There are plenty of gripes that your choices in Telltale’s point-and-click adventure games don’t make a difference in how their stories play out. But with the studio’s take on Batman, that appears to be changing. What’s more, you won’t be the only one making the often incredibly difficult narrative decisions. The studio is introducing feature called “Crowd Play,” and according to Shack News it’s something you turn on at the outset of a game. Doing so creates a shareable web link, and people with the URL can vote on different dialog options, which are then tallied live onscreen.
Before you think that you could totally screw over someone’s custom-created Dark Knight, however, know that the host might still have control. There are two types of Crowd Play. One will give the peanut gallery the final say, while the other will let the player override the voting masses. On paper, it sounds perfect for folks streaming on Twitch or YouTube. But the reality is that latency between a stream and the viewers is still too great to offer any sort of real-time response. Telltale debuted it at San Diego Comic Con over the weekend, using the crowd in attendance as fodder. Creative communications head Job Stauffer says that Crowd Play will work with anywhere from “two to 2,000-plus” people helping the host make their choices.
When we spoke with Telltale at E3 this year, marketing head Richard Iggo said that the studio has big ideas for the Caped Crusader. “Our plan and our goal, and what we are going to do is turn things completely on their head for you, as the player and also for Bruce Wayne. There’s going to be things which are very, very different to the established canon.” If you find yourself in the crowd on August 2nd, maybe shy away from making choices that’d bring a smile to the face of director Joel Schumacher. You know, the guy responsible for Batman Forever and nipples on the Batsuit.
Via: Game Informer
Source: Shack News
While Sonic fans will celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary with a 2D throwback game in Sonic Mania, the official Sonic Team is working on something new. Tonight Sega dropped this teaser trailer for “Project Sonic,” which is due for the 2017 holiday season on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo’s NX. Everything in the trailer is CG, but it does indicate that we can expect both a “Modern” and “Classic” Sonic to make an appearance.
Source: Sonic the Hedgehog (YouTube)
No matter how big your TV might be, a movie theater screen will likely always be bigger. But with PlayStation VR you can simulate up to a 226-inch display using the headset’s Cinematic Mode. Cinematic Mode, of course, is the feature that’ll allow you to play traditional PlayStation 4 games without taking the helmet off. It’s a bit like the virtual desktop apps we’ve seen with Oculus and Vive. A post on the Japanese PlayStation Blog outlines how it all works.
There are a trio of (simulated) viewing sizes: 117 inches, 163 inches and 226 inches. The translated post says that the default 163-inch size will encompass your entire field of view, while the gargantuan one will require you to move your head from side to side if you want to see everything at once. So, kind of like sitting in the front row of a movie theater. At the other end of the spectrum, the smallest size reorients the screen to your head movement. If you get tired while wearing the PSVR you can apparently lay down while wearing it and the display will match your horizontal perspective.
As UploadVR points out, however, there is a caveat to all this that might keep you from using the headset for any sort of critical movie viewing. That’d be the “screen-door effect” — seeing the gaps between a display’s pixels — inherent with current VR tech. However, if there isn’t a free TV in the house, this could sub in as a pinch-hitter display.
There’s no word of an actual movie theater setting like what’s available for movie watching apps on other VR platforms, but hopefully one of those will happen too. And if that doesn’t happen and you’re looking for a more immersive experience, well, hey, you can always use the helmet to check out 360-degree photos and videos.
Source: PlayStation Blog (Japanese)
In the almost three years since we first saw No Man’s Sky, gameplay videos and previews have focused mostly on its exploration and survival aspects. Now, mere weeks ahead of its PlayStation 4 launch, we’re getting a better look at how the game earns its “fantasy violence” descriptor from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. The clip embedded above focuses on combat not only in outer space against armadas of ships, but also the various procedurally generated (and dangerous) creatures on the planets you’ll galavant around.
It’s the second in a four-part series, with clips for the game’s trading and survival aspects coming next week and the following. Keeping the videos on repeat is certainly one way to make the wait for August 9th feel a little shorter, but I can’t say that I recommend doing so.
Source: PlayStation (YouTube)
August is shaping up to be a big month for indie gaming for PlayStation 4 owners, with a smattering of titles hitting next month, like the creative puzzler Inversus. It’s headed for the PlayStation Store on August 16th in all its monochromatic glory.
