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About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.

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Sony Pre-E3 2016 Media Briefing Summary

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 14, 2016 @ 8:00 a.m. PDT

During Sony's Pre-E3 2016 Media Briefing, it presented new coverage for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Days Gone, Death Stranding, Detroit: Become Human, God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian and more.

Monday, June 13, 2016, 6 PM
Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Sony wasted no time in breaking out the big guns in its E3 2016 press conference.  That much began to be apparent as soon as the fifty-some piece orchestral started playing to a savage beat.  The piece ended as the curtain was raised, showing a young boy talking to his father in the shadows.  The man instructed the boy to grab his mother's knife from the counter of their barbaric, Nordic-styled home and began to speak with him about hunting.  It was then that a bearded Kratos stepped forth from the shadows.

As the father and son left their home to begin the hunt, the live demo showed Kratos making his way across the snowy tundra.  The two happen upon a deer, but the boy rushes his shot and misses, sending it scrambling further into the woods.  The father chastises the boy and orders him to find his deer to prove he is ready to hunt.  Before the two make it much further, two humanoid enemies emerge from the tree line, little more than skeletons wearing Norse armor.  Kratos hacks into one before throwing his great ax to pin it against a rock, and then he goes to work pummeling the other against another boulder before bashing its head in.

The series' visceral combat continued later as the two had to face off against a troll, with Kratos having to dodge the massive enemy's club attacks while also dishing out strikes of his own.  He then goes into a Spartan Rage, smashing through the troll's massive horns and smashing its head onto the surface of the frozen lake.  The combat from this presentation felt weightier than in previous God of War games, but how it actually plays remains to be seen.

It was revealed that the game will simply be called God of War and will not be a sequel to the previous games.  This makes sense, given the dramatic shift in the setting and characters.  No release date or any other info was given, but suffice it to say that the game is essentially a full reboot for the series.

The next game was Days Gone, a postapocalyptic game featuring the Road Captain of a biker gang who now operates as a bounty hunter/mercenary among the ruins of the world.  Whatever the apocalypse actually was, it pretty much wiped out modern civilization — and the main character's wife along with it.  Nothing more was shown at this point, but they did double back to this title later on.

Stylized, giant animals then filled the screen, rendered in an art style that made me think of what would happen if you mixed cel-shading with a touch of water coloring.  The Last Guardian is quite a pretty game, but this particular trailer left a lot to the imagination when it comes to what the game will be.  However, there is no longer any imagination needed when it comes to the release date, which is Oct. 25 of this year.

The next time someone tries to tell me that games cannot be art, I'm going to point them toward Horizon: Zero Dawn.  Sony's upcoming action game shows like something resembling a Monster Hunter game, only with a mix of relatively primitive humans and their weapon technology versus the "animals," which are varying "species" of robots.  You have the Shellwalkers, which can be killed and harvested for components, or creatures like the Broadheads, which can be tethered, "tamed" (basically hacked), and then ridden like a trusted steed.

The dichotomy of old tech versus new is a common thread in the game, and it really works.  The main character uses a bow and basic melee weapons but also has a high-tech scanner that lets her determine enemy weaknesses and traits.  Killing them lets you gather components to use in crafting things like explosive bombs.  It's an interesting dynamic that's made more appealing with the robotic creatures that are part of the ecosystem.

The big climax of the demo showed the main character squaring off against a Corruptor, an enemy capable of corrupting otherwise placid creatures and turning them into vicious foes.  The character had to use her bow to hit weak points on the enemy, first on foot and then later from horseback.  She then used a tether weapon to immobilize the enemy, attacking it until its core was exposed, and then shooting it once more to finish it off.  No release date was mentioned.

The presentation then shifted to a tearful mother who's thankful that the hostage negotiator has arrived to save her daughter.  However, she has a complete about-face when she finds that he is an android.  In Detroit: Become Human, players take on the role of Connor, an android detective who uses his many talents to give him an edge in negotiations.  From the same talent that brought us games such as Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, the game seems to be another foray into the more interactive novel side of things.  The trailer promised that you will be able to find different clues to approach the same situation in different ways, but it remains to be seen how deep the system goes.

Sony is definitely making a go at the virtual reality side of things, with seemingly half of its conference going over the strides it's made to bring VR into the living room.  The first game showed the player character waking up in first-person view in the attic of a run-down house.  A phone rings, and upon answering it, the voice on the other end simply says to get out of the house, or "they" will kill you.

