Sony is set to release one of its biggest updates ever for the PlayStation 4, and now we know when it’s coming: tomorrow, September 30th. Update 3.0 includes some significant new changes, especially if you want more streaming options and extra online storage. You’ll soon be able to broadcast or watch games on YouTube Gaming, send 10 second highlight clips to Twitter and “Request to Share Play and Broadcast” a friend’s game or gaming session. Storage on PlayStation Plus has also gone up dramatically from 1GB to 10GB.
Other new feature include a PS4 events app that gives you a calendar for new games and other items, the ability to create gaming communities and “Live from PlayStation,” a hub for the latest screenshots, clips and news. The update will roll out tomorrow, but in the meantime, Sony has detailed the bulk of changes in its blog post and the video below.
PlayStation 4 is finally getting a proper Twitch app. As you can see from the render above, it looks a lot like the one you’ll find on the Xbox One. Twitch cofounder and CEO Emmett Shear took the stage during the TwitchCon keynote and said that the app on Sony’s current-gen console will have full chat integration and even have full support for emoticons (whatup, Kappa?) and highlight PS4 broadcasts much like the Live From PlayStation app currently does. The difference here is that you won’t be limited to only PS4 broadcasts. Want to watch a League of Legends tournament? Have at it once the application launches this fall. What’s more, Twitch is also coming to PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV.
EA announced Thursday that the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront reboot will host an open beta between October 8th and 12th. Players will reportedly have access to three gameplay modes. There’s a 40-person war on Hoth wherein the opposing forces attempt to destroy (or defend) a fleet of AT-AT’s. Players can also compete in an 8 vs 8 capture-the-flag-style match called dropzone where they fight for control of escape pods. Finally, there’s a solo/co-op survival mode where players must fend off continual waves of enemy troops for as long as possible. The full version of the game hits store shelves on November 17th.
Source: Major Nelson
This article contains spoilers for Batman: Arkham Knight; you’ve been warned.
I didn’t want to like Batman: Arkham Knight. In the long run-up to its release, I’d become increasingly disinterested every time developer Rocksteady Studios mentioned how the game had grown compared to its prequels. Twenty times bigger than Arkham Asylum! My eyes glazed over. Drive the Batmobile around Gotham! Yawn. My worry was that Arkham Knight would be a product of the Warner Bros. Interactive marketing department, riddling the series I love with bloat and unnecessary features solely because the PlayStation 4‘s and Xbox One‘s more powerful hardware allowed for bigger experiences. It’s been a while since I was this happy to be wrong: Arkham Knight‘s genius is that despite its physical size, the game never feels larger than whatever carefully constructed moment you’re in.
None of the myriad open-world games I’ve played in the past almost 14 years have come close to doing this. Grand Theft Auto V‘s faux Los Angeles, for example, is rife with open-world options. Whenever I’m playing Rockstar’s crime simulator, I can’t shake the feeling that whatever story mission I’m doing is a distraction keeping me from taking peyote and flying around as an eagle or holding up a liquor store. There are simply too many things I can do at any given moment and it’s easy enough to abandon one activity and move onto the next.
Arkham Knight surprisingly doesn’t suffer from this open-world ADD despite the amount of missions available — be they subterranean races in the Batmobile, searching for the hidden-in-plain-sight Riddler statues or discovering the mystery behind crucified out-of-towners. The play space is exponentially larger than 2009’s first entry Asylum, but Rocksteady’s been incredibly careful to not overwhelm the player. In large part, the studio achieves this by gating progression off in a way that isn’t obvious.
The game’s Gotham City is separated into smaller islands and each is closed off from the next in a way that makes sense within the game’s fiction: Scarecrow and the titular Arkham Knight are on the loose; raising the bridges between burgs keeps their ground forces from spreading. Rather than something like Fallout 3 plopping you in the middle of a vast, post-apocalyptic Washington, DC, and leaving you feeling utterly overwhelmed by possibility, Arkham Knight takes a heavy, but transparent, hand in controlling where you’re headed.
A few missions here and a few there within a cordoned-off area and I was on to the next, just as I started feeling comfortable with the place I was in. And more often than not, those missions didn’t leave the confines of their origin “island.” Furthermore, rather than presenting mission-origin points as places you have to travel to, selecting your next task comes from a menu.
Arkham Knight takes a heavy, but transparent, hand in controlling where you’re headed.