Inversus tasks players with moving on either white or black tiles. Much like Ikaruga is all about reversing the polarity (read: swapping between white and black) and Inversus is about flipping tiles over to create a path while ensuring you keep your enemies from progressing further. You can also play alone while fighting off waves of enemies if you’re more of a solo player. If you’re more interested in taking your game on the road, there’s a full suite of multiplayer options too.
Summer is a great time to pick up other indies as well, like Headlander, which comes out on July 26th. August is bringing Abzu, Brut@l and Bound as well. If indie gaming is your thing there are several new releases coming your way to help you beat the summer heat. Just wait until fall gets here, though.
Source: PlayStation Blog
The Kickstarter-funded System Shock remake from Nightdive Studios is coming along swimmingly, having already reached its funding goal of $900,000 with 7 days to go in its campaign. Because of the huge demand from fans, it’s now coming to an additional platform: PlayStation 4.
The announcement showed up on the project’s Kickstarter blog, with an update detailing the impending console release. After taking note of an “overwhelming demand” for a PS4 version of System Shock, the team at Nightdive Studios collaborated with Sony to make it happen, and it looks like it’s definitely going to happen. It’s not contingent on a stretch goal or additional funds, but as the company describes it, it’s a “thank you” to backers who put their faith in the project.
Currently System Shock is set for release on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and now PlayStation 4. You can pick up a free alpha demo for a taste of the game now.
Online shooter Overwatch is dominating the conversation surrounding video games lately, but not for the reasons developer/publisher Blizzard probably wants. First with the good news: healing sniper Ana is finally available for PC players. And, well, that’s where the favorable bits end. Ana’s appearance has caused some problems both on PlayStation 4 and PC.
On Sony’s latest console, following the update that added the maternal support character into the fracas, players have seen a number of issues crop up. Experience levels, rankings, cosmetic skins and in-game currency bought with real money have disappeared, according to IGN’s sources. From the looks of it, this is a separate problem from the similar one that reared its head last week. A Blizzard customer support agent told IGN that it’s a platform-specific bug and that the development team was working with Sony to resolve it.
On the PC side of things, Ana caused a different kind of trouble. The patch that brought her out of the game’s beta servers was pushed live during the ESL Atlantic Showdown tournament, which caused the action to be delayed by about a half an hour according to Mashable. The patch apparently altered how a few of the competing teams played, with D.Va and Zenyatta getting some love from a few teams thanks to post-patch changes.
The patch caused issues for viewers as well, with the commentators being unable to join the server. Asa result, anyone watching the stream wasn’t able to catch the final moments. More than that, the subsequent game was delayed because one of the teams couldn’t keep a steady server connection either. Hopefully Blizzard takes a look at what tournaments are active next time it pushes a patch.
Source: Mashable, Battle.net, IGN
Gravity Rush 2 is coming to the US and Europe this year. The sequel to the physics-defying hit will launch on December 2nd in the US and UK, and November 30th in Europe.
The original Gravity Rush launched on PlayStation Vita in 2012, and was recently remastered for PlayStation 4. The new title features the same core mechanic — the ability to manipulate gravity to traverse stages and defeat enemies — with a few twists. You’ll now be able to pick between different “gravity styles,” which alter the physics to make the pull of gravity weaker and stronger.
It’s also on a far grander scale than the original. That’s in part thanks to the switch from targeting a handheld to a full-fledged console: Gravity Rush 2 is a PS4 exclusive. Sony says the new game is more than twice as large as its predecessor, has three times the missions and will run between 20 and 40 hours.
Source: Sony (US), (EU)
Dead Rising 4 isn’t the only place folks with current-gen consoles will see photojournalist-turned-mall-savior Frank West (he’s covered wars, you know) this fall. A Eurogamer report notes that developer/publisher Capcom will be bringing revamped versions of its other zombie-slaying franchise to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Capcom confirmed the write-up — previously based on a leaked set of PS4 trophies — but didn’t have much to offer by way of details.
