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PS4 2014 Preview: Far Cry 4, The Order: 1886 And More

03/07/2014 15:02 BST | Updated 05/08/2014 16:59 BST

Sony had arguably one of the best console launches we've ever seen with the PS4; sales were good, the games line-up was solid, and the instant inclusion of PS Plus into PS4 meant gamers were able to get stuck into what they wanted, which is -- unsurprisingly -- playing games.

Since then, a lot has changed, Microsoft has fought back. It removed Kinect as a requirement for its own next-gen box, and has started offering free Xbox One games as part of its 'Games For Gold' program.

So in a nutshell how was E3 2014 for Sony? Well games like The Order: 1886 are helping keep the next-gen dream alive whilst Destiny's PS4-focused release shout tide gamers over this summer. Then of course there's Far Cry 4, the hotly anticipated next title in the series which throws you into a chaotic wilderness. But is it enough to stay out in front?

We've now had a chance to play these titles and the general consensus is... cautious optimism. Many ruled that Nintendo won E3 by being the most original, but Sony's fighting its corner with essentially a line-up of very decent games that - while mainly sequels - are all looking like games that have learned from their mistakes.

READ ON for our full post-E3 preview of what Sony has up its sleeve.

far cry 4

The first game we got our hands on was Far Cry 4, the next instalment in, and (arguably) the rebirth of, the Far Cry franchise. This next title sees a new protagonist, new villain and new location in the form of the Himalayas. Ubisoft has clearly taken the approach of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' which is both a good and bad thing. The E3 demo was pretty simple and involved taking down an enemy fortress: you were given two weapons and a whole bunch of entry options and then told to go to it.

As you can see it's business as usual... which in a way felt like a bit of a let down. The game plays as well as it did on Far Cry 3, and it certainly looks beautiful. The problem we have is that there just wasn't enough there to get a good picture of how the game will be. It felt too much like a DLC for Far Cry 3. So until we've been able to get our hands on more than just a 'base attack' it'll be tough to tell how radically different the game is aside from location, characters etc.

the order game

The next game we played couldn't have been any more different. Whilst Far Cry 4 is all about freedom, The Order: 1886 is a flawlessly controlled cinematic experience. Let's just get this out of the way now, it really does look as good as you hope. It's stunning, perfectly capturing the smoggy dirt-ridden landscape of an alternate universe Victorian London. Yes, playing it feels less like a third-person shooter and more like being strapped into a theme park ride, but while it's disconcerting at first once you accept you're following a tight storyline you can enjoy the visuals and the expertly crafted weapons.

The Order: 1886 is best summed up by its details. Take the fact that when you fire a pistol there's a snaking smoke trail that changes every time you fire, or the stunning explosions that you create by igniting the ammo on your Thermite Gun. All of these touches are a dazzling showcase of the game's graphical prowess, and it never gets boring. If you don't mind its heavily scripted style then The Order looks set to be a groundbreaking game, whether or not the plot or long-term gameplay can keep up remains to be seen.

DriveClub was next on our list and we'll be honest ... we weren't holding out much hope. The game had been massively delayed and whilst developer signs were positive (better graphics, landscapes etc) we'll be honest nothing really stood out. The cars look absolutely beautiful, definitely at a Forza-level of fidelity and in many ways it's easier to play than Forza, but just from the short time we spent with it there's doesn't seem to be anything truly revolutionary here. As a Forza-rival for PS4 owners it'll be a lot of fun but if you're looking for genre-changing then maybe hold out for The Crew.

Finally, and last but not least is Hotline Miami 2. The first game was tough on PC, hard on Vita and nigh on impossible on PS3. Well you'll be pleased to hear that the top-down strategic action game is even harder on PS4, and that's a good thing.

It wasn't just having the 80s blasted into your eyes and ears that made the first fun, it was the fact that it was devilishly hard. The new game has an all-new soundtrack as well as the ability the hold two weapons. This last point becomes astronomically important when you discover holding down both triggers causes you to fan the guns out as they fire Matrix-style. This isn't a blockbuster title, and it's hugely un-PC, but if you're pining for a game that sounds great, plays like it's old-as-hell and doesn't break the bank then Hotline Miami 2 is shaping up to be more of the good stuff.

white ps4

Last but not least was the star of the show: The white PS4. Looking as good in real life as it did on this website last month, this special edition console will be launching as an exclusive bundle with Destiny. No word as yet on whether Sony will then launch it as a standalone console.