Tags Posts tagged with "PS4"

PS4

They will die. A lot.

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When a game gets touted “The Demon Souls of tactical RPGs”, one would expect a game wherein you will die over and over. For Kadokawa/NISA’s Natural Doctrine (stylized as NAtURAL DOCtRINE), that is the absolute truth. Though the frustrating difficulty is the only thing it shares with the games from the Souls series.

The world is made up of nations all competing control over a rare resource known as “pluton”. This rare material is essential for constructing important trinkets and also needed to cast magic. Producing pluton is not something humans can do as the raw ore that it is refined from is deadly to humans. This does not apply to goblins though, so a lucrative industry is born out of raiding pluton mines and murdering those poor goblins.

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Neophyte warriors/love team Geoff and Vasily are recruited by rifle-wielding, potion-throwing Anka to initially accompany her for some mine raiding. Along with some friends they meet along the way they are thrust into a scenario more than what they bargained for. Natural Doctrine‘s story is relatively good so I won’t be going beyond that for the sake of spoilers. Don’t let the boring starting sequences turn you off as it really gets interesting later on.

Just like most games in the SRPG genre, the story is advanced by a series turn-based battles on a grid map. What makes ND unique is the grids are not just one character per square. One grid takes up a bigger area on the map and up to four regular sized characters (some units take up more than one slot) can be in the same grid at a time. Although the character’s movement is still based on a number of squares per turn, you are free to position them within the square. It’s sort of like a combination of the Valkyria Chronicles and Final Fantasy Tactics system. Smart positioning is a must. Your life will be easier if you learn how to utilize environmental covers and guard weaker party members. Make one mistake of leaving your mage open and the next thing you know he finds himself on the receiving end of a goblin boomstick barrage. Oh, and if that happens it’s GAME OVER for you as losing one party member fails the whole mission. Nice!

The mechanic that you will absolutely need to master is the Action Link. Every action/command that one of your units do on his/her turn has link conditions that if met, will enable other units to take a turn outside his/her usual turn. This essential tactic can turn the tide of the often overwhelming battles that you will face if executed correctly. Because turns are determined by unit speed, being able to kill the enemy next on the initiative queue (shown on the top of the screen) gets you an enormous battlefield advantage. If the circumstances permits, you can decimate all enemies without any of them getting an attack out.

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Of course the enemies have access to the same Action Link system as you and they usually outnumber you.., not to mention they are programmed to know everything there is to know about the system while you try to figure it out outside the very basic explanation in the tutorial. So there’s that.

Haha.

Outfitting your characters is necessary to tackle the ever-increasing odds against you. Units prefer specific weapon types like swords/shields, guns, staves and bombs. Some characters can change weapon types mid-battle with no penalty and are more versatile. Accessories increase your stats and you can equip each unit two of them at a time. Equipment are gained in the battlefield via monster drops or by opening chests. There is no currency to spend or shops to use them on although you can farm dungeons multiple times to get more items from chests. Opening chests also give you an amount of pluton every time. The pluton is used by your magic-users to cast spells as a substitute for magic points. It seems very limiting but magic is very powerful in this game and can often be used to turn the tide in your favor when used tactically.

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Units learn skills using a straightforward skill tree specific for each character. A party member gains a skill point (Geoff gets two) every time he/she levels up. Spend points to activate either passive stat-boosting skills or an active skill that either adds a new command or enhances a an existing one. Consumable items are also gained through skills. For example, a skill gets a unit two potions for use in a mission and gets replenished for the next one. One awesome thing about the skill tree is that you are free to spend and unspend skill points as you see fit without restriction. This encourages experimentation and helps to find the right approach dealing with missions.

The visuals leave a lot to be desired. The anime art looks good but the 3D models and animation are not what you would expect especially if you are playing the PS4 version. The game is available on all three Sony platforms (PS3/PS4/Vita) and have cross-save functionality so I kinda understand that it needs to work within the weakest system’s specifications in order to have the same performance on all platforms. It’s still not an excuse considering it is a retail release. Muddy textures and clunky animations all over. Definitely needs more polish.

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The music annoyed me the first few stages mostly because I was always dying and had to listen to the same grinding tracks over and over but it got better as the story furthered. Cutscenes are fully voiced. The english voice work is a notch above what you would expect from a NISA release but a welcome japanese voice option for the gamers who want it is included and can be toggled anytime.

Like I said, Natural Doctrine is available for all three Sony platforms but it is the first of its kind on the PlayStation 4. So if you are itching to play a really challenging strategy RPG on your next-gen system, many hours of gameplay awaits with your purchase. If you only have the PS3 and you think the frustrating difficulty will put you off, then there are many games in the same genre available to you from its vast last-gen library. The game is perfect on the PS Vita as it lends itself beautifully for on the go gaming.

There is a separate online multiplayer mode included that is unrelated with the single-player campaign. It is a deck building card game but since the game was not released yet at the time I was playing it, I was not able to find anyone to play with online. So I can’t really say anything about multiplayer.

For this review, I played the PS4 and PS Vita versions. I did not try on the PS3 but I’m sure it looks and plays almost the same.