“Capcom will be bringing Dead Rising to Xbox One, PS4 and PC. In addition, Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record will make their way onto Xbox One and PS4. We will have more news to share soon,” a spokesperson told Eurogamer. Hopefully it isn’t just a bare bones port.
Dead Rising 2 proper didn’t feature Mr. West in its Las Vegas-themed climes, but the Off the Record expansion did, replacing protagonist Chuck Greene with him. Clearly, Capcom has some nostalgia to peddle this year in more ways than one.
As much as we’d all love surround sound in every room where we have a TV, it isn’t always feasible. Be it budgetary reasons or living in an apartment with roommates who don’t share your enthusiasm for late-night explosions, sometimes 5.1- or 7.1-channel audio is out of reach. Luckily, there are plenty of headphones to pick from. But that too comes with its own set of conundrums: Where does one even begin in that sea of choices?
We’ve rounded up five options at a variety of price points to help make your decision a little clearer. With this edition, we’re looking at the PlayStation Gold wireless headset, the Xbox Wireless Stereo Headset, the Astro A30 and A40 and, finally, the Blue Lola as a wildcard.
PlayStation Gold ($100)
The PlayStation Gold is extremely simple to set up: Plug the included USB receiver into an open spot on your PlayStation 4, power the headphones on and that’s it. Overall, the build quality is a little flimsy (one of the trim pieces on the headband fell off when I was unboxing the unit), and the hinges on the foldable portion of the band aren’t very firm. Add in the stiffness of the volume rocker and chat/audio rocker — not to mention the garish blue accents on the band — and it’s clear that the Gold won’t be winning any design awards.
Downloading the companion app from the PlayStation Store gives you access to custom presets for a smattering of games including Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Destiny, Batman: Arkham Knight and Ratchet and Clank. There are also some generic presets for shooters and fighting games, along with options for custom equalizer settings, movies and music.
The headset itself only has room for the built-in preset and one custom setting. That makes it cumbersome to swap from one game-specific setting to another. First you need to quit your current game, open the app, then wire the headset to the PlayStation 4 to transfer the new preset. It’s clunky, and honestly, the presets feel a little gimmicky anyway. Sure, some have more bass than others, or gunfire sounds a little different, but for me it wasn’t worth going back and forth. If there were room for more than one user-chosen EQ curve, it’d be a different story, but as it stands, I used the “Custom 3” setting for the majority of my testing.
How does the Gold actually sound? Pretty good. The virtual surround was plenty convincing, but at the highest volume, the ear cups were rattling on my skull. It was uncomfortably loud, even to my concert-deafened ears. The good news is that the sound field was detailed and there wasn’t any white noise at high volumes — an issue with other, more expensive headsets. As far as voice chat quality goes, my friends said I sounded distant, even though the built-in mic was only a few inches from my mouth.
My favorite feature is that the headset automatically turns off with the PS4 itself as a battery-saving measure, which is perfect for late-night gaming sessions when I fall asleep with the controller in my hands. The headset basically requires this: After two four-hour sessions I had to recharge it. It’s very much like the DualShock 4 controller in that respect.
Xbox One Stereo ($60)
Of all the headphones I tested, the Xbox One Stereo Headset surprised me the most. They’re the cheapest of the bunch, at $60, but for the money they offer well-balanced sound and solid build quality. Sure, they’re only two-channel, but a vast majority of (if not all) headsets boasting “surround sound” use software to simulate a 5.1- or 7.1-channel sound field from a few drivers. That’s because it’s tricky to cram multiple drivers into each ear cup while keeping the size, price and weight down.
Insert the relatively lightweight headset into the 3.5mm jack on your controller (or use the included headset adapter for older paddles) and you’re good to go. Unlike plugging a headset directly into the PS4’s DualShock 4, there are no momentary audio cutouts when onscreen action gets heavy. What’s more, the Xbox’s headset volume is incredibly loud.
I didn’t expect this amount of bass either. I’ll almost always ask for more, of course, but as I plumbed the depths of the research facility in Inside, the lab groaned pretty convincingly. Was the sound as deep as what my 12-inch Klipsch subwoofer reproduces? Of course not. But for a cheap pair of headphones, the Xbox One Stereo is impressive.
If I have one gripe, though, it’s that the highs sound clipped. In Forza Horizon 2, that makes squealing tires sound cheap and not nearly as distinct against the game’s rock and dance-music radio stations.
