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Found 508 results

  1. Metal Gear Solid V made an appearance right off the bat at the Microsoft press conference in a gameplay trailer. The gameplay clips highlighted how there will be live weather that changes realistically, the vehicles used to traverse the open world landscape, and the in-game day/night cycle. A new addition to the the series, besides being the first truly open-world Metal Gear title, will be the ability to drive vehicles and the sneaking options that go with each one. For example, Snake will be able to control jeeps, tanks, horses, and make use of various sneaking maneuvers with each, like the ability to hide within the flatbed of a truck or cling to the side of a horse. Since MGSV is set in 1984, players presumably won’t be finding much like the Stealth Camo from Metal Gear Solid IV anywhere in this game. However, in the Metal Gear Solid franchise nothing really remains off limits, so we will have to wait for the full release to see what kind of high-tech/retro gadgets become available. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC, as well as receiving downgraded ports to the Xbox 360 and PS3. View full article
  2. E3 is right around the corner and some companies are jumping on board the E3 information train. Infinity Ward is holding an all-access, 30-minute broadcast that will showcase the first few levels of Call of Duty: Ghosts. The broadcast will also feature some behind-the-scenes content, and interviews with the Infinity Ward team. The broadcast will be hosted by journalist Geoff Keighly and Justine Ezarik of iJustine fame. We don’t know for sure if the broadcast will feature gameplay from the Xbox One version of the Call of Duty title (which is also coming to PS4, and current-gen systems), but is probably a safe bet that the Xbox One will appear in some capacity given the popularity of Call of Duty on the Xbox 360. The broadcast can be viewed on Callofduty.com, the Machinima app on Xbox 360, and “other online destinations across the web” on Sunday, June 9th, at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET.
  3. E3 is right around the corner and some companies are jumping on board the E3 information train. Infinity Ward is holding an all-access, 30-minute broadcast that will showcase the first few levels of Call of Duty: Ghosts. The broadcast will also feature some behind-the-scenes content, and interviews with the Infinity Ward team. The broadcast will be hosted by journalist Geoff Keighly and Justine Ezarik of iJustine fame. We don’t know for sure if the broadcast will feature gameplay from the Xbox One version of the Call of Duty title (which is also coming to PS4, and current-gen systems), but is probably a safe bet that the Xbox One will appear in some capacity given the popularity of Call of Duty on the Xbox 360. The broadcast can be viewed on Callofduty.com, the Machinima app on Xbox 360, and “other online destinations across the web” on Sunday, June 9th, at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET. View full article
  4. On Thursday, Electronic Arts announced Need for Speed Rivals, a racing title from one of EA’s newest studios, Ghost Games in partnership with Criterion Games, the team behind the Burnout series. The game will be built on the Frostbite 3 game engine. It will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 19 this year and it will also be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Rivals allows players to take on the role of either a police officer or a racer, pitting the two sides against each other. Each faction has its own goals and challenges. Racers aim to make names for themselves by making the most daring escapes and evading more and more cops. More escapes will earn players more points with which they can unlock new cars and items. As a cop, players make use of teamwork to pursue and capture the racers and earn points for every racer busted. Officers will also rise through the ranks and unlock exclusive vehicles and pursuit technology. The game will make use of a new online feature called AllDrive, which will provide players with smooth transitions from single player to co-op to multiplayer. Friends and enemies will be able to enter races as they unfold, lending an amount of unpredictability into every situation. Need for Speed Rivals will also come with the features fans have come to expect: High-fidelity graphics, stat tracking, customizable cars, and upgradable tech for both the cops and the racers. Pre-orders at select retailers will come with the Ultimate Cop Pack which provides access to powerful items, cars, and customization options.