Mission Accomplished (Pros):

  • Very deep battle system: The game rewards you for smart tactical planning but will rape your butt the moment you make a mistake.
  • Interesting story: Starts slow but really picks up fast. A nice change from the lackluster story other games in the genre are known for.
  • Skill tree experimentation: You are free to learn and unlearn skills as much as you want means getting as strategic as much you want.
  • Not bad voice acting: Character banter in and out of missions are enjoyable. Although Vasily might grate on you (like FFXIII’s Vanille)

Mission Failed (Cons):

  • No mid-mission save: You can be playing for half an hour and then die. Some missions have halfway checkpoints but they are still far in-between. Much frustration.
  • No currency or shops: I don’t know but I like my RPGs where I can buy stuff.
  • Mediocre graphics: Hey, I’m playing on the most powerful console in the world but what the hell is this? lol
  • Tutorial not in-depth enough: The enemies know all the quirks of the action link system from the beginning but you are just given the gist of it and will have to learn as you go. So they will enjoy murdering you a lot early in the game.

Mission Stalemate (Love it or Hate it):

  • Difficulty cranked up to 11: Even on easy mode the enemies seems to be cheating. And some enemies can wipe your entire party in one fell swoop. Still, everything can be countered with smart positioning and careful planning
  • Grinding for items and level: Some like to grind, some hate it. I don’t mind, though.

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NAtURAL DOCtRINE

Developer: KADOKAWA GAMES

Publisher: NIS America

Available for: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

Date: September 30, 2014

Thanks to NISA for providing us with the review copy.

I wasn’t aware that this little shooting game from developer HE-SAW was based on a comic book.  I played the demo and actually enjoyed myself through it so I felt I had to experience the full game. So I did.

Blue Estate is an on-rails arcade shooting game. If you remember playing Time Crisis or House of the Dead then you already know what you’re in for. Now the main difference is you are not using a light gun peripheral. You use the DualShock 4’s sixaxis accelerometers to aim your reticule and shoot the bad guys in the nuts (there is an actual bonus for shooting enemies in the balls. Seriously).

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The game let’s you take control of either Tony Luciano, son of a mafia mob boss who is in love with a hooker or Clarence, an ex-Navy Seal hired by Tony’s dad to take clean up Tony’s mess and rescue his favorite race horse named Blue Estate. Yes, the game is named after a horse. To be honest, I did not pay too much attention to the overall story because you don’t really need to. The game itself even acknowledges this by offering to fast forward to the gameplay part when there’s a story sequence/cutscene. Blue Estate tries to be funny but aside from an ocassional giggle or two over an immature/racist quip or a pop-culture reference, you can just skip to the killing.

Like I said, Blue Estate forgoes the gun peripheral in favor of the Dualshock 4 controller. In addition to the aiming with the gyroscopes, the game utilizes the face and shoulder buttons for actions like reloading and hiding. Pressing up on the D-pad will quickly center your reticule to re-calibrate your aiming. This is a real smart way of making sure the gyros are accurate and you will be pressing it a lot. The DualShock 4’s unique touchpad is also an important piece for the control scheme. Context-based commands, like opening a door, dodging an obstacle, and brushing up Tony’s hair when it obstructs his vision (I’m not kidding) are executed by swiping in different directions on the pad. The game also has 2-player co-op mode.

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On the visual side of things, Blue Estate is not pretty. The game can easily be done on a last-gen system. To be fair, I’m sure it’s going for the dirty gritty look of the source material but it I’m also sure it could look much better. Of course the PS4’s extra horsepower is making it sure that it all runs smoothly without slowdowns and such, but a next-gen title it is not.

Music is the kind that you would expect of a game in this genre. Besides, heavy metal guitar riffs and beats go really well with gunshots and big explosions, doesn’t it? Voice acting is pretty much okay except for the annoying narration from a character named Roy — who is described in the comic’s website as “The ace private eye who never sleeps (and rarely bathes)”.

The game from start to finish has seven stages that is each immediately selectable and replayable after you finish them opening up chance to improve your score or play on a different difficulty. That’s great for trophy hunters because there are stage-specific acheivements. Each level takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete making Blue Estate a very short game if you just want to finish the story.

 

Hits the mark:

  • The DualShock 4’s motion controls work surprisingly well as a replacement for a gun peripheral.
  • Killing people and keeping up your combo meter is satisfying.
  • Mini-game mechanic dispersed throughout the stages are fun.

Missed it by that much:

  • Game looks like last-gen. Looks outdated.
  • Story does not deserve your attention.

Blue Estate

Developer: HeSaw

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

 

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Daylight is a poorly-executed mess of a horror game. You have my permission to stop reading this review and judge it by my first sentence. If you do, then I will envy you for not wasting time playing this.

For those of you who still want to read why, alright: Daylight is a first-person horror game where you navigate a procedurally-generated dungeon-like map. You find a set of items, you find the key, get our of the area onto the next, then rinse and repeat. No real combat here, you are just haunted by shadow creatures called “witches” which gets defeated if you light up a flare.

