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Ghost of Tsushima - two samurai facing each other across a bed of red leaves

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What Sony got right and wrong at E3 2018

Sony showed off beautiful games and painful music

Sony went into E3 2018 knowing that it had a strong software lineup of exclusives and VR titles, something that Microsoft couldn’t really match. We knew that the company was going to focus on just a few games, and images on social media of what looked like a church before the show began proved that Sony was going to try something interesting.

It didn’t ended up working out very well, with a painfully long pause after the first demo, but the rest of the show more than made up for it. Let’s take a look at what Sony did well, and explore where it stumbled.


Right: That Last of Us 2 trailer

This extended look at The Last of Us Part 2 was excellent and it’s going to be hard for anything else at the show to beat it. The tone shift between the tenderness and the violence worked well, including the loop back at the end that wrapped it all up. The action flowed well without looking completely planned out and lifeless, and it felt like we learned a lot about these characters in a short amount of time. It was a graceful, sweet, scary and brutal look at the world. Also, just in terms of raw visuals, it was beautiful.

The Last of Us Part 2 trailer did it all, really. Bravo.

Right: Ghost of Tsushima

This game needs a photo mode; it’s beautiful. These reveals aren’t a competition, or at least they’re not always a competition, but this is the sort of demo and/or trailer that proves raw power isn’t everything. Was anyone watching this thinking that the PlayStation 4 was underpowered? This extended look at Ghost of Tsushima turned a game whose name I could barely remember into something I feel like I need to buy on the first day it’s available.

I could write a whole thing just about the use of color in the Ghost of Tsushima demo, but for now, I’m too busy giving the whole thing a standing ovation. I didn’t think it was possible for Sony to get its momentum back after the awkward transition from the Last of Us Part 2 trailer, but this trailer was good enough to get me back.

Death Stranding Kojima Productions/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Right: The Death Stranding trailer

What did I just watch? Why is that guy hiking with a wrapped-up body on his backpack? Is that Lea Seydoux? Why does the baby in the jar cause the little satellite dish to blink? The actual game can’t possibly keep up this level of weirdness and mystery, but it’s a joy every time we see something new from Death Stranding. This was a lengthy look at the game, but it’s not like we learned much about what’s going on. In this case, however, it all worked.

Wrong: Those live musical interludes

Sony tried to do something different, and it was a brave attempt. But the lengthy pauses between games, the awkward live musical performances and listless audience destroyed any advantages the bizarre setting might have otherwise given Sony. Being experimental is fine, but sometimes those experiments fail. This was one of those times.

a woman holding a pistol floats through a spiral corridor in Control Image: Remedy Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Wrong: That Control reveal

It’s frustrating when a game is revealed and the teaser doesn’t give us any reason to care. New games from Remedy, one of my favorite developers personally, are always welcome, but this is one of many trailers from the press conferences today that doesn’t do much to sell the game. We know it’s called Control, at least. Disappointing.