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Found 46 results

  1. Naughty Dog has always been a company that took risks, and there's certainly an argument to be made that Crash Bandicoot was one of the biggest risks that the company ever took. The project set out to overcome the main problems that plagued early 3D game design, create what they hoped might become an unofficial PlayStation mascot, and took a chance on Sony's new platform, the original PlayStation. The remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy has become the best selling game of the year so far, so that begs the question: Is Crash Bandicoot one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Crash Bandicoot 'All for Wampa' by Rexy (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02414) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  2. Naughty Dog has always been a company that took risks, and there's certainly an argument to be made that Crash Bandicoot was one of the biggest risks that the company ever took. The project set out to overcome the main problems that plagued early 3D game design, create what they hoped might become an unofficial PlayStation mascot, and took a chance on Sony's new platform, the original PlayStation. The remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy has become the best selling game of the year so far, so that begs the question: Is Crash Bandicoot one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Crash Bandicoot 'All for Wampa' by Rexy (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02414) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  3. Destiny 2 has been just gathering hype around it after it was announced earlier this year. Since then, there have been trailers that focus on what fans have found missing from the original game, story. The newest trailer revealed at Sony's E3 2017 conference took a more somber tone than it's predecessors, but with a title like “Our Darkest Hour, ” it's not hard to see why. The focus is around Dominus Ghaul, who seems to think that he's the only one who deserves the Traveler's Light. Exclusive content will be had for PlayStation gamers including an exclusive strike called "Lake of Shadows," gear, a ship called "City Apex," a weapon called "Borealis," and a PVP map titled "Retribution." The game got a new release date moving up two days to September 6 with its release on PC set for October 24. Early Access starts July 18. Catch up on everything you need to know about Destiny 2 here and let us know in the comments how you feel about the game's impending release? Will it fulfill the needs that the previous game had? View full article
  4. Destiny 2 has been just gathering hype around it after it was announced earlier this year. Since then, there have been trailers that focus on what fans have found missing from the original game, story. The newest trailer revealed at Sony's E3 2017 conference took a more somber tone than it's predecessors, but with a title like “Our Darkest Hour, ” it's not hard to see why. The focus is around Dominus Ghaul, who seems to think that he's the only one who deserves the Traveler's Light. Exclusive content will be had for PlayStation gamers including an exclusive strike called "Lake of Shadows," gear, a ship called "City Apex," a weapon called "Borealis," and a PVP map titled "Retribution." The game got a new release date moving up two days to September 6 with its release on PC set for October 24. Early Access starts July 18. Catch up on everything you need to know about Destiny 2 here and let us know in the comments how you feel about the game's impending release? Will it fulfill the needs that the previous game had?
  5. We haven't talked much about sports games on the show. This week, Daniel Jones brings the digital baseball series MLB The Show up to the plate. It's sadly an Honorable Mention episode because Jack and Jeremy vanished at the merest hint of physical activity. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Super Spike V'Ball 'Copacabana Beach' by Leandro Abreu (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02858) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  6. We haven't talked much about sports games on the show. This week, Daniel Jones brings the digital baseball series MLB The Show up to the plate. It's sadly an Honorable Mention episode because Jack and Jeremy vanished at the merest hint of physical activity. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Super Spike V'Ball 'Copacabana Beach' by Leandro Abreu (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02858) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  7. Review: Nioh

    The rocky road to Team Ninja’s release of Nioh meant that a lot of factors were working against the action RPG when it hit store shelves in February. It had originally been announced back in 2004 by Koei as a straight RPG adaptation of Oni, an unfinished script by famed Japanese film legend Akira Kurosawa. Over the years, it was ripped apart and stitched back together by various development teams trying desperately to make it work. Nioh became a Dynasty Warriors-esque large-scale war game after the merger of Tecmo and Koei. The multiple development teams slowly scrapped almost all of the Akira Kurosawa’s story beats from the title. It wasn’t until Team Ninja fully took control of the project in 2012 that Nioh became recognizably similar to the game that released in 2017. Team Ninja had a very simple elevator pitch for their vision of Nioh: What if you combined a fanciful retelling of Japan’s Sengoku jidai with Dark Souls? Nioh weaves the heavily altered story of William Adams, a sailor for the Dutch East India Company who became the first Western samurai, a top advisor to Japan’s Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and became known as Miura Anjin. Those three facts are about all that remain in Nioh of the real William’s life story. Nioh takes the framework of William’s journey to Japan in the 1600s at the end of one hundred years of civil war and brings it into a more fanciful setting full of spirits and monsters. William begins his tale in England, where a mysterious figure named Edward Kelley imprisons his guardian spirit. The pursuit of this creepy sorcerer takes William to the shores of Japan where evil spirits and demons have run amok, feeding off the death caused by the war. William’s becomes embroiled in the war himself after finding that the sorcerer has allied himself with the enemies of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Soon the conflict threatens to spin out of control as the sorcerer wields ever more powerful magic granted by his consumption of guardian spirits and crystalized spirit stones called Amrita. William, however, has his own array of abilities to combat threats both magical and mundane. One of Nioh’s draws is the ability to play with a wide selection of fighting styles. Players can choose from katana, axe, dual wielding swords, spears, and kusarigama (a sickle with a weighted chain). Each weapon has its own unique style and move set that becomes even deeper with the addition of stances. Any given weapon has three separate stances, high, mid, and low. High stance has slower, more powerful attacks, middle has a good mix between power and agility, and low stance tends to have the fastest attack and dodge speeds. Each of these stances alters the move sets and combos of their given weapon in addition to their differing benefits. On top of that, Nioh allows players to put points into ninjutsu and onmyo to gain ninja and spellcasting abilities. The robust combat system presents a definite learning curve. Those just beginning Nioh will doubtlessly struggle with when to switch stances and the make use of the various abilities at their disposal. However, the true mechanic that every Nioh player will absolutely need to master comes down to one thing: Ki. In Dark Souls, players must manage a stamina gauge that depletes as various attacks are used. Nioh has a Ki meter that serves the same purpose. However, the key