PS4 Exclusives of 2016: A Brief Walkthrough
We are nearing the end of the year. That means that some of 2015's biggest games are now hitting store shelves. While we are seeing some incredible releases such as Fallout 4, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Star Wars Battlefront, and Just Cause 3, just to name a few. Even with this packed fall lineup, gamers have been quick to notice that Sony hasn't had many first party high profile exclusives this holiday season. Outside of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, there isn't much else, especially when compared to Microsoft's release schedule. Microsoft and Sony will be giving us plenty of high quality releases in 2016, so let's take a look at a few that we know about and see what's in store.
Uncharted 4: A Thieves End
It may be controversial to say this, but given all of the fantastic looking titles that Sony is releasing in 2015, Uncharted 4 may not be the best game on PlayStation 4 next year. It will undoubtedly be one of the best games on the system, but with all of the promising titles slated for 2016, we are looking at one hell of a year. Uncharted 4 will reportedly bring the story of Nathan Drake, avid explorer and treasure hunter, to a close. The graphics look stellar as always, beautifully showcasing the new combat mechanics. Stealth looks to be much improved, with encounters being more open-ended. If the game isn’t pushing you through to the next objective, you have some choice in how to dispatch the group of mercs hunting you down. The addition of the grappling hook will change the way movement works, allowing for faster attacks. All in all the game is shaping up to be the series best.
Detroit: Become Human
David Cage has made some controversial games. Not controversial because of their subject matter, but rather because of how they approach story and gameplay. His past two titles – Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls – took a more cinematic approach, putting player choice and narrative before gameplay. Due to this choice the gameplay largely consisted of quick time events and slowly walking through environments. His newest title, Detroit: Become Human, is set in a world where androids have become slaves to the rest of humanity, creating a new race war between man and machine. Amongst this turmoil a sole android named Kara escapes confinement and explores the world masquerading as a human. Gameplay hasn’t been shown off yet, but the premise is incredibly gripping. This world is very fragile and the character of Kara seems posed to upset the balance.
Dreams is a hard game to explain. Developed by Media Molecule, the creators of Little Big Planet and Tearaway, it is built on similar ideologies. This is a game for creators. Letting people sculpt their worlds and then put them out in the open for others to experience. The Paris Games Week demo showcased how the game plays, but the creation is still largely a mystery. Media Molecule has said that you sculpt what you want, detailing things however you want. It could be an incredible platform for creators, with people who just want to play being able to just sift through millions of levels and hop into one and experience it. Once we actually know how it all comes together we can better define it, but for now, sadly, all we can do is speculate and hope that Media Molecule can strike gold a third time.
Horizon Zero Dawn
This is it, Sony’s possible game of the year contender for 2016. Guerilla games are best known for the Killzone series, but are branching out with Horizon. Set 1000 years after the world was returned to the stone age, players control a female hunter as she explores the remnants of the old world. The biggest mystery surrounding the game at the moment is about the game enemies, the robotic animals that have seemingly survived whatever wiped out modern society over 1000 years go. With completely open-ended combat, a tantalizing story, and a remarkable world, Horizon is one of the most unique games Sony has announced in ages.
Gran Turismo Sport
I don’t know much about Gran Turismo, cars, or racing games in general, but the newest title in Sony’s flagship racing series is going to be an important one. This is mostly thanks to the fact that the title will be playable on PlayStation VR, positioning it as an important game for the virtual reality headset. With more cars, tracks and customization than ever before, it’s an evolution of the franchise, but we still have a long wait ahead of us. Gran Turismo games aren’t known for coming out quickly, so we may not play this in 2016, but hopefully we get to see the cockpit of a fancy car from inside a VR headset next year.
The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian still exists and it’s coming next year! The entire world held their collective breath when the small boy and his gargantuan pet appeared on screen again for the first time in 6 years at E3. What we saw showed fantastic art, great animation, and clever environmental puzzles. Like a lot of titles releasing next year we still don’t know how the game plays minute to minute. Our best guess is something between Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. So the companion based story of Ico and the creature-climbing gameplay of Shadow of the Colossus. Team Ico best known for emotional stories told through somber visuals and gameplay. Essentially, actions speak louder than words. No matter what it is, it will be a welcome respite from all the high-octane action titles crowding Sony’s portfolio.
Yes, I know, Persona 5 is also coming to PS3. But when looking at the eighth generation of consoles, the PS4 is the only console receiving this behemoth of an RPG. Details are sparse but Persona 5 looks like it will mix up the standard supernatural high school adventure formula. The story still surrounds a group of high school students, but this time around they might actually be the bad guys. Atlus likes to play it close to the chest with the Persona games so we won’t know the full story until the games release. Despite this, the trailers show the games more serious tone and urban, big city setting. We are no doubt in store for the biggest persona game yet. Now we just have to wait to find out what will lie behind the velvet room this time.
Ratchet & Clank
With an animated film coming early next year, a new Ratchet & Clank is also coming to tie in with the release.. It's pitched as a remake but it looks incredibly similar to the rest of the series. Don’t take this as a complaint, though. The game looks like an animated film, with expressive characters, vibrant environments, and smooth gameplay. While the minute-to-minute gameplay hasn’t changed, new weapons and enemies will keep the adventure short. This will probably fly under the radar next year, but it will be a quick, welcome break from longer, more serious games.
No Man’s Sky
Want a game that will consume all of your free time, stick in your mind, and generally take over your life? All signs point to No Man’s Sky being that game. It’s all about harvesting elements and materials, fueling your ship, and then blasting off into the stars. You can choose your path and profession in the universe and then just go your own way. There are plenty of ways to progress, including being a fighter, and explorer or a merchant. It seems like the kind of experience that is great for jumping back into on a rainy day, hunting for materials and just going from planet to planet. We’ve seen more and more over the past two years, but we just want to get our hands on the game and figure out what playing the game actually entails. We’ve seen snippets but we don’t know what an extended play session looks like.
Street Fighter V
The next evolution of the Street Fighter franchise is on its way, and it’s coming exclusively to PS4 on consoles. The cast is primarily made up of fighters from Street Fighter II and the Alpha series. On top of this is the addition of the V-meter, which, when filled up will allow characters to unleash a unique ability. Ken, for example, gains a sprint that he can use to close distance and let off a devastating combo. The new characters are also looking very good, with each one adding something new and unique to the series. Thankfully we only have to wait till February to start firing fancy, next-gen Hadoukens.
While it isn’t a game per say, it will essentially launch as a new console sometime next year. I haven’t been able to use it myself but what I’ve heard sounds extremely promising. Controlling the camera with your head is a cool progression in gaming, but I’m most excited for the new gameplay moments that it will open up. We’ve all heard about the potential of VR but the biggest mystery right now is how much it will cost. If the bar of entry is set too high, not too many people will jump on board, rendering the hardware a failure. Hopefully it’s given a low price point to make it accessible to the consumer and a long term success.
Both console lineups for next year are robust and diverse. There isn’t a clear winner, but Sony has much more happening on the PS4 than happened in 2015. The Xbox One on the other hand hasn’t lessened its pace. It looks like it will have a major exclusive or two for every quarter of the year. One thing is certain, there isn’t going to be a clear winner in the exclusives department like thee was this year. 2016 is going to be the year that both consoles go head to head with the best lineups they have had in their short lives.