  5. On Thursday, Electronic Arts announced Need for Speed Rivals, a racing title from one of EA’s newest studios, Ghost Games in partnership with Criterion Games, the team behind the Burnout series. The game will be built on the Frostbite 3 game engine. It will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 19 this year and it will also be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Rivals allows players to take on the role of either a police officer or a racer, pitting the two sides against each other. Each faction has its own goals and challenges. Racers aim to make names for themselves by making the most daring escapes and evading more and more cops. More escapes will earn players more points with which they can unlock new cars and items. As a cop, players make use of teamwork to pursue and capture the racers and earn points for every racer busted. Officers will also rise through the ranks and unlock exclusive vehicles and pursuit technology. The game will make use of a new online feature called AllDrive, which will provide players with smooth transitions from single player to co-op to multiplayer. Friends and enemies will be able to enter races as they unfold, lending an amount of unpredictability into every situation. Need for Speed Rivals will also come with the features fans have come to expect: High-fidelity graphics, stat tracking, customizable cars, and upgradable tech for both the cops and the racers. Pre-orders at select retailers will come with the Ultimate Cop Pack which provides access to powerful items, cars, and customization options. View full article
  6. Recently, I was given the opportunity to ask Sundance DiGiovanni, the CEO and founder of North America’s largest eSports organization, Major League Gaming (MLG), a few questions regarding console eSports and the future of gaming. Jack Gardner: If console manufacturers had their hearts set on getting in on the growing eSports industry, what more could they do than the features the PS4 was announced to have (i.e. accessible streaming options, partnership with a streaming service, increasing the amount of competitive titles available, integrating social media, etc.)? Sundance DiGiovanni: In addition to all of the great technology and features planned for PS4, in order to have a strong eSports presence it really comes down to the games themselves. Titles need to have competitive settings built in and a strong community following to be successful in the eSports landscape. He’s not wrong. Many recent games billing themselves as the next big thing in eSports have failed or been only marginally successful. Tribes: Ascend and Heroes of Newerth are perfect examples. Both games are free-to-play, relying on microtransactions to make money for the developer, which would seem to guarantee a large user base because who doesn’t love a free game? However, despite holding tournaments with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, neither have found anywhere near as big a following as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, StarCraft 2, or League of Legends. The bottom line is that not many people are interested in watching professional gamers play a game that isn’t popular and that lack of interest kills eSports potential. Jack: What can developers do to create games better geared toward eSports (in terms of casting, recording, content distribution, etc.)? Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s eSports features seem to be the best consoles offer. Can developers do better or are those what we can expect from future console releases? Sundance: Activision and Treyarch did an incredible job of developing Black Ops 2 with eSports in mind; that is why we are featuring it on our MLG Pro Circuit this year. They connected with the eSports community, attended our events, listened to what players wanted out of a game and even brought on Pro Players to consult on the feature set. They were dedicated to making the game work and they should be a model for other game publishers looking to create a successful eSports title. Now that we have seen just what is possible when you create a video game from the ground up with eSports in mind, we can reasonably expect to see other titles aping the features in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Being able to stream while in-game with no additional set up is an incredible boon to gamers looking to go pro, as they can look over their matches and see where they need improvement and also make names for themselves online. The functionality brought to viewing and shoutcasting these matches is nothing short of incredible: Players can commentate the action, switching between an overview mode, map, first-person perspective, and listen in to team chatter. Jack: How will having built-in streaming and viewing features in the PS4 and possibly the next Xbox affect eSports and do you believe that this is at least partly a response to the massive growth we’ve seen in the competitive gaming scene over the last few years? Sundance: In the last two years, online viewership of eSports competition has increased dramatically largely in part to streaming technology. It has become easy and seamless to stream on a regular basis, whether you are an individual player or an eSports organization like us. Having built-in features will make eSports even more accessible for aspiring competitive gamers looking to make a name for themselves as the barrier to entry will be even lower. Throwing some statistics out there: From 2010 to 2012, MLG saw its audience grow from 1.8 million to 11.7 million, a growth of about 636%. In 2012, more than 15 million hours of MLG eSports content was streamed to viewers. None of this growth would have been remotely possible without the ability to stream via services like Twitch and Ustream. As Sundance said, having the ability to stream built into the console will allow more people to enter