After you make it downstairs, a creepy man walks past a staircase and then seemingly disappears. Later, you find a VHS tape with all kinds of unsettling footage of maimed bodies and panicked investigators.  It's finally revealed that this is a new Resident Evil game, with the word Biohazard and the number VII featured prominently as well.  The game comes out on Jan. 24, 2017, but the demo is available starting tonight.

At this point, Sony dropped hard info on its actual VR hardware.  The unit will retail for $399 and will release on Oct. 13.  Between now and the end of the year, there will be over 50 games available for VR, and some of them were subsequently showed off.  The first was a game called Farpoint, which showed an astronaut on an alien planet fending off enemies with his assault rifle while spaceships crashed down into the surface.

Then some of the iconic music from Star Wars started playing, and the view from the interior of an X-Wing embarking on an attack run on a Star Destroyer filled the screen.  Rather than a full-on Star Wars VR game, it was simply a VR Mission for Star Wars Battlefront.  Following that tidbit, Sony then briefly showed off an upcoming Batman game called Batman Arkham VR, which will come out in October, and the ability to fight your battles in first-person VR in the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.

In what was a complete tonal shift, the gears then turned to show off Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.  The presentation first showed the player walking the bridge and lower decks of a battleship before hopping into a fighter.  After launching into space, the player had to dogfight a series of enemy fighters before slowing to a stop above an enemy destroyer.  The pilots disembarked and began fighting in Zero-G, with the player primarily using his grappling hook to maneuver and land shots but also to reel in enemies and break their facemasks.

Despite the negative feedback that previously surrounded the game, this gameplay footage makes me cautiously optimistic.  Boarding the enemy ship using mines on the bridge glass and then clearing it from within looked like fun, as did the depressurization of the hangar bay before leaping back into the fighter as the destroyer got blasted into oblivion.  I'm genuinely excited to see more of what the game has to offer.

A trailer for the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered was also shown.  This trailer showed off the new graphics, with seemingly every model and texture in the game overhauled with the capabilities of modern hardware in mind.  The game will feature the campaign as well as 10 multiplayer maps and will release as DLC for Infinite Warfare.

Sony then delivered another rapid series of games, starting with a remaster of Crash Bandicoot.  There were no details for this particular game, but Crash will be making an appearance in the upcoming Skylanders Imaginators.  This edition will also let you create your own Skylander from a set of pieces.  A new LEGO Star Wars game is coming out, this time covering The Force Unleased with its own style and humor.  No release dates were given for any of these games, but the new LEGO Star Wars game has a demo that is out now.

Then the oddest game that I've seen in a long time premiered, helmed by Hideo Kojima of Kojima Productions.  The reportedly real-time trailer showcased an incredibly lifelike and equally naked Norman Reedus as he woke up on a beach that is covered with dead crabs and other sea life.  He awakens to find a baby tethered to his chest, which he picks up and cradles only to have it disappear and leave tarry handprints on his leg.  He also has what looks like a cross-shaped scar on his torso.  The game will be called Death Stranding, and honestly, I'm certain that I can't describe the game to anyone without sounding bat-shit insane.

There will be a Spider-Man game for the PS4, but beyond the trailer making it look a lot like the excellent Spider-Man 2 game from 2004, there wasn't really any info given.

Finally, the conference wrapped up by going back to Days Gone, this time with a real-time demo.  The main character rode his motorcycle down to an old fenced-in industrial area in an attempt to track down a man he wants to apprehend.  As he makes his way through the area, he happens upon a humanoid enemy that screeches and then scrambles away.  It's not long before the character's quarry starts screaming, having begun to fight off that same creature.  As he flees, the creature turns on the player, forcing him to shoot it.

The sound clearly attracted some more of the friendly locals, with the player reaching the roof of the main building only to see hundreds of what are essentially zombies milling about.  The other man tackles the player character, forcing them both to fall onto the ground level but breaking his own leg in the process.  The assembled horde then swarms the poor man to devour him before then chasing the player.  As he makes his way through the industrial buildings, he's able to use a combination of explosive barrels, shutting doors, and sheer gunfire to slow their pursuit.  As he backs his way onto the top of a silo with no other way out, his weapon jams, and the camera pans back to show hundreds of the ghouls running and climbing his way.

Overall, Sony had a fantastic press conference for E3 2016.  The real-time demos of the new God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn showcased very well, as did a lot of Sony's VR offerings.  The replacement of music with an in-person orchestra that performed throughout the conference was a great addition, and even the incredibly odd Death Stranding carries a certain amount of intrigue.  Other press conferences may have had equally compelling announcements, but Sony's conference showed that it's absolutely all about the games.  We'll get more information from the E3 show floor on many of the titles during the course of this week.

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