difference between the two systems is that timing a follow-up button press after a string of attacks restores some of the player’s lost Ki. This means that those with a good sense of timing and battle rhythm can make more attacks or dodges without becoming exhausted and vulnerable. Some abilities even give attack bonuses for players who can pull off this move. This technique becomes even more necessary when battling the demonic yokai spirits who can create areas that slow Ki regeneration unless the player can purify them with that well-timed button press. Nioh does a number of small, yet significant things when it comes to combat that make it feel like a fresh experience. Adding the active Ki system goes a long way toward creating more engaging combat, but so does extending the effectiveness of status impairments. Typically, status effects in games are more for the rank and file enemies. Nioh allows even the bosses to be affected by the likes of poison, fire, and paralysis. These can help give the winning edge in a particularly challenging boss fight or make an otherwise difficult enemy encounter manageable. Projectile weapons also go a long way toward breathing life into Nioh. Players can equip bows, matchlock rifles, or personal cannons to deal with enemies from afar. These weapons prove to be very effective and benefit from leveling stats that benefit your hand-to-hand combat abilities, so they continue to be effective into the late game. In fact, I was able to take down the final boss of Nioh with a shred of health from cover by making quick use of my fully loaded cannon to land critical headshots. Nioh slips up most when it comes to the level design. One of the things that worked in the favor of the Dark Souls series was the interconnected world that truly felt like a giant puzzle to be solved through exploration. Nioh has a much more linear structure governed by missions. Each mission is its own contained world that leads players toward a boss fight. The quality of these areas varies greatly. Some are perfectly serviceable, a few inch up into “good” territory, but many of them are only interesting on a visual level and only present straight-forward slogs from one combat encounter to another. The worst levels include areas where the player can easily slip off a ledge and fall to what feels like an incredibly cheap death. One boss fight in particular happens to encapsulate both the frustrating level and boss design. A decent slice into the game, the player is tasked with clearing out a flooded temple. Upon reaching the boss, the player becomes locked inside an arena floating on the water to do battle with a giant ooze monster. Except you can’t swim in Nioh, so a trip off the edge of the arena is an instant death. Just don’t fall off, right? Well, the boss is such a large creature, that targeting it means you can’t see anything behind you, so it becomes difficult to tell when you’re in danger of running off the edge. Okay, so don’t target the creature? Well, if you let your attention wander, you might miss the short wind up it does for a move that blasts half the arena with an insta-death energy beam. If you happen to be doing fine against this yokai hell-beast, it actually has two versions of its insta-death move. The first has a warning animation of about a second or two. The second has a split-second jiggle that’s easily missed in the heat of combat. Speaking of those bosses, they represent some of the most irritating encounters I’ve had in video games. Some are relatively easy to overcome while others will leave you dazed with how quickly they destroyed you. Many of the bosses present long, painful bouts of learning when to dodge, what moves will instantly kill you, and what you can or can’t block. On the other hand, a fair number of these encounters feel like truly climactic battles where the odds are stacked against you. Conclusion: When everything goes right in Nioh, it feels wonderfully fluid, responsive, and challenging. The combat shines brightly as something from which future games in the action RPG genre should draw inspiration. While Dark Souls mastered slow, methodical combat and Bloodborne rewarded fast, brutal aggression, Nioh requires players to be fast and precise in order to keep abreast of the chaotic action. However, that’s a delicate balance to maintain and sometimes bosses and level design don’t quite support that balancing act. The visual designs of monsters are routinely interesting to take in and discovering new creatures adds to the fun of progression. The loot system feels unnecessary and clutters up Nioh with useless items. There’s a very solid core to Nioh that deserves expansion. A little more inspiration from similar games (some kind of healing reward for aggression similar to Bloodborne might have been nice), while cutting any needless complications or unfair designs could go a long way toward taking any Nioh successor to even greater acclaim in the future. Nioh is now available for PlayStation 4
  8. Feature: Review: Nioh

    The rocky road to Team Ninja’s release of Nioh meant that a lot of factors were working against the action RPG when it hit store shelves in February. It had originally been announced back in 2004 by Koei as a straight RPG adaptation of Oni, an unfinished script by famed Japanese film legend Akira Kurosawa. Over the years, it was ripped apart and stitched back together by various development teams trying desperately to make it work. Nioh became a Dynasty Warriors-esque large-scale war game after the merger of Tecmo and Koei. The multiple development teams slowly scrapped almost all of the Akira Kurosawa’s story beats from the title. It wasn’t until Team Ninja fully took control of the project in 2012 that Nioh became recognizably similar to the game that released in 2017. Team Ninja had a very simple elevator pitch for their vision of Nioh: What if you combined a fanciful retelling of Japan’s Sengoku jidai with Dark Souls? Nioh weaves the heavily altered story of William Adams, a sailor for the Dutch East India Company who became the first Western samurai, a top advisor to Japan’s Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and became known as Miura Anjin. Those three facts are about all that remain in Nioh of the real William’s life story. Nioh takes the framework of William’s journey to Japan in the 1600s at the end of one hundred years of civil war and brings it into a more fanciful setting full of spirits and monsters. William begins his tale in England, where a mysterious figure named Edward Kelley imprisons his guardian spirit. The pursuit of this creepy sorcerer takes William to the shores of Japan where evil spirits and demons have run amok, feeding off the death caused by the war. William’s becomes embroiled in the war himself after finding that the sorcerer has allied himself with the enemies of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Soon the conflict threatens to spin out of control as the sorcerer wields ever more powerful magic granted by his consumption of guardian spirits and crystalized spirit stones called Amrita. William, however, has his own array of abilities to combat threats both magical and mundane. One of Nioh’s draws is the ability to play with a wide selection of fighting styles. Players can choose from katana, axe, dual wielding swords, spears, and kusarigama (a sickle with a weighted chain). Each weapon has its own unique style and move set that becomes even deeper with the addition of stances. Any given weapon has three separate stances, high, mid, and low. High stance has slower, more powerful attacks, middle has a good mix between power and agility, and low stance tends to have the fastest attack and dodge speeds. Each of these stances alters the move sets and combos of their given weapon in addition to their differing benefits. On top of that, Nioh allows players to put points into ninjutsu and onmyo to gain ninja and spellcasting abilities. The robust combat system presents a definite learning curve. Those just beginning Nioh will doubtlessly struggle