Tagged: PlayStation 4

Big City Stories mixes SimCity with GTA Online

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Goof as we might, there were a lot of people out there who loved PlayStation Home, Sony’s stab at a marketing-driven virtual world on PlayStation 3. Since it was shut down on April 1st, 2015 fans have been looking for a new place to meet and play (and stand in lines and dance). Seeking to fill the void are several projects from studios who previously created content for PlayStation Home like Atom Universe and the more specialized Four Kings Casino & Slots from Digital Leisure.

The latest is Big City Stories from Hellfire Games that looks like a surprising mix of SimCity and Grand Theft Auto Online. It may be a surprise to a lot of us but fans of PlayStation Home likely remember Hellfire’s last offering, Home Tycoon. Big City Stories looks to be a total overhaul of Home Tycoon which allowed players to design and manage a metropolis while also being able to jump down to street level for arcade-y action. Stunt courses can be built and zombies can be hunted by commandeering any vehicle that’s cruising around your city streets.

Big City Stories’ major addition is a layer of MMO that lets players invite friends to their city or run into strangers at the local train station; how very Animal Crossing of them. Of course there will be loads of clothing and costumes to customize your avatar which is where the free-to-play game hopes to turn a profit. Hellfire Games is already planning expansions and improvements once the game is out on PlayStation 4, umm, tomorrow! Katy and I may do a little co-op stream once we get our feet wet but if you’ve got a PlayStation 4 there’s little to dissuade you from trying it out yourself on the 23rd. That is, as long as you’re in the continental United States: other territories will get the game after the launch-day jitters are worked out.

Oh hey, Galak-Z got The Void update on PlayStation 4 today

I turned on the PlayStation 4 this evening and caught an unexpected (although previously announced) update to the relentlessly-anime roguelike shooter, Galak-Z. I’m bummed that the final story content still isn’t available but The Void update did remind me that I 100% completed that game back in March.

With an accomplishment like that you’d think I would be a prime candidate for The Void which adds an endless, procedurally generated gauntlet of stages to throw myself against. But with nothing to unlock but a high score and no story content in sight I was quickly deflated. I played a couple of rounds to get back in sync with the demanding gamplay and fizzled out from there.

The best news is that this update brings the PlayStation 4 up to parity with the Steam version as far as content goes. With any luck at all that final “season” of content won’t be too terribly far away.

E3 by Me3: Sony

That’s E3 by Me, Me, Me because all I’m doing is writing how I feel about the show. I’m not giving each company a “report card” and I’m not declaring that anybody “won E3”

Sony’s showing was downright spartan and I’m not talking about the emotionally unstable father figure that opened the show in the God of War demo. It all took place on a single theater stage with a single screen at center. No 180-degree, sweeping projected animations, no secret entrances from the middle of the stage, no elaborate synchronized light displays. The biggest to-do about Sony’s show was that the music in many demos and transitions was played by a live orchestra conducted by Bear McCreary. The whole thing felt very scaled back in presentation but it wound up a tie with Microsoft for the number of games I wish I could play right now.

Before anyone set foot on stage, however, the show launched with a demo of God of War. I looked around as the father and son duo attempted to hunt a deer while fighting lava trolls but I couldn’t find a way to care less. The ‘Dad Card’ has been played in so many games over the years and I was never a fan of Kratos so it’ll take more than a brief demo to sway me.

In short order, SIE Chairman, Shawn Layden introduced an entirely new game from Bend Studio, Days Gone. The game actually opened and closed the conference with two separate demos and showed a world overrun by “freakers” (don’t call ‘em zombies!) where bounty hunter and former biker, Deacon St. John attempts to make a living. It almost looks to be an action puzzle game where you manipulate the environment to bottleneck and whittle down World War Z-sized hordes of zombies. The undulating floods of zom– Freakers not only looked impressive, their speed and swarming behavior puts enough of a wrinkle on the good ol’ zombie trope to get me excited.

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The Last Guardian finally has a release date and that is literally the only other thing I needed to know about that game. I’m sold, Day One, all the way! Next up was a new demo of Horizon: Zero Dawn that introduced us to NPC townsfolk, wild animal taming and an explosive boss battle that destroyed an unfortunate village. The game continues to expand in scope each time we see it and it’s only ratcheting up my anticipation. Then we saw some actual gameplay of Detroit, the new game from David Cage that looks to tell a handful of android sob stories that’d make Philip K. Dick proud. The demo did a fantastic job of showing how one scenario could play out numerous different ways. I just hope the actual game is as swift and doesn’t require complete new playthroughs to see some alternative situations.