A horror game’s typical strength is with its intricately-created set pieces that lead you to to memorable moments; which is a fancy word of saying lures to a trap. Remember the first time Nemesis showed up and chased you around in Resident Evil 3? Nothing of that sort happens here, really. The idea of having randomly-generated content completely tramples this formula and the whole game suffers because of it.

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You will always be holding your tablet up. #Ngawit

Cheap scares are brought to you in a non-thought of way. Sure, the first time it happens it’s a chilling moment but it shortly becomes laughable because of the repeatedly clumsy way it’s being delivered to you. The video below is me encountering an enemy for the first time. The surprised scream coming from me did not come back on subsequent encounters. Believe me. Please.

Internet celebrity/IGN personality/licker of handheld systems Jessica Chobot was the much-ballyhooed pen behind Daylight. She might also be the voice of the protagonist but I didn’t bother to look it up. The voice acting is entirely made up of gasps and exclamation of dread that is so random and repetitive, it becomes hilarious really quick. The narrative is a fairly run-off-the-mill horror asylum/Cthulu mythos tale. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but seeing pentagrams, human sacrifice, and the devil never looked so bland. Seriously, it’s like the developers ran through a checklist of tropes and environments from every horror videogame, ever and just went with it.

On the technical side of things, the game is also a mess. It’s the first game I’ve ever played on the PlayStation 4 that dips below 30 frames per second. Unbelievably, it does this all the time! There are instances where the game will stutter and freeze for a few seconds. Completely unforgiveable, given that the visuals themselves are less-than-impressive.

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Hey. it’s an abandoned asylum! So original.

You can finish the game in less than two hours. The developers claim it is meant for multiple playthroughs because of the procedurally-generated levels. No thanks.

In my opinion, Daylight has nothing to offer to my gaming tastes. My limited gaming time is better spent on something else. A poorly-crafted tale behind a poorly-crafted gameplay system makes Daylight easy to put down and ignore.

Redemption:

  • It’s not a retail priced game (though $15 is still not cheap enough for this)
  • The buttons work and there is video and sound.

The Human Sacrifice:

  • Random generated levels =  stupid idea for a game like this.
  • Repetitive and bland gameplay progression
  • Technical issues galore.

Factor that can swing either way:

  • You might die tomorrow.

Daylight

Developer: Zombie Studios

Publisher: Atlus

Available for: PlayStation 4, PC

Reviewed: PS4 version

Get ready for an awesome PlayStation month even if you don’t have extra money to buy new games!

First up, PS3 owners get Lara Croft’s latest adventure for zilch. Tomb Raider was one of our top games of last year and the PS4 definitive edition was just released this month so this is an amazing and surprising addition to the IGC.

The PS3 also gets indie love in the form of Thomas Was Alone — an award-winning platformer, and Lone Survivor: Director’s Cut — a survival adventure game.

Going next-gen nets you a free download of the excellent Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition. This co-op twin-stick zombie shooter that was originally released on the PS3 is now coming to the PS4 bundled with all the DLC and updated visuals.

On the handheld side of things we get the 3rd person shooter Unit 13 and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP game, playable on Vita). Kinda lame but you can’t beat free, right?

 

Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition (PS4)

Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition

Free for PS Plus members

Run-and-gun through the zombie apocalypse as hit arcade shooter Dead Nation shuffles onto PlayStation 4. Fight for your life alone or with a friend as Jack McReady or Scarlett Blake as you step onto the streets of a city overrunwith undead flesh-eaters. And, if you’re feeling really brave, take a walk down the Road of Devastation – a deadly experiment that pushes your survival skills to the absolute limit as you face hordes of zombies with no extra lives and no second chances. The dead may walk – but you can make sure they don’t walk very far.

 

Tomb Raider (PS3)

Tomb Raider

Free for PS Plus members

This newest rendition of Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to the hardened survivor that she would become known as. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.

 

Thomas Was Alone (PS3)

Thomas Was Alone

Free for PS Plus members

Thomas Was Alone is the critically acclaimed indie platformer about friendship and jumping. Guide a group of sentient rectangles through a series of environments, combining their skills to reach the end of each level. Listen to awesome music by David Housden, negotiate obstacles meticulously placed by Mike Bithell and immerse yourself in the characters’ journey with a voiceover read wistfully and amusingly by Danny Wallace.

 

Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut (PS3)

Lone Survivor Director's Cut

Free for PS Plus members

In this psychological survival adventure, the masked protagonist must escape from a city ravaged by disease, by any means necessary. Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut is a new kind of adventure where the choice of how to survive is up to you. Sneak through without firing a single shot, or kill everything in your path. Eat and sleep well, or resort to drugs to keep going. Search for survivors, or try to escape the city alone. Look after your mental health, or descend into madness. Lone Survivor is a game where your choices genuinely matter.