with when to switch stances and the make use of the various abilities at their disposal. However, the true mechanic that every Nioh player will absolutely need to master comes down to one thing: Ki. In Dark Souls, players must manage a stamina gauge that depletes as various attacks are used. Nioh has a Ki meter that serves the same purpose. However, the key difference between the two systems is that timing a follow-up button press after a string of attacks restores some of the player’s lost Ki. This means that those with a good sense of timing and battle rhythm can make more attacks or dodges without becoming exhausted and vulnerable. Some abilities even give attack bonuses for players who can pull off this move. This technique becomes even more necessary when battling the demonic yokai spirits who can create areas that slow Ki regeneration unless the player can purify them with that well-timed button press. Nioh does a number of small, yet significant things when it comes to combat that make it feel like a fresh experience. Adding the active Ki system goes a long way toward creating more engaging combat, but so does extending the effectiveness of status impairments. Typically, status effects in games are more for the rank and file enemies. Nioh allows even the bosses to be affected by the likes of poison, fire, and paralysis. These can help give the winning edge in a particularly challenging boss fight or make an otherwise difficult enemy encounter manageable. Projectile weapons also go a long way toward breathing life into Nioh. Players can equip bows, matchlock rifles, or personal cannons to deal with enemies from afar. These weapons prove to be very effective and benefit from leveling stats that benefit your hand-to-hand combat abilities, so they continue to be effective into the late game. In fact, I was able to take down the final boss of Nioh with a shred of health from cover by making quick use of my fully loaded cannon to land critical headshots. Nioh slips up most when it comes to the level design. One of the things that worked in the favor of the Dark Souls series was the interconnected world that truly felt like a giant puzzle to be solved through exploration. Nioh has a much more linear structure governed by missions. Each mission is its own contained world that leads players toward a boss fight. The quality of these areas varies greatly. Some are perfectly serviceable, a few inch up into “good” territory, but many of them are only interesting on a visual level and only present straight-forward slogs from one combat encounter to another. The worst levels include areas where the player can easily slip off a ledge and fall to what feels like an incredibly cheap death. One boss fight in particular happens to encapsulate both the frustrating level and boss design. A decent slice into the game, the player is tasked with clearing out a flooded temple. Upon reaching the boss, the player becomes locked inside an arena floating on the water to do battle with a giant ooze monster. Except you can’t swim in Nioh, so a trip off the edge of the arena is an instant death. Just don’t fall off, right? Well, the boss is such a large creature, that targeting it means you can’t see anything behind you, so it becomes difficult to tell when you’re in danger of running off the edge. Okay, so don’t target the creature? Well, if you let your attention wander, you might miss the short wind up it does for a move that blasts half the arena with an insta-death energy beam. If you happen to be doing fine against this yokai hell-beast, it actually has two versions of its insta-death move. The first has a warning animation of about a second or two. The second has a split-second jiggle that’s easily missed in the heat of combat. Speaking of those bosses, they represent some of the most irritating encounters I’ve had in video games. Some are relatively easy to overcome while others will leave you dazed with how quickly they destroyed you. Many of the bosses present long, painful bouts of learning when to dodge, what moves will instantly kill you, and what you can or can’t block. On the other hand, a fair number of these encounters feel like truly climactic battles where the odds are stacked against you. Conclusion: When everything goes right in Nioh, it feels wonderfully fluid, responsive, and challenging. The combat shines brightly as something from which future games in the action RPG genre should draw inspiration. While Dark Souls mastered slow, methodical combat and Bloodborne rewarded fast, brutal aggression, Nioh requires players to be fast and precise in order to keep abreast of the chaotic action. However, that’s a delicate balance to maintain and sometimes bosses and level design don’t quite support that balancing act. The visual designs of monsters are routinely interesting to take in and discovering new creatures adds to the fun of progression. The loot system feels unnecessary and clutters up Nioh with useless items. There’s a very solid core to Nioh that deserves expansion. A little more inspiration from similar games (some kind of healing reward for aggression similar to Bloodborne might have been nice), while cutting any needless complications or unfair designs could go a long way toward taking any Nioh successor to even greater acclaim in the future. Nioh is now available for PlayStation 4 View full article
  9. One of the most critically acclaimed titles of 2013, The Last of Us served as the PlayStation 3's swan song. Pushing the system to its limits, Naughty Dog's foray into a grim, apocalyptic vision of the future became a title that would be talked about for years to come for its presentation, pacing, characters, and gripping story. A film adaptation was announced following the massive success of The Last of Us. At the tail end of 2016, Sony unveiled a sequel. This week we take a look at the infected ruins of America as experienced by Joel and Ellie on their road trip through a world where a human life is as cheap as a bullet. Is The Last of Us one of the best games period? Outro music: The Last of Us 'Sarah' by nckmusic (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02995) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  10. One of the most critically acclaimed titles of 2013, The Last of Us served as the PlayStation 3's swan song. Pushing the system to its limits, Naughty Dog's foray into a grim, apocalyptic vision of the future became a title that would be talked about for years to come for its presentation, pacing, characters, and gripping story. A film adaptation was announced following the massive success of The Last of Us. At the tail end of 2016, Sony unveiled a sequel. This week we take a look at the infected ruins of America as experienced by Joel and Ellie on their road trip through a world where a human life is as cheap as a bullet. Is The Last of Us one of the best games period? Outro music: The Last of Us 'Sarah' by nckmusic (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02995) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  11. First Destiny DLC Coming in December

    Destiny fans, mark December 9 on your calendars. Titled "The Dark Below," the expansion adds several story missions, an additional strike, and a new raid. The story missions and strike revolve around the Hive's god, Crota. That name might be familiar to Destiny players from the mission where players wield the Sword of Crota (notable for being the only mission in the game where players do something other than shoot everything). This new content will be accessible by talking with a new NPC in Tower named Eris. PlayStation owners will have access to an exclusive, limited time strike called "The Unyielding Mind," though no word yet on exactly when that will release. Beyond new missions, Bungie is adding some quality of life adjustments. The level cap will be raised from 30 to 32 and five more bounty slots will be opened up. New weapons and gear are also on their way. The standalone price of the expansion is $19.99, while the season pass for Destiny's DLC is $34.99.
