Nintendo and Sony go head to head with showcase smackdown

·4-min read
 (Sony & Nintendo)
(Sony & Nintendo)

Sony and Nintendo picked a bizarre battle yesterday by confirming their line-ups of titles for the coming months on the same date. While each firm clearly has its own fanbase, it’s impossible to resist settling who touted the most exciting news. Ready? OK, let’s rumble.

We’ve judged the top three highlights from each show. If you want to dig deeper, be sure to read everything that was announced by Sony and Nintendo elsewhere on ES Tech.

Round one: The heavy hitters

The big guns were thrust into battle in the form of Kratos from God of War and Link from The Legend of Zelda. The sequel to the last Zelda game, Breath of the Wild got a title, a release date and a new trailer. The new game is called The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and will arrive on May 12, 2023. Here’s the trailer.

For Sony, God of War: Ragnorak stole the show. This is Kratos’ first outing on the PS5 and it really shows what’s possible now, from the breathtaking vistas to the little details — such as the cold breath emerging from characters’ mouths. It’s coming on November 9, 2022.

Winner: Sony

Two mouth-watering titles on show here. However, God of War: Ragnorak gives Sony a slight advantage because it really looks set to showcase exactly what the PS5 can do. Meanwhile, Tears of a Kingdom looks to be more of the same, admittedly excellent, gameplay from the last Zelda, constrained by the nearly-six-year-old Switch hardware.

Round two: The retro revival

Both shows offered something for misty-eyed nostalgics to get excited about. Sony unveiled the next instalment of a vintage beat-em-up series that kicked off in 1994, while Nintendo fans got one of the most asked-for remasters of all time. Yep, it’s Goldeneye.

Usually, a movie tie-in game is one to avoid until it turns up in the bargain bin, and curiosity gets the better of you. That said, the James Bond title, Goldeneye, was a huge exception. Launching in 1997, its split-screen multiplayer was the stuff of legend. And now a remaster is coming to Switch Online (and Xbox — because Microsoft bought the studio that made the original game back in 2002) complete with online multiplayer action. Yes, 25 years later, it’s finally ready for prime-time once again.

Meanwhile, Sony offered us Tekken 8 — the latest version of a series that started on the original PlayStation in 1994. Granted, Tekken 7 only appeared in 2015, but seven years is a long time for fans who are keen to get reacquainted with these oh-so-familiar characters. Here’s Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima grappling in the driving rain to whet your appetite.

Winner: Nintendo

A new Tekken game is great, but c’mon: Goldeneye is legendary. Online multiplayer is a first too, meaning split-screen cheaters will be a thing of the past. It also saves the misery of trying to play with four players in handheld mode. Plus, Goldeneye will be free to Switch Online subscribers, and you simply can’t beat that price point in these chastened times.

Round three: The unexpected wildcard

Every gaming showcase should throw up a surprise, unexpected title. For Sony, it was something completely new and exciting, while Nintendo offered up a forgotten favourite.

Technically, Pikmin 4 has been in the works since 2015, but with next-to-no mentions of it in the last seven years, you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been quietly abandoned. Not so, says Nintendo — it’s coming next year, and here’s the trailer.

Sony, meanwhile, offered a brand new concept — and one that looks super-cool indeed. Most driving games merely require you to finish first in a race, but not Pacific Drive, where the aim is survival. It looks like survival horror crossed with driving, and excitement is already mounting to see how this turns out.

Winner: Nintendo

This is close – but the return of Pikmin is simply impossible to beat. Most fans of Nintendo’s garden-strategy puzzler had given up hope of this ever seeing the light of day. Pikmin really is a unique experience: engrossing and charming on the surface, but with a slightly dark underbelly. It’s classic Nintendo, and we cannot wait to see this return.

Nintendo vs Sony: The Result

That final round makes it 2-1 to Nintendo overall, but Sony’s show certainly wasn’t without its merits. God of War will be sensational, and Pacific Drive is intriguing — even to those with no interest in driving games (Mario Kart, excepted). This has truly piqued our interest.

Do you agree? Feel free to make your feelings clear in the comments below. The full highlights of the September Nintendo Direct are here, while you can watch the best of Sony’s State of Play here so that you can immerse yourself before making a decision.