 

Unit 13 (PS Vita)

Unit 13

Free for PS Plus members

Jump into the action with Unit 13 for PlayStation®Vita and conquer 36 tactical missions and 9 high value target battles as you help take down global terror networks and earn your place in the military elite. With the precision of the PlayStation Vita systems’s dual analog sticks and unique touch interface, Unit 13 is the perfect on-the-go action shooter. Wi-Fi connectivity adds fast 2-player co-op action, and 3G compatibility keeps you connected for instant social updates and new daily mission challenges.

 

Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite (PS Vita)

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

Free for PS Plus members

In the world of Monster Hunter you’re never alone.
-The biggest Monster Hunter title to date with over 500 hours of gameplay.
-Huge variety of character customizations including 1400 weapons and over 2000 armor sets.
-Players can form a team of up to 4 players through Ad-Hoc play and experience the social gaming phenomenon.
-AI Felyne companion, who will accompany players on quests and provide aid through the challenging battles. With the ‘Felyne Exchange’ feature players can share their companions with other players, transferring data using the PSP’s sleep mode.
-Fans of the series can transfer their data from Monster Hunter Freedom 2.

 

Capcom’s premiere futuristic ninja is finally wrecking havoc both on PS3 and PS4 and Square Enix kicks off the public PS4 beta of their MMORPG. Rayman Legends also makes an upgrade to next-gen and you can also get good ol’ Adewale’s adventure without having the main Assassin’s Creed IV game.

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Freedom Cry ($14.99)
AC Freeom Cry
Rise up against slavery with the latest single-player action-adventure game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry is now available exclusively for download on PS4 and PS3. Born a slave, Adewale found freedom as a pirate. Now, 15 years after the events of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Adewale has become a trained Assassin.
Rayman Legends ($39.99)
Rayman Legends
The Glade of Dreams is in trouble once again! During a 100-year nap, the nightmares multiplied and spread, creating new monsters even more terrifying than before! These creatures are the stuff of legend… Dragons, giant toads, sea monsters, and even evil luchadores. With the help of Murfy, Rayman and Globox awake and must now help fight these nightmares and save the Teensies!
Strider ($14.99)
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Strider returns in a brand new adventure, complete with incredible side-scrolling action, and lightning fast combat all in a massive interconnected world! Download the full game now and become the original assassin!
Final Fantasy XIV: A realm Reborn (Beta)
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Beta test the award-winning FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn now for FREE with players from around the world. The beta will be available from Saturday, February 22, 2014 to Sunday, March 2, 2014. Characters created during the beta are limited to level 20 and progress will not be saved after the beta ends.Create your own unique FINAL FANTASY hero and embark on the adventure of a lifetime to help forge the fate of Eorzea.

The excellent Tomba! 2 makes an appearance in the PSone classics section of the store as a follow to the original Tomba! that was released a couple of weeks ago. PS2 Classics have Neo Contra which I don’t remember ever playing. Heh.

Sales galore! Aside from the huge list this week, there’s a separate Rockstar Sale going on which you should check out. Bully for under $3 is a steal, my friends.

For fellow PS Plussers we are entitled to Remember Me (starring Renz Verano) on PS3 and Street Fighter X Tekken on Ps Vita for the exciting price of ‘free’.

For a complete list of additions and changes to the PS Store, hit the source link!

Awesome month coming for PlayStation Plus members. Sony has announced the February lineup for its Instant Games Collection but this time they made a nifty handy-dandy cool video detailing it. So watch it (embedded above) and be informed/amused.

For those of you who don’t want moving images, here’s a list and a picture:

Outlast (PS4)

Metro: Last Light (PS3)

Payday 2 (PS3)

Remember Me (PS3)  starring Renz Verano.

Street Fighter X Tekken (PS Vita)

ModNation Racers: Road Trip (PS Vita)

Squenix’ successful PC/PS3 MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be gracing Sony’s next (current) generation console officially on April 14th. If you already played this on the PS3 then you are automatically qualified to play the beta which starts on February 22nd. This gives you time to think if you wanna upgrade to the PS4 version.

Square Enix will also release a collector’s edition of the game which will include content from previous PS3 and PC collector’s editions with a Fat Chocobo Mount and a Wind-Up Moogle Minion.

I’m done with MMO’s myself but I’ll be sure to at least try the beta and ogle at the graphics.

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30lives recently received an invitation to attend the press conference for the Philippine release of Sony’s next-generation gaming console, the PlayStation 4. Dubbed as ‘Play the Future First’, the event will be held at Glorietta Activity Center on January 14th (Tuesday) at 11:00 AM.

We are definitely excited to cover what might be one of the biggest gaming industry events for the year, and we’re only still on the second week of January! I hope we get to demo the console as well as some of the biggest titles that will release this 2014. Keep checking the site for our full coverage coming soon!

For more information on the PlayStation 4, do visit Sony Philippines’ website at http://www.sony.com.ph/microsite/preorder/pspreorder.html.

The third game to grace the next-gen Instant Game Collection is the survival indie game Don’t Starve for the PS4. In it you play a scientist trapped in limbo where you’ll need to use the available resources to not die. It is also a game that teaches us that rabbits are yummy.