  12. Powers, the first PlayStation Original Series, is an adaptation of a graphic novel by the same name. Sharlto Copley, best known for his roles in District 9 and Elysium, plays an detective who once had superpowers and now specializes in superhuman criminal investigations. The show is clearly aiming for a gritty, mature tone. The trailer drops several F-bombs, has a couple crazy people, and things get smashed in an angry fashion. It remains to be seen if the series can deliver on its promising concept, but if anyone can be counted on to give an interesting performance it is Copley. There is no announced release date quite yet for the series. However, it is worth noting that the Powers will be free for PlayStation Plus members.
  13. Just a friendly reminder that the Destiny beta hits on July 17 at 10 AM Pacific for PlayStation owners and July 23, also at 10 AM Pacific, for Xbox. Also, there is a new Destiny trailer. Oh, and a couple spiffy, expensive collector's editions. It is important to remember that people who pre-order Destiny are guaranteed a spot in the beta and that PlayStation Plus will be required for certain features on PlayStation systems and Xbox Live required to function on the 360 and One. The Beta will be offline for scheduled maintenance on July 21 - July 22 and open back up to pre-order participants across all platforms until 11:59pm PDT on July 27. "Wait," you might be asking yourself, "What about those different versions of the game you mentioned earlier, Mr. Writerperson?" Activision and Bungie also revealed today three different collector's editions of the game as well as how much they are going to hurt your wallet. The Destiny Ghost Edition and the Destiny Limited Edition both include a SteelBook case with physical disc; a Guardian Folio containing Postcards from the Golden Age, Antique Star Chart, and an Arms & Armament Field Guide; a digital content pack consisting of a unique ghost casing, player emblem, and ship variant; and the Destiny Expansion Pass which grants access to two of the post-launch Destiny expansions. The first expansion, titled The Dark Below, will take players beneath the surface of the Moon to battle an alien god that leads an evil army of Hive forces against Earth. The second expansion has no details as of yet beyond its name: House of Wolves (Editor's Note: I originally typed this Hose of Wolves, which I imagine would be a game about wolf fire fighters). PlayStation platforms will also include additional exclusive content for The Dark Below and House of Wolves that will remain exclusive until at least Fall of 2015. And that is only what the two editions have in common. Continuing on.... Destiny Ghost Edition comes with a replica of Ghost, complete with motion-activated lights and sounds voiced by Peter Dinklage; a letter of introduction; Golden Age Relics which include a photo, patch, sticker, and two chrome slides of the Traveler. Digital pre-orderers will be receiving the Digital Guardian Edition of Destiny which includes a digital download copy of the game, the Destiny Expansion Pass, and the Collector's Edition Digital Content Pack. All pre-orders will include access to the Vangaurd Armory that includes early access to weapons, gear and exclusive player emblem. That's a lot of cool stuff. Now for the bad news: Ghost Edition will retail at $149.99; the Limited Edition will cost $99.99; the Digital Guardian Edition will bite at $89.99. Destiny's Expansion Pass alone will be $34.99 and the expansions individually will cost $19.99 apiece. All of these editions are available now. I suppose it is nice that we seem to have ourselves quite a few options. Destiny fully releases for all platforms on September 9.
  14. E3 2014 - Sony's Press Conference

    Following Microsoft’s press conference earlier today, Sony had to be on its game. Microsoft showed a fair number of titles with first access DLC for Xbox owners and a couple highly polished an interesting exclusives (here’s lookin’ at you, Sunset Overdrive and Scalebound). Sony seems to have given a suitably escalated response. Sony began by showing a story-teasing, action packed trailer (narrated by Peter Dinklage!) and announcing that PS4 owners would have access to a special first-look alpha of the game beginning this Thursday and continuing through Sunday. It was also revealed that PlayStation owners would receive an exclusive strike mission (the Destiny equivalent of dungeon raids) for Destiny. July 17 marks when Destiny enters open beta. Furthermore, when Destiny releases on September 9, there will also be a bundle with a white PlayStation 4. The Order: 1886 also made an obligatory appearance with a brief segment showing off some atmospheric gameplay. It is worth noting that the trailer below was edited together and, while made up of the gameplay that I saw live, doesn’t quite capture the same intensity or urgency that the gameplay segment demonstrated. After The Order, Sony decided to introduce Entwined. Players control a bird and a fish that fall in love and over try to guide them through several lifetimes to be together. Yes, the concept is weird. On the other hand, the game is a joy to look at and the music relaxing and beautiful. Each creature is assigned a different joystick, meaning that you control both of them simultaneously. The best part about this announcement (I mean, besides that it exists) is that it is available today on PSN for a reasonable $9.99. If you thought that Sucker Punch and Sony had abandoned Second Son, think again! Entwined lead into the reveal of Second Son DLC titled First Light. Players take on the role of fan favorite character Fetch Walker as she deals with the demons of her past. First Light is slated for release sometime in August 2014. LittleBigPlanet 3 debuted with a live gameplay demonstration and trailer. The game introduces new characters as well as co-op gameplay. Sackboy is joined by the dog-like Oddsock who has the ability to wall jump; Toggle a blobby character who can grow and shrink at will; and Swoop who can fly around at will. LittleBigPlanet 3 is coming to PS4 this November. Additionally, you’ll be able to go online and play any level made in LittleBigPlanet 3. Sony had pulled out the big guns with the reveal of LittleBigPlanet 3, and like a comical scene in a sweeping action film they continued to pull out more big guns. It turns out those images and five second video clips that have been popping up and been attributed to a From Software game under the working title of Project Beast were genuine. Bloodborne appears to be a grim action game that makes use of Dark Souls imagery while making use of a slightly different premise. Count me in as excited for this PlayStation exclusive coming 2015. This might get a bit lengthy if I go too in-depth with what happened during the conference, so I am going to shotgun a number of highlights at you: Far Cry 4 was demonstrated live (and has co-op). Dead Island 2 is coming out and one of the characters is voiced by Jack Black. There will be a Last of Us Remastered/Diablo 3 crossover mission that involves taking out infected zombies in Diablo 3. Battlefield Hardline had a trailer (plus the beta, which is available right now for PS4 players). Paradox Interactive has all of its development studios working on exclusive PlayStation titles; the first of which is Magicka 2. With a great live-action trailer and a tagline like “Learn to spell… again” how can you not smile and feel a twinge of anticipation? Double Fine is partnering with Sony to remaster the beloved adventure game Grim Fandango. *JOY