Archive for the ‘playstation 5’ Category

Review: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart doesn’t reinvent the franchise—and that’s OK

June 8th, 2021
No, it's not fan-fiction. It's just Rivet.

Enlarge / No, it’s not fan-fiction. It’s just Rivet.

In the run-up to the launch of the PlayStation 5, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was placed front and center as a game that would embody the promise and potential of the new console hardware and its high-speed SSD storage. Early gameplay footage focused on the titular heroes flying through portal-like holes torn in the sky to be transported seamlessly to completely new environments. Those sequences packed in new scenery and enemies loaded nearly instantaneously from storage.

Playing through Rift Apart more than nine months after that first reveal, the overwhelming “wow factor” of those through-the-rift transitions still holds up. But after the novelty wears off, the rifts start to feel like a flashy gimmick that’s not really necessary to sell an otherwise solid entry in this time-tested run-and-gun franchise.

Rivet and Clank?

(Note: This section contains some significant spoilers for characters and locations that are revealed partway through the game. Skip ahead to the next section if you want to go into the story fresh.)

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Posted in Features, Gaming & Culture, Insomniac, playstation 5, ps5 | Comments (0)

Sony’s “generations matter” mantra crumbles: Gran Turismo 7 will be cross-gen

June 3rd, 2021
We've since touched up <EM>GT7</eM>'s last significant advertisement, as per this week's platform update.

Enlarge / We’ve since touched up GT7‘s last significant advertisement, as per this week’s platform update. (credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Aurich Lawson)

On Wednesday, Sony published a wide-ranging interview with the head of its PlayStation Studios division, arguably to set expectations ahead of the usual barrage of mid-June game announcements and reveals. In Sony’s case, setting expectations now requires telling fans which console to expect future games to land on—especially in a world where chip shortages have made it tough to purchase the company’s new and very popular PlayStation 5.

This week’s PlayStation announcement marks a change for multiple games that had been previously advertised as PlayStation 5 titles. We have now learned that God of War: Ragnarok and Gran Turismo 7 are officially coming to both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The news follows last week’s confirmation that Horizon: Forbidden West will also launch as a cross-gen game.

While the God of War sequel’s backward-compatibility status was unclear, the Gran Turismo 7‘s announcement comes as a big surprise, since it was revealed to the world in June 2020 with a loud “get ready for next gen” tagline, followed by an outright declaration six months later that the game would be a “PlayStation 5 exclusive.” Both video advertisements for the anticipated racing game revolved around intense reflection effects that take material properties and car surface warping into account. While Sony Interactive Entertainment has yet to detail exactly how the game’s tech works, what we’ve seen so far will likely hinge on next-gen processing power, perhaps with ray-tracing or double-rendered geometry.

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Posted in cross-gen, Gaming & Culture, Gran Turismo, gran turismo 7, playstation 5 | Comments (0)

Horizon Forbidden West gameplay reveal: Swimming with tropical robo-saurs

May 27th, 2021

Aloy, the braided-hair hero of Sony’s 2017 smash Horizon Zero Dawn, is set to return to consoles later this year in the series’ first sequel, and on Thursday, we finally learned how that sequel video game will look.

On the cusp of 2021’s kinda-sorta virtualized E3, creators Guerrilla Games premiered an uninterrupted, 14-minute gameplay sequence from this year’s upcoming (and undated) Horizon Forbidden West. The sequence centers on an early-game mission to save a captured ally, and it has all the hallmarks of a flashy press conference reveal: familiar characters, slow-motion pans over insane-looking robot monsters, and a conveniently linear path full of perfectly placed midbattle dialogue.

Performance savings via new hairdo?

Still, what we saw actually looks like a real-deal, Horizon-branded video game—and arguably one that will neatly scale to Sony’s past-gen PlayStation 4 console, since it leans less on flashy new tech like ray tracing or uninterrupted landscapes. This gameplay reveal was advertised as running on real PlayStation 5 hardware, however, so exactly how the game will downscale to base PS4 consoles remains to be seen. (Lower frame rates? Fewer water effects? Aloy’s signature braids chopped off and replaced with a buzz cut?)

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, Guerrilla Games, horizon forbidden west, horizon zero dawn, Playstation 4, playstation 5, ps4, ps5, sony interactive entertainment | Comments (0)

Returnal review: Roguelite arcade combat has never felt this epic—or hard

April 29th, 2021

Returnal is a sci-fi video game about a person constantly reliving the past in order to find a new future. In some ways, it feels like a pointed metaphor for the game’s creators.

