On February 4, 2015, PlayStation invited 40 lucky fans and media to attend a closed event that would make them the first gamers in the Philippines to try out two exclusive games coming to the PlayStation 4 - The Order: 1886, and Bloodborne. The TMG Crew attended the event and was surprised to see Sony make an effort in reaching out to gaming community here. For those that were unable to attend, here’s what you missed.
It was discreet to say the least; a single Facebook post from PlayStation Asia seemed to be the only promotion done to such an event. But it seemed to be enough because when we arrived, a solid number of participants were all lined up patiently waiting for the doors to open. It was held at Imperium e-Sports Bar and Video Game Lounge at Metrowalk, which they closed shop for the whole day to cater to the event. Registration to enter Imperium started at 6:30PM. By 7PM, we were asked to gather at the main stage to begin.
Before we were given a chance to try out Bloodborne and The Order: 1886, Sony Computer Entertainment's Asia Region marketing manager Arata Naito went up on stage to do a quick presentation –a brief description of Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 was given, as well as highlighting SCE Worldwide Studios' such as Media Molecule (Little Big Planet), Sucker Punch (Infamous), Guerrilla Games (Killzone), and Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us). Talk about The Order: 1886 was first. Then, something I was not expecting happened – a video message from Ru Weerasuriya, CEO of Ready at Dawn and director of The Order: 1886. What’s special about this message was it was recorded just for this event, welcoming Filipino fans and the media present. They even started his video message with “Kamusta”, which means “How are you” in Tagalog. At this point, it made me think Sony is testing the waters here in the Philippines, looking at the reception given by the gaming community here.
The Order: 1886 is set in a unique vision of Victorian-Era London, where Man uses advanced technology to battle a powerful and ancient foe. In an alternate history where myths and technology co-exist, players take on the role of Sir Galahad, a hardened member of an elite order of Knights engaging in a centuries-old war that will determine the course of history forever.
Arata asked us to head over to the only TV on that displayed a demo version of The Order: 1886, which is to be played by cosplayer Myrtle Sarrosa. Two sections of the game were demonstrated; shooting gameplay and a portion that features the game’s visuals and other mechanics (puzzle, stealth, etc). The demo started with Sir Galahad and the rest of the Order rappelling down the side of a blimp in order to board it. A conversation between the characters kicks in and Arata explains that all of this is being done in-engine, it’s not CG. We’ve seen trailers and actual gameplay footage of The Order, but seeing up close, this game is definitely a visual marvel. After a small chat with the Order members, Galahad enters the blimp and we see Myrtle sneak behind an unfortunate soul and stabs him to death with a simple press of the triangle button. Then, we were shown a small hacking mini-game in order to unlock doors and disable certain devices. Galahad whips out a weird looking contraption with two mercury rods on both sides. With the mercury rods moving up and down on both sides, the player is tasked to press L3 for the left side and R3 for the right side at the right time. You’ll need to do one side at a time and once you get it, you’ll have to hold that button until you get the other side. Once done, you can now progress. At this point Arata cuts that section short and went straight to another portion of the game to showcase the game’s gun play.
In terms of gameplay, it looked like the traditional third person cover shooters you’d come to expect. But the only difference I was able to get while watching Galahad mow down 10 guys in under a minute is that it becomes even more stunning visually. Bullets seen flying; Galahad’s garments gracefully swaying as he takes cover; papers up in the air; debris coming from walls, soaking up bullets; there’s a lot going on and it was smooth all throughout. During the fight, the player was welcomed with a fearless thug equipped with a powerful shotgun that easily overpowered Galahad. We didn’t get a game over screen though, but more of a “downed” state. Arata explains that there’s an item called Blackwater that can bring Galahad back to the fight. Once used, Galahad stands up and does his thing. Arata then says that thanks to the PS4, developers at Ready at Dawn were able to create a game they’ve always wanted to make. After the dust clears, the player heads to the kitchen and more thugs appears and we are back to another gun fight.
