Returnal expansion steals the show at Sony State of Play

It’s that time again, Sony is hosting one of its irregular State of Play gaming showcases. Instead of focusing on a single title like the most recent Gran Turismo 7 broadcast, tonight’s presentation will feature multiple games.

We’re looking forward to hearing about some new games for the PS5, but also updates on games like Final Fantasy XVI. Square Enix has been quiet on its next mega RPG since it was revealed back in 2020.

dino game
(Image credit: Capcom)

You can watch along on Youtube but follow the updates here on our live blog.

Sony’s opened the show by going big: a game where dinosaurs rain from the sky. This is what the new generation of consoles was made for. (Even if this one is coming to PS4, too).

Exoprimal is a new game coming from Capcom in 2023 for PS5 and PS4 and it looks wild. You play a mech pilot who must fight off waves of dinosaurs that come pouring out of a vortex straight into the center of a major city. It looks a little Pacific Rim, only with a dino invasion instead of marauding Kaiju. And, frankly, that’s the only way you could one-up Guillermo Del Toro’s mecha masterpiece. 

The trailer didn’t go into the backstory, of why there are raining dinosaurs but do we really need to know? 

For a more thorough breakdown of the action, we’ve dissected Exoprimal’s trailer for you.

A promo image showing the protagonist of Ghostwire Tokyo while a villain in a white, hannya masks looms behind him
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Bethesda’s upcoming first-person horror/action game, Ghostwire: Tokyo got a new trailer. From the makers of The Evil Within, Ghostwire continues to look like strange new territory for the developer. For a start, the action is much faster-paced than the more Resident Evil-like Evil Within games. It looks more like a chaos run in Dishonored, with you able to use powers to teleport around the battle arenas, slashing up enemies with swords.

See it at work in the new trailer.

If you’re still unsure about what exactly you’ll be getting up to in Ghostwire: Tokyo, we recently played the game for ourselves and broke it down for you.

If you’ve been itching for a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, you’ll be happy to know Sony chose one of its rare State of Plays to show off the Cowabunga Collection. I’m happy that you’re happy.

This release pulls together all the 8-bit and 16-bit games released by Konami over the years, totaling a frankly ridiculous 13 titles. If you want to know more, we’ve broken down the details of Konami’s collection.

(Image credit: Passion Republic Games)

Keeping with the Kaiju theme, another new game shown off in the showcase is Gigabash. It’s a four-player vs game that sees each of you playing as a giant monster battling in a very destructible city.

It’s due out later this year and looks like a blast.

Returnal Ascension hero
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony said that the State of Play would focus on games from Japanese developers, but it slipped in the news of a major new update for Returnal, its extremely well-received PS5 exclusive. Housemarque’s punishing roguelike is getting a free expansion later this month.

The Ascension update is massive, adding campaign co-op and a new survival mode called the Tower of Sisyphusthat sees you climbing a tower filled with monstrous bosses and creatures.

We don’t have long to wait, Returnal Ascension is being released on March 22.

See it in action in the new trailer below.

The State of Play closed out with two new games from Square Enix: The DioField Chronicle and Valkyrie Elysium.

DioField Chronicle is a tactical RPG with a new ‘real-time tactical battle’ system. If we’ve read the trailer right, the action plays out in real-time but you can pause the action at any point to give your party new orders. It’s a novel system, and hopefully it plays something like 2011’s tactical gem Frozen Synapse. 

In that game, you and your opponent took turns at the same time and submitted your choices to be played out in front of you. While you couldn’t pause the action and change your mind, as you appear to be able to do in DioField, watching your units and your enemy act at the same time in a tactical game gives a real pressure to combat that’s different to turn-based games.

Valkyrie Elysium looks to be quite a different affair from the Diofield Chronicle. A new entry in the long-running Valkyrie series, which launched back in 1999 with Valkyrie Profile.

In Valkyrie Elysium you play one of the famous female warriors from Norse mythology. If you’re a fan of action RPGs, or carving up giant monsters with big swords, you should watch the trailer below.

Valkyrie Elysium is due out later this year, though Square Enix wasn’t specific as to when.

That draws to a close Sony’s latest State of Play. We were expecting only a few games to be covered in the show so it was good to see so many reveals. Though, of the new trailers, it was Returnal that stole the show for us. A free expansion to an already excellent game is great news. Plus, that new survival mode looks mighty intriguing.

Sony has published more details about the Returnal update, including how the new Tower of Sisyphus mode will function.

“The Tower of Sisyphus is effectively our Endless mode,” Returnal game director Karry Krueger writes on the Sony blog. “There is no end to the climb and players are tragically destined to meet their demise as the mode gets increasingly harder. The only question is: how far can you get before succumbing?”.

To make things all the harder, each time you complete a phase of the tower you’ll fight the same boss, Algos. Each time you face the monster it will become “increasingly harder”.

Housemarque has also added a score. the longer you play, the higher you climb, and the more monsters you kill, the bigger your score will be. The new leaderboard means you can really see how you rank against other players.

And, to really dial up the challenge, there’s a score multiplier. “Your Multiplier will deplete if you get hit or if you don’t deal damage for a while, so you’ll need to be constantly dancing on the knife’s edge to ensure you maintain strong forward momentum,” Krueger says. “While there are secrets and optional routes to take, the Tower is intended to be Returnal distilled into an arcade action experience, where the emphasis is on survival, skill, and focused progression.”


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