These are the best games we saw at PlayStation Experience 2016

Sony’s annual PlayStation Experience expo is getting impressive — this year, the consumer convention that showcases upcoming PlayStation games was packed full with stuff to see and play. The big takeaway from Sony’s showcase of games on its platform is that there are a lot of them, and that 2017 is going to be exciting for video game fans.

Among the many, many indie offerings, PlayStation VR titles, and newly announced games at PSX 2016 were hidden gems and well-known standouts, games that were totally worth the price of entry (and waiting in line to play them). These five games stood out.

Resident Evil VII

At E3 2016, Capcom released “The Beginning Hour,” a first-person demo of Resident Evil VII that also functions as a bit of a prequel to the upcoming game’s story. It’s scary, plodding, and delightful in the vein of the original Resident Evil, full of weird objects that help you solve weirder puzzles, and trapping you in a scary place where survival is the only real mandate. After Resident Evil 6’s series greatest hits approach, and Resident Evil 5’s distinct action focus, a return to this slower, spookier, more oppressive gameplay is welcome.

At PSX, Capcom showed off an expanded version of “The Beginning Hour.” Its final, updated form added a hands-on encounter with one of the game’s monsters, a sampling of combat, and a deeper look at what Resident Evil VII might include. This new “found footage” take on Resident Evil horror seems to be working, and we can’t wait to see how the game proper shapes up.

What Remains of Edith Finch

Developer Giant Sparrow is creating a distinctly dark first-person exploration game that stands out from the genre of thoughtful, story-centric games like it. At first glance, it’ll remind players of Gone Home — a young girl wanders a deserted house, narrating her journey as she learns about the house’s inhabitants, her family members, who’ve all died at some point or another.

But instead of finding notes or clues about other characters, Edith Finch is full of interactive short stories, each showing the final, surreal moments of each person’s life. In one of the demos shown at PSX, players control a young boy on a swing set hell-bent on going over the top. In the other demo, a young girl dreams she’s a cat, an owl, a shark and a betentacled sea monster, and you’ll find yourself playing from the perspective of all four.

What Remains of Edith Finch is a game unlike anything else we played at PSX. It’s dark, thoughtful, and more than a little creepy, and we’re definitely looking forward to the rest of the stories it has to offer.

Absolver

The main action of Absolver is slow, deliberate, careful melee fighting, as players engage in one-on-one battles that are more about brains than quick reaction times. But there’s more to Absolver beyond just wailing on enemies, which makes it one of the games we can’t wait to see more of — it’s an online multiplayer game that supports both player-versus-player and cooperative gameplay, all of which is seamless.

In the demo at PSX, we mostly focused on beating computer-controlled enemies as we explored the game’s strange world. The exception was an intense fight with another player that involved the use of special abilities and a sword — which changed hands repeatedly through the course of the fight. It was an awesome battle, and some of the other elements that make up the game, like the ability to take to mentor other players as students and be mentored by others to learn new skills, sound phenomenal.

Pyre

From Supergiant Games, the team behind Bastion and Transistor, Pyre maintains a lot of the gorgeous look and sound of its developer’s other games. It’s a party role-playing title that includes something a little special: a competitive multiplayer mode. It’s kind of like NBA Jam, except all the players have magic, they can kill each other, and one of them is a dog.

Pyre puts a ball at the center of the screen and tasks two players with battling for it. The goal? Get the ball into the opposing team’s flaming pyre. To do that, players must use three different characters; a magical dog, a (relatively) normal human, and a hulking giant that moves slowly but takes up the most space, and is therefore most deadly.

Players cast magical and use auras surrounding characters’ bodies to take each other out, snag the ball, and score points. It all comes together as a fast and strategic multiplayer contest that takes a few minutes to pick up, but offers a lot of deep strategy — and it feels unique in the space of multiplayer gaming. We had a flaming, magical blast trying it.

Persona 5

Atlus’ role-playing series is back, and it’s looking awesome on PlayStation 4. For someone new to the series, like me, Persona 5 was a bit confusing: it’s an anime comedy drama set in a Japanese high school, but that also includes supernatural events, a shadow realm full of demons, and careful management of high school popularity. I quickly fell in love, despite my bewilderment.

Our quick hands-off demo gave an idea of what Persona 5 will be like. In broad strokes, it follows teens battling against corrupt high school authority figures while figuring stuff out about themselves. So, your usual role-playing themes.

It also looks comedic, intense, and dramatic, with a hearty helping of goofiness and turn-based RPG combat. Persona 5 seems like it’ll be a lot of fun, and it’s a bummer we have to wait until April to play the whole thing in English.

Gaming

Fortnite’s adorable pets are no longer hands-off, thanks to latest update

The latest update for Fortnite rights a heinous wrong. Pets were introduced in Season 6, but players were unable to pet them. Update v8.40 fixes that so players can now pet whatever adopted creature other players have on their back.
Gaming

Xbox One X vs. PlayStation 4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Gaming

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

These Xbox One games will let you use your trusty mouse and keyboard

A select number of Xbox One games support mouse and keyboard control schemes, and more are being added in future updates. Here are all the Xbox One games that support mouse and keyboard.
Gaming

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.
Gaming

From the games to the hardware, here's what we know about the Sega Genesis Mini

The Sega Genesis Mini console was just announced, and it's set to release later this year. Here is everything we know about the console, including its hardware, as well as a list of included games.
Gaming

Cuphead is like a Saturday morning cartoon I never want to end

Revisiting Cuphead on Nintendo Switch is just as memorable as it was on Xbox One nearly two years ago. Cuphead's aesthetic has a magical quality that transports you back to the childhood joy of discovery.
Gaming

How to get into the Halo: Reach beta on Xbox One and PC

Halo: Reach is coming to The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One and the recently announced PC port. Ahead of its unknown launch date, Microsoft and 343 Industries will host a Halo: Reach beta for both Xbox One and PC users.
Gaming

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Gaming

Kick off your streaming career with our complete guide to Twitch broadcasting

Streaming games on Twitch for the first time can be daunting to say the least, but with a few simple steps, it's remarkably easy to do. Here's how to do so using a PC, Mac, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 console.
Gaming

How to share your best gaming moments on the Xbox One and its app

The current generation of consoles makes it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.