the streaming arena and make a name for themselves. This isn’t limited to professional gamers, more people could popularize themselves as game commentators, also known as shoutcasters, as well as broaden the audience of eSports viewers. It also eliminates many of the difficulties inherent in streaming today. It is expensive to stream. You need a high-quality internet connection, a powerful computer, a subscription to a streaming program, and (if you are streaming games on consoles) a capture card. None of that comes cheap, either. Having these all built-in will be a huge boon to future streamers and hopeful next-gen competitive gamers. Jack: MLG has a history of making gaming partnerships with companies like Microsoft. Do you think we could expect to see MLG or other eSports content making its way onto consoles in the form of apps or built-in functionality? Sundance: MLG has a long standing relationship with both Microsoft for Xbox LIVE in the form of pic packs and video, as well as PSN. I think we will definitely see eSports content increasing its footprint within the console world. That’s a good sign. Currently to watch eSports content of any kind on consoles you either need to use an internet browser or watch big tournaments after the fact using apps like YouTube. Neither of those alternatives are very appealing to most people, who opt for the much simpler alternative of viewing on a computer. The biggest ray of hope for those who were hoping to easily watch eSports on their televisions was a Twitch streaming app exclusive to the Xbox 360. It was announced last year, but since then it seems to have disappeared from the public light. What could have happened to it? Jack: Do you see Sony’s partnership with the streaming service Ustream as significant to eSports on consoles? Why do you think they didn’t partner with the more gaming oriented Twitch streaming service? Sundance: It's great to see Sony embracing streaming. Hopefully we will see it crossover into eSports efforts on the console, but for now it seems to be a broader initiative. As far as why they picked Ustream over Twitch - I really can't speak to that. I wasn't involved in the decision making process. The fact that Sony partnered with Ustream over Twitch certainly seems to indicate that they are aiming for a wider array of people interested in streaming for various reasons. However, it does seem like an odd decision, given that Twitch has made a name for itself (literally made a name for itself, changing from Justin.tv to Twitch.tv to cater to the gaming crowd) by focusing on streamed game content. Our theory: It could be that Twitch was already partnered with another company. Remember that Xbox 360 exclusive streaming app from Twitch? Remember that after the announcement that it existed, it promptly went completely dark, but the company insisted it was still being worked on? Remember that both the PS4 and the next Microsoft console are both expected to launch this holiday season? It is highly likely that the reason Sony wasn’t able to get Twitch on-board as their streaming service is because Twitch was busy creating services for the next-gen Xbox, which would certainly explain why not much has been heard about it recently. What do you think of eSports or the next-gen? Let us know in the comments! Also, enjoy one of our favorite MLG StarCraft 2 moments below:
  7. Recently, I was given the opportunity to ask Sundance DiGiovanni, the CEO and founder of North America’s largest eSports organization, Major League Gaming (MLG), a few questions regarding console eSports and the future of gaming. Jack Gardner: If console manufacturers had their hearts set on getting in on the growing eSports industry, what more could they do than the features the PS4 was announced to have (i.e. accessible streaming options, partnership with a streaming service, increasing the amount of competitive titles available, integrating social media, etc.)? Sundance DiGiovanni: In addition to all of the great technology and features planned for PS4, in order to have a strong eSports presence it really comes down to the games themselves. Titles need to have competitive settings built in and a strong community following to be successful in the eSports landscape. He’s not wrong. Many recent games billing themselves as the next big thing in eSports have failed or been only marginally successful. Tribes: Ascend and Heroes of Newerth are perfect examples. Both games are free-to-play, relying on microtransactions to make money for the developer, which would seem to guarantee a large user base because who doesn’t love a free game? However, despite holding tournaments with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, neither have found anywhere near as big a following as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, StarCraft 2, or League of Legends. The bottom line is that not many people are interested in watching professional gamers play a game that isn’t popular and that lack of interest kills eSports potential. Jack: What can developers do to create games better geared toward eSports (in terms of casting, recording, content distribution, etc.)? Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s eSports features seem to be the best consoles offer. Can developers do better or are those what we can expect from future console releases? Sundance: Activision and Treyarch did an incredible job of developing Black Ops 2 with eSports in mind; that is why we are featuring it on our MLG Pro Circuit this year. They connected with the eSports community, attended our events, listened to what players wanted out of a game and even brought on Pro Players to consult on the feature set. They were dedicated to making the game work and they should be a model for other game publishers looking to create a successful eSports title. Now that we have seen just what is possible when you create a video game from the ground up with eSports in mind, we can reasonably expect to see other titles aping the features in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Being able to stream while in-game with no additional set up is an incredible boon to gamers looking to go pro, as they can look over their matches and see where they need improvement and also make names for themselves online. The functionality brought to viewing and shoutcasting these matches is nothing short of incredible: Players can commentate the action, switching between an overview mode, map, first-person perspective, and listen in to team chatter. Jack: How will having built-in streaming and viewing features in the PS4 and possibly the next Xbox affect eSports and do you believe that this is at least partly a response to the massive growth we’ve seen in the competitive gaming scene over the last few years? Sundance: In the last two years, online viewership of eSports competition has increased dramatically largely in part to streaming technology. It has become easy and seamless to stream on a regular basis, whether you are an individual player or an eSports organization like us. Having built-in features will make eSports even more accessible for aspiring competitive gamers looking to make a name for themselves as the barrier to entry will be even lower. Throwing some statistics out there: From 2010 to 2012, MLG saw its audience grow from 1.8 million to 11.7 million, a growth of about 636%. In 2012, more than 15 million hours of MLG eSports content was streamed to viewers. None of this growth would have been remotely possible without the ability to stream via services like Twitch and Ustream. As Sundance said, having the ability to stream built into the console will allow more people to enter the streaming arena and make a name for themselves. This isn’t limited to professional gamers, more people could popularize themselves as game commentators, also known as shoutcasters, as well as broaden the audience of eSports viewers. It also eliminates many of the difficulties inherent in streaming today. It is expensive to stream. You need a high-quality internet connection, a powerful computer, a subscription to a streaming program, and (if you are streaming games on consoles) a capture card. None of that comes cheap, either. Having these all built-in will be a huge boon to future streamers and hopeful next-gen competitive gamers. Jack: MLG has a history of making gaming partnerships with companies like Microsoft. Do you think we could expect to see MLG or other eSports content making its way onto consoles in the form of apps or built-in functionality? Sundance: MLG has a long standing relationship with both Microsoft for Xbox LIVE in the form of pic packs and video, as well as PSN. I think we will definitely see eSports content increasing its footprint within the console world. That’s a good sign. Currently to watch eSports content of any kind on consoles you either need to use an internet browser or watch big tournaments after the fact using apps like YouTube. Neither of those alternatives are very appealing to most people, who opt for the much simpler alternative of viewing on a computer. The biggest ray of hope for those who were hoping to easily watch eSports on their televisions was a Twitch streaming app exclusive to the Xbox 360. It was announced last year, but since then it seems to have disappeared from the public light. What could have happened to it? Jack: Do you see Sony’s partnership with the streaming service Ustream as significant to eSports on consoles? Why do you think they didn’t partner with the more gaming oriented Twitch streaming service? Sundance: It's great to see Sony embracing streaming. Hopefully we will see it crossover into eSports efforts on the console, but for now it seems to be a broader initiative. As far as why they picked Ustream over Twitch - I really can't speak to that. I wasn't involved in the decision making process. The fact that Sony partnered with Ustream over Twitch certainly seems to indicate that they are aiming for a wider array of people interested in streaming for various reasons. However, it does seem like an odd decision, given that Twitch has made a name for itself (literally made a name for itself, changing from Justin.tv to Twitch.tv to cater to the gaming crowd) by focusing on streamed game content. Our theory: It could be that Twitch was already partnered with another company. Remember that Xbox 360 exclusive streaming app from Twitch? Remember that after the announcement that it existed, it promptly went completely dark, but the company insisted it was still being worked on? Remember that both the PS4 and the next Microsoft console are both expected to launch this holiday season? It is highly likely that the reason Sony wasn’t able to get Twitch on-board as their streaming service is because Twitch was busy creating services for the next-gen Xbox, which would certainly explain why not much has been heard about it recently. What do you think of eSports or the next-gen? Let us know in the comments! Also, enjoy one of our favorite MLG StarCraft 2 moments below: View full article