SPASMS* Devolver Digital, the publisher behind Hotline Miami, is bringing a load of games to PlayStation consoles first, before they make their way elsewhere. This includes Broforce, Titan Souls, Not A Hero, Hotline Miami Wrong Number, and The Talos Principle. Sound like a lot or never heard of the before? Check out this neat little trailer thing that does your research for you! Then we arrived at the point during the conference where Sony uttered the words Suda 51. The ever unpredictable designer is in the process of crafting a game titled Let It Die, which received a trailer that is probably too graphic to embed directly into this post. Check it out here if you are interested. Suffice it to say that Suda 51 is either a genius or insane. I’m leaning more towards insane, but possibly in a good way? Regardless, Let It Die comes out in 2015. Remember how great Journey was? If you don’t it was fan-flippin’-tastic. One of the artists on that thatgamecompany’s last title spun off his own studio, dubbed it Giant Squid and began working on a mysterious new title called Abzû. Much like Journey, Abzû’s soundtrack has been composed by Austin Wintory. Unlike Journey, Abzû appears to take place completely under water with a diver exploring the unknown depths and interacting with the various denizens of the watery deep. Immediately following Abzû was a trailer that showcased the progress of the highly anticipated No Man’s Sky. I can’t really put into words how excited I am to one day get my hands on No Man’s Sky, but… ugh. It really seems to be doing something different and doing that different thing WELL. Also, I think I just salivated at the thought of playing this game with a VR headset. Sony decided that we needed a bit of a break from new announcements and spent a few minutes reassuring everyone that their virtual reality peripheral Project Morpheus is still a thing and it will have demos n’ stuff. An integrated YouTube app will be making its way to PS4 later this year. This will facilitate the watching of cat videos as well as uploading shared gameplay videos online with friends, family, and strangers. The game streaming service PlayStation Now will enter open beta on July 31 for PlayStation 4 and shortly after available for PS3 and PSVita. As an almost casual aside, it was mentioned that PlayStation Now will also be available on select Sony televisions. All you need is a DualShock 4 controller to play on qualifying television sets. PlayStation TV will be coming to North America. The PlayStation TV is essentially a streaming box that allows the PlayStation 4 to be played on other televisions in the house, can stream PlayStation Vita games to be played on your TV, and allows anyone to access PlayStation Now without the hefty investment costs of a fully-fledged console. PlayStation TV will retail at $100 for the base box and at $139 for a bundle that includes the box, a controller, 8GB of memory, and a digital voucher for a copy of The Lego Movie Game. Oh, and it can stream other services like Netflix, too. In a new push to create more PlayStation exclusives, Sony announced that there will be an PlayStation original series, the first of which is a two run series based on the graphic novel, Powers. The first episode will be available for free. All PlayStation Plus subscribers will be able to view the entire Powers series free of charge. Not being super familiar with the graphic novel, for how it was described made it sound like a police procedural, if those police lived in a world where super-powers existed and there was a specialized police department for super-powered murder cases. That sounds pretty dang cool to me. Then Sony revealed that there is a Ratchet and Clank movie in the works for next year. Sony followed the Ratchet and Clank movie announcement with a drastic tonal shift to The Last of Us Remastered. Now, I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the trailer they showed for the enhanced PS4 version over PS3 version, but maybe that’s because my eyes aren’t discerning enough. However, as base and classless as my eyes may be, they couldn’t help getting excited for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. A new trailer was shown that was edited together by Kojima himself. In it we watch Big Boss mourn with urns, grow a ponytail, and be a bit more hardcore than the Solid Snake we’re all accustomed to seeing. I’m relishing the prospect of jumping into whatever craziness Kojima has concocted for The Phantom Pain, because good or bad, it is going to be a ride. Grand Theft Auto V was announced to be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox one, and PC this fall (though at the press conference they conveniently left out the part about releasing on Xbox One and PC). Players looking to upgrade to a different version will be granted data transfers from whatever system they chose previously to the newer one of their choosing. Sony then revealed a new gameplay segment from Batman: Arkham Knight and, this is coming from someone who hasn’t played previous Arkham games and who is a professional critic, it looks amaze-tastical. I gotta hand it to Sony, they ended this conference incredibly strong. After so many great games debuted or showed impeccable polish, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End tipped the scales in Sony’s favor. Overall I was really impressed by what Sony brought to the table this E3. Maybe that’s partly because I was going in not expecting much besides a victory lap for The Last of Us, a few indies, and a possible Uncharted announcement. What Sony gave was so much more. They announced indie title after indie title, big game that people care about after big game that people care about, and while they kept non-gaming talk low, they hit all the bullet points they needed to and then got back on track with more game reveals and teases. What did you think of the conference? Good? Adequate? Meh?
  15. In the wake of building enthusiasm for the successfully kickstarted Oculus Rift, Sony chose GDC 2014 to reveal its own virtual reality headset for the PS4. Details about this new piece of technology are scarce, but what we do know is pretty interesting. The headset will function similarly to the Oculus Rift with a head-mounted display at 1080p resolution with a slightly smaller field of view at 90o instead of the Oculus' 100o. Both the Oculus Rift and Morpheus have numerous built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes to accurately track head movements and translate that into in-game camera moves. So far, the biggest difference between the two peripherals is that the Rift will use a built-in camera to track head orientation and movement, while Morpheus will be making use of the PlayStation camera. Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment, confirmed that the PlayStation camera will be a requirement for Morpheus to function properly. The trade-off for this is that Sony is planning to have Morpheus fully compatible with all PlayStation controllers, even the PS Move (remember that thing?). No price point or release date has been announced as Morpheus is still an early prototype. however, it is a functional prototype and it will be available for demoing at GDC and possibly other events throughout the year. With Oculus and Morpheus heading toward a clash in the untested waters of VR technology, this could be one of the most interesting business battles in the video game industry for quite some time. Is VR the future of video game technology or is it just another fad that will fade away like 3D?
