Sony stutters as greatness remains on the horizon.

Coming into E3 2017 gamers questioned whether Sony could deliver another year of dreams. In the past two years we’ve seen them announce Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us Part II, Crash Bandicoot Remake and Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. The answer was no.

This year was a return to a more predictable line up. In a similar vein to Microsoft, Sony presented a solid line up of titles during a sleek and uninterrupted conference with only Shaun Layden taking to the stage.

Layden was keen to make himself scarce as he emphasised the importance of focusing on games. God of War’s cocktail of story and combat looks stunning, Days Gone enjoyed a more effective showing this year than last and Detroit: Become Human’s versatile narrative gameplay is shaping up nicely. However, the latter two titles remain without a release window.

There was a lack of concrete release dates which plagued Sony’s offerings. Shadow of the Colossus is getting a remake and Monster Hunter World was also announced, both with a 2018 release window. Sony also offered up several VR experiences in Skyrim, Final Fantasy XV, Bravo Team, Superhot VR and Starchild. Supermassive Games revealed a prequel to their 2015 sleeper hit Until Dawn with The Inpatient coming to PSVR sometime in the future.

We had to look to Sony’s pre-conference stream show for some offerings releasing this year. Highly anticipated Ni No Kuni 2 is releasing November 7th, Knack 2 is arriving in September and Gran Turismo Sport is coming this fall. Sony has once again left the path clear for 3rd party titles during the holiday season like Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: World War II, both announced to be featuring exclusive content on Playstation 4.

This represents a strategy which Sony may at first have inadvertently stumbled upon. Both Uncharted 4 and Horizon: Zero Dawn missed their holiday season release dates in 2015 and 2016, releasing early in the following year. This allowed Sony to release high quality titles throughout the year, whilst having exclusive content deals with big 3rd party titles makes Playstation 4 the enticing platform to buy them on. Both of the aforementioned titles had their big DLC story updates shown during the conference, with Uncharted: Lost Legacy arriving August 22nd. It seems Sony are going to continue with this effective formula, though it certainly damaged the impact of their press conference showing this year.

Sony closed with a mesmerising demonstration of their exclusive Spiderman title from Insomniac. With flawless transitions from cut scenes to gameplay, grand set pieces and a sleek design the game looks like it could be a special title. The only let down wasn’t the Quick Time Events that cropped up during combat, but that this title is also lined up for a 2018 release window.

2018 is going to be an impossibly busy year for video games if Sony hits these release windows, that’s without even mentioning 3rd party titles like Far Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption slated to release early next year. This conference lacked surprises and titles releasing this fall, but the style of the presentation and the sustained stream of trailers dropping made for an impressive watch.

Just as they hung zombies from the convention centre rafters, Sony dangled several carrots in front of us, however, greatness must remain awaiting for Playstation 4 owners a little while longer.

Playstation VR – Review (December 2016)

Virtual Reality is a new way to play. Playstation VR is an enthralling insight into the potential offered by virtual reality as a platform, not just for video games, but for visual experiences. Putting the PSVR headset on for the first time mind blowing and in each venture after the wonder remains as each game provides something different.

Competitively priced at £350, the PSVR headset provides the best value for money on the market, particularly if you already own a Playstation 4. The adaptation of the Playstation Camera and Move controllers is a clever reinvention of peripherals which were once defunct but are now essential to the PSVR experience. The only downside is the extra financial cost of purchasing these items, over £100 in total, though many PS4 bundles were sold with a camera and move controllers are not required for every game.

Playstation VR offers a modest selection of launch titles which are geared towards a steady introduction to Virtual Reality. The headset comes with a demo disc which showcases snippets of many of the thirty titles available at launch. Batman Arkham VR is the most enticing of the launch titles. For £20 you can be the caped crusader. However, Playstation VR Worlds provides the best value for money with five varying experiences, from the spectacle of Ocean Dive to the cockney caricatures of London Heist, for £30. The feeling when your body reacts, thinking it’s descending through your living room floor as jellyfish float by is surreal, both first hand and watching someone else experience it.

The headset itself is easy to adjust and to apply. The strap which attaches the unit to your head is adjustable, as is the visor which immerses you in the game. This offers maximum comfort, whilst also taking into account if the user wears glasses, allowing the visor to be adjusted for best visual fidelity. One downside is the wires required to use the headset. They can get in the way, however, once you have set up the bundle a couple of times things to become easier. Motion sickness is something I have yet to encounter, but movement does still require perfecting. Some games move at a pedestrian pace, others use warping instead of walking; it simply depends on the game.

This hardware is not for those who buy consoles for the yearly release of FIFA and Call of Duty. That the headset allows you to play your PS4 titles on a giant virtual screen is an additional bonus, however, that is not the full immersive experience that VR was created for. With Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR mission soon to be released and Final Fantasy XV providing a unique VR chapter, there should be plenty of options to keep players tiding over until the first triple-A release; Resident Evil VII.

Playsation VR offers an exciting new way to play video games. If you don’t want to buy it, at least find a way to try it.