  8. With 2012’s Journey, thatgamecompany succeeded in creating a type of interactive tome, replete with all the self-reflective ambiguity of an abstract painting. Debates over video games as art notwithstanding, Journey could hardly be described as anything but. While it wove an astoundingly rich visual tapestry, the surprisingly effusive weight of its anonymous multiplayer carried the brunt of its artistic meaning. So it’s impressive that developer Giant Squid—founded by Journey’s Art Director, Matt Nava—has created a game in Abzû that not only sparkles with aesthetic brilliance, but also finds its own voice as an emotionally driven work of artistic expression. The fact that it occasionally feels slight in the shadow of Journey’s monolithic legacy is something I struggle to hold against it, especially when the overall experience feels so singularly divine. Abzû’s wordless story begins in a serene corner of its ocean setting, as your avatar, a wet-suit-clad scuba diver awakes on the surface. Subtle visual cues and camera tricks help to guide you along your trek through underwater caverns, dense kelp forests, and even some less organic structures that I dare not detail further. Along the way, you’ll interact with all manner of sea life from the smallest clownfish to blue whales the size of a naval submarine. It’s in the interaction with these creatures that Abzû sets itself apart from any game I’ve played before. Each of the game’s environments is its own mini ecosystem, teeming with aquatic inhabitants that interact with each other and the player in fascinating and believable ways. Sharks will chomp on smaller fish, dolphins flip and twirl in their pods, and giant squid spray ink when you come near. These interactions are rarely scripted, often relying on your input to trigger, such as enticing a massive humpback whale to breach the surface or hitching a ride with a turtle. Finding new ways to play around with Abzû’s wildlife proves fun and engaging, while nicely complimenting the game’s naturalistic themes. Just as playful is the game’s soundtrack from Austin Wintory, whose work composing Journey earned him a Grammy nomination. The lively strings, twinkling harps, and celestial choir simply sound exactly like Abzû looks. Wintory’s scores have an exquisite knack for capturing the essence of a game’s visuals and themes, and his work on Abzû is no exception. This inimitable, ever-present music ties into the gameplay and adapts appropriately to your actions, making it as vital a part of the experience as the vibrant visuals and the smooth controls. As you might expect from the art director behind Journey, Abzû’s visuals inspire awe, a true sight to behold. Each area exhibits a distinct color palette with what can almost be described as a bouquet of marine wildlife. Seeing thousands of fish all animated on screen at once is jaw dropping more so for its audacious beauty than its technological achievement. Abzû has much in common with thatgamecompany’s earlier title, Flower, as you spread life through the world, making each new area more vibrant and lively than it was when you first waded into its waters. This is more than just pretty visuals at thirty frames per second; it’s emotion through gameplay and gameplay through art. Abzû’s ocean is not all smooth sailing, however, as a few questionable design decisions muddy the otherwise clear waters. Each area has a few hidden shells that you can collect, much like the scarf pieces from Journey. But whereas those pieces granted your avatar with a longer jump and eventually—if you were able to find them all—a white robe with an infinitely regenerating scarf, Abzû grants the player no such rewards, besides a gold trophy. A sense of progression would have served Abzû well, and would’ve made the already enjoyable movement even more gratifying. Though it may seem unfair to hold Abzû to the standards set by its predecessor, the corollary couldn’t be more apt. Make no mistake about it, this game—though not designed by Journey mastermind Jenova Chen—is a clear successor to that modern classic. Though the visual stylings and game design present a unique twist on the sub-genre, the level structure and pacing are lifted almost wholesale from Journey. As someone who has played through that game more times than I can count, I often found myself predicting what would happen next. Though the beats are familiar, each new area still kept me engaged as the game floated towards its conclusion. It’s just disappointing that Giant Squid chose to stick so vehemently to a previously established formula for a game that otherwise presents wonders I had never experienced before. That statement’s not completely true actually; I do have some experience with the grandeur of our planet’s oceans. I have been snorkeling on a few occasions, off the coast of Maui and Hawaii, and though it was over a decade ago, the adventure has hardly faded from my memory. Never have I been so humbled by nature as when I found myself surrounded by all manner of sea creatures, from turtles to barracudas to massive manta rays that dwarfed my six foot frame. This is the type of feeling Abzû so deftly replicates; that of a stranger in a strange land, discovering wonders your eyes weren’t meant to see. I never expected a game to make me want to don the flippers and goggles again, but that’s exactly what Abzû has accomplished. Despite that, Abzû isn’t a scuba simulator, and it never attempts to be. You don’t need to manage oxygen levels, or worry about depth pressure, or fear any of the predators that lurk in the deep. While the fish are all modeled after real species in both design and behavior, this is a stylized version of underwater ecosystems, not a perfect replication. So in place of realism, Abzû fosters a wondrous sense of respect for the species that exist in our oceans, and it’s all the better for it. Conclusion: After my second playthrough, I still haven’t uncovered all of Abzû’s marvels, and I can’t stop thinking about my next dive in its magical world of color and life. I want to unlock all of the fish species, collect all of the mollusk shells scattered in the hidden corners of the world, and I want to find every last meditation statue. Mainly, though, I look forward to revisiting Abzû anytime I just need a break from the noise and bustle of human life on the surface of this Earth. The flaws that keep Abzû from being an unequivocal masterpiece are of little import when fully submerged in the adventure’s calming beauty and spectral wonder. Abzû was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is now available on PS4 and PC View full article
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