PlayStation 5 Showcase Summary

Last night (11/06) PlayStation had their first showcase for their next generation of games for their next console. I thought I’d summarise what was shown and my highlights.

The Console.

Firstly the console design was showcased right at the very end. It was probably what people were actually tuning in for as much as what games to expect. Fair to say, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Personally I think it looks like a wireless router. While I like the white design they have adopted, I’m not so sure this works as well. In addition to the disk drive looking like an attachment, it’s just not as sleek as previous consoles.

Apparently it can be laid horizontally.

They also showed a bunch of themed accessories, I would assume for optional purchases including a headset, ‘media remote’ and a HD camera (I assume for those that want easy streaming?).

Regardless, I think the way it looks is possibly the least important part of the console overall, so lets move on.

First up, I know this is highly subjective but these are my personal standouts. First and foremost the one that has gotten everybody talking.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

At the time of writing this there is some confusion as to how this is being defined. Is it an expansion or stand alone title? Well from the looks of it, it’s both.

Miles Morales has his own story to tell and he’s telling it at the end of the year. It is a stand alone upgrade to Spider-Man but also expands on the current world they have built for Peter.

Looks to be set a couple years later. Morales has grown a bit!

Insomniac have promised some enhancements to performance and graphics as well as delivering a story for Miles. Personally I can’t wait. Spider-Man was excellent, maybe not the best but still very good, my full thoughts are here.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

This is the game that’s left me excited. It’s from Ember Studios and came out of nowhere to almost steal the show.

This game is gorgeous.

Kena is an action adventure game coming at the end of the year. While not too much is known, what we saw looked really promising. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Godfall

This is a game we’ve known about for a while. More was shown in the showcase and I’m pretty much fully sold. My only question is this, does it have enough to separate it from God of War?

Godfall promises great action combat, weapons and armour. Not much has been said about the story or the world it is set in.

It looks very God of War premise, you are out to take down the gods in a Monster Hunter style, you kill them and wear their armour and equip their weapons.

The upcoming ‘looter-slasher’ is on my to-do list for 2020.

Horizon II: Forbidden West

So, I need to confess. I have yet to play Horizon Zero Dawn (I will, promise) but that doesn’t mean this looks any worse. It was the final game in the showcase and probably the hardest hitting.

I was hoping for Uncharted 5 after playing Uncharted 4 recently, but I’ll settle for this as we have Last of Us 2 next week.

Horizon II carries on from the first game, whatever that might be (I kinda know tbh) with new monsters and what looks like a whole new world to explore as Aloy.

Although it’s not out for a while it still has many people excited. It looks phenomenal and will likely be the first game to show off the capabilities of the PlayStation 5 software.

Best of the Rest.

There were a lot more games shown. The full showcase can be found over on their blog.

Some other standout games were:

Resident Evil: VIIIage (Village). The next chapter in Capcom’s series promising an end to Chris’ story. Set in an eerie looking village that seems to be hosting all sorts including cults, worship and monsters. This will surely bring out a trademark Resident Evil scare.

Returnal. An odd looking Sci-Fi shooter. We didn’t see much other than a woman in a space suit in unfamiliar territory. Some gameplay was shown that displayed it as a third person shooter adventure game.

Project Athia. Square Enix showed of a new IP during the showcase. This picture seems to be what they’ve come up with so far. Knowing Square its probably stunning to look at and most likely a high quality game. Its unclear of much else at this stage.

Some really nice looking worlds being built. Project Athia is only one example.

Deathloop: Finally I’ll tell you about Deathloop. Its a shooter from Bethesda Softworks that pits you in a endless cycle of kill and be killed. Each time you start again in groundhog day fashion you learn more and more. The trouble is you’re against someone doing the same thing and they’re out to get you before you them. I was won over in the end.

Summary

To conclude there was so much to look forward to. I think this only about 15% of everything we saw. Rachet and Clank had their say. New Little Big Planet, Astro, Gran Turismo and more all shown off.

I think it sealed the fact I want a PlayStation going forward. I’m late to the PS4 party but it feels better than my Xbox and I wouldn’t be losing any IPs carrying on with PlayStation. I hope the rest of my friends follow!

Posted in Gaming, Review

The Last of Us and why Single Player Games are the Future.

I have recently finished my playthrough of The Last of Us and it made me think about Playstation’s back catalogue of exclusive titles and what they all have in common. Including the anticipated Game of the Year The Last of Us 2, all of Sony’s exclusives are single player story driven games that might propel them to the most successful console launch ever.

The Last of Us

Firstly, lets talk about The Last of Us. This is a game I had played/ watched in bits and parts but never sat down to take it all in chronologically myself. So with the upcoming release of The Last of Us 2 I rectified this.

I’m so glad I did. I don’t need to tell you that this game is fantastic, it speaks for itself. It is a iconic game for the right reasons. A story driven survival adventure game that does it all right.

The story is fantastic and has one of the best scripts/ direction out there. There’s no wonder HBO want this made into a series, the material is too good to miss out on.

It follows the story of Joel and Ellie on their way to a group called the Fireflys interested in saving humanity from an infection that turns them to zombie like creatures.

Joel is rough, closed of and very typically masculine and makes for a good protagonist on this kind of adventure. His only priority is staying alive and keeping promises. His promises is to make sure 14 year old Ellie makes it to the Fireflies.