If you are still sporting that retro machine called the PS3 (heh) then you can download Ninja Theory’s Dante reboot, DMC: Devil May Cry for it. In it, you play Keanu Reeves.

Sorry Vita owners. Nothing for you this week. Boo.

PlayStation Plus: Instant Game Collection

Don’t Starve (PS4)

Free for PS Plus members

PlayStation Plus Update 1-6-2014
Don’t Starve: Console Edition is an uncompromising wilderness survival game full of science and magic. You play as Wilson, an intrepid Gentleman Scientist who has been trapped by a demon and transported to a mysterious wilderness world. Wilson must learn to exploit his environment and its inhabitants if he ever hopes to escape and find his way back home.
DMC Devil May Cry (PS3)

Free for PS Plus members

PlayStation Plus Update 1-6-2014
In a society corrupted by demons only The Order can see the world for what it really is. Join Dante in the ultimate experience of stylish action chain together combo after combo with panache and dispatch demonic spawn back to hell – reveal the truth behind the lies. Explore Dante’s dark past encountering some the most familiar faces in the DmC universe. Call upon unimaginable powers combined with Dante’s epic arsenal of weapons: sword, scyte, axe, pistols and more. Face your demons…

 

Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: SCEA
Available for: PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 launched with three first-person shooters in its line up. As the other two (Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts) are available on other platforms, Killzone: Shadow Fall is the only one that has the “Only on PlayStation” stamp on the box. Although not really a groundbreaking game by any means, Killzone: Shadow Fall at least earns that stamp of exclusivity by virtue of being a showcase title for the system, and a good overall indicator of what to expect with true next-gen console visuals.

Simply put: the game looks amazing. If you are a Killzone fan used to the bleak and monochromatic visuals of the past games then this one will catch you off guard. Running around Vekta is a feast for the eyes: I especially liked the bright day levels with vegetation. Lighting and reflections are topnotch, with loads of shaders that quite frankly couldn’t be done on last-generation systems. Even the smallest of details get flushed out thanks to the extra horsepower and VRAM behind the system: you can now see what kind of material those Helgan uniforms are made of. For the most part, the game runs at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second on full 1080p. Hands down, this is the best-looking console game out there.

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As expected, the game falls apart once it tries to build a convincing narrative. The overall concept seems interesting but the execution is confusing to say the least—in the previous game you save your planet being destroyed by foiling the enemy’s plan to destroy it and in the process destroying their planet but now you feel guilty so you give them half of your planet. Huh?

Gameplay is a bit different from previous Killzones. Where the previous games had you playing as various soldiers caught between multitudes of skirmishes trying to save your comrades and following orders, Shadow Fall has you portraying a special agent working behind enemy lines. Levels maps are more open ended and less linear. Objectives are more varied and stealth is a significant part of it.

Being a Vektan James Bond of course means you’ll have specialized gadgets. In this game, you only need one — the OWL. The OWL is a drone that follows you during your missions. You can utilize it in a number of ways to aid you with your objective: sliding your finger on the Dualshock 4 touchpad will switch the OWL’s functions, then hitting L1 initiates that function. Up on the touchpad is attack mode: Sending the drone to engage an enemy target. Very useful if you are pinned behind cover and need covering fire. Right on the pad lets you deploy a zipline to help you traverse the map, Left is an EMP blast that zaps enemies shields, and down on the pad lets the OWL defend a target position. Your trusty drone can also hack terminals to accomplish context-based actions like disabling alarms and such.

The audio side of the game is fantastic. The subtle ambient music fits every mood of the sequence. Gunfire and futuristic beams are realistic and believable. Hearing the narration from the Dualshock 4’s built in speaker when you pick up an audio log is a charming gimmick. I was surprised by the sound quality of that tiny speaker.

Multiplayer has the same modes as Killzone 3‘s Warzone. I didn’t encounter any lag or long wait times to join an online session. Overall, a very smooth experience.

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Cool Stuff:

  • Graphics. Best console visuals yet. Though there are a few ‘meh’ parts, overall visual presentation is fantastic.
  • More open levels. Exploring is a thing now. Less linear execution of missions is refreshing.
  • The Owl. The little floating drone gives the gameplay an upgrade in the tactical division.
  • Awesome multiplayer. 24-player battles with tried and tested modes give the game longevity after the campaign.
  • Not really specific for the game but the PS4 share button kicks ass! (all screenshots here were uploaded using the share button)

I Wish it Didn’t Have:

  • A boring story. Although interesting at times, the narrative is a bit confusing and delivered in a ho-hum way.
  • Levels that are artificially lengthened by enemy waves. I wish they’d be more creative with this but I guess it’s what Killzone is about.

In Closing:

Killzone: Shadow Fall has its triumphs and faults but if you want to let your friends know what next-gen is all about, buy Killzone: Shadow Fall and show it to them.