Astro A30 ($160) and Astro A40 TR ($250)
Astro has long made my favorite gaming and media headphones. The problem is price. With the home-theater-replacement A50s running $300, the number of people spending as much on headphones as they would on an Xbox One S is likely pretty low. For $160, though, you can get the A30 on-ear model with a Mixamp Pro. Or, for $250, the new A40TR and matching Mixamp Pro TR — which uniquely has a few streaming-specific audio options. These Mixamps are essential to Astro’s gear, as they’re an inline amp for the headset. They provide the power and sound processing and are basically what makes Astro’s gear sound the way it does. To bypass the Mixamp and plug either pair of headphones into a gamepad would be missing the point of why you bought Astro stuff in the first place.
As much as I love my pair of battle-worn MLG Edition A40’s from 2011, they had one problem that Astro still hasn’t solved: Each Mixamp or base station supports only one digital optical input apiece. The input situation is the lone caveat affecting anyone with more than one console, because switching between a PlayStation and an Xbox while retaining full audio fidelity means getting up and swapping fiber-optic cables. This quirk persists with the A30 and A40 kits I tested as well. Not only that, but the amps are powered via USB, which halves the number available on the PS4. This also means you’ll be stretching cables across the living room if you want to use either system from your couch.
The build quality on both headsets is top-notch, as always. But I had a hard time keeping the A30 from sliding off the back of my head unless I was sitting up straight. The ear cups also felt tight on my admittedly large skull. The bass response here never felt overbearing; rather, it complemented whatever was happening on-screen. Bass notes are deep and help round out the soundscape. Running around the Scottish countryside in Uncharted 4 with enemy dynamite exploding somewhere off in the distance sounded great, with tons of ambient detail standing out against thunderous booms.
Same goes for spelunking around a pirate cave full of dripping water and creaking suspension bridges in Uncharted 4. Both the A30 and A40 share another trait in that, in the Battlefield 1 alpha, the high-pitched brap at the end of a machine gun’s fire sounds a little crispy. Fully automatic weapons in Uncharted 4 sounded fine, however.
The over-ear A40 uses a different Mixamp that has an altogether unique sound versus that of the A30. Everything is deeper, with impressive dynamic range. For an A/B comparison, at one point I swapped the A30 into the TR amp and got an altogether different sound than I did with the stock Mixamp. Expectedly, they took on characteristics present in the A40, albeit a little less clear and defined. When plugged into their respective inline amps, both headsets sound great, and effectively block out the sounds of early-morning bird chirping and the fountain outside my window.
Neither is a bad choice; it’s just a matter of how much you want to spend.
Blue Lola ($250)
One of the best aspects of new video-game consoles is that you can simply plug a pair of normal headphones right into your gamepad. My coworker Billy was a big fan of the Blue Lola headphones, so I figured I’d give them a shot as a gaming headset. The biggest problem here is that on the PS4 the max volume level out of the controller is actually pretty low. That isn’t an issue with the Xbox One, however. The Lola accurately picked up subtle details like a hiss of white noise coming from behind a newly opened door in Inside, for instance. Meanwhile, the honk of a goose passing over France in Battlefield 1 alpha was distinct among the sounds of tanks, biplanes and other weaponry.
The plush over-ear design means that the relative quietness doesn’t detract from keeping ambient noise from polluting the onscreen action. Even better, the design and relatively light weight make the Lola comfortable for extended sessions. If you already own a pair, don’t hesitate to plug them into your gamepad of choice. That said, there isn’t a compelling reason to buy it specifically as a gaming headset — especially without a built-in mic for chat.
Picking a “best headset” here is hard. That’s because the decision mostly comes down to how much you’re willing to spend. Each headset performs well and has its idiosyncrasies, but none are what I’d call bad. The Xbox headset happens to be my personal favorite, due to its sheer simplicity. But as you might expect, it’s at its best when paired with the Xbox One.
The overall crown ultimately goes to the Astro A30’s, on account of how versatile they are. Their lightweight, understated design makes them easy to wear outside of your living room, and at $160 you’re getting access to the best-in-class audio quality that Astro is known for.