Ellie is, for want of a better phrase, humankinds cure. She is unique and immune (kinda typical in a story like this). However its her relationship with Joel that really carries the narrative.

On their journey it is full of turmoil and struggle as they fight through ‘infected’ – those that have caught the disease and turned. The infection is like a fungus that grows and gives them deformities from the brain. It also gives them a horrible clicking noise.

The combat is really good and follows your typical survival mantra. You never have ‘enough’ ammo but multiple ways of approaching combat. There are puzzles, loot and an upgrade system. Its all very well put together.

As I said the story takes its turns, ups and downs its amazing and leaves you wanting more after every little interaction. You really should pick up this game.

The Future is Single Player

The thing is, I find myself constantly saying that after every Playstation game I play. The story is really good, the combat, graphics, systems and everything else is all really good.

Sony really are way ahead of everyone with games like Uncharted, Final Fantasy VII Remake, God of War and Spiderman being top tier, single player games to boost and sell their platform.

There is often a debate over the future of gaming. Will single player titles that were a staple back in the 90’s and 2000’s die out in favour of always online, multiplayer games?

The answer is no. They’re driving the industry forward. The current release for The Last of Us 2 is some of the biggest hype I’ve seen for a long time and it doesn’t even have Co-Op. It’s sales will likely exceed any multiplayer game. Even GTA V launched without multiplayer and gained over $1 billion in revenue.

After it has released we are only left waiting for Cyberpunk 2077, another single player title with as much hype as The Last of Us 2. This kind of unprecedented excitement is rarely seen for releases of multiplayer titles such as Call of Duty, FIFA or a free to play like Fortnite.

September 17th cannot come soon enough.

Moreover, single player titles have always been a benchmark for how well a generation is performing. We think back to games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto for earlier generations and the titles mentioned on Playstation for later titles of how well we are utilising software.

Once developers are dying for more performance to work with for games, we normally see the next generation release. In this case games like Assassins Creed Odyssey, Death Stranding and FFVII Remake are probably the end of this currents generation capability. Without a new generation we probably wouldn’t see more titles.

This is where the need for innovation really comes in, to make more of these games. Unreal Engine V will push forward these experiences and world building even further but Epic didn’t make it for Fortnite and without it, Apex Legends would carry on for many years, thats the difference.

Multiplayer games are often the current that keep us gaming when really we’re waiting on the next single player driven content to get absorbed in.

Sony are the currently the leaders in this movement. Xbox are heavily reliant on their multiplayer franchises to boost console sales and community approaches and PC rarely have exclusives as hyped up as console releases. (That’s a whole other argument that console wins!).

Even the Switch is driven by single player franchises such as Zelda and Pokémon (in the most part) and is incorporating more single player franchises such as Bioshock onto its platform.

Personally I’m a selfish gamer and have always leaned towards single player approaches. I’ve dabbled in some FIFA when I was younger (alot before I found proper good games) and Destiny’s Crucible or Fortnite with buds but it never gave me a feeling like God of War or The Witcher did. Partly because I’m terrible at them, mostly because I love world building and RPG mechanics.

What Sony have is only going to be aimed towards (studios like Bethesda aren’t far off) and I think it is excellent. Ubisoft has seen some joy with their single player orientated releases more than their multiplayers and seem to be going in this direction. People are already asking for Elder Scrolls 6, GTA 6, God of War 2. No one wants Call of Duty 267.

Posted in Film, Review

Uncut Gems Review

Much like the title this really is an uncut and unpolished gem. It really is a bit of a mess and wasn’t deserving of an Oscar.

Adam Sandler surprised everyone when he released his out of character crime drama on Netflix.

Naturally this garnered a lot of attention as to what was Sandler thinking.

The film quickly started to gain praise for its story and portrayal.

All of a sudden it was found amidst award nominations that Sandler wasn’t humble about.

Checking out this film I had high expectations but was ultimately let down.

Uncut Gems follows the events that unfold when Sandlers main character Howard manages to get his hands on a precious uncut Opal from an Ethiopian mine.

With this discovery he hopes to make a lot of money and finally settle all his debts. Not your typical debts, he’s a fucking moron that deals in dodgy business.

It’s all a bit of a mess.

Part of my confusion came when I realised how much he owed to one particular party, $100,000. Yet he appears to own an apartment in New York and a nice family home, a nice car and care for his 3 children.

How could this dodgy del boy really still have any money. His reputation seems to proceed him but he is still able to deal amongst the elite?

Before he is able to sensibly sell on the gem he’s acquired he agrees to let NBA start Kevin Garret look after it who then believes in it spiritually as he performs better.

Mix that in to the people after Howard, his affair and his gambling addiction and its all a bit of a mess. And that’s how I found this film a mess.

It seems looking around that’s what people liked about this film, that its difficult to follow and it really works in Sandler’s favour. I however thought the opposite.

I never struggled to keep up, but I struggled to stay invested. Howard isn’t a likeable character, in fact, no one is. The film ends, and I kind of thought, what’s the point? Nothing is explained, so don’t be looking for answers.

Sandler gains praise, but I honestly thought he’s still same old Sandler, just without any jokes. I’m glad he never won an Oscar. Julia Fox was good throughout and I hope it breaks her into further roles. Idina Menzel had nothing special to work with.

All in all there are some good parts to this film and you do wonder how badly it all ends. Sandler does have another trick up his sleeve, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it again. I think with some better direction this film would be a extraordinary crime film. [Insert joke about crime and my time].