  16. Announced via the PlayStation Blog, Naughty Dog has released the opening cinematic for the first and only bit of DLC for The Last of Us featuring the core game's protagonist Ellie and her childhood friend Riley. The DLC, titled Left Behind, is written by returning The Last of Us scribe Neil Druckmann and will star voice actress Ashley Johnson once again as Ellie and newcomer Yaani King as Riley. Left Behind will feature new ways to fight off and deal with enemies, most notably the ability to manipulate opposing factions into fighting each other, like unleashing infected clickers on unsuspecting enemy soldiers. Of course, the main highlight of the DLC will be the relationship between Ellie and Riley and how that transforms Ellie into the character players see in The Last of Us. Left Behind is expected to hit the PlayStation Store on February 14.
  17. Hi everyone! With the launch of the new PSN Communities we've created an official Extra Life community. The community is simply named "Extra Life" and has no specific game attached. It's just a place for Extra Lifers to meet up and play with people from this amazing community, all across the world. The community is run by myself and the rest of the Extra Life team and the PSN ID that owns the community is ExtraLife4Kids. If it's logged in it's always one of us.
  18. Hi Extra Life forums... I am glad to see we have a forum set up... this is awesome... I am glad there is a Playstation Sub forum too... I have some links here from other forums I would like to share... Here is a thread made in the PlayStation forums we are trying to get going... Extra Life 2016 thread in PS Forums, Click here to be redirected... Also here is a link for David's Thread in the Nebula Forums... click here to be re directed to an Extra Life thread on the Nebula forums by Y2David Please feel free to add more if you know of any and I will add them to the op...
  19. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts. View full article
  20. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts.
  21. Sony held a press event yesterday to officially reveal both the PlayStation 4 Slim and the PlayStation 4 Pro consoles alongside trailers and gameplay of upcoming titles. The slim was declared the new base PS4 model and will become available on September 15 for $299.99. The Slim packs all the power of the traditional PS4 into a smaller package that Sony claims is almost 30% more energy efficient than the original model. The PS4 Pro launches a bit later this year, November 10, and will sell for $399.99. That extra $100 supposedly buys gamers a better gaming experience, 4K resolution for some games, expanded HDR capabilities, and a higher frame rate. Obviously, Sony wants the PS4 Pro to seem like an attractive option for those looking to buy a PlayStation 4 or upgrade from an older model. Presenters like Andrew House and Mark Cerny could hardly refrain from touting the PlayStation 4 Pro's... pros. For example, the PS4 Pro includes custom variations on AMD's Polaris architecture and houses a GPU that Sony states "is considerably more powerful than the GPU included in the standard PS4." It also comes with a whole terabyte of storage space, a nice upgrade from the original PlayStation 4. The vast majority of the announcements pushed the 4K capabilities of the system when paired with a 4K television. Sony was quick to clarify that those with conventional televisions will still notice a marked performance in games that support PS4 Pro's expanded capabilities. Every gameplay clip and trailer was accompanied by someone heralding 4K as if it was the biggest thing in gaming since the leap from NES to SNES. 4K... 4K. 4K! After an hour or so, I couldn't shake the feeling that PS4 Pro was created to specifically to sell more 4K televisions, specifically Sony 4K televisions. I had never heard the term "conventional television" tossed around more in my life, as if 1080p was already an obsolete resolution. I'd be interested to know if the decision to make the PS4 Pro came from PlayStation or if it was a decree from the larger Sony company in an effort to push more Sony products. The cynic in me suspects that, as one of Sony's few profitable divisions, Sony has turned to PlayStation in a bid to leverage sales in less successful parts of the wider business. Sure, you could play PS4 Pro on a "conventional television," or you could enjoy it on a new Sony 4K TV. Oh, and while you're at it, why not pick up a Sony 4K Blu-ray player, since the PS4 Pro can't play 4K Blu-rays? Wait, what? That last point is one of the most mind-boggling things to me; especially when the Xbox One S, PS4 Pro's direct competitor this coming holiday season, already touts 4K gaming (albeit upscaled) with HDR capabilities and can also play 4K Blu-rays. Sony owns the rights to UHD Blu-ray technology, but their device lacks that capability while their competitor proudly lists it as a feature. In an interview with The Guardian, Andrew House clarified why PS4 Pro won't have a 4K Blu-ray player. "Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming," he said. "Certainly with our user base, it's the second biggest use case for people's time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area." To say that the PlayStation 4 Pro has been received poorly is a bit of an understatement. Many people derided the console on social media following its announcement. Even the official Xbox account tweeted out a sly jab that has been retweeted over 7,000 times and liked by over 15,000 people. The thing is, I can't figure out to whom the PlayStation 4 Pro is supposed to appeal. Perhaps a slim subset of people who own a 4K TV and money to spend on an upgrade? Maybe someone who hasn't bought a PS4 yet, owns a 4K TV and is willing to drop an extra $100 on a Pro over a Slim? Either way, it seems like a very small market for now. That market seems like it will only be shrinking as we approach the holidays especially when you consider that Sony also plans to release PS VR on October 13 for the same price as the PS4 Pro, $399.99. Oh, and to get PS VR to work, you will also need a PS4 Camera, which PlayStation quietly redesigned and will be launching September 15 for $59. If you wanted to get into all of the things Sony is offering in the coming months to the highest degree, PS4 Pro, 4K TV, 4K Blu-ray player, PS VR, and a PS4 Camera, it could easily rack up the bill to well over $1,500, which you will recognize as a rather large number. Any way you shake it, the main takeaway from the 2016 PlayStation Meeting speaks clearly: Please buy 4K TVs and maybe a few other things - preferably from Sony. If you missed the announcements and want to watch the full 3-hour stream, you can view it below.
