PlayStation Showcase 2023 Review

Exciting Innovations, Lingering Expectations

Mason Moeller

5/24/20232 min read

The PlayStation Showcase 2023 was a whirlwind of thrilling announcements, showcasing an array of indie gems, new virtual reality experiences, promising third-party collaborations, live service endeavors, a tantalizing first-party title, and intriguing hardware reveals. Yet, amid the excitement, the event also highlighted a lingering sense of anticipation for more first-party narrative-driven games, a staple that has historically defined the PlayStation experience.

In the indie games segment, the creators of Abzu, The Pathless, and Journey presented "Sword of the Sea", a journey akin to their past titles but with an innovative twist of skateboarding, which may captivate fans of these developers with its chilled approach. "The Plucky Squire" stood out as a charming storybook game that might appeal to fans of diverse art styles, from classic storybooks to the aesthetic of Toy Story. "Teardown" captured a universal childhood dream, offering players the chance to break a massive Lego-like structure into a million pieces, all the while enveloping them in a stunning voxel world. "Towers of Aghasba" was reminiscent of Breath of the Wild, albeit with a city-building element, and its mysterious world inhabited by space whales may pique the curiosity of wild exploration lovers.

The PSVR2 segment featured a variety of titles. Notably, "Resident Evil 4 VR" stood out as a potential fan-favorite, leveraging the power of VR to create an even more immersive and terrifying experience than its original counterpart. "Crossfire: Sierra Squad" promises to be an intense military shooter, while "Synapse" appears to mix elements from Control and SUPERHOT, promising an action-packed VR experience.

The third-party segment was abundant with diverse titles. "Final Fantasy XVI" was a key highlight, with its release date looming, the excitement for this legendary franchise's next installment was palpable. "Tower of Fantasy" and "The Talos Principle 2" seem to be gearing up to challenge players with a unique blend of philosophy, puzzles, and fantasy elements. "Ghostrunner 2" is expected to deliver more high-octane first-person platforming, with the added excitement of the protagonist wielding a motorcycle, enhancing the game's parkouring samurai theme. "Immortals of Aveum" looks breathtakingly beautiful, complete with elaborate particle effects, sorceries, and first-person shooting, although it left a lingering sense of something missing, yet unidentified. The announcement of "Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater" remake, or reimagining, stirred curiosity and speculation about its direction, given the split between Konami and Hideo Kojima.

The live service segment was another area of interest. Bungie's "Marathon", a title originally released in 1994, is being reintroduced as an extraction shooter, a surprising turn that has fans on the edge of their seats. "Helldivers 2" showcased a significant genre shift from its predecessor, moving from top-down strategy to third-person shooting, marking a potentially exciting evolution for the franchise. The return of the beloved character Cayde-6 in Destiny 2's next big expansion was another delightful surprise, particularly given the recent passing of Lance Reddick, the voice actor of Commander Zavala.

In the first-party games segment, the announcement of "Spider-Man 2" was met with high anticipation. This title revealed new mechanics, including a Grand Theft Auto 5-style character switch that allows players to transition between Peter Parker and Miles Morales, indicating a potentially dynamic and interactive storyline.

On the hardware front, Sony announced dedicated Bluetooth earbuds for gaming and Project Q, a novel handheld device focused on remote play, fitted with a massive 8-inch screen. Despite the availability of other remote play options, such as smartphones and laptops, this dedicated device could appeal to gamers looking for a more streamlined remote play experience​. The PlayStation earbuds are an additional enhancement to the PlayStation ecosystem, offering an immersive audio experience to complement the high-quality visuals of PlayStation games​.

In conclusion, the PlayStation Showcase 2023 was a vibrant spectacle that underscored PlayStation's commitment to diversity and innovation. Despite the enthusiasm, a yearning for more single-player, narrative-driven experiences was palpable, reflecting a gap in PlayStation's traditionally robust lineup. Nonetheless, the event demonstrated a promising direction for PlayStation, leaving us eager for what's next in the gaming landscape.