After a rather subdued end to 2015 without any real exclusives to stack up against the plethora of games coming out of Microsoft’s stable, 2016 is looking like it will be a big one for the PlayStation 4.
Riding high on the console’s overwhelming sales success, there’s an outstanding variety of different games on the way. Sony currently have the presence and clout to sign console exclusives with third party titles, attract indie developers to go to the PS4 first and foremost, and get bonus content for the cross-platform games.
However, so very often it’s the first and second party studios who lead the way and give us all the best reasons to pick one console over another.
Uncharted 4 looks like it’s going to be Nathan Drake’s final adventure, whether the game’s subtitle – A Thief’s End – refers to his untimely demise or someone else. Even if Drake and all his friends – and now relatives – make it to the end of the game alive, this looks like it will be Naughty Dog’s last adventure in the series.
And by all counts, it looks like they’re going out with a bang. They’ve learnt a lot over the course of the last generation and Uncharted 4 is going to see them apply all of that to a game that’s certain to be a technical marvel on the PlayStation 4. More freeform and open level design is one improvement, as is the added mobility from Drake’s new grappling hook, but, taking a leaf out of The Last of Us’ book, what’s bound to stand out will be the story that they want to tell in this last journey.
Gravity Rush was easily one of the more inventive and enthralling exclusives on the PS Vita, with gravity manipulation neatly woven into the action adventure, alongside a fantastically unique art style and world. It was one of the highlights of 2013’s Tokyo Game Show, when Sony announced a sequel. However, with the PS Vita’s dismal sales and the rise of the PlayStation 4, it makes sense that Kat’s second adventure would leap to the home console, as was recently revealed at 2015’s Tokyo Game Show and Paris Games Week.
It allows Tokyo Studio a lot more freedom in creating their world, with a lot more people wandering the streets and partially destructible environments which come together in Kat’s new Luna and Jupiter styles of combat, with different weights and speeds of gravity attack.
Of course, there’s bound to be plenty of people who’ve missed out on the original, and so the original Gravity Rush has also been remastered for PS4, with a western release on February 2nd.
It’s not often that a remake will make our Ones to Watch lists, but Ratchet & Clank deserves mention. Alongside the upcoming film, this game is a retelling of the original game’s story, as our two heroes first embark on a galaxy saving adventure.
What makes R&C stand out is just how good it looks, though, as the PlayStation 4 pushes out graphics that could quite easily be mistaken for the film’s CGI.
Media Molecule have long been known for the creativity and imagination at the heart of their games, but Dreams will truly surpass them all, with practically unbridled ability for people to create whatever they want. Of course, that’s also something that the developer has struggled with since unveiling the game. Just how can you explain what it’s about?
So far, much of what they’ve shown has been centred around the impressively fast and fluid 3D sculpting and the manner in which you can blend your own creations with the things that others on the internet have created. Those creation tools will also afford you the same kinds of flexibility to bend the game logic to your will and fashion an arcade-like football game, a shoot ’em up, a racer and even more.
The problem is that, regardless of how beautiful the game looks and how unimaginably vast the possibilities are, Media Molecule and Sony need to get that message across to people somehow.
Though it’s only had two years out in the wild, racing fans have been eager to see what Polyphony Digital were working on. The whispers of Gran Turismo 7 were met with equal parts anticipation and trepidation over the series’ future, but as Kazunori Yamauchi stepped onto stage to announce Gran Turismo Sport at Paris Games Week, it was clear that the next GT would be something a bit different.
Of course, the cynics would say that this is just a creative way of solving the problem of having PlayStation 2-era “Standard” cars on the PlayStation 4, but Sport is more than that. With the focus on motorsports and working alongside the FIA, Polyphony Digital are striding into the world of eSports, with an online championship for both nations and manufacturers which will be honoured at the FIA’s annual ceremonies at the end of the year, alongside the WEC, F1 and other sports.
Guerrilla Games have always striven for greatness with the Killzone series, but was never able to truly shake off the inevitable comparisons to Halo or Call of Duty and stand on its own two feet. Horizon Zero Dawn gives them the opportunity to create something much fresher and altogether more interesting, though there’ll always be comparisons.
Set in the distant future where dinosaur-like robots roam the earth and human civilisation has crumbled long ago, you play as Aloy, a tribal hunter trying to make her way in this post-apocalyptic world. In the hunt, you use a variety of high-tech bow and arrow weapons, traps, explosives and more, always being wary of the huge predator robots that will provide some of the more exacting challenges within the game.
Outside of a 2016 release, we don’t know when we can expect to battle dinobots.
How many times has The Last Guardian appeared in lists such as this? Originally announced in 2009 and planned for release in 2011, the game that captivated audiences with the budding relationship between a small boy and the giant bird-dog-cat thing called Trico has been postponed countless times.
In fact, a lot of people would have thought development to be dead and buried, were it not for the game’s reappearance during E3 this year. Now coming to PlayStation 4, there’s hope once more that we’ll actually get to play the final game some time next year.
And if we don’t, then you can expect to see The Last Guardian in our Ones to Watch in 2017 feature, as well…
That’s your lot. Ones to Watch has covered dozens of games to look forward to in 2016, but we know we’ve merely been scratching the surface. There are countless games not on these lists and many more that will be announced in the coming months, so I hope you’ll join us in a 2016 that is only hours away for more games industry news, features, previews and reviews.