Archive for the ‘ps5’ 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)

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)

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)

Can $70 games succeed in a subscription-filled, free-to-play world?

March 9th, 2021
A heavily Photoshopped image depicts a domestic house cat foraging for the word

Enlarge / Fishing for answers. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Last July, Take-Two announced that NBA 2K21 would be the first game to ask $70 for the standard edition on “next-generation” systems (i.e., PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X). Last week, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick doubled down on that decision, saying the market was ready for an increase in gaming’s de facto price ceiling.

“We announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21, our view was that we’re offering an array of extraordinary experiences, lots of replayability, and the last time there was a frontline price increase in the US was 2005, 2006, so we think consumers were ready for it,” Zelnick said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (as transcribed by Video Games Chronicle).

That’s not all that surprising, considering the source of the quote. But we shouldn’t have to take his word for it. Four months have passed since NBA 2K21 launched on new consoles, and six months have passed since it launched at a lower $60 price point on the PS4 and Xbox One. That should be enough time to determine whether players at large were willing to spend extra money on a big-name “next-gen” experience and whether Take-Two’s pricing experiment is worth repeating, right?

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Posted in Activision, console, Gaming & Culture, NBA2K, ps5, take two, xbox series | 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)

Sony announces new PSVR hardware for PlayStation 5

February 23rd, 2021
You probably want to put the PlayStation VR headset on your head, not on top of a new PlayStation 5, for an ideal use case. But, hey, you do you.

Enlarge / You probably want to put the PlayStation VR headset on your head, not on top of a new PlayStation 5, for an ideal use case. But, hey, you do you. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

A new generation of PlayStation VR hardware, including a new controller designed specifically for VR, will be coming to the PlayStation 5 sometime after this year, Sony announced today.

The short announcement is light on details and doesn’t include any photos or prototypes of the new headset or controller. But it does mention that the next PlayStation VR will include a higher resolution and field of view than the 2016 original, which is stuck at a somewhat dated 1920×1080 resolution.

For context, last year’s $299 Oculus Quest 2 came in at a total resolution of 3664×1600, and that’s for an untethered standalone headset with much less horsepower than the PS5. Valve’s high-end Index headset, meanwhile, sports a 135 degree field of view, much wider than the ~100 degrees on PSVR (cheaper modern headsets generally have closer to 90 to 100 degree view fields, though).

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

Sony says semiconductor shortage makes increased PS5 production difficult

February 3rd, 2021
PlayStation 4 vs PlayStation 5 comparison pic, horizontal orientation

Enlarge (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Sony shipped 4.5 million PlayStation 5 consoles worldwide through the end of 2020, the company revealed in an earnings report Wednesday. The number is broadly comparable to the 4.5 million PS4 consoles shipped in that system’s 2013 holiday launch quarter. But potential PS5 customers shouldn’t expect the rate of production to increase, Sony said, despite widespread retail sellouts that have led to substantial secondhand markups.

“It is difficult for us to increase production of the PS5 amid the shortage of semiconductors and other components,” Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki said during a briefing accompanying the results. “We have not been able to fully meet the high level of demand from customers [but] we continue to do everything in our power to ship as many units as possible to customers who are waiting for a PS5.”

Overall, Sony’s Game and Network Services division saw its holiday quarter profits increase nearly 50 percent year over year. The company now forecasts the best fiscal year performance for the gaming division in company history, thanks in large part to an increase in PlayStation Plus subscriptions (which now sit at 47.4 million). A full 87 percent of PS5 owners so far subscribe to PlayStation Plus, Sony said, making those subscriptions key to the company’s profits going forward.

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Posted in earnings, Gaming & Culture, PlayStation, profit, ps5, Sony | Comments (0)

Destruction AllStars review: Amazing PS5 car combat, in spite of speedbumps

February 3rd, 2021

One of the oldest video game subgenres, right beneath “shooting aliens” and “eating yellow pellets,” is “destroying stuff while driving a car.” Yet, while Mad Max‘s ’80s heyday pushed the needle as the games industry first exploded, we’ve rarely seen the genre explode on a mainstream level.

Mario Kart may seem like an exception, but when I say “car combat,” that’s less about green shells and banana peels and more about direct collisions and destruction derbies. The biggest series under that banner, Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8, are minuscule compared to Mario Kart—and don’t have many peers.

The genre gets a major jumpstart this week with Destruction AllStars, Sony’s first entirely new game for PlayStation 5. (Last year’s Demon’s Souls doesn’t quite count, since it’s a remake of a PS3 title.) For a certain class of driving-game savant, this one’s a biggie, as it sees Lucid Games finally return to automotive gaming after blazing the genre’s trail with Project Gotham Racing. But can they succeed with car combat where so many others have stalled out?

Much like a PS5, you currently can’t buy this game

The best thing going for this game is that it was yanked off of store shelves.

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Posted in game review, Game reviews, Gaming & Culture, playstation 5, ps5 | Comments (0)