  22. Sony held a press event yesterday to officially reveal both the PlayStation 4 Slim and the PlayStation 4 Pro consoles alongside trailers and gameplay of upcoming titles. The slim was declared the new base PS4 model and will become available on September 15 for $299.99. The Slim packs all the power of the traditional PS4 into a smaller package that Sony claims is almost 30% more energy efficient than the original model. The PS4 Pro launches a bit later this year, November 10, and will sell for $399.99. That extra $100 supposedly buys gamers a better gaming experience, 4K resolution for some games, expanded HDR capabilities, and a higher frame rate. Obviously, Sony wants the PS4 Pro to seem like an attractive option for those looking to buy a PlayStation 4 or upgrade from an older model. Presenters like Andrew House and Mark Cerny could hardly refrain from touting the PlayStation 4 Pro's... pros. For example, the PS4 Pro includes custom variations on AMD's Polaris architecture and houses a GPU that Sony states "is considerably more powerful than the GPU included in the standard PS4." It also comes with a whole terabyte of storage space, a nice upgrade from the original PlayStation 4. The vast majority of the announcements pushed the 4K capabilities of the system when paired with a 4K television. Sony was quick to clarify that those with conventional televisions will still notice a marked performance in games that support PS4 Pro's expanded capabilities. Every gameplay clip and trailer was accompanied by someone heralding 4K as if it was the biggest thing in gaming since the leap from NES to SNES. 4K... 4K. 4K! After an hour or so, I couldn't shake the feeling that PS4 Pro was created to specifically to sell more 4K televisions, specifically Sony 4K televisions. I had never heard the term "conventional television" tossed around more in my life, as if 1080p was already an obsolete resolution. I'd be interested to know if the decision to make the PS4 Pro came from PlayStation or if it was a decree from the larger Sony company in an effort to push more Sony products. The cynic in me suspects that, as one of Sony's few profitable divisions, Sony has turned to PlayStation in a bid to leverage sales in less successful parts of the wider business. Sure, you could play PS4 Pro on a "conventional television," or you could enjoy it on a new Sony 4K TV. Oh, and while you're at it, why not pick up a Sony 4K Blu-ray player, since the PS4 Pro can't play 4K Blu-rays? Wait, what? That last point is one of the most mind-boggling things to me; especially when the Xbox One S, PS4 Pro's direct competitor this coming holiday season, already touts 4K gaming (albeit upscaled) with HDR capabilities and can also play 4K Blu-rays. Sony owns the rights to UHD Blu-ray technology, but their device lacks that capability while their competitor proudly lists it as a feature. In an interview with The Guardian, Andrew House clarified why PS4 Pro won't have a 4K Blu-ray player. "Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming," he said. "Certainly with our user base, it's the second biggest use case for people's time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area." To say that the PlayStation 4 Pro has been received poorly is a bit of an understatement. Many people derided the console on social media following its announcement. Even the official Xbox account tweeted out a sly jab that has been retweeted over 7,000 times and liked by over 15,000 people. The thing is, I can't figure out to whom the PlayStation 4 Pro is supposed to appeal. Perhaps a slim subset of people who own a 4K TV and money to spend on an upgrade? Maybe someone who hasn't bought a PS4 yet, owns a 4K TV and is willing to drop an extra $100 on a Pro over a Slim? Either way, it seems like a very small market for now. That market seems like it will only be shrinking as we approach the holidays especially when you consider that Sony also plans to release PS VR on October 13 for the same price as the PS4 Pro, $399.99. Oh, and to get PS VR to work, you will also need a PS4 Camera, which PlayStation quietly redesigned and will be launching September 15 for $59. If you wanted to get into all of the things Sony is offering in the coming months to the highest degree, PS4 Pro, 4K TV, 4K Blu-ray player, PS VR, and a PS4 Camera, it could easily rack up the bill to well over $1,500, which you will recognize as a rather large number. Any way you shake it, the main takeaway from the 2016 PlayStation Meeting speaks clearly: Please buy 4K TVs and maybe a few other things - preferably from Sony. If you missed the announcements and want to watch the full 3-hour stream, you can view it below. View full article
  23. Starting this September, Sony's PlayStation Plus subscribers will be hit with the first price hike the service has experienced since it's 2010 launch. This change goes into effect on September 22, though people who have already paid will only be effected when their subscriptions renew. The price increase will be based on the tier of service. Yearly subscriptions, previously $49.99, will be $59.99. Three month subscriptions, previously $17.99, will be $24.99. The monthly subscription will remain at $9.99. Sony clarified their reasoning behind the price increase: The new pricing reflects current market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members. As a member, you will continue to enjoy the benefits and features that enable shared experiences, such as online multiplayer, free games and exclusive discounts. You will also continue to get exclusive benefits such as online game save storage and discounts across the PlayStation digital services. Sony then clarifies that those who do not wish to pay more for PS Plus can cancel at any time. As a reminder, make sure that if you don't wish to renew at a higher price that you turn off the auto-renew setting on your PlayStation account. What do you think? Is the first price hike in over five years warranted for a service that gives out several free games per month on top of other online perks or does this feel like an overreach from Sony? View full article
  24. PlayStation Plus Membership Fee Increases

    Starting this September, Sony's PlayStation Plus subscribers will be hit with the first price hike the service has experienced since it's 2010 launch. This change goes into effect on September 22, though people who have already paid will only be effected when their subscriptions renew. The price increase will be based on the tier of service. Yearly subscriptions, previously $49.99, will be $59.99. Three month subscriptions, previously $17.99, will be $24.99. The monthly subscription will remain at $9.99. Sony clarified their reasoning behind the price increase: The new pricing reflects current market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members. As a member, you will continue to enjoy the benefits and features that enable shared experiences, such as online multiplayer, free games and exclusive discounts. You will also continue to get exclusive benefits such as online game save storage and discounts across the PlayStation digital services. Sony then clarifies that those who do not wish to pay more for PS Plus can cancel at any time. As a reminder, make sure that if you don't wish to renew at a higher price that you turn off the auto-renew setting on your PlayStation account. What do you think? Is the first price hike in over five years warranted for a service that gives out several free games per month on top of other online perks or does this feel like an overreach from Sony?