PlayStation fans are likely familiar with Finnish game studio Housemarque, whose best modern games have masterfully combined classic arcade chops with modern flourishes. Yet even its biggest PS3 and PS4 games (Super Stardust HD, Resogun, Nex Machina) have mostly felt like translations from classic cabinets, thanks to fixed perspectives and allegiant action. Blow stuff up, aim for the high score, game over, and repeat.

This week, Returnal sees the studio aim its pedigree at a much higher scope: a game that combines the pure action of ’80s arcade games with the plot, production value, and world exploration of a full-blown “adventure” game. It’s as if someone at Housemarque looked at 1981’s Galaga running next to 2018’s God of War and said, “Can we somehow combine these two?”

The result feels like a statement game for Housemarque, arguably in the same way that 2019’s Control solidified Remedy Studios’ own reputation—though this effort isn’t quite as successful. At its best, Returnal delivers the studio’s finest-yet action and tension within a phenomenal 3D-shooting system. I’ve gone to sleep thinking about the game’s best blasting moments, eager to wake up the next day and return (returnal?) for “one more run.” Yet at its worst, Returnal‘s roguelite trappings sometimes threaten to bring the whole package down—especially if you’re not very good at high-speed shooter games.

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Posted in Features, game review, Game reviews, Gaming & Culture, housemarque, playstation 5, ps5, returnal, roguelike, roguelikes, roguelite, roguelites | Comments (0)

Today, watch us play the opening of Sony’s promising PS5 exclusive Returnal

April 23rd, 2021

Ahead of next week’s launch of the PlayStation 5 exclusive Returnal, Sony has given me an opportunity to show exactly how the game looks and plays via stream before I start writing a review.

For some video games, this kind of “Twitch it early” opportunity is a no-brainer, like when I got to test Diablo II: Resurrected ahead of its closed beta earlier this month. Returnal is a trickier one, since it’s for a console that a lot of readers say they’ve struggled to buy. And it’s a brand-new IP, so you may look at the headline and ask what the heck a Returnawhatzit is.

But after playing a few hours of the game already, I’m compelled to connect my PS5 to my streaming rig and show you what Returnal is all about. This is partially because I’ve watched the game’s official, weirdly edited video previews since its announcement last year and not understood what is going on in this procedurally generated sci-fi shooter. Seeing the game in action helps a lot. Its earliest moments feel like a refined Housemarque classic—this studio has previously impressed with games like Resogun and Nex Machina—but Returnal is supercharged with the exploration, production values, and dark mystery of Metroid Prime. Some good chocolate-and-peanut-butter right there.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, housemarque, playstation 5, ps5, returnal, sony interactive entertainment | Comments (0)

Sony takes aim at Xbox Game Pass with PlayStation Plus Video Pass

April 21st, 2021

As the battle of subscription gaming services heats up, Sony appears poised to offer a new perk to PlayStation console owners: Sony movies with your Sony games.

A logo for a new service, dubbed PlayStation Plus Video Pass, is live on Sony’s servers as of this writing, and it was part of a Polish-language PlayStation promotion spotted by Video Games Chronicle before being taken down. The page in question suggested a two-day test run for this new service, available exclusively to subscribers of Sony’s paid PlayStation Plus service, on April 21-22.

While the description of the service was vague, merely mentioning PS Plus Video Pass and a date range, an attached image clarified what PlayStation console owners should expect: three recent films released by Sony Pictures Entertainment (Venom, Bloodshot, and Zombieland: Double Tap). PS Plus Video Pass thus might revolve around films from Sony-owned companies like Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures—but whether additional studios might participate, and exactly how films would be doled out to paying customers, remains unclear.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, PlayStation, Playstation 4, playstation 5, xbox game pass | Comments (0)

NPD: PlayStation 5’s first 5 months are best ever for a US console launch

April 16th, 2021
The PS5 is bigger than Xbox Series X in more ways than one (at least, in the United States).

Enlarge / The PS5 is bigger than Xbox Series X in more ways than one (at least, in the United States). (credit: Sam Machkovech)

While we’re still waiting on exact sales numbers for last year’s newest video game consoles, select stats have begun to emerge that, at least in the US, give a clear lead to Sony’s PlayStation 5. As it turns out, the lead is historically significant.

