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2015 in review – The calm before the storm?

OPINION – As were only mere days away from the end of 2015, we cannot expect huge releases this year anymore and thus, we can look back and review the PlayStation 4’s second full year on the market. After 2014, some backup was needed, but did it arrive? In my opinion… not really.

 

Let’s recap 2014 first. What games launched exclusively on the PlayStation 4? Basement Crawl? I don’t even remember it anymore. Daylight? Meh. Driveclub? It delayed and delayed and then the PS Plus version was out even later – Evolution can do better than this. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? As Daylight, this is also available on the PC. Infamous Second Son/First Light? Not bad.

The Last of Us Remastered? It was originally out on PS3 and then pushed over to the PS4 – it’s still good, though. LittleBigPlanet 3? The series saw better installments than this. There are a few more, but in my opinion, only four important games remain – Driveclub, Infamous, The Last of Us and LittleBigPlanet. It’s not enough. Did the situation change this year?

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2015

2015 had more successful games in the history of PlayStation 4. Bloodborne – FromSoftware’s game came, saw and conquered, even surprising Sony how many copies it managed to sell. The sales data might be pushed even higher due to the release of The Old Hunters expansion, which is also available in a retail format. Disgaea 5 – for RPG-fans, this is a tasty treat, but it’s just an obscure title. The Order: 1886? You can complete it in seven hours… or watch it, as third of the game consists of cutscenes. It looks nice, but what is this meant to be, a techdemo, a prequel or a beta?

Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture – it’s not a full-fledged, full priced AAA game, you can pretty much see everything in one sitting. Godzilla? Japan got this game in 2014 and for the PS3 as well – it’s only recommended for the franchise’s hardcore fans. N++? Not a blockbuster. Tearaway Unfolded? Originally it’s a PS Vita game ported over. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection? Nice collection and great performance… of updated PS3 games. Until Dawn?

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Not bad.

You should point out that I only mentioned games that were exclusively released for the PS4 (or maybe the PS Vita) and not the ones that got a release on the PC as well (SOMA, for example) – I’m trying to focus on the titles with worldwide success.

bloodborne

2015 > 2014

This year had a much better situation than 2014; there’s no argument here. Games like Bloodborne can become system sellers – you might even have some friends that went out and bought a PS4 because of it. Still, the Bloodborne-Tearaway-Uncharted-Until Dawn quartet isn’t perfect either: out of the four games, two are remasters. That’s not enough, again. In fact, it is the complete opposite: it is lacking.

This is why we saw Sony marketing multiplatform titles with either an outstanding balance for Sony (Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Star Wars Battlefront), or because of the games showing a much better performance on Sony’s console (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain). More has to be done, though. You can put bundles together with these multiplat games and sell like hotcakes, but you have to get as high-quality games as Bloodborne.

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2016

2016 looks very promising. Let me just list the PS4 (and PS VR, I have to include this as well)-only games with confirmed NA and EU releases. Ace Combat 7, Detroit: Become Human, Dreams, Gran Turismo Sport, Gravity Rush 2, Hotshots Golf, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian, Matterfall, Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, What Remains of Edith Finch, Wild. This list also shows several prominent developers’ work, just to name a few: Project Aces, Media Molecule, Quantic Dream, Polyphony Digital, Guerrilla Games, Team ICO, Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Housemarque, Wild Sheep…

This looks like a full-scale attack for me. This is what should have been done in 2014 or 2015. Even if half of it gets delayed to 2017, you will still have at least two games with the potential to be successful. GT Sport might be putting back Polyphony on track after the somewhat weak GT6 sales while also building up to GT7. Gravity Rush 2 will be Kat’s evolution exiting out of the PS Vita‘s boundaries. Horizon will be a breath of fresh air for Guerrilla after Killzone. (Not to mention that I only wrote about the officially announced games, who knows what the devs work on.)

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2016?

What should Sony do next year to make the PS4 worthy of picking it up? First off, the 4.00 firmware, which was already teased in a survey earlier. PS2 emulation is all fine and dandy, but those who own a ton of games from that era are just screwed, unless they just plug their PS2 to their TV as well. The list of emulated games needs to expand massively. Also, there’s the problem of PlayStation Plus. Sony drifted off course with it at the end of this year.

The Walking Dead’s second season? King’s Quest’s first chapter? Okay, I can understand the former one because it’s going to hype up the launch of the Michionne mini-series – I still find it disappointing. If you subscribe, you deserve more – we saw way too many indie games recently.

Sony should also try – emphasis on try; I don’t see it happening – to revive Crash Bandicoot. This marsupial will turn 20 in 2016; he deserves a cold hard reboot. Sure, Knack was originally pitched as a Crash PS4 title, but Mark Cerny’s idea was voted down by Shuhei Yoshida and co. Maybe there’s a route back to basics.

-V-

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