In that sense, Arkham Knight feels an awful lot like a linear game. I think that’s why it’s sucked me into its world in a way that The Witcher 3 didn’t, or a Grand Theft Auto hasn’t in a while: Everything feels manageable and deeply personal. Instead of 20 different missions available for me to do at any given moment, I have several and they’re all only a minute or so away from wherever I am. I don’t feel lost while I’m grappling around the Gotham skyline, either. There’s always a voice in my ear acting as a signpost for what I need to do next, whether that’s Barbara “Oracle” Gordon giving tactical advice, the ever-present threat of Scarecrow or the hallucinated Joker that pops up where I least expect him.
But there’s a dark side to Arkham Knight’s linearity: At a certain point, you can’t just abort a mission and joyride in the Batmobile. If you’re stuck in that 10-on-1 brawl, you’re stuck until you have the patience again to give it another go or figure out what gadget is needed to progress (hint: It’s usually the line gun). A lot of that continued motivation is driven by the narrative — it constantly has me guessing how much more the Caped Crusader can be broken. Is Batman really Gotham’s savior? That’s something I’m sadly unsure of, but unlike most other recent open-world games, I’ll actually finish Arkham Knight and find out.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but orange and grey is so last season, every season. The 1TB PlayStation 4 officially arrives in North America on November 6th in a specially designed Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 bundle that includes the game, Nuk3town bonus map, console and matching controller. It costs $450 in the US and CAD$550 in Canada, and pre-orders are available today. Seriously though, we won’t judge anyone for snagging this thing — 1TB is a lot of storage, after all.
Sony and Activision, the publisher behind Black Ops 3, announced a partnership at E3 2015 that makes the PS4 the “new home of Call of Duty.” For years, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One received special treatment within the Call of Duty franchise, often launching betas and DLC weeks before any other platforms.
Source: PlayStation Blog
Dungeon Defenders 2 will be free when it launches as a full game on PlayStation 4, but fans who want to play it as soon as possible, pre-alpha bugs and all, can pay for the privilege starting next week. The pre-alpha version of Dungeon Defenders 2 — that’s a version that the developers are still building — will be available for purchase on PS4 on September 29th in three packages: $15, $25 and $75. These are three bundles offering different in-game goodies for die-hard (or simply curious) fans, and they’re identical to the ones offered on Steam Early Access.
Sony has been toying with the idea of paid early access on PS4 since July 2014, at least. At the time, SCEA VP of Developer and Publisher Relations Adam Boyes had the following to say: “That’s one of the massive conversations we have internally. That, at what point does [a game meet standards of release]? We still at some point ensure that we’re being mindful of the consumer. We don’t want somebody to stumble across that title and expect a full product and have a negative experience.”
Microsoft unveiled its own paid alpha system at E3 2015 with the Xbox Game Preview program. That one is specifically designed to support Microsoft’s independent-development support system, ID@Xbox. Steam was one of the first distributors to jump on the paid alpha business, with its “Early Access” system. Steam Early Access, along with the community-voted Greenlight service, contributed to an influx of games on the service.
Source: PlayStation Blog
How does lining up for 40 minutes to play five minutes of a new game sound? It’s definitely a trade-off, but it’s often (usually) worth it. At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, we saw a giant 20-foot griffin thing play ball, nothing from Microsoft and a lot of games that are unequivocally geared toward Japanese gamers. Anime tie-ins and Dynasty Warriors-esque crowd-em-ups aside, there was still plenty for us to play. These are the ones that left an impression.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 6 (Gyakuten Saiban 6)
Phoenix Wright is back, or at least, back in court. The next game takes him outside the usual settings of a Japanese courtroom in favor of a fictitious Asian country that hates attorneys — poor Phoenix — but loves clairvoyants. Yep: The new courtroom-based innovation this time around centers on watching these visions and (courtesy of the “five senses” that are conveniently displayed in writing on top of the murder scenes) finding contradictions to their commentary. The game has the same graphical polish as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, but backgrounds seem a bit more detailed, with little hints of movement that help to make them appear less flat.