  25. At this point, I have sunk a few hours into Hello Games' No Man's Sky, a universe-spanning indie title in which players struggle to survive and uncover the secrets of the cosmos. The scale of the game can become equal parts overwhelming and breathtaking. That same scale also renders it difficult to write about in any kind of timely manner. Instead of a comprehensive review, which will be coming later, here have been my experiences with the game to date. No Man's Sky begins by throwing players exosuit-first into its universe. I awoke with a damaged ship, a nearby distress beacon, and scattered supplies on the splotched surface of a world known as Janik. My ship had depleted engines and broken landing equipment, both of which required more materials than were scattered around the crash site to repair. This tutorial section covered how players need to approach mining new materials for repairs, upgrades, and charging equipment, the building blocks of living a successful life as a star traveler. The distress beacon, a strange, geometric orb, rose from the ground when I interacted with it. A barrage of thoughts and understanding blanketed my mind and I understood it was known as Atlas. This Atlas presented me with a choice: Follow where it might lead me or continue on my way. Lacking any sense of purpose in this universe, I made the decision to follow and see where Atlas might take me. Perhaps I was too hasty, though the effect it had on the rest of my initial experience was minimal. While salvaging as much of the surrounding equipment and mineral deposits as possible, I had the chance to observe Janik. The surface of the world I had found myself on was a strange mixture of beautiful, desolate, and unpleasant. Browns, oranges, and splotches of blues made it half eye-sore, half delightful novelty. My initial scans indicated that it was a planet full of various plants, but only sparsely populated with animal life. As far as I could see in any direction, the scan results held true. Towering orange foliage covered a great deal of the terrain with yellowing iron plants representing some kind of metallic undergrowth. Small animals scurried around with bodies like powerful leopards and tiny heads that reminded me of miniature boars. I encountered pockets of animal life during my further explorations of Janik; creatures that defied normal description - swift, hippo-like animals with glowing blue spots, a towering horse-mammoth, and more. None of these creatures attacked me and most, if not all, were herbivorous. As I made my way toward a nearby point of interest, some kind of abandoned shelter, I realized that simply living in my exosuit had almost depleted my energy reserves for life support. After a slight panic, I realized that I could charge life support with isotope elements like carbon, which existed in abundance among the local plant life. This simple approach to No Man's Sky's tutorial really worked for me. With minimal button prompts and no railroaded segments, I was given a series of problems and the tools with which to solve them. I began noticing small scanning probes moving about, concentrating their activity on places where I had mined or destroyed some vegetation for resources. These scanners then turned on me and seemed to follow me for a while, giving me the distinct impression that I might have done something wrong against local law or custom. Eventually, my travels brought me to a small outpost inhabited by a single sentient lifeform. Pat of a species known as the Gek, these stocky, reptilian creatures seemed to be an advanced, dominant species that enjoyed trading and exuding various smells to influence potential customers. I didn't learn details about the Gek until later in my travels, however. Language in No Man's Sky must be learned and my initial encounter with a Gek was an unintelligible mess. Scattered over the surface of Janik were knowledge stones, ruins, and old monoliths that contained data on the Gek and taught me more of their language. However, even after learning an unsteady vocabulary, I could still only guess as to what they were saying most of the time. After over an hour of exploration and accumulating material to repair my vessel, I returned to the crash site triumphant. Booting up the ship's engines, I took off into the sky. I couldn't help but be curious about the rest of Janik as the horizon grew bigger and bigger. I took off, not towards the stars, but to the farthest point of interest that I had uncovered in my travels. Skimming through the atmosphere at high speeds made the journey, previously estimated to take 30 minutes on foot, last only a handful of seconds. I need to take a moment to say that flying within an atmosphere was probably the first time I found something I disliked about No Man's Sky. The ship seems prevented from flying too low and crashing. It's also difficult to land in a spot for which you might be aiming. I experimented with flying a number of times and I found myself landing in ravines or minutes by foot away from my destination. Let us crash into planets, Hello Games. If we fly carelessly, let us pay the price. Additionally, the map for planets is terrible. The only time you can see it is in your ship and it doesn't convey useful information. Over the course of my time on Janik, I discovered many different locations, but I had no idea how to return to my favorites because I don't know where they are on the planet with no practical map to set me on the right path. The far flung location at which I arrived seemed to be an isolated manufacturing facility with a locked door of thick steel. Using my mining laser's alternate pulse gun mode, I attempted to blast through it. This brought the ire of those scanning probes I had noticed earlier. Several of them swarmed to my location, shooting bolts of light at me, pecking through my shields. I turned my attention from the door to my attackers, focusing them down one by one. Seemingly having cleared them all, I broke through the door to discover some valuable upgrade technology among the fungus encrusted machinery within. However, I then noticed that there was one probe left and it existed beneath the ground. I think what must have happened was that the probe spawned under the terrain and could see me without being able to harm or be harmed. While this might not seem like a big deal, the longer those small probes detect a threat, the stronger the enemies sent to deal with you become. Soon a colossal bipedal robot with a powerful laser was on top of me as I huddled in the relative protection of the factory. Killing this seemed to stop the oncoming robots for a while and I made a break for my ship, hoping in vain to lose my underground foe. Even taking off into space didn't help my situation as not one, not two, but three enemy spacecraft warped in to respond to that invincible probe's distress calls. My enjoyment of the increased maneuverability of my ship in space was short lived as I took one bogey out, only to fall to the remaining two. As I awoke aboard a mysterious space station, my initial time with No Man's Sky came to an end. My initial reaction to Hello Games' much hyped indie darling could be classified as hopeful. I saw a lot of ideas that I truly enjoyed and some technical hiccups that sentenced me to disorientation and death. However, the incredible sense of discovery truly feels unmatched in modern gaming. I became an explorer discovering an entirely new world, and I could probably spend many more hours scouring the surface of Janik. But remember that Janik is only one of an untold number of places to discover with secrets to unravel. This has only been the first step of a journey with no end in sight. No Man's Sky is available on PlayStation 4 and releases for PC on August 12. View full article