Next was the inevitable PlayStation VR segment that revealed Resident Evil 7 to the world as one of the first big name games to be playable in VR and on a TV. The rest of the showcase featured mostly VR “experiences” that I have no interest in with Farpoint being the potential exception. Not that it’s an exclusive but the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare demo was the first extended footage I’d seen and, wow, was it impressive! This may be the first entry I play since Call of Duty 2.

At this point Shawn Layden returned to the stage accompanied by the bounding shadow of none other than Crash Bandicoot. The licensing with Activision must be a nightmare to have teased this reveal for so long but finally we’ll get… oh, it’s just remastered versions of Crash 1, 2 and 3. He’s also appearing in the new Skylanders but whatever. I seem to be on the verge of playing the original game at a moment’s notice anyways so this will only make it easier to jump into.

Finally, Andrew House took the stage to introduce the return of Hideo Kojima after his falling out with Konami. He raced down the fancy projected pathway to tease us with a glimpse of his new title: Death Stranding. It stars a naked Norman Reedus who laments the death of an infant that’s attached to him by a metallic umbilical cord. Handprints patter across his body as the camera reveals he’s on a beach surrounded by dead marine life. Five mysterious figures float in the sky above him. Welcome back Kojima, no one does batshit crazy quite like you! Whatever it is and whenever it is, I’m there!

E3: Road Rage puts its own spin on Road Rash

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Road Rage was just revealed among Maximum Games’s E3 lineup and may brandish the Road Rash torch even better than the long-in-development Road Redemption (which I’m still waiting to be a finished product). Everything they’ve shown so far is merely target renders and PR copy but it sounds promising and the developer, Team6, has loads of past experience with irreverent vehicle-based antics.

The most important component of a good Road Rash-alike is melee weapons. Road Rage promises “insane weaponry” but so far they’ve shown the requisite bats, chains and pipes alongside the moderately unexpected axe, katana and hockey stick. I mean, a hockey stick is practically the sniper rifle of melee weapons and that’s kinda insane, right?

What’s most promising for me are 42 missions that the PR copy labels as “story-driven” with the promise of open world exploration. In past Road Rash titles there was just enough story to string together a little internal narrative as the races unfolded. I don’t know that I need someone attempting a Fast & Furious caliber storyline but putting meaning to motorcycle-bound knife fights can only be entertaining, either by design or happy accident. See: Torque

Open world is also open to interpretation at this point. The copy promises “56 additional side missions from delivery and escort to combat races and gang brawls” but it doesn’t even mention hidden collectibles which are always a favorite part of mine. It paints a picture in my mind of a small, mostly lifeless cityscape but not everything can be Grand Theft Auto V in scale, especially coming from this small Netherlands based studio. That they even mentioned an open world is enticing enough for me.

Hopefully we see actual gameplay footage by the end of E3 but Road Rage is already planned for a September release so we won’t have to wait too long to see it in action. It’s coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC as well so I expect plenty of terrible “Let’s Play” serieses to pop up by year’s end, maybe even my own. Check out the official site to see a few more target renders and rest assured I’ll post more about it when I see it.

 

 

Achieving: Double (Weekend) Happiness

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It was a weekend of Trophy pop-ups for some very long-in-the-works accomplishments! I’ve had Guitar Hero Live since Christmas and I’d been playing it in fits and starts until the recent news about the development studio’s downsizing and restructuring. The best part of the game is it’s always-on, 24/7 streaming video channels which, naturally, will be the first money-sucking part of the game to get the axe sooner or later.

Of course there’s a progression system to the thing and Trophies tied to milestones like reaching the max level, strumming 1,000,000 times and playing for 24 hours. On Sunday I somehow managed to score 50 million cumulative points within an hour of hitting the level cap. Reaching Level 20 was all I was really after before the game gets shut down and with that scratched off the list I can focus on that one million strums thing. Man, that’s nuts.

As you are no doubt painfully aware, Spelunker World is the other game I’ve been playing for ages. Between the Japanese and US versions I’ve officially been at it for over a year as of early April and I finally — fiiiinally — accomplished two goals as old as time itself. I’ve now completed every one of the game’s 100 nightmarishly deadly levels on my own. There were a few continues used on some of the really fiendish and drawn out ones but I didn’t even blow that many Moon Stones getting through it all.

Though the benefit of teaming up in Spelunker World is immense I still stick to offline play most of the time, that’s why it’s taken this long to get ranked MVP 100 times. MVP comes from a combination of things: most points, having picked up the most keys or litho-stones and rescuing more dead players than everyone else. With more and more players topping Level 100 it’s getting harder to get MVP rank but, just like Guitar Hero, I managed it in the same weekend as finishing off the main levels.

Achieving: Tales of Pointless Self Reward in Games retold in brief posts whenever we feel like it.