The NPD Group, a longtime retail analyst, has confirmed via brick-and-mortar and digital sales figures that the PlayStation 5 sold more units than any other console sold in its first five months in the US.

NPD rarely confirms exact sales figures, and stitching together an estimate of PS5 sales in the US thus far is therefore a bit tricky. In early 2018, Nintendo claimed the title of fastest selling console in US history at a mark of 10 months, by which point the company had sold “more than 4.8 million” Switch consoles.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, nintendo switch, NPD, NPD Group, playstation 5, xbox series x | Comments (0)

PlayStation 5 game storage will apparently continue to be a nightmare

April 13th, 2021
What's missing from this console profile shot in April 2021? A compatible expansion drive for next-gen game storage.

Enlarge / What’s missing from this console profile shot in April 2021? A compatible expansion drive for next-gen game storage. (credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

On Monday, Sony posted a bulletin to PlayStation 5 fans letting them know about a sweeping new system update, meant largely to touch up the game console’s menu interface. The blog post includes a long-winded notice about one update that, for some players, won’t seem like much of an update at all: “cold storage.”

As a result, PlayStation 5 is now five months out from its launch while continuing to lack something kind of important in a game console: a way to add functional storage space, which is required to play any PS5 game you own.

Call of Duty, call of download

Last year’s new consoles, the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, have a ton in common as far as hardware is concerned. As just one example, they lean on a new generation of internal storage—rated PCIe 4.0 and connected via the NVMe protocol. With this jump, read and write speeds increase dramatically, and that has been part of the latest next-gen gaming sales pitch.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, NVMe, PlayStation, playstation 5 | Comments (0)

New PSVR controllers suggest PS5 headset won’t need external sensors

March 18th, 2021

One month after officially announcing a new generation of PlayStation VR hardware for the PS5, Sony today revealed additional details of the new handheld controllers designed to work with the upcoming unit.

As previously announced, the new controllers integrate some of the unique features of the PS5’s standard DualSense controllers. That includes adaptive triggers that can apply variable tension depending on the in-game situation, as shown off in PS5 games like Astro’s Playroom. The new PSVR controllers also feature haptic feedback that has been “optimized for its form factor.” That tech seems positioned to go beyond the generalized rumbling of earlier controllers to make “every sensation in the game world more impactful, textured, and nuanced,” as Sony puts it.

The new PSVR controller also mirrors features found on other virtual reality controllers like the Oculus Touch, including the “orb” shape created by the hand-circling tracking ring. The new controller comes with “finger detection” for the thumb, index, and middle fingers when they rest on the appropriate parts of the controller, no button-press necessary. A “grip button” on the inner edge of each handheld controller can also be accessed by the middle finger to pick up in-game objects. Sony also promises that the controller is “well-balanced and comfortable” in tests with “a range of hand sizes.”

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, playstation 5, playstation VR, ps5, psvr, Sony | Comments (0)

Report: PS5 storage expansion will be available by summer

February 26th, 2021
This style of PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD should soon work with the PS5, though that massive heatsink won't fit inside the system's expansion bay.

Enlarge / This style of PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD should soon work with the PS5, though that massive heatsink won’t fit inside the system’s expansion bay.

Bloomberg cites unnamed “people briefed on the matter” in reporting that PS5 owners will finally be able to expand the system’s built-in storage by this coming summer. The planned firmware update that will unlock this feature will also allow for higher cooling-fan speeds on the system to prevent overheating, Bloomberg reports.

For games designed for the PS5, owners are currently limited to 667GB of usable space on the system’s 825GB high-speed NVMe drive. That’s a pretty strict limit when individual PS5 games can be 50 to 100GB or more at the high end. PS5 owners can plug in a standard USB hard drive to store backward compatible PlayStation 4 games running on the system, though.

Almost a year ago, Sony announced that the PS5’s storage space would be expandable with certain standard M.2 solid state drives, which are shaped a bit like a stick of gum. Sony said it would be benchmarking a number of those drives to ensure compatibility with the PS5’s stated 5.5GBps data transfer spec. But Sony’s Mark Cerny said at the time that the announcement of these officially confirmed PS5-compatible drives would “likely be a bit past” the PS5’s launch.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, M.2, NVMe, PCIe4.0, playstation 5, ps5, Sony | Comments (0)