PS4, and featured performances from Oscar winner Rami Malek and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.
Another horror remake – of psychological classic Silent Hill 2 – got a release date and new footage, and top-down RPG Path of Exile 2 was also shown.

There were some original titles too – “open world dress up adventure” Infinity Nikki showcased a cutesy, anime-influenced look.
State of Play also included trailers for Dynasty Warriors Origins and Monster Hunter Wilds – updates to popular, long-running series.

Both, particularly Monster Hunter, are big sellers in Japan. Some reports have suggested that Sony is struggling to shift PS5s in its home country and sales of Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth were said to have disappointed.

Wath Online

AdminMay 22, 2024

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