Dark Souls 3
Five minutes of playtime. Six deaths. And that’s only because I was excessively cautious for the first three minutes. Dark Souls 3, while not exactly easier, is meant to be more accessible for first timers. I repeat: That doesn’t mean it’ll be any easier. New Battle Arts for each weapon will allow you to execute more heavily powered attacks, although these will be as limited as any other resource. While I didn’t play long enough to determine whether there’s an easier learning curve versus the last two installments, the game certainly looks equal parts moody and beautiful. If the other Dark Souls titles didn’t quite do it for you, then you’re probably going to feel the same here. The formula doesn’t appear to have changed much, but for those of you clamoring for another brutal challenge, it looks like you’ll get it.
Gravity Rush (PS4)
Gravity Rush was one of the early few original titles on the PS Vita way back when. And it was a whole lot of fun. Now, like Tearaway, it’s expanding onto Sony’s flagship console. Yes, a sequel is also on the way, but now the original will benefit from a leap in resolution to make the art direction and character design really shine. The question you’re probably asking: How do the controls fare? To be honest, I found them easier than on the Vita. Since the screen isn’t attached to your gyroscopic controls, it means it’s much easier to swing around and target tricky foes. It also looks substantially better too. But will you buy it again? Well, that’s a trickier proposition.
The Tomorrow Children
This is a very strange game. It’s as if all the fun (and intermittent progress) boils down to the eventual fights with giant alien-looking titans. Gathering resources and, well, doing things to gain experience all felt a bit dull to me. Though I only borderline-enjoyed my demo, it’s fascinating to think about where it’ll all go: There are plans to allow players (who appear when they interact with the environment, then disappear again) to vote for a city mayor in their particular domain. That person would then be able to make decisions as to the future direction. Or at least a color scheme for their tiny town. (Yes, you can paint up a storm if you’re willing to pay for all the necessary paint.)
If you like to fill your pie hole with Big Boxes from Taco Bell, you could leverage your habit for a new console. Starting September 24th, the fast-food chain is giving away 6,000 limited-edition gold PlayStation 4 bundles. To get a chance to win, though, you’ll have to have to
suffer through enjoy any of the restaurant’s Big Boxes before November 4th. One bundle will be given away every 10 minutes, and the package includes a gold DualShock 4, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and one year of PlayStation Plus. Of course, if you really want to win one, you’ll have to buy a lot of fourth meals.
What’s the next step after fully funding your game in 40 minutes on Kickstarter? If you’re the team behind Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic, you get a publisher to help with stuff like localization (translating dialogue and text for different regions), QA testing and other unglamorous but still necessary elements of game development. To wit, the former Banjo Kazooie creatives have hooked up with indie label Team17, perhaps best known for the Worms and Alien Breed franchises. This partnership means that Playtonic can worry about working on the game itself while Team17 takes care of the more menial bits and bobs. Good thing, too considering Playtonic is still planning to hit a simultaneous October release across PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. If you’d like to check out more, hit the jump for our interview with the folks from the studio.
Ubisoft’s undead-infested, survival-horror game ZombiU was exclusive to Wii U when it launched in 2012, and back then we called it a “wonderfully frightening experience” thick with tension, death and a brilliantly unforgiving atmosphere. Now, the game is dropping the “U” and heading to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC as Zombi on August 18th, complete with a few upgrades and changes. Since Zombi can’t take advantage of the Wii U’s second screen — which displayed the mini-map, radar and gear — these aspects have been moved to the main screen. “We maintain a minimal HUD as much as possible,” Zombi producer Hélène Henry says. “It disappears when not required, giving the game a very lonely feeling.”
Plus, Zombi features a slightly expanded field of view and two new melee weapons, a shovel and a bat with nails sticking out of it. The shovel has a longer range than the original cricket bat, plus the ability to smack multiple zombies in one swing. The nail-embedded bat can also hit more than one zombie at a time, and it offers more damage and a better chance of scoring a critical hit. The flashlight gets an upgrade, too, with a new option to turn on a high-powered beam — of course this increases the chance that the undead will spot you and come running, and it drains the battery more quickly. The flashlight needs 30 seconds to recharge in Zombi. That’s 30 long seconds of terrifying, creeping darkness.
ZombiU players had to look down at the Wii U’s second screen to search through their in-game backpacks, risking a surprise attack on the main screen. In Zombi, the backpack pops up on the main screen but the game still doesn’t pause, leaving players vulnerable to an ambush. ZombiU‘s two-player mode, where one person uses the Wii U Gamepad to drop zombies in the path of a second player on the main screen, is cut entirely from Zombi.
“We decided to focus on the solo mode, as we believe this is where the ZombiU experience really lay,” Henry says.