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In a cruel twist of fate—or shipping/production dates—Sony had shipped us our extra DualShock 4 controller three weeks before the PlayStation 4’s official launch. Without a console to actually… control, more adventurous denizens of the Internet have found out how to use these things on PCs and Macs; apparently they work fine as wired or wireless (via Bluetooth) devices via DirectInput (more on this later). To serve our loyal 30lives readers—who have stuck with us through our sabbatical/terrible additction to the street drug known as “Pokémon“—we present to you this surprise impressions post of Sony’s latest iteration on the DualShock brand… Let’s pretend the SIXAXIS mistake never happened, shall we?

DSC01660What’s In The Box?

Nothing. Just the controller and some instruction sheets. Bafflingly, Sony never seems to have the foresight/budget to include the necessary cables to power their accessories; in this case a very-ubiquitous MicroUSB cable. This is a step up from the MiniUSB cables that power the DualShock 3, the collective existences of which seem to be dwindling away from my household (five years ago I was drowning in these things, enveloping my bedroom much like a multi-segmented Anime tentacle monster). At any rate this at least spares us from any pathetic attempts at “unboxing videos,” which are a bane of modern existence and the single, solitary reason of why bad things happen in the world today.

Do You Want To Play Lucky Hit?

DSC01685As I mentioned above, any PC or Mac will recognize the DualShock 4 as a standard, HID-compliant controller when plugged in via a MicroUSB cable. I believe Macs also have the ability to pick the controller up via Bluetooth, but I haven’t tested if there’s a solution out there to make this wireless connection happen in Windows a la MotionInJoy. At any rate, I was excited to put the controller through its paces with a few games on my new Windows computing device of choice, Dell’s Venue 8 Pro tablet (which is an excellent tech product in its own right; I’ll be reviewing it soon). As expected, only the main set of buttons were recognized, no touchpad support for now, although you can register “pressing down” on the touchpad as a button press.

At any rate, the controller worked wonderfully for this purpose; and to inject some smarmy PC gaming elitism into this post—I can’t wait until console gaming finally goes under so I can buy a bunch of these things to use as computer joypads. Although feature-incomplete at this state, I was able to run NullDC and a few random Indie Steam games I had installed on the tablet with relative ease.

Four Ain’t Much, But It’s Better Than Three

I put in about an hour of Grand Theft Auto V on my PlayStation 3 to make sure I was completely acclimated with the DS4’s predecessor before busting the thing out of the box and trying it out. Having first tried it on a tethered demo station back at E3, the first thing that caught me by surprise was the DualShock 4’s overall heft, or seeming lack thereof. At 7.4oz, it’s a little heavier than the DualShock 3 (which weighs in at 6.77oz), but doesn’t quite feel as heavy as the PlayStation 3’s controller du jour. I’m thinking it could be because of more even weight distribution, a wider grip on the handles, or a combination of both; but the DS4 honestly felt a little lighter (and by association, “cheaper”) when I first wrapped my paws around it.

DSC01674While we’re on that train of thought, let’s talk differences for a second. The first and most welcome difference that the DualShock 4 brings are bigger, more ergonomic handgrips. Coupled with the new, matted texture that envelops the back, sides, and part of the controller’s front I doubt that anybody will disagree that the DualShock 4’s overall feel is a huge improvement from its forerunner. Another welcome change is that the L2 and R2 buttons are now convex instead of concave; which means instead of your finger slipping off every so often on a trigger-intensive game (say, Call of Duty: Ghosts), you’ll find your fingers comfortably resting on these trigger buttons; certainly a natural evolution as these analog triggers have grown in importance since console shooters gained new relevance five-odd years ago. Strangely, the triggers have lost a bit of resistance compared to the DS3; I happened to like that amount of feedback and snappiness. Finally, to round out that side of the controller, the not-as-important L1 and R1 buttons have been given new prominence with a larger, rounded button area.

DSC01664Just to mention it very briefly since it’s such a miniscule change and probably won’t affect any game, ever—the face buttons are now equipped with digital instead of analog button sensors. This means that instead of measuring how hard the player pushes down on the X, O, Triangle, and Square buttons, they will simply register an “on” or off” switch. Given that you can count the number of PlayStation 3 titles that used this feature with one hand, I’m fairly confident that this is no substantial loss. Apart from that change, the buttons feel as responsive as ever and are possibly even more responsive given that there’s less data to transmit from the controller back to the device.

Finally, Sony’s learned from the Vita’s excellent foray into handheld controls, borrowing its more focused, “dipped” directional pad, which is more akin to the formerly Nintendo-patented cross D-pad than anything Sony’s put out before. Granted, each iteration of the Dual Shock has received progressively better d-pad designs, but this puts the DualShock 4 one step closer from being an acceptable controller for 2D platformers and fighting games. The addition of lips on the analog sticks is another innovation borrowed from the Vita; and while I’ll be sad to see the old “nipple” sticks disappear from good, I like the feel of these shorter sticks much better.

So that about wraps it for our impressions; we’ll have more to say when we can actually get our hands on the PlayStation 4. Other than that all we can say about the DualShock 4 is “gee, it sure is a half-decent controller for PC games!” Make sure to hit us up at the comments area below if you folks have any particular questions!