Next up was Bloodborne, a new IP from From Software that strongly resembles the Demon Souls/Dark Souls franchise. Arata asks the crowd if people are familiar with Dark Souls, and the crowd replied with an ecstatic “yes”, suggesting that majority of those present were fans of the Action RPG franchise. Then, we get another video message, this time from Bloodborne producer Masaaki Yamagiwa, also wishing they were there to attend the event. The game takes place in the gothic, ruined city of Yharnam. Over the years, many travelers make pilgrimages to the city seeking the remedy to cure their afflictions; the player takes the role as one of these travelers known as Hunters. Yharnam is plagued with an endemic illness that has malformed most of its denizens into bestial creatures.
We head over to the only station on once again to watch a demo of Bloodborne, ready to be played by Myrtle Sarrosa yet again. The section demonstrated was said to be at the beginning of the game and the player was equipped with a scythe-like weapon, able to switch between two forms to cater to the situation at hand. These are called “Trick weapons”, and it’s one of the unique elements introduced to this new IP. Also unique to Bloodborne is the use of guns in the game as an offhand weapon (goodbye shields). Arata states that guns in the game isn’t used as a main damaging tool, but more of a tool to either stun your opponent or get yourself out of tight situations. The player was equipped with a blunderbuss-like gun that provides a pushback to whoever gets hit by the blast, my kind of weapon. The enemies wandering the stage were easily disposed by the typical spam of the attack button. After some quick dodges, we finally get hit hard, and we were introduced by a new system for the game – The “Rally System”. Arata starts explaining that after getting hit by a lethal blow, you are given a small window to attack your enemy in order to regain some health back. This also shows that they are taking a more offensive approach in combat with this new system, oppose to the more defensive route taken from the Souls series with the use of shields. From Software has stated in the past that it will be one of the most difficult games you’ll ever play on your PS4 system, but we’ll see once it hits shelves this March. The demonstration went on going through the same stage with Arata explaining the different kinds of weapons in the game, said to give a lot of variety to the player. At this point, Arata was in control and stated that there are different paths to take in Bloodborne. We then see a larger foe wielding a hammer, banging at a gate. Arata then says that we can choose to not engage and opt to find another path, but then the crowd shouts in unison “FIGHT…FIGHT”. With a simple smile from Arata, he accepts the crowds request and we were greeted with the infamous ‘YOU DIED” screen found in Demon Souls/Dark. It was roughly a 30 second fight.
The presentation was over and the first wave of players was about to try out the games themselves. All participants were given a stub before entering and were given the choice to pick one of the two games to demo. Fans were able to bring one friend during the event, so we saw a couple of folks discussing what game they’d like to try. Miggy and I had a similar discussion, and since he was never a fan of shooters, I happily gave him the chance to try out Bloodborne while I deal with The Order. Each batch of players playing the game was given roughly 10 minutes to try the demo. Once time is over, the next batch of players take over the stations prepped for the playable demos. Dinner was served and those waiting for their turn was able to dig in and mingle, talking about what they’ve seen so far. Mr. Arata and the rest of the Sony crew was very welcoming to all those that approached them. Taking photos with the fans; talking more about the two games, I think I also overheard someone asking about Uncharted 4. This was after all a PlayStation Fans event, so I’m sure they were expecting questions like those. We had a good talk with him and he appreciated the enthusiasm of the Filipino fans.
During the demo, we were told that whoever can beat the boss at the end of the Bloodborne demo will be given an exclusive Bloodborne t-shirt. There were roughly 9 waves of players that tried out Bloodborne and only two players were able to beat the big baddie waiting at the end. And no, Miggy was not one of the two players that snagged a shirt. He’s still dreading about the last move he did that lead to his death.
When it comes to events in the Philippines, this is the first of it's kind. It’s an event greatly overdue for the Filipino gaming community. PlayStation is finding huge success with the PlayStation 4 and it looks like they are staying aggressive in order to keep the momentum going by reaching out to other regions. I'm going to take this event as a sign. A sign that big companies like Sony will make a bigger presence for console gaming in the Philippines.
Our full hands-on impression of Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 will debut on episode 69 of the TMG Podcast going live on February 10, 2015.
The Order: 1886 is scheduled for release on February 20, while Bloodborne will be out next month on March 24, exclusive to the PlayStation 4.
Written by: Carlos Hernandez