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At the Sony Tokyo Game Show booth today Team Gravity showed a teaser of what seems to be Gravity Rush 2. The video showed the protagonist Kat flying around what looks like the same city in the first game. It’s not even sure what platform it’s on but it seems prettier than your average PS Vita game. PS4, maybe? (UPDATE: Famitsu confirms it’s a Vita title)

The video closed with the words,  “Fall again… A new project from Team Gravity.”

Gravity Rush was one of my favorite PS Vita games. Good to hear Kat is back.

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We all know that the PlayStation 4 will launch November in North America. But unlike Japan which will have to wait ’till February next year, TGS just confirmed we’ll have our PS Quadruples by December this year for the rest of Asia Region 3 (Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, etc… and by extension, Philippines)

I think I know where our salary bonuses will be funneled into. *Gasp*

Grand Theft Auto V is this week’s game.

That’s it. Thanks for coming!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Hot Wheels Worlds Best Driver (Wii U/3DS Retail)

We Sing: 80s (Wii U Retail)

Cut the Rope (3DS eShop)

Rage of the Gladiators (3DS eShop)

Star Wars Pinball (3DS eShop)

AiRace Speed (3DS eShop)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Capcom Fighting Evolution (PS2 Classic)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack Pack (PS3 DLC)

Real Boxing (PS Vita PSN)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (Retail)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (Retail)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (DLC)

 

Foul Play (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Ironclad Tactics (PC/Mac)

Takedown: Red Sabre (PC/Mac)

Urban Trial Freestyle (PC Steam)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PC Steam DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (PC Steam DLC)

The Japan Sony Press Conference is still ongoing as I write this but the PS Vita part of it has just concluded.

Here’s what they’ve shown:

New PS Vita 2000 series. Thinner and lighter and presumably cheaper, it looks exactly like the original PS Vita but it now sports a cheaper LCD screen (original uses a glorious OLED screen), comes with 1GB memory, and will come in 6 different colors at launch. It will also be bundled with a 90 day PlayStation Plus subscription.

PS Vita Greatest Hits Line. Just like the PS3, select PS Vita games will be sold at a cheaper price point.

Cheaper memory cards and a new 64GB card. I need this.

 

Soul Sacrifice Delta anounced for March 2014. “This is a brand new version with brand new elements and brand new items which gives the unique flavor of Soul Sacrifice.” says creator Keiji Inafune. Mmmkay.

 

Phantasy Star Nova announced. This is a non-MMO version of Phantasy Star Online 2. It’s playable offline and 4-player online co-op ala MonHan.

 

Special Edition PS Vita Bundles Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD. Self explanatory.

Pretty exciting stuff. And because the PS Vita is region free, you don’t need to wait for a western release if you really want these.

Rayman Legends is finally out this week, though you might want to steer out of the way of the PS Vita version of the game as we heard it’s missing some content (until they patch it). Diablo 3 makes its way to consoles as promised, and you can get jiggle with it with Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate *mmphh*, and a new adventure awaits you with the Strawhats in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2.

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Rayman Legends (Wii U Retail)

eShop Releases (TBA)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Diablo 3 (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Rayman Legends (PS3/Vita Retail/PSN)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PS3 PSN)

Castle of Illusions (PS3 PSN)

Chaos Code (PS3 PSN)

Hunter’s Trophy 2: America (PS3 PSN)

Kickbeat (PS3/Vita PSN)

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PS3 PSN)

Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity (PS2 Classic)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PS3 DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PS3 DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PS3 DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PS3 DLC)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (Retail)

Diablo 3 (Retail)

Rayman Legends (Retail)

Castle of Illusion (XBLA)

Freefall Racers (XBLA)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (DLC)

Minecraft – Mass Effect Mash-up (DLC)

 

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC Steam)

Castle of Illusion Castle of Illusion (PC Steam)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PC Steam)

Huntsman: The Orphanage (PC/Mac)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PC Steam)

Outlast (PC Steam)

Rayman Legends (PC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 – Greek States Culture Pack (PC Steam)

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At the beginning of Sony’s Gamescom 2013 presscon, Sony Worldwide Studios head-honcho Shuhei Yoshida presented the PS4’s interface in a very relaxed way. He browsed the menus, checked a couple of games, went into and watched an ongoing Killzone: Shadowfall game stream, then proceeded to join the game. He then uploaded a screenshot and capped it all with a tweet to start the show.

Very classy, Sony. I really like how the interface shows all info about the game (like trophy count and friends, etc) just by hovering on it.

Can’t wait for launch.

Our search for scraps about the upcoming next-gen consoles takes us to beautiful Cologne, Germany where Gamescom—Europe’s largest videogame trade show—just kicked off, with two huge press briefers from both Microsoft and Sony. Here are some of the highlights in palatable, bullet-pointed chunks:

  • Microsoft had first dibs on the conference floor, so they came out strong out the gates by announcing a few neat-o exclusives: Peggle 2 being the biggest timed exclusive (why, Microsoft — I wanted to have this on my iPad like, yesterday), Fable Legends (fool me once…), a new game by Minecraft’s Mojang called Cobalt, and Ubisoft’s fairly interesting Kinect brawler called Fighter Within.
  • Speaking of which, Microsoft’s Xbox One launch lineup appears to be fairly stacked:
    • Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
    • Battlefield 4 (DICE, Electronic Arts)
    • Call of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward, Activision)
    • Crimson Dragon (Grounding/Land Ho!, Microsoft Studios)
    • Dead Rising 3 (Capcom Vancouver, Microsoft)
    • FIFA 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
    • Fighter Within (AMA Ltd., Ubisoft)
    • Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios)
    • Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft)
    • Killer Instinct (Double Helix, Microsoft Studios)
    • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros. Interactive)
    • Lococycle (Twisted Pixel, Microsoft Studios)
    • Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
    • NBA 2K14 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sports)
    • NBA LIVE 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
    • Need for Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games, Electronic Arts)
    • Peggle 2 (Popcap, Electronic Arts)
    • Powerstar Golf (Zoe Mode, Microsoft Studios)
    • Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek, Microsoft Studios)
    • Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions, Activision)
    • Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
    • Zoo Tycoon (Frontier Developments Ltd., Microsoft Studios)
    • Zumba Fitness: World Party (Zoë Mode, Majesco)
  • After completely alienating indie developers during the tail end of the Xbox 360’s lifespan, MS is attempting to woo them back with their new self-publishing program, which nets independent developers two free devkits with full access to the Xbox One’s SDK… The best part? No fees (heads up, IGDA Manila).
  • Europe has been a traditionally pro-Sony battleground, so Microsoft’s interesting decision to pack FIFA ’14 in with every Xbox One should turn more than a few heads in that region.
  • And in Sonytown, as we’ve mentioned earlier on our Facebook page, the magic launch date for the PlayStation 4 will be on the 15th of November in North American shores (or our Frankenstein grey-market not-really region).
  • Sony’s finally doing something with the Vita it seems, as they’ve officially slashed the price of the criminally-underutilized console to $199, with promises of “significant” price drops to its ludicrously-expensive memory cards. Now show us some 64GB cards Sony. Borderlands 2 will make a late debut on the handheld (cool, I guess) and indie darlings Fez, Starbound and Velocity X will be making their PSN debuts as well.
  • “Indie darlings” were definitely a huge part of the PlayStation summit: Minecraft (why is this still a big deal?) will be a PS4 launch title, War Thunder, Murasaki Baby, Housemarque, and Hotline Miami 2 will be making their way to Sony-branded boxes near you.
  • Sony also announced a new 12GB version of the PlayStation 3 priced at $199. If you buy this, we will laugh at you.
  • Still showing some legs on its now-depreciated console, Sony also announced Gran Turismo 6 for the 6th of December.
  • Rime was the big surprise of the show: think Ico meets Wind Waker. “If they won’t release Trico, we’ll do it ourselves, dammit!”

Haven’t caught any news for you Nintendo fans yet, but let’s be real: were you really expecting anything?

Are you a PlayStation Plus subscriber? If yes, then get your Star Wars Zen Pinball 2 tomorrow for free. It includes Star Wars: Episode 5, Clone Wars and Boba Fett-themed tables.

You don’t like pinball? How about a free Darkstalkers Chronicles: The Chaos Tower that you can play on your PSP or PS Vita?

You dont like free? Then pay for discounted games! New games like Divekick (cross-buy PS3/Vita) has a special price for us PS+ people and it’s also the 2nd week of the PS Vita Japanese Dev Sale!

What did you say? You want to shoot other people in the face? For free? Wow, me too! Good thing there’s an early Killzone: Mercenary Beta for us. Non-subscribers have to wait ’till next week for it!

Hahaha!

Preview

The Saints are back in their 4th game: Saint’s Row IV — out this week and that should tide you down before GTAV releases in September. The spin-off The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is also launching this week. It’s an FPS set in XCOM‘s universe. And also, Disney Infinity goes to retail for all major platforms. Anything for you this week?

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Disney Infinity Starter Pack (Wii/Wii U/3DS Retail)

Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Wii U Retail)

Super Luigi U (Wii U Retail)

 

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (PS3 Retail)

Disney Infinity Starter Pack (PS3 Retail)

Saints Row IV (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PS3 Retail)

Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers (PS3 PSN)

Divekick (PS3/Vita PSN)

Kessen III (PS2 Classic)

Naval Ops Commander (PS2 Classic)

Saints Row IV Season Pass (PS3 DLC)

The Walking Dead (Vita Retail)

 

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified  (Retail)

Disney Infinity Starter Pack (Retail)

Saints Row IV (Retail)

Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Retail)

Divekick (XBLA)

Saints Row IV Season Pass (DLC)

 

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (PC)

Divekick (PC) [Steam]

Hate Plus (PC/Mac) [Steam]

Might & Magic X: Legacy (PC)

Ravaged: Zombie Apocalypse (PC) [Steam]

Saints Row IV (PC)

Saints Row IV Season Pass (PC) [Steam] DLC

Sir, You Are Being Hunted (PC/Mac)

Skullgirls